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Local Conservationists on Repurposing Wolf Run Golf Club

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Jim and Nancy Carpenter: Local Conservationists on Repurposing Wolf Run Golf Club This month, we are pleased to feature longtime Zionsville residents Jim and Nancy Carpenter on the cover. The Carpenters founded Wild Birds Unlimited in the early ’80s and have lived in Zionsville since 1987. The Carpenters are avid nature conservation enthusiasts who share a passion for the great outdoors. When the land that is now the Carpenter Nature Preserve (formerly the Wolf Run Golf Club) was put on the market the Carpenters saw an incredible opportunity to purchase the 216 acres and rehabilitate it into a wildlife and nature preserve with an eye to turn it into a public park for the benefit of the town of Zionsville.

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Laura Arick



Meet Aaron Williams: Representing Boone County Council District 4


PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803

Carmel Film Director Works To Bring Angelo Pizzo’s

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803

“500” To The Big Screen

12 Live at the Center: Joshua Thompson 14 Artomobilia Weekend Is Back and Bigger Than Ever! 20 Local Teens Develop Revolutionizing Employment

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Meet Aaron Williams: Representing Boone County Council District 4 Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick and Photo With the Fields

The passing of Boone County Council’s President Steve Jacob on March 17 left a seat open in Boone County Council’s District 4. Consequently, Zionsville resident Aaron Williams was elected by an April 15 caucus—unanimously—to fill Jacob’s seat on the council. We spoke with Williams about his decision to file for the vacant council seat and how he plans to build upon Jacob’s extraordinary legacy as a leader and champion for Boone County. AARON WILLIAMS IN HIS OWN WORDS Born and raised in Indianapolis, Williams shared that he is one of 10 children. His passion for community engagement and politics began at the young age of 16. “I’m from a large family, and we are very family-oriented,” Williams said. “My family raised us to be part of the solution. I grew up in Haughville on the west side of Indianapolis. I’ve always had a passion to be involved and engaged in my community, no matter where I’ve lived. And I’m still heavily involved in Indianapolis.” Williams and his family moved to Zionsville nearly five years ago, and Williams wasted no time in getting acquainted with the community and public safety leaders within Zionsville and Boone County. “I remember when we first moved to Zionsville, I reached out to Josh Garrett, who is a member of the town council, former Mayor Tim Haak, the former chief of police Rob Knox and other [community]

leaders,” Williams recalled. “I introduced myself and asked these folks how I could become engaged and involved with the community. I’ve become extremely more active in the last two-and-a-half years and helped form the Boone County Racial Diversity Coalition that was in the works before the George Floyd protests happened last year. I think what happened last year really escalated the need for [the coalition].” Williams expressed, “I believe that Zionsville is made up of some of the best people in the world with a passion and who ‘have a heart’ for embracing inclusion, diversity, equity and opportunity for people of color and underrepresented, underserved and underprivileged groups and individuals.”

BLAZING HIS OWN PATH WHILE HONORING HIS PREDECESSOR His decision to file for Jacob’s council seat in Boone County District 4 was not


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made without careful consideration, guidance from his mentors and family and, of course, not without the blessing of Jacob’s son, Jeff Jacob. “I know the impact that Steve [Jacob] had on so many people,” Williams emphasized. “I’m not coming in to replace Steve. I’m looking to how we can build on the amazing legacy and foundation that he laid and continue that. These are big shoes to fill, and I plan on doing it with humility, an open mind and an open heart.” When he was approached to consider this office and potentially other political offices later on down the road, Williams said he prayed about it. “I wanted to make sure God wasn’t telling me loud and clear not to do it,” Williams said. “I talked with my wife and other individuals that I’m close to. I think the level of significance of whose seat I was filling struck me more than had it been any other person, knowing what Steve stood for and what he was about.”

BECOMING ANOTHER CHAMPION FOR BOONE COUNTY Reflecting on his decision to join the council and represent not only his district but the county as a whole, Williams observed, “It’s easy to sit back and talk about what we need to do better and criticize. But it is much more productive and is extremely gratifying when you become a person to help make the change that you and so many others wish to see.” When asked what his goals for the county are, Williams replied, “It is the true sentiments of my heart to help make Boone County the best place: the best place to live, work, explore and play. Time Magazine, USA Today, you name it—they come out with a ranking of some sort, “Best Places to Live in America,” etc., and I will tell you that Boone County will be on that list and will lead that list. It’s going to happen, and the way that it’s going to happen is through consistent communication and collaboration. Companies will be knocking on our doors asking how they can become a partner of ours.” Williams continued, “We’re going to make this a reality by being great fiscal

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stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and by being supporters and advocates of our law enforcement entities. We’re going to do it by making sure that our schools are the best of the best ,and we’re going to do it with the help of every Boone County resident that wants to be a part of this solution and part of this amazing transformation that we’re undergoing and are going to ramp up significantly.”

