Friday, April 06, 2007

Andrew Kaduk deserves a response!

Andrew Kaduk made the following comment to my post "Fort Wayne Problems." Andrew Kaduks comment is posted in its entirety and is in italics!

My reply to Andrew is in red. I am afraid I am going to go on a rant...

Let's build a quick hypothetical here:
I love hypotheticals...

I want to open a light manufacturing firm building circuit boards for communications electronics. I will employ 4 SMT techs, 10 electronic engineers, an 8-man sales staff, a 4-man shipping department, and a hybrid admin/customer service department.
I would love to see a company like this come to Fort Wayne! Maybe a bunch of the "young professionals" who will flock to Fort Wayne if we build a new single A baseball stadium will start this hypothetical company (A little sarcasm for you Andrew).

That's 30 jobs ranging from $25k to $125k per year.
OK, I will assume your salaries are correct.

I will need bright, young, creative engineers and salespeople, not some hayseed hicks that got suckered into giving Employment One $175 dollars...
Are you saying that people from rural backgrounds are not bright, young, and creative? Do you think that the only people who are bright, young, and creative come from urban areas?

This is quite possibly one of the dumbest comments I have heard during the entire Harrison Square discussion and it is deserving of the rant that follows!

I spent my first nine years on a farm a few miles outside of Albany, Indiana. Then we moved to Fort Wayne and I lived here until I was 22 years old. I guess I must be a "hayseed" according to Andrew Kaduk!

Heck, I will use myself as an example and I would be happy to compare my background with yours or with that of some of the other people who think that a single A baseball stadium being built downtown will draw a lot of high paying jobs to Fort Wayne.

Lets see I have spent:
4 years in sales (Some of this time I also pumped gas at a station on the south side of
Fort Wayne and worked as a uniformed security guard for minimum wage)
6 years as an Electronics Technician in a naval nuclear power plant on a nuclear powered
submarine. Heck, I was the only enlisted man in Hawaii who was qualified Engineering
Watch Supervisor as an E-5 in Hawaii during 1994 and 1995. Oh yes, naval nuclear A
school and naval nuclear power school were ranked as the 2nd and 3rd most difficult
college level programs in America (Behind MIT) when I attended them.
3 years as an electrician in a steel mill. I am a card carrying Journeyman electrician.
1 year as an automation technician in a food processing plant.
4 years as the Maintenance Manager in a local factory.
3 years in a public accounting firm.

Lets see I currently have a fair amount of education for a "hayseed" to go along with my work experience:
I currently have 239 college credits from various institutions of higher learning.
I have a Bachelors degree and multiple Associates degrees.
I am a member of a couple of national honors societies.
I am waiting on my paperwork to be filed and I will be a Certified Public Accountant.

Lets see:
As an adult I have worked as:
A salesman, pumped gas at a Fort Wayne gas station, worked as a uniformed security
guard in Fort Wayne, an Electronics Technician, an operator in a civilian nuclear
power plant, an electrician in a steel mill, an electrician in a foundry, an automation
technician, a maintenance manager, and as an accountant.

Lets see:
I have lived and worked in eight states as an adult and I have travelled to about 20
different countries and a couple of US Territories. I have been to the actual North Pole
and I have been in six of the worlds major oceans.

Lets see:
My wife and I are currently shopping for a commercial building which we will be
purchasing; not leasing I think that we will hire half a dozen employees in this area in
the next few years... We will run a business and Fort Wayne and I have confidence that
we will be a successful small company.

Now do not get me wrong; I am not the smartest guy in the world, I am not particularly creative; however, I am not a "hayseed" and you are displaying extreme and unmitigated ignorance if you think that there are not a lot of bright and educated individuals in Fort Wayne.

You should spend some time at ITT, IPFW, Ivy Tech, and the like. You may find some bright young professionals if you look for them...

