Former Angie's List COO Now Advocating For 'Best-Kept Secret'

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INDIANAPOLIS -

The new chief executive officer of the state's advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative says the two industries are among Indiana's "best-kept secrets." Mark Howell, who previously served as chief operating officer of Angie's List and president of Brightpoint Americas, took the helm of Conexus Indiana in January and says 20 percent of the Hoosier work force is connected to the sectors, producing 30 percent of the state's Gross Domestic Product. Howell says the organization's primary areas of focus include work force, building the brand and leveraging technology.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Howell said the industry-wide need for talent presents both challenges and opportunities. "We're seeing a level of innovation in terms of training programs, work-based learning and interactions between industry and education that we haven't seen historically that's being driven out by that," Howell said. "I also think it's leading to greater innovation on the technology side, because, in order to maintain the level of productivity and growth and quality necessary, it's going to take investments in technology to -- in many ways -- supplement what's happening on the work force side."

Howell said a big reason he took the position was to give back after spending 25 years "benefiting from the work of others." Howell has spent more than a decade on the Conexus board.

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      The U.S. unemployment rate has moved down to 3.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Great news! Maybe not. There are business sectors that need employees due to constraints in the labor market - namely truck drivers. The level of employment in the truck transportation industry is essentially unchanged since mid-2015, according to the bureau. And the impact is being felt.

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