“ONE BOONE” Over the course of his public service, Steve Jacob fostered countless relationships with state and local officials—often bridging the gaps between parties and adversaries for the betterment of all



concerned. In that spirit, Williams said that he is committed to learning about those relationships and building upon them as he continues along his path in public service. “I plan on being one of many champions and plan on taking the relationships that have been established over the last 15-plus years and putting them to good use,” Williams said. “In my new role as a council member, I am asking a lot of questions to get an understanding of where things are and where things stand in our county. I’m going to be putting together a steering committee or co-op of sorts made up of the heads of our county’s respective towns. I’m going to push that we are going to put politics aside. We don’t want politics at the table as a means of trying to get something [pushed] that is politically driven and/or motivated that doesn’t benefit everyone.” In this committee or co-op, Williams envisions a unified group working together to address the county’s issues at a local and state level.

“If we can have that collective approach, the success of our county will be paramount,” Williams expressed. “Working together works. If we have that mentality, there is nothing that we won’t accomplish. I think, now more than ever, that it is incumbent upon us to be mindful, respectful and considerate of everyone’s ideas and opinions and not get drawn into the despicable behavior that we’ve seen that is causing so much chaos and destruction and prevents us from really becoming great.” Williams stressed the importance of his role on the county council and his commitment to leading by example for the betterment of his district and the county as a whole. “I have to lead by being an example,” Williams stated. “I will work to make sure that every town and every community within Boone County is represented, and we’re going to put some formal processes and instructions in place to make sure that happens.”



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From Indiana To Hollywood And Back To Indiana


Carmel Resident and Film Director Works To Bring Angelo Pizzo’s

“500” To The Big Screen

Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Submitted and Jeff Richardson metropolisgrafix.com

Amid all of the excitement for the return of the “greatest spectacle in racing”—the Indianapolis 500— this May, I am thrilled to share a brief history of the Hoosier who is responsible for the very first Indy 500—Mr. Carl Fisher. His extraordinary contributions to the world of racing and automotive ingenuity have been portrayed by Bloomington native and awardwinning screenwriter and film producer Angelo Pizzo. Carmel resident Justin Escue has been working on bringing this epic screenplay “500” to the big screen. Escue is founder, director and producer at My First Bike Productions.

ow do you sum up the creative genius and talent into a short article without omitting so many of the successes realized by both Pizzo and Escue? I shall begin with Pizzo’s outstanding works “Hoosiers” (1986), “Rudy” (1993) and “My All-American” (2015). These films are more than “sports” stories. These films, along with Pizzo’s other screenplays, depict a person’s journey that often touches on relationships, redemption, fortitude, perseverance and the human experience. After spending some time in Hollywood, Pizzo moved back to his hometown of Bloomington in early 2004, where he continues to write and produce. He is currently working on two new scripts that he wrote during the pandemic. Fellow Hoosier and creative type, Escue was raised in New Palestine, Indiana, and got his start in the performing arts as a musician. He explored the world of filmmaking and acting while at Ball State University, where he began producing and directing feature-length and short independent films. After graduation, Escue moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked on big budget films. His path led him to L.A., where he continued to work as a writer, producer and director before moving back to his Hoosier stomping grounds where he is currently working on multiple projects, including the “500” film. A few of Escue’s production and directing credits in both film and television include “Cypher” (2021) (TV series), “#2WheelzNHeelz” (2017) (TV series), “To Do List” (2007) (short), “Open Mic’rs” (2006) and “Saving Star Wars” (2004).

