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Third Quarter 2012


GO! Recycling named entrepreneur of the year


From the Chamber of Commerce

In This Issue


Second Quarter 2012 Vol. 9 • Number 3

New President


Jackson named Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO

Showing Off


Owensboro Winnelson Company

Amy Jackson

President Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

opens new showroom

Entrepreneur of the Year


Greener Owensboro Recycling named entrepreneur

Hello Owensboro! The Chamber’s Annual Small Business and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards presentation at the June 7 Rooster Booster Breakfast provided the perfect introduction for me to our members and the competitive, thriving Owensboro business community. These winners are perfect examples of the invigorating tempo of business in Owensboro. They apply passion for their community, commitment to quality, and sheer determination to improve their own lives and the lives of their customers – these winners demonstrate how success is made. On Time Fab, Inc. (Small Business of the Year – 10 employees or less) has increased their business by 150 percent in one year by focusing on excellent customer service and a high-quality product. Ray Middleton has shown great stamina and vision in building his company, and the Chamber couldn’t be more pleased to have him and his company as the example of economic growth in our area. Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline (Small Business of the Year – 11+ employees) is no stranger to the focus on excellent customer service, as they’ve been providing natural gas services for more than 100 years in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. They’ve grown their business in areas outside of Owensboro – but have worked hard to maintain their roots here. President and CEO Jerry Morris exemplifies the Southern Star commitment to the community by allowing his employees to volunteer their time and to use a charitable donations matching program. The work ethic displayed by our Entrepreneur of the Year, John Fentress of Greener Owensboro Recycling, is nothing short of amazing. He identified a need in the community, and grew his business from the ground up – 549% growth from 2010 to 2011. The Chamber is excited to have young, community-focused entrepreneurs like John demonstrating how to seize an opportunity and turn it into a thriving business! I’m honored to have been chosen to lead the members so well represented by these three Small Business and Entrepreneur of the Year winners. And I commit to you that the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce will continue to work together to help Owensboro thrive, prosper and progress in the years to come.

Small Business of the Year 12 On Time Fab named small business of the year (1-10 employees)

Small Business of the Year 12 Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline named small business of the year (11+ employees)



New shop adds something to Owensboro

Tradition of Service


Haley-McGinnis has been a part of Owensboro since 1911

Young Professional


TJ Turner and Clint Hardy discuss being a young professional in Owensboro

Member Referrals


Missy Gant elaborates on the Chamber’s member referral program

On the Move


Local business leaders on the move in their industry and in the community

Sincerely, Amy Jackson


Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012

Leo Payne poses for a photo in Owensboro Winnelson Company’s new showroom.

Showing off :

Company’s owner ties growth to good service


By Joy Campbell

hen Leo Payne was 16, he went to work for a local plumbing supply business. It started out as just a job. But the young man apparently soaked up the inner workings of the business and made customers feel comfortable. By age 25, Payne had sold his house and just about ever ything to start his own plumbing supply business. He convinced friend and co-worker Chris Morris to come to work


with him in the venture. Today, at age 41, Payne’s Owensboro Winnelson Company employs 16 -- including Morris, the company’s manager. “I had customers coming to me and asking me to do something. That’s what led me to this,” Payne said in explaining why he decided to take the plunge and start his own company. “The ser vice level we offer is the reason we’ve been able to grow. That’s the difference in us and the box stores.” Payne started the business in a 6,000 square-foot facility. Then he moved to a 20,000 square-foot location on Leitchfield Road. 

Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012

Inside the new showroom at Owensboro Winnellson Company.

In November of 2011, Winnelson moved into a new, 35,000 square-foot building at 2110 Grimes Ave. that features a 5,000 square-foot showroom. Winnelson’s business has diversified with the customer base now about 50 percent commercial/business and 50 percent residential, the owner said. The company added kitchen and bathroom cabinets to the sales list about a year ago and now also offers a full kitchen design service along with a wealth of inventory -- some of it presented in working displays in the showroom. “If you’re going to re-do, we’ll go out and measure, put the dimensions through our ‘20-20’ software program, and show you what it would look like,” Payne said. One display features a working air tub. Some involve functioning faucets. Jenney Payne, the other half of the entrepreneur couple, is the showroom manager. The company employs four full-time showroom consultants. Cabinets, lighting, mirrors, vessel bowls, clawfoot and other free-standing tubs, other plumbing and lighting offerings, counter tops, and home accessories are among the merchandise on display.