How am I going to find those 20 employees here? There is absolutely nothing to draw people like that to Fort Wayne unless they like one-story strip malls and Wal Mart.That being said, how in the hell is Fort Wayne supposed to attract businesses like this? These are the types of businesses that make our economy strong...without providing some legitimate features and benefits that would interest young, smart, marketable people, there can't be a talent pool here deep enough to even get employers to look our way. Employees like these are in demand all over the country...
There are a lot of people in Fort Wayne who can fill these jobs. Fort Wayne has a large number of engineers and the various other skills that this small company would require. We have had a lot of companies like you described here for many years and we have a large number of people who could fill these jobs. A lot of companies similar to the one you described have went out of business in this area, there are literally hundreds of people in this area who could work for the company you described. Heck, with my background I would have the qualification necessary to fill many of the above jobs myself.

Also there is a large number of facilities this company could rent and rent or lease for a very low price! There is a lot of commercial space available and it is very inexpensive.

I'd like for Mike or AWB to explain to me in writing how you suggest we make our bait look better than that being offered in other places. THAT is what this discussion is about...a viable, fun, vibrant city that can be attractive to the kind of talent that makes businesses successful, innovative etc.
I do not think that we have to have a vibrant City. I think we have to have a City with lower taxes and fewer regulations. This will cause companies to move to Fort Wayne and expand in Fort Wayne. To be honest with you Andrew Fort Wayne has about everything that my wife and I want in a City. We occasionally travel to Indianapolis, Chicago, etc if there is something we want to do that is not available in Fort Wayne. Heck we are going to Germany this summer. Fort Wayne does not need to have every possible amenity; I am more then capable of driving or flying to other locations...

Building a new Single A Baseball Stadium Downtown does NOTHING to draw jobs to Fort Wayne Andrew.

Mike Sylvester, rant over...


Change Fort Wayne said...

It's about time someone put motor mouth in his place. Who cares what he thinks? He doesn't even live in Fort Wayne. He lives in HICKSVILLE, Ohio.

Andrew Kaduk said...

I love the response, Mike. I certainly hope you don't actually take my ranting personally as you suggest...

Angry White Boy said...

We have never had an issue hiring bright and talented programmers, they're all over town.

I was at Sweetwater Sound today and took a tour. They have no problem hiring talented people from all over the country and most of them come here from major markets.

Look at the help wanted ads. How many technical job openings do you see? Hardly any.

As of 5 minutes ago there are only 3 software job openings on and 30 that are engineering related. Only a few of those for actual engineers.

There is no shortage of technical help and no, there are no $125K technical jobs in Fort Wayne unless you call being an anesthesiologist technical.

Good sales people however, there's a big shortage of those.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a shot, at least at the "how do we attract people when there is nothing here" assertion.

First, you realize that it can be done. I'll give one convincing (I think) example. Despite the Mayor's assertion of no new investment in downtown in a decade, the medical sector of our economy has boomed! We have become a regional medical center for many specialty areas. This was not accomplished with local hayseeds and it didn't require a new baseball stadium. Physicians, med-techs and nurses are willing to move and work here because the jobs are first rate.

Second, you sell what we do have, which is considerable. The previously mentioned medical facilities, low housing costs, more and better restaurants than most any city this size, (some) good schools, several post secondary schools, excellent philharmonic, good, friendly people, close proximity to lakes for vacation homes and Chicago, Indy, Detroit, Columbus for getaways. Huge (relative to our size) support from private foundations (Foellinger, FWC, Dekko, Lutheran, McMillen, etc.) and a large, well-supported and growing arts community. Tons of golf courses, great zoo. There is more, but these are highlights for me.

Third, realize what we don't have. No mountains, no water. Weather is pretty unattractive. Those we can't change.

We also don't have any coherent planning and no nightlife worth mentioning. Those things we can and should try to change. But this City is strapped for cash and we shouldn't throw money at projects that have no market support. Personally, I'd love to see more downtown nightlife. While my insurmountable objection to the stadium is the paltry investment of HC, all the research I have done on minor league baseball says the key to success is making the experience fun for kids. How dragging the the rugrats downtown will enhance the appeal of the area to young singles is beyond me.

Mark Garvin

Jeff Pruitt said...

"There is no shortage of technical help and no, there are no $125K technical jobs in Fort Wayne unless you call being an anesthesiologist technical."