A Story A Hundred Years In The Making Any devout fans of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and the Indianapolis 500 may know who Carl Fisher was, but as a self-professed fan, I learned from Pizzo and Escue that this man—born in Greensburg, Indiana—was so much more than the guy who was the driving force behind the creation of IMS and advocate

for the development of automobiles, aviation and transportation. Fisher led the Lincoln Highway Commission, and as a real estate mogul, Fisher transformed Miami Beach from undesirable swamplands to the vacation mecca and vibrant city that it is today. Escue shared with me that Fisher Island, Florida, was in fact named after Fisher. Just a few of Fisher’s other ventures include the Dixie Highway and the PrestO-Lite Company that produced carbide-gas-fired headlights. Pizzo’s screenplay depicts Fisher’s life in and around the development of IMS and the Indianapolis 500. Pizzo also touched on several aspects of Fishers life that made him both a hero and a heretic, depending on the viewers’ perspectives, including his marriage to Jane Watts, who was 15 when they married. When asked what about Fisher’s life and Escue’s idea to bring Fisher’s story to the big screen compelled him to write the screenplay dubbed “500,” Pizzo replied, “It was a combination of factors. I’ve been a passionate IndyCar fan all of my life. So, when Justin brought up this idea of the ‘origin story’ about how it all started, it was kind of in my wheelhouse.” Pizzo emphasized that “500” is not a “racing” story but is the story of Carl Fisher and the journey he went on throughout his life. “I have two different parts of the audience that I serve,” Pizzo explained. “There are those [in the audience] who are aficionados and have a passion for the particular sport [featured in the film], and then I also have to serve those [in the audience] who could care less. For example, the ideal compliment on a movie like ‘Rudy’ is someone saying, ‘I laughed. I cried. I love that movie, but you know, I don’t like sports. I don’t like football. And I don’t like Notre Dame.’ That’s my target audience. So, in terms of the character of Carl Fisher—he was an extraordinary and complicated figure. I could write 10 movies about him. He was one the great salesmen, entrepreneurs and visionaries of the 20th century.” In the script, Pizzo touches on the fact that after the first Indy 500, due to the


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controversy surrounding the multiple fatalities involving both drivers and spectators and the declared winner of the first race—some still debate whether Ray Harroun was indeed the first winner—there was almost never another Indy 500. “Carl was relentless,” Pizzo shared. “A characteristic that we all hope that we have in ourselves because that’s the way things get done and dreams are realized. The first race was a disaster, so it’s definitely a part of the story and how Carl Fisher recovers from that.”

A Director’s Dream To Create “500” in Indy and Carmel, Indiana Escue’s vision is to film this historic and exhilarating script in Indiana using local crews and talent. “Angelo has found a way to capture the spirit of [Fisher] who didn’t have kids, so he had no legacy and is mostly forgotten,” Escue stated. “When we started to research who Carl Fisher was as a man and all the things that he did, it’s insane to me that the story hasn’t already been told— especially here! And to have someone

like Angelo with his pedigree be the guy telling Carl’s story is amazing.” Escue continued, “After graduate school at Ball State, I went to Austin [Texas] and started working for Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater. It was 2000, and they had started building their first studio out there. I was sort of on the ground floor of this. They took a city that had relatively not a lot of [film] production, and I watched it grow into this huge, booming community of film production. And right now, Austin is like No. 2 behind Los Angeles.”

Though Escue knows that there won’t be any issues finding qualified and talented crews in the local area and region, the issues of funding for the film and support from local municipalities are his greatest obstacles right now. Escue is seeking individuals and corporations who want to be a part of something big and quite possibly iconic that will complete Pizzo’s trilogy of Hoosier stories made into films. “My biggest hurdle is finding a group of people who are alternative-minded, who want to do something different and see the vision of something that’s artistic,” Escue shared. “Carmel is a very artistic community, but we’re trying to find people who want to help bring [film] production to this city like Austin did. I’m trying to create jobs and sustain a business model that’s working in other cities. If I can bring this film and any subsequent series to Carmel and to Indiana, that would change everything.” For more information on My First Bike Productions and Justin Escue, and for anyone interested in learning how they can contribute to making “500” come to fruition, visit myfirstbike.net.