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Winnelson has been selling more tankless gas water heaters than the traditional tank-type models, Leo Payne said. Although they cost more at initial installment, owners will save an average $20 per month with a tankless model, he said. “We have a licensed plumber working with us who can go out and help if needed,” Leo Payne said. They don’t do installation, just consulting. In addition, two employees have lighting certificates, and cabinet employees have design certificates from a couple of different cabinet manufacturers, he said. “We have services that can help customers through their build or remodel.” Payne said most of his friends are also his customers. “We strive to build those relationships. You want to treat everybody like they’re you’re best customers,” he said. Remodeling -- especially bathrooms -- for older residents continues to be big business for contractors. “That’s huge for us right now,” Payne said. The new facility also features a training room/entertainment area that includes full kitchen ser vice with seating and entertainment. “We can bring customers in here for social events,” he said. Customers also may be treated to a cappuccino, coffee and/or popcorn.

Greater Owensboro Business


Inside the new showroom at Owensboro Winnellson Company.

About the name Owensboro Winnelson is a member of a wholesale group that has 650 “Win” companies at various locations. That gives the company buying power as well as more resources to extend customer ser vice. Recently, a coal mining company contacted the Owensboro company when its water heater broke. A Winnelson employee drove to Louisville to another “Win” company and got the product the mining company needed in short order. On a recent Friday evening, another coal mining company needed 6,000 feet of copper pipe to put out an underground fire. Payne’s company tapped into another “Win” company in West Virginia. “We had it there by Saturday morning,” he said. “It’s ser vice. That’s what we do.” Winnelson has a large inventor y of commercial water heaters. When a local restaurant’s water heater went out recently, the supply company delivered one within a couple of hours, Payne said. Inventor y stacked in the warehouse includes includes racks of copper pipe used mostly in commercial plumbing. Owensboro Medical Health System is a frequent customer for that. And there is a pipe yard out back. Winnelson also sells fire protection supplies such as fire grooved fittings.


Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012

Owensboro Winnelson Company 2110 Grimes Ave. Owensboro, KY 42303 Toll Free 877-811-6040 Phone: 270-691-6040 Fax:Â 270-685-4536 Hours of Operation Counter Sales Mon-Fri: 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Showroom Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After Hours and Weekend

Appointments Available By Request Third Quarter 2012

Greater Owensboro Business


2012 Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards

John Fentress, left, owner of Greener Owensboro Recycling, and his first employee, Cody Crowe of Owensboro, stand with a day’s worth of recycled material collected from their residential and commercial customers on Wednesday afternoon.

Entrepreneur of the year:

Greener Owensboro Recycling 8

Greater Owensboro Business

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John Fentress discusses recycling with Brandi Kessler and her daughter, Kendall Kessler, 9.


By Jacqueline Jordan

ohn Fentress saw a need in the community and turned it into a business venture. After reading letters to the editor in the Messenger-Inquirer from Owensboro residents advocating for curb-side recycling, his interest piqued. When local government was hesitant to take action on the issue, he saw an opportunity. Fentress told the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce that he had no formal business education, so he began to read books about small business and entrepreneurship. It was then he launched Greener Owensboro Recycling. Two years later, the part-time project is a full-time business with 620 residential and 65 business and civic customers. And he just hired his first employee. As a result of this start-up business, Fentress has been named the 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. Fentress said he started the business to be an active and