While I agree w/ much of what AWB says in this post I wanted to point out that the above statement is incorrect. We certainly don't have an abundance of them but they are here...

Anonymous said...

"How do we attract people when there is nothing here."

I think the fact of our lack of 'young educated people' is not a lack of entertaiment, but the missing element of marketing jobs. Although, I am know in a different sector, my background is in nonprofit management. A few years ago, when I was looking for employment, there were no area jobs listed on or The employment descriptions included locations such as San Francisco, Boston, New York City and large metro areas east and west. Now in a hope to market the region, I have started a local Young Nonprofit Professionals Network chapter, in Fort Wayne. My goal is to work with others throughout United States, hoping to lure a few of them to the region. One of the strengths of this is affordibility of the city, i.e. you can work for a nonprofit organization and still afford rent and food.

While the salaries may not be exceptionally high in the nonprofit sector, the newest findings state there will be more that 750,000 executive positions, in organizations, nationwide in the United States. Talented people ranging from educators, marketers, technologists and development professionals are needed. For more information, see

Tim Zank said...

Wow the stadium/hotel/condo/hotdog stand debate has taken on a life of it's own! Mr. Garvins' is the FIRST post I have read anywhere (here/fwob/awb/etc) that actually noted ANYTHING positive about Fort Wayne. Contrary to all the bitching, it should be noted Fort Wayne is not exactly falling into the sewer, as Mark points out.

The recurring "no night life" theme isn't really valid either when it comes to attracting young bright, & talented employees. I don't think a list of the nightclubs in town is the first thing graduating seniors ask their prospective employers for when interviewing.

Whether a new stadium gets built or not won't change the overall jobs market in Ft. Wayne, but it would spruce up downtown. Question is, how much is that worth to you?

I think you've been polling the wrong people. If this is going to be an anchor for anything, it has to have reliable attendance for anything else around or adjacent to it to make it too.
Poll the minor league baseball fans.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Fort Wayne under a Mayor Sylvester????

That is a very, very scary thought

Andrew Kaduk said...

A few things:

Mike: Like we discussed on the phone, you're not typical of Fort Wayne residents. Your travels, experience, education, civic motivation and prudence put you in what I would think would be the top 5% of all Fort Wayne area people in each of those categories. That means that when you speak, you are not speaking for the majority. You are speaking for a slim minority...when doing so from your perspective. Yes, I believe you are correct that a majority of folks do not want a baseball stadium downtown...that's great and all, but remember...this "majority" screws up rather frequently.

Hell, look at the people they elect... (really, no offense intended Sam).

AWB: Bright and talented programmers are all over town? Ok. I'll take your word for it. Next question: Are they all employed?

As far as Sweetwater goes, it took them 20 years to reach the level where industry types remember the name of the place. By and large, it is still staffed by regulars in the local music scene...but that goes to prove my point too. Look at the caliber of company it takes to actually draw people in to the area! And even though Sweetwater is like a playground for musicians...that hasn't improved the Fort Wayne music scene at's still pretty bad.

Look at the help wanted ads? Ok. Guess what I see...? Not a lot of opportunity for well-educated people looking for start-ups, cool jobs and decent pay. Wow...there are a lot of openings for OTR truck drivers. Whoa...the prestige that would bring to the family of someone who holds a marketing degree from the Kelley School of Business.

I realize that there are no $125k tech jobs in Fort Wayne. As long as our average salaries are 20% below the national average, there probably won't be either. I know a couple of programmers who make low six-figure incomes for their 40hrs every week...but I assure you they don't work in Fort Wayne.

Lastly, all snide remarks aside...anyone who wishes to sit here and take issue with my "hayseed" comment...give me a call. I'll take you out on the town some night in the next month and I promise you'll no longer question my characterization. It's not that hard to avoid that societal element if you truly don't want to be exposed to it...but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist...and in Fort Wayne's case, that element exists in fairly large quantities.

Anonymous said...

Go to Piere's. You'll get plenty of hayseed there

Anonymous said...

Wow Mike.. you are just so impressive. Will you work for me? I bet that felt great to show everyone just how talented you are.

Dan Carmody said...

Interesting Discussion

I'm fairly new in town but am a life long observer of mid tier cities in the Midwest.

Mark Garvin is pretty accurate in his desciption of our current position. Though I would add that the medical investment is typical of most of our peer cities and heaven help us when Ford/GM decide to walk from their health care plans - but that is a story for another day.

I find both of these statements to be true:

Fort Wayne does have assets we can leverage to better attract talented workers without Harrison Square.

Fort Wayne is not an easy place to attract talented people who have a variety of employment options and a project like Harrison Square would help employers attract talented workers to Fort Wayne.

As for AWB you may have been at Sweetwater Sound and saw they have no problem hiring talented people but the owner of the company is record as supporting Harrison Square so that his company can better compete for coveted workers.

Anonymous said...

Parson said...

Mark Garvin hit the nail on the head.
One of the good things about Fort Wayne is how easy it is to drive to the bigger cities like Chicago, Detroit, or Indy for a nice weekend get away. That is a good selling point some places probably use that when attracting new employees.

Anonymous said...

Lets see:

Is Mike full of himself or what?

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is people love water and Fort Wayne has 3 Rivers.

I'd capitalize on planning, development and zoning the water/rivers as a Marketing idea to attract tourism. Again people love the water.

Let's make it beautiful, profitable, and attainable to
everybody. I guess the City needs to invest in a better sewage system first. I guess thats a vintage problem. So where's the
visionaries, we need a 12 month
use of downtown. Fall, Winter,
Spring & Summer. Indoor Community
Sports Complex that incompasses
more than just baseball.

Maybe a clean-up and horticulture
along our river & greenways would help too.

I've noticed many folks living in Fort Wayne do commute to Indy, Detriot, and alot further to put bread and butter on the table.

Fort Wayne and the community still has a quality of
life folks enjoy. I guess thats why folks still live here.

Robert Enders said...

Some people seem to like the rivers more than others. Some insist that they are too muddy, others think that they are beautiful. I wouldn't want to build near them unless the Army Corps of Engineers said it was safe.

Change Fort Wayne said...

Mike - any way you can find out who posted that first post? It was not actually me.

GLSB Guru said...

I know of one specific local company who actually opened a Chicago corporate office because the people who the board of directors wanted to hire to run the company had no interest in moving to Fort Wayne.

In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of thing that the proponents of Fort Wayne improvements would like to eliminate. Is a baseball stadium the right answer? We can really only speculate at this point, but there are many variables that are regrettably out of control of the City Government with respect to forecasting the potential success of such a thing.

That being said, I see no reason that most of Mr. Sylvester's questions should be answered prior to any voting on this matter. He presents some common-sense opposition, the majority of which should logically be resolved.

Anonymous said...

According to Mike's sitemeter yesterday, it was posted from a TEK Interactive IP address. That would be the Abominable Caucasion Child.

Change Fort Wayne said...

any idea what to do?

david said...

I think Fort Wayne also needs more advanced degrees at the universities - this would be a big help for our company in attracting software developers.

Dave Corcoran

Jeff Pruitt said...


Can you confirm or deny anonymous' allegation that AWB somehow stole Change Fort Wayne's login info?

This is a serious allegation and I haven't seen any evidence to back it up...

LP Mike Sylvester said...


I have no idea...

I am not a "tech guy" and I am not particularly computer savy...

Based on AWB's personality and his past history I find it extremely doubtful that he would feel the need to impersonate another person.

Just go and read his blog, he pretty much says whatever he feels and does not overly care who gets offended...

Mike Sylvester

Kat Coble said...

I've been trying to stay out of this since it upsets Sam T. so much to hear what I have to say.

But, Andrew, I humbly submit that the baseball stadium is not the draw you need for your company.

Even if it WERE the draw your company needed, why on earth should the taxpayers of the city finance it so heavily?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Fort Wayne should build a carrousel downtown:

It maybe cheaper than a baseball stadium!

Jeff Pruitt said...


It's not really all that serious, anybody can do it.

AWB has done it countless times. He used to post as Craig and Robert Rouse quite regularly.


Not Jeff Pruitt

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