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Live at the Center:

Joshua Thompson Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

From scientists and philosophers to poets and playwrights, some of the greatest minds in history were inspired by classical music. In that spirit, The Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to stream live from the Palladium one of Indiana’s own, Joshua Thomspon, a classically trained pianist and music sociologist! The Mission Behind the Musician Thompson’s mission is to program and perform classical masterworks by composers of African descent. He is increasingly recognized on a national scale for his expertise on classical composers of African descent and the inherent cultural connectivity in the broader aesthetic of Black Arts movements. As the 2020 Beckman Emerging Artist Fellow of the

Arts Council of Indianapolis, he successfully completed his residency at the Africana Studies Center for Music and Society at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and currently serves as the first Musicologist in Residence for Classical Music Indy. His first major artistic production, “Village Voices: Notes from the Griot,” made its world premiere in 2018 at New-

fields. In 2019, Thompson was named Performer in Residence for Eskenazi Health’s Marianne Tobias Music Program and was a featured artist for the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ annual Art & Soul Celebration. He has worked with artists including Whoopi Goldberg and bassist John Clayton, and he co-hosts a podcast—“Melanated Moments in Classical Music”—with operatic soprano Angela Brown. Thompson’s zest for pushing boundaries, his inquisitive nature and his passion for classical music has steered him along his journey that began as a young trumpet player. Thompson obtained a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana. His music and advocacy paths often merge as he continues to work with an expanding range of Central Indiana cultural arts organizations and social agencies to facilitate access to educational resources. “I was never a rule breaker, but I was definitely a boundary or envelope pusher,” Thompson shared, “And in my house, that did not go over so well. What I found with music—classical music, in particular—was when my mouth would get me into trouble, I was able to effectively articulate how I was feeling. I would literally play through a laundry list of emotions, and it helped me to become a much better verbal and nonverbal communicator within and outside of own household. And I’ve never lost sight of that.” Though his original dream was to become an orchestral trumpet player, Thompson shared that no one is more surprised than he that he became a concert pianist. “I went to DePauw [University] as an English literature and trumpet performance double major and came out with a sociology degree,” Thompson said. “It makes perfect sense—or it does in my head. My brain has always had a very sociological way of thinking. My parents would say that it’s one thing to be unsatisfied with something and ask ‘why?’ but you have to find out ‘why’ and if


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you’re still feeling raw about it, develop and devise interventions to correct the things that you see are amiss.” A Universal Translator After college, Thompson went to work in the social services field and took a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from music. But the universe had other plans for him, and he was pulled back into the world of performing and programming classical music. “I started doing my own research on classical composers of African descent, and that breathed new life and reinvigorated my passion,” Thompson shared. “I once thought that nobody cared about classical music until I gave a concert and I was proven so wrong. There is something about witnessing the application, dedication, discipline, skill and passion that is translatable and understandable to everyone, regardless of their age, race and social status. It is a universal translator.”

As a teaching artist, Thompson uses classical music to illustrate the correlations of music, science and history, as well as to demonstrate the connections of [classical] music to social and emotional learning. “The music that’s been written [throughout our history] are physical blueprints that give soundtracks to where humanity has been in any given place and time,” Thompson expressed. “I’m a musical storyteller in my presentations. And in fact, the show that I’m giving at the Palladium is called ‘The Black Keys—The Evolution of the Black Classical Arts,’ and it starts at the very beginning before there were even people. It starts from absolutely nothing, and the opening piece is called ‘Out of the Silence.’” When asked what Thompson believes is the future of classical music in the 21st century, he thoughtfully replied, “The genre is not going to evolve if we do not make it a high priority like other

genres did. Pop sounds different about every 20 years, where classical music is classical. What I think many traditionalists are really going to have to wrestle with is this working definition of what we consider ‘classical music’ and whether [this definition] is more of a benefit or detriment well into the 21st century. We’re all asking that question, and there is no definitive answer. Whatever positive ideas we come up with we will put into our work so we can hear what sticks and let this whole conversation just happen. It is a journey that we’re all taking to get closer to an answer.” Join us for The Center’s livestream concert featuring Thompson on Wednesday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. You can enjoy a front-row perspective with stereo sound and multi-camera HD video for FREE on The Center’s website at thecenterpresents.org. Be sure to register and also check out Thompsons website at joshuaathompson.net and his podcast: “Melanated Moments in Classical Music” at classicalmusicindy.org/podcasts/ melanated-moments/.

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Artomobilia Weekend Is Back and


Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Artomobilia

Last year may have put the breaks on the best exhibition of collector cars and recognized artists in the Midwest, but this year the organizers and sponsors of Artomobilia Weekend are revving up for their best event weekend since the inception of Artomobilia in 2008!



spoke with Artomobilia Event Director John Leonard about what’s new this year and what automotive enthusiasts can expect at all of the remarkable events throughout Artomobilia Weekend. Leonard also shared the details about a brand-new event that will kick off the Artomobilia season, if you will, this coming June—GO LIKE HELL! 10000 Rally, presented by Gator Motorsport. The GO LIKE HELL! 10000 Rally is

inspired by Carroll Shelby and his distinct and charismatic approach to his road and race cars. As characterized in the movie “Ford v Ferrari,” Shelby defies Ford management in signaling to Ken Miles to exceed the 7,000 rpm limit and “Go Like Hell!” This rally is a rain-or-shine, untimed, noncompetitive road rally through the nicest, windiest backroads in Hamilton and surrounding counties. The Artomobilia team has managed to find the most interesting 90-minute drive, starting at the impressive St. Vincent fa-

cility in Carmel and ending at the unique First Wing Jet Center in Zionsville. The GO LIKE HELL! 10000 will give folks the opportunity to enjoy one another’s cars, and company, from what is widely considered a safe outdoor environment. “This is an evening event on Saturday, June 5,” Leonard said. “There will be three run groups: 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Like our previous rallies, 100% of the entry fees will go to a charity. If we get 500 cars [registered], it will be a crisp $20,000 check that will go to our friends at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent. This event will really kick off our summer.”


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EXPANDING THE FOOTPRINT AND ECONOMIC IMPACT Those familiar with Artomobilia Weekend will be excited to learn that SHIFT, Fuelicious and Artomobilia are coming back and will be better than ever, while adhering to the county’s and city’s health protocols. Like the rallies, each of the Artomobilia events support local charities and also provide an economic boost to local businesses. Artomobilia alone brings in upward of 20,000 people into the Arts & Design District. “This year’s Fuelicious will benefit Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana,” Leonard shared. “We’ll be doing some

promotional things to make some hay this August. Meals on Wheels serves north of 500 clients, two meals every day, five days a week. It is certainly a deserving charity that does some remarkable work, and our hope is to put on a great event and provide [Meals on Wheels] an economic opportunity that will support their continued work.” This year’s Artomobilia will be held on Saturday, August 28, at 11:00 am in the Carmel Arts & Design District. Gator Motorsport is the title sponsor, and the featured marque is Lotus. “We will have a bunch of Lotuses on display,” Leonard stated. “And we will have a footprint that is commensurate with the health stipulations of the county and city. We will have the 26 corrals and classes that we’ve always had. With the success and popularity of Porsche-Palooza, we’ve extended the opportunity to BMW and Lotus, so this year we will have dedicated areas further extending our footprint on North Range Line Road for Porsche-Palooza, BMW-Palooza and Lotus-Palooza. I’m super excited about that.” Leonard mentioned that if he and his team secure sponsors for these “Paloozas,” 100% of the entry fees will go to the respective clubs’ charities of their choice.

INTRODUCING REVOLANTÉ Wrapping up Artomobilia Weekend, Leonard and his team will debut their newest event: Revolanté. This event will take place at the beautiful Bridgewater Club in Westfield on Sunday, August 29, from noon until 5 p.m. “We are going to start with a comparatively small number of significant cars—80 to 100—that will come from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and from collectors in the Indianapolis and surrounding markets,” Leonard explained. “We will have the Jim Clark car that ran in the Indianapolis 500. And in keeping with this year’s theme, there will be Lotuses on display. This will be our first event on grass [on a 23-acre driving range], and we will start selling tickets to Revolanté in June. The tickets will be $33 per person—12 and under are free. And 100% of the ticket sales will go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.” The Bridgewater Club’s catering team will offer food and beverages that will be available for purchase throughout the event.


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Leonard concluded, “The [Artomobilia] team is very excited and is looking forward to a great summer. My hope is that Artomobilia Weekend will end the summer on a high note. We are committed to doing these events safely and to doing the same great job that the team has done over the last 13 years.” For more information on all of these events, including ticket and registration information, visit artomobilia.org

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Jim and Nancy Carpenter: Local Conservationists on Repurposing Wolf Run Golf Club

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick, Janelle Morrison and staff

This month, we are pleased to feature longtime Zionsville residents Jim and Nancy Carpenter on the cover. The Carpenters founded Wild Birds Unlimited in the early ’80s and have lived in Zionsville since 1987, where they raised their two daughters. The Carpenters are avid nature conservation enthusiasts who share a passion for the great outdoors.


hen the land that is now the Carpenter Nature Preserve (formerly the Wolf Run Golf Club) was put on the market by its previous owner, Stan Burton—who had plans to redevelop the property located at the southwest corner of U.S. 421 and State Road 32—the Carpenters saw an incredible opportunity to purchase the 216 acres and rehabilitate it into a wildlife and nature preserve. Burton was denied a rezoning request by the Zionsville Town Council and Zionsville Plan Commission in 2018. He had proposed redeveloping the former

18-hole course into a neighborhood comprised of a maximum of 360 single-family homes and mixed-use buildings. The Carpenters had a different vision and legacy in mind for the property. On a recent visit to the property, we were in awe of how quickly nature had taken over the once meticulously manicured fairways and putting greens. The former club house and adjacent structure are locked and boarded up—creating a hauntingly spectacular backdrop. It is a phenomenal sight; all of the native plant life and trees have reclaimed the land throughout the sprawling hills and creek


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beds, and there are scores of a variety of wildlife that have reestablished habitats throughout the Carpenters’ nature preserve. While onsite, the Carpenters introduced us to John Schaust, chief naturalist at Wild Birds Unlimited and formerly the naturalist at Holliday Park in Indianapolis. Within three hours, Schaust identified and cataloged 58 different bird species throughout the property.

CONSERVATIONISTS AT HEART In the April issue of Zionsville Matters, we featured Nancy Carpenter in the “Meet Your Neighbor” article that

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The Carpenters also own land in Colorado that is part of a cooperative conservation effort. “We’re saving about 5,000 acres with a group of other landowners,” Jim said. “We personally bought in 1,000 acres, and we are always looking for conservation buys. We had been looking in Indiana, but—until this opportunity became available— there wasn’t anything [in Indiana] that we thought would work for us.” Nancy added, “Especially in Boone County—there’s not a lot here except along the stream corridor of Eagle Creek. So much of [the area] is flat and farmland. So, when we heard about this [property], we knew this would be such an amazing opportunity.”


Picture of the 10th hole

discussed Nancy’s previous work with the Zionsville Green Space Foundation and her current involvement with the establishment of the Zionsville Parks Foundation that is awaiting its official designation from the IRS. The Carpenters are the sponsors of Newfields’ Spring Blooms and the brandnew 10-acre Wild Birds Unlimited Native Pollinator Meadow, also at Newfields in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park that is currently being developed and will have free admission to the general public. “Ever since we got married in the early ’80s, we’ve been trying to preserve habi-

tats,” Jim shared. “We were involved with the Hoosier National Forest and Indiana Forest Alliance back in the ’80s. We were also involved with the Amos Butler Audubon Society and with their Birdathon.” Jim explained that they helped raise money and awareness for the society to purchase thousands of acres in Costa Rica. “In the early 2000s, we bought land down in Brown County near Story, Indiana—about 48 acres—that we donated to the Nature Conservancy and its contingent with Hoosier National Forest so they can manage through the forest bank, appropriately, for wildlife, songbirds and native plants.”


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The Carpenters shared that the ultimate dream would be to rehabilitate the land and create what does not currently exist in the way of pollinator gardens and prairie areas while expanding the forest and wetland areas throughout the property. And to eventually create an official park and possible nature center for the town of Zionsville and surrounding communities to enjoy. “Imagine being able to come out here and walk your dog or just yourself and take a stroll,” Jim said. “In 20 years, this will be a really nice wetland and forested area that will make up for what was destroyed.” Both husband and wife are working with the Town of Zionsville, Town Council and Zionsville Parks and Rec Department on the potential development of a future park and nature center concept, utilizing the existing structures if they are deemed structurally sound and salvageable. Nancy added, “Once we get the Town Council and Parks board out here, we would love to think of ways to bring different groups within the community to come out and experience this.” The Carpenters emphasized that the success of their proposed nature preserve and potential park will heavily depend on the municipality’s and the community-at-large’s support of their efforts and advocacy. Meanwhile, they

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are moving forward with their rehabilitation efforts, utilizing their own personal resources and connections. “One of the things that we are going to do is create a couple of exciting habitats,” Nancy enthused. “We have a company that’s going to come in and create a pollinator area with native pollinator plants by the [former clubhouse] in what used to be a practice putting green. It will create beauty and excitement. So, when we bring people out, they can see the possibility of what some rehabbing and bringing in some native planets will do.” Nancy continued, “We realize that the town is not ready to buy the property. They could not get the bond issues or funding, and we knew that if somebody didn’t pick this up and at least hold it, it would get lost. And we’re having so much fun with this. It’s such a rich experience, and we’re meeting wonderful people in the community, so what a great thing to be involved in, and we’re loving it!” As part of their personal and professional mission statement, Jim expressed,

“Bringing people and nature together is our mission. I think it’s become our DNA to restore and make a difference. You can easily make the decision to make a difference. Here, we might be creating that which never was here. And we are open to ideas that will work to bring people together with nature.” Nancy concluded, “My parents and grandparents taught me, ‘To whom much has been given, much is expected.’ We’ve

been so fortunate—why not spread that around? It’s so important to leave that legacy and to leave the planet a little better than when you arrived if you can.” As the Carpenter’s nature preserve progresses and as their plans become more concrete, Zionsville Monthly will follow up and share with our readers and fellow residents the exciting news and developments as they arise.


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L o c a l

T e e n s

D e v e l o p

Revolutionizing Employment Recruiting Software Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

While some of us Gen Xers and Boomers are still trying to navigate the everevolving apps and digital platforms being developed at expeditious rates, three high school juniors are blazing their own paths in the 21st century, having developed an employment recruitment software that may revolutionize the way that recruiters seek the best candidates for their companies. MEET A FUTURE FORTUNE 500 TEAM Zionsville resident Isaiah “Izzy” Branam is a junior at Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS). Branam and his fellow team members, Krishna Thiru and Emma Hamilton—both juniors at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School—have created an employment recruitment software dubbed Foundational Interview Analytics (FIA) with an 85% success rate that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) using complex algorithms. Branam explained that FIA “aids talent acquisition teams in the hiring process by using predictive machine learning algorithms to rate, rank and sort applicants

in terms of predicted job fit.” The trio’s innovation led them to winning first place at Innovate WithIN, an entrepreneurship competition, on April 30. And the team is preparing to compete against other teams at the state-level competition on June 19. The three young entrepreneurs plan on launching their beta test in July. Branam—a natural salesman—founded his first business in the 7th grade. “I’ve been founding little businesses since the 7th grade, but I’ve always been that kid selling candy, chips and sunglasses on the playground,” Branam shared. “Getting into e-commerce and digital marketing was really exciting for me because I got to take


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all of this passion for business and wanting to be an entrepreneur and start creating a network of other entrepreneurs and like-minded people. I’m really excited to work on this project—it’s kind of the next progression in my journey.” Participating in two sports, developing FIA and managing life as juniors in high school, both Thiru and Hamilton are mastering the art of the life/work balance. “I do cross-country and track, which takes up a lot of my time,” Thiru shared. “I do enjoy it because I have a great team, and when I’m not with my [sports] team, I’m with my [FIA] team. All of these pieces of knowledge that each of us has from the activities that we do outside of our daily lives has allowed us to come together and build FIA. I’ve learned a lot [about business] from building an investment portfolio—my dad really got me into investing—and from starting a music production company. I learned that revenue growth is the first thing you want to look for in a company and things like that.” Hamilton plays varsity soccer and tennis. When she’s not assisting with the development of FIA, she is also her school’s junior class president. “I took an entrepreneurship class as an elective because when I’m an adult, I would really like to be an entrepreneur and do something with a business degree. I also enjoy building investment portfolios. This [FIA] is actually the first big business project that I’ve done. I really like being a part of this group and have learned so much from Izzy and Krishna. It’s been a really cool and fun experience.” The FIA team has partnered with coders from Carmel High School to assist in the development of the back end of their software.

INTRODUCING THE “AI ASSISTANT TO HUMAN RESOURCES” “We take the data of an existing workforce, and take everything from their education, [work] experience, personality traits and psychological sciences of each employee of the existing workforce and run them through this machine-learning program to deter-

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mine the ‘best’ employees,” Branam explained. “The algorithms can be incredibly long and complex.” Hamilton added, “The term ‘best employee’ is very subjective because the best employee for one company is not necessarily going to be the best employee for another. One of the main reasons we decided to go down this path with the AI software is because too often in business—and there’s been a lot of research on this over the last five years— employers tend to hire people that look and sound more like the interviewer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to work best together.” The team has met with talent acquisition teams from some of Indiana’s largest companies,such as Cummins, Cook Medical Group, Rolls Royce and Purdue University, to identify “pain points” in their hiring processes. Thiru emphasized that FIA eliminates the unconscious or conscious bias, ulti-

mately creating a more equitable application process for potential new hires. “We talked with the talent acquisitions lady at Cook Medical [about FIA], and she was excited that not only would it cut down on the time needed to sort out applicants, but companies like Cook are trying to remove the bias from the system,” Thiru stated. “And she was excited about the objectiveness [of FIA] and how it removes the bias in the system.” Branam concluded, “Hiring hasn’t seen innovation in the way that maybe marketing has. There’s recruitment software out there that we will absolutely compete with, but you probably can’t name any of them. We’re hitting three birds with one stone. We’re helping companies be more efficient, more effective and more equitable.” Interested in participating in FIA’s beta testing or becoming an investor in FIA? Visit the website at fiarecruit.com.

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Z i o n s v i l l e A m e r i c a n L e g i o n P o s t 7 9

Needs Our Help! Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

The American Legion Post 79 in Zionsville has orchestrated a fundraiser on the GoFundMe site to raise $8,000 to completely restore the community’s beloved fire truck, and if we’d like to see it participate in our upcoming Fall Festival and Parade this fall, the Legion will need the assistance from the community with its fundraising efforts, as well as help with spreading the word. FADED AND WORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN


ou’ve seen this beautiful example of 20th-century engineering and local public safety history in our Fall Festival Parade and other community parades and celebrations throughout Boone County, as well as neighboring communities such as Brownsburg and Carmel. This 1955 fire truck came off the assembly line as an International Fire Truck “Pumper,” bound for Brown Township in Mooresville, Indiana. During its service, the fire truck was converted to a regular fire truck and served various communities, making countless runs, saving lives and structures before being decommissioned and retiring to its home at the American Legion Post 79 in Zionsville. You may have noticed that the old fire truck is not at its usual post out in the front lawn of the Legion. It is currently being housed at Riley Bros. in Lebanon. Joe and Gary Riley have generously

agreed to help with the physical restoration of the antique fire truck.

RESTORING AN IMPORTANT ARTIFACT AND COMMUNITY TREASURE I spoke with Legionnaire and Zionsville American Legion Post 79 historian William “Bill” Bell who collaborated with Bonnie Klingler—a 50-year-plus member of Post 79—on the origin of the fire truck. Bell spoke on the current fundraising efforts and status of the fire truck. Bell also shared that Zionsville American Legion Post 79’s commander Bart Colvin made the official request for the restoration project, and fellow Legion officer Tom Wothke started the GoFundMe page in hopes of garnering support from the local community. The Zionsville American Legion Post 79 has raised $1,450 at the time of publishing on the GoFundMe page. “The fire truck has fallen into disrepair, and I was asked over a year ago by our


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[post] commander if I would help with effort to get the truck restored,” Bell shared. “In the process, I found Joe and Gary Riley who restore antique tractors and were willing to do the restoration work. They are super people who have invested a lot themselves beyond the money that has been collected so far. That’s just how generous they are with their investment and time. That’s a side effect of the friendships and what they [Riley Bros.] think of the American Legion.” Bell, a 30-year Zionsville resident, is a past post commander of the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 and explained that the pandemic has obstructed collecting the necessary funds to make the fire truck safe and roadworthy in time for the Fall Festival Parade. “We’ve had a couple of pancake breakfasts, and those have helped us some,” Bell stated. “The Zionsville Lions Club has offered up a nice amount, and several other individuals have anted up. But it just so happens that going out asking for money during COVID-19 has been pretty difficult, if you can appreciate that.” Please join us in honoring a beloved tradition and exhibition of history by helping the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 raise the necessary funds to complete the restoration of the fire truck, and let’s get it ready to join the other units in our community’s most treasured Fall Festival Parade! Please help us spread the word among our neighbors and local businesses who may interested in making a financial contribution—no matter how big or small! Visit GoFundMe.com and enter “Zionsville American Legion Historical Fire Truck” in the search to make an online donation. Also, be sure to follow the Zionsville American Legion Post 79 Facebook page for updates and information about the organization. You can also visit its website at post79zionsville.com.

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