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positive contributor to the community. “One of the most important characteristics in being a business person is that you have to want to know your customers,” Fentress wrote in his award-nomination essay. “I always tr y to meet my customers if at all possible when they first start our program.” The introduction isn’t merely meet and greet. Fentress said he asks about the customer’s family and listens to their stor y. “A community is made up of people, and in order to properly contribute you must know her people,” he wrote. Fentress also listens to the needs of his customers and tries to meet them. When elderly or handicapped customers need him to pick up their recycling bin on their back porch, he makes the extra effort. When customers mentioned how low their trash output is when recycling, he found a way to ease their disposal costs. In Daviess County, residents are required to have a trash pick-up ser vice. Customers who recycled most of their trash through GO Recycling were still paying the same fees for trash ser vice as someone with an overflowing toter.

Greater Owensboro Business



Brandi Kessler and her daughter, Kendall Kessler, 9, carry the family’s two recycle bins to the curb so John Fentress, owner of Greener Owensboro Recycling, can pick it up.

As a response, GO Recycling started to offer trash pick-up as well as recycling, with a rate based on the output of trash. The change was not only a benefit for customers but a new stream of revenue for Fentress’ business. It isn’t all about business for Fentress — community comes first. “Each day I have an opportunity to be involved in a group or even an individual’s life,” he wrote. “Each day I have an opportunity to be a positive contributor to our community, not only through the work we do for our Earth, but in leading by example to 10

others that you can make it here in (Daviess County) on your own.” Fentress said he learned how to be proactive in business by studying, working in and teaching the Toyota Production System and Business practice for ten years. With careful planning, he said, most situations they encountered already had a solution in place. When customers believed they were spending too much on waste removal, Fentress saw an opportunity instead of a problem. Another obstacle to overcome, he said, was the belief that recycling Greater Owensboro Business

programs should be provided by the government, forcing ever yone to recycle for the “greater good.” Fentress said he’s always disagreed with this method and instead believes people are inherently good and will do good things, like recycle their waste, if they are educated and have easy access to do so. Educating the community is key, he believes, and he has gone from knocking on doors to educating groups and clubs at meetings with which his customers are involved. As Fentress educates customers, his business grows. Third Quarter 2012


John Fentress sorts through collected recycleables separating them into different bins for plastic, paper and aluminum cans.

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Greater Owensboro Business



2012 Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards “We take little pieces and make big things,” said Ray Middleton, right, co-owner of On Time Fab, Inc. with Cheri Middleton, who have grown their business steadily over the past five years. “We’ve about doubled our business every year for the past five years,” Cheri Middleton said.

Small business of the year: On Time Fab


Greater Owensboro Business

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On Time Fab Inc. employee Randall Johnston, 24, of Owensboro, polishes a stainless steel rail bound for the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science.

By Jacqueline Jordan


hen he was facing uncer tain job security, Ray Middleton decided it was time to be his own boss. He star ted the steel and metal fabrication business On Time Fab in Januar y 2008 — right after the of ficial star t of the recession (December 2007). Timing hasn’t hindered business as he nabbed the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award for businesses with 1-10 employees after four years of growth. “I’m for tunate that sales have almost doubled ever y year, which is what I was looking for. I didn’t want to be a flash in the pan,” Middleton said. “There wasn’t a worse time in my lifetime to star t a business. But it’s about one job at a time, plugging away and building a customer base.” Middleton said he knew his timing was risky, but owning his own business had always been his dream. “It was impor tant for me to build a company that could provide me with the security I needed for the Third Quarter 2012

rest of my working career,” he wrote in his award-nominee essay. “I have always been a man of honesty and integrity ... it was essential to have my business carr y out the same traits.” He soon found that believing in his abilities and maintaining the values he’d lived by would be the key to success. The business name reflects that integrity, meaning that if you’re promised a project completion date, it will be “on time.” Middleton said his customers have learned they can count on the business to provide good, honest work as well as customer ser vice. That comes by way of a professional work force. “For tunately we have a ver y skilled group.” He has nine employees. The biggest problem the company faced, Middleton told the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, was finding the skilled labor to handle the work coming though his shop. They spent many hours searching for just the right people and building a team of professionals. But that wasn’t the only challenge, he said.

Greater Owensboro Business



On Time Fab welder Jim Semro, 36, of Owensboro welds a piece of stainless steel Tuesday at the plant off Medley Road.

Once they go the employees, they had to keep them. The small business had to compete with the benefits a larger company could provide. To stay competitive in the job market, they add more benefits each year. They now provide 100 percent 14

employee health, dental and vision insurance, paid holidays and vacations, monthly bonuses, year end bonuses, a uniform match program, a 401K match program and more, as well as lunch and drinks provided daily for the staff. Middleton expects to purchase Greater Owensboro Business

the building they’re working in, add 3,500 square feet as well as more employees within the next six months. The business is also community-oriented, as evidenced in their participation in fundraisers, the annual Christmas parade, recycling programs and more. Third Quarter 2012


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Greater Owensboro Business



2012 Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards

Small business of the year:

Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline


Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012


Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline employees form the numbers “811,” representing Kentucky’s requirement to call 811 before digging.


By the Messenger-Inquirer

outhern Star Central Gas Pipeline, a natural gas transmission system with headquar ters in Owensboro, was tapped for the Small Business of the Year Award in the larger categor y for companies with 11 or more employees. The company’s dedication to Owensboro and its customers, and its employees’ records of community ser vice made it stand out for the honor, officials said. Its local leaders fought to keep the headquarters in Owensboro after former owner Williams Companies sold it in 2003, and recently the company announced expansion plans. “Basically, we have a nucleus of experience and talent in Owensboro, and we didn’t want to lose that,” said President and CEO Jerr y Morris. “We said that if we couldn’t support our customers from Owensboro, then we would leave. But our customer sur veys bear out that we are able to ser ve them well.” Southern Star is able to transact a lot business with its customers electronically, he said. The pipeline system includes more than 6,000 miles and facilities in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Kentucky. Its major markets include St. Louis, Wichita and Kansas City. “Kansas City is the nucleus location of our business, and it sounds like that’s on the other side of the planet, but it’s not,” Morris said. “It’s a short hop using Cape Air, or Third Quarter 2012

we can drive it in seven hours.” Southern Star employs about 165 employees. A secondbuilding is under construction on Kentucky 54 across from Lake Forest subdivision. The new location will be a training facility and provide ser vices and space unavailable at the headquarters on Kentucky 81 that have been needed for some time, Morris said. That includes conferencing, records storage, computer lab and other features. The $5.4 million expansion will bring up to 20 more jobs to the community over several years. Southern Star customers regularly rank them among industr y leaders in terms of customer ser vice and satisfaction. According to their award-nominee essay, they partner with customers to ensure their needs are surpassed, not merely met, by working together toward creative solutions for their needs. This can be a difficult feat in a heavily-regulated industr y, but it’s a challenge they meet. The company has recently added enhanced customer digital por tals and mobile applications as well as enhanced gas transpor tation ser vices and flexibility for customers. They have a customer satisfaction committee and sur vey customers annually to ensure they are addressing their needs. The company also encourages its employees to volunteer and to contribute to local charities with its dollar for dollar contributions match. They are deeply involved in the community through organizations such as United Way, Girls Inc., Habitat for Humanity and many, many more.

Greater Owensboro Business




Shop adds a little something to Owensboro shopping


By Libby Johnson

ooking for something to wear that is different, fun, and not outrageously expensive? Try “Embellish,” a newish boutique located in Olde Town on 18th street. Owensboro native Jennifer Hagan Tinius has a unique and eclectic assortment of apparel and accessories available, as well as a full scale alterations shop. Tinius, a graduate of Owensboro Catholic High School, opened “Embellish” nearly two years ago. She had been doing alterations out of her home on a word-of-mouth basis, but wanted wanted a


place for people to try on what she had tailored for them. “That was the beginning of the store,” says the entrepreneur, who majored in Textiles and Fashion Merchandising at WKU and honed her skills by interning at local wedding shop Elizabeth’s, where she altered wedding gowns to fulfill the graduation requirement of learning how to sew. Originally, Tinius, who professes to have “always liked clothes and fashion” wanted to a be a buyer. Since the self-professed homebody was already back in Owensboro, that wasn’t feasible. “The next best thing was to open a store,” she recalls. After about five months of running the alterations shop, Jennifer Tinius

