The Indiana Chamber of Commerce will cultivate a world-class environment
which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of
Indiana and their enterprises.
Indiana Chamber: Serving the Business Community Since 1922.
After more than 20 years of preliminary activity and informal organization, dating back as far as 1897, the first legal entity called the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on July 2, 1922. One of the early focuses was the effort to equalize rail freight rates, which were usually higher for Indiana shippers than for surrounding states and other regions of the country.
The Chamber’s lobbying program evolved to feature an emphasis on good government, state taxes, labor relations, governmental research, transportation and working together with other organizations. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the mission transformed to include substantial activities in economic development, small business advocacy, environmental review and direct political action for legislative elections.
Today, the Chamber has full-time legislative experts in the areas of tax and public finance, education and congressional affairs, environment and energy, economic development and small business, labor relations and civil justice, and health care and workplace safety.
The early 1980s and 1990s saw the creation of two key Chamber entities. The Indiana Chamber Foundation funds studies, initiates actions and seeks solutions that positively impact Indiana’s economic future and enhance the quality of life for all Hoosiers. Indiana Business for Responsive Government is the Chamber's political action committee that works to elect pro-business candidates to the Indiana General Assembly.
A statewide board of directors has always guided the Chamber efforts. The chair of the board typically served a two-year term from 1922 until 1996, when the bylaws were changed to a one-year term. Board members and other business volunteers serve on the public policy committees that form the organization’s legislative agenda.
In recent years, the Chamber has expanded its emphasis on longstanding member benefits that include employee training conferences, regulatory compliance publications, online services and the Business Research Center. The organization serves more than 26,000 members and customers annually.
Executive leaders of the Indiana Chamber:
- William Arnett, 1926-1939
- Clarence A. Jackson, 1939-1952
- Jack E. Reich, 1952-1962
- John V. Barnett, 1962-1977
- John W. Walls, 1977-1992
- Christopher P. LaMothe, 1992-2002
- Kevin M. Brinegar, 2002-