Greater Owensboro Business

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GOB19 made her first trip to market in Atlanta, and began merchandising clothing and accessories purchased there, as well as a few things she designed and sewed on her own. “I wanted to start small, and it’s worked well,” she says, revealing that she definitely plans to expand. While the inventory at “Embellish” is not huge, new items come in weekly and the overall selection seems to grow by the month, according to the proprietor. Tops, shorts, dresses, jewelry, purses, and accessories such as earrings and necklaces all fall into the category of “unique and somewhat trendy” at a price point that generally stays under $100 per item. Tinius’ goals are to keep her shop welcoming, make sure people are comfortable and happy, and to have items that are “fashionable but reasonable.” She says, “Most people don’t want to pay $300 for a a dress they’ll wear once.” When pressed, she says the age range most of her items appeal to is “probably 18-36” but adds that while she does tend to pick what she personally likes, style “it’s (style) all about how you feel. There’s really not an age limit, as long you are confident.” Tinius still does alterations in the upstairs of the boutique. All alterations on items purchased at Embellish are performed free of charge.

“Most people don’t want to pay $300 for a dress they’ll wear once.”

Beauty & Creativity Wesleyan Park Plaza 2730 Frederica Street Owensboro KY 42301 270.686.0001

— Jennifer Hagan Tinius Third Quarter 2012

Greater Owensboro Business



The exterior of the sprawling Haley-McGinnis facility.

Tradition of service: Haley-McGinnis traces roots back to 1911 20

Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012

By Ben Hoak


hen you think of a funeral director, you picture a dignified gentleman with a deferential manner in a dark suit. Nathan Morris does not fit this picture. A 27-year old professional musician whose pop music has been featured in Starbucks stores, he’s also a Level Two Apprentice funeral director at HaleyMcGinnis and Owensboro Funeral Home. But for all the talent that lies behind the obvious charm, the smooth suit and the way with words, his greatest asset may simply be this: he cares. “My purpose in life,” he says, “(is that) I’m put here to serve people. To love them.” In funeral work, Morris has found his perfect niche to do just that. As one of ten employees at Haley-McGinnis, Morris is part of a commitment to “honor a lifetime full of memories.” But he’s just the latest in a long history of service to the Owensboro community. The business traces its roots back to 1911, when Owensboro Funeral Home began operations as undertakers. In the 1940s, Allen W. Haley and Robert S. McGinnis Sr. started their own funeral home; then in 1969, the two opera-

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Fans from the funeral home show a history of Haley-McGinnis.

Greater Owensboro Business


tions merged to form Haley-McGinnis and Owensboro Funeral Home. The business is still housed in the sprawling white building on Locust Street once dubbed “Stirman’s Folly” after Dr. William Stirman, who spent a $5,000 fortune in 1860 to begin construction, but had to abandon it before completion. Samuel Ewing bought the place in 1915 and hosted elaborate parties (including one attended by Red Cross founder Clara Barton) before it was later turned into a funeral home. Current owners Mike and Kay Everly bought the funeral home in 1998; Mike Everly has worked there for 50 years after Allen Haley gave him a job at age 18. Their daughter Megan is Vice President of the business and is Morris’ fiancée – their wedding is set for this fall, after which they’ll live in the residence on the second floor of the historic building. Haley-McGinnis is the kind of place where you would want to say goodbye to your loved ones. The ornate chandeliers, high ceilings and arched doorways, along with enormous windows that offer a naturally light and airy feel, provide a peaceful environment to remember happy times. The building’s status on the National Register of Historic Places fits well with HaleyMcGinnis’ goal of providing unique experiences for each family. Staff respond to news of a death within ten minutes, Morris said, and don’t leave the family’s side until everything is complete. Even then, their attention doesn’t end – a continued care program provides 24-hour-a-day grief support, along with personal letters and 365 days of encouraging thoughts delivered by email. With the perspective of a new generation, Morris is reaching clients and prospective clients with an interactive website ( as well as social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. He walks a fine line in marketing a service everyone will use, but no one particularly wants; the home’s concern for serving people guides all their efforts. “At the end of the day, it’s about loving, caring for and serving others,” Morris said. “We strive to do all of those (things) with excellence.” Haley-McGinnis offers cremation services as well as full-service funeral and memorial arrangements – they conduct 180–200 funerals a year, Morris said. On their website, customers can send flowers, buy special keepsakes and even pre-plan funerals for free. Pre-planning is a “common-senses approach,” Morris said. “You don’t want to leave that burden on a family member.” Haley-McGinnis will conduct funerals or memorial services in one their three chapels, in churches or anywhere – including golf


The Haley-McGinnis and Owensboro Funeral Home staff pose for a photo.

courses. The difference in their funeral home is people like Ken Sheaffer and Gary Jackson, who have been with the business for decades, Morris said. “We take such pride in knowing we’re making a difference. When we know our purpose in life is to serve people – it’s not about a paycheck – that’s what makes us different.” Morris grew up in Owensboro and pursued a music career after graduating from Owensboro Catholic High School. He released a full-length album in 2007 and got international exposure when his song “Closure” was placed with Starbucks and his song “Close Like Me” played on American Airlines flights. After time on tour, he came home in 2010 to Owensboro, where he met Megan Everly as a friend. When he realized her parents owned a funeral home, he pursued a new career full-speed ahead – he said he’s always been intrigued by funeral homes and “the

Greater Owensboro Business

guys in dark suits helping people.” He’s now one of those guys as he works toward a degree in mortuary science through Arapahoe Community College in Boulder, CO. As an apprentice, he can carry out any of a funeral director’s duties, including waiting on families, conducting funerals and performing embalmings. Somewhere along the way, he and Megan fell in love and now spend every day together. “There’s nothing better than working with your best friend,” he said. He hasn’t given up music either – he recently recorded another album that will release soon. You can find his songs on iTunes or Amazon. With funeral homes, music and love (probably not in that order), Morris’ life is full, just like the lives of many of those he helps families remember every day at HaleyMcGinnis. “Honoring life is what we’re about,” he said. “We’re very passionate about it.”

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Nathan Morris and Megan Everly arrange chairs at Haley-McGinnis and Owensbro Funeral Home.

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Greater Owensboro Business



Young Professional Timothy B. Turner Jr. (TJ) Age: 28

Sales Consultant


Don Moore Automotive Greater Owensboro Business

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Hometown Owensboro

Civic or Volunteer Activities - Rooster Booster representative for Don Moore Automotive. - Camp Counselor for several Basketball and Baseball Camps for the youth of Owensboro.


Western Kentucky University (Degree in interdisciplinar y studies with an emphasis in business).

How long have you served in your current position? 13 months

What does your position entail?

As a Sales Consultant my job is to ensure my customers are treated with respect and given all the information needed, so they can make the right choice for their needs. My personal goal is to build lifelong relationships and make a difference in everyone’s day I come in contact with, while also representing Don Moore in a positive way at all times.

What’s the best part about your position?

Buying a car is the second largest purchase in an individual’s life. The best part of my job is getting the opportunity to be a part of their life and making a difference. The smile on a person’s face, when they step into a vehicle they have just purchased, is priceless. Owensboro is a place where people work hard for their money; therefore, I respect the importance of that purchase and their satisfaction when it is complete.

Why do you choose to live and work

in the greater Owensboro area?

Owensboro is my town. I love it. I have lived in Owensboro my entire life. Throughout the past several years I have noticed tremendous things happening in Owensboro. The growth of this community through the efforts of our leaders, Malcolm Bryant, Dr. Nicholas Brake, our Mayor and commissioners to name a few, is simply amazing. Owensboro is pulling away from the “small town” name and developing into an economical and productive community that I have the privilege to call home. I am proud to be a part of this growth and to get the opportunity to watch Owensboro grow and prosper.

What do you hear other young professionals say about working in this area?

They are excited about the growth of Owensboro and excited to see what the future holds for this community.

Owensboro’s Leading Limousine Company Since 1998 Third Quarter 2012

Greater Owensboro Business



Young Professional Clint Hardy Age: 32


Daviess County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Greater Owensboro Business

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Owensboro (Sorgho)

Civic or Volunteer Activities * Daviess County Lions Club Fair – Agricultural Advisor y Board * Daviess County Farm Bureau - honorar y member of the board of directors • Daviess County Farm Bureau Young Farmers - past president • Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce – Agribusiness Task Force member • Owensboro Church of Christ - member


Bachelor of Science degree (2002) and a Masters degree(2006) in agriculture from Western Kentucky University

How long have you served in your current position? October 2002

What does your position entail? My role in the Cooperative Extension Ser vice is relaying information, resulting from research conducted by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, to the community. My colleagues and I educate people to help them solve problems, make decisions, and embrace change by applying knowledge and research-based information received from the state’s two land grant universities. This is done in a number of ways including newsletters, weekly newspaper columns, on-farm demonstrations, one-on-one farm visits, workshops, websites, and some formal classroom style education programs. The Cooperative Extension Ser vice is a grassroots organization so my position involves working with advisor y councils representing all areas and commodities produced in the county to identify needs in the community and to develop programs to address those needs. This is accom-

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plished through the many facets of Cooperative Extension including collaboration, volunteerism, and leadership development.

What’s the best part about your position? I am ver y fortunate to be the Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in one of the top agricultural counties in the state. From day one I have had nothing but support from the community and an outstanding group of coworkers who helped me continue quality extension programming. The best part of my position is the opportunity to visit with people and share information that they can use to make changes within their management decisions, and then seeing the end result after the changes are implemented. Being on farms engaged in research and demonstration plots is ver y enjoyable for me. We do several of these plots, such as grain variety trials, and have a number of dedicated volunteers who are willing to take time from ver y busy periods of the year to help us generate valuable data and information which is used by the rest of the community. A County Extension Agent wears many hats: educator, consultant, problem solver, friend. I find helping people and families improve their quality of life through extension programming such as estate planning, farm management, keeping up with technology, and managing our natural resources to be ver y rewarding.

Why do you choose to live and work in the greater Owensboro area?

Little did I know that opportunities would be presented to the previous agent near the time I finished my undergraduate degree which would result in an opportunity for me. Daviess and surrounding counties are considered one of three major agriculture production areas of Kentucky. Being from Daviess County originally, and with a farming interest developed at an early age, I to returned here after college to work and raise a family.

Agriculture seems to be a booming industry in this area. Are other young professionals finding success in this field? Absolutely. Being a part of agriculture in Daviess County and my involvement with surrounding counties has afforded me opportunities to meet and work with a number of young professionals in our area. There are hundreds of young professionals engaged in farm businesses as active, early career farmers or as employees of farm businesses. Additionally, many are involved in crop supply distribution and consulting, agricultural machiner y/ equipment sales and ser vice, in the regional grain elevators and livestock markets as operators, and in marketing/purchasing positions. Agriculture finance and risk protection ser vices such as crop insurance and marketing ser vices have a number of young professionals employed. Daviess County agriculture is something our entire community should embrace and be proud of. It is a major employer and benefactor of the economy of our region. Agriculture is a way of life for thousands of people, both young and experienced, in Daviess County.

Like so many people in our community I have a connection to Daviess County through family farming interests which caused me to pursue agricultural degrees and provided an opportunity to work in this or similar positions. I recall saying to a friend in high school that I would be interested in the county agent job as a career.

Greater Owensboro Business



Chamber offers Member Referral Program

By Missy Gant


Your Chamber of Commerce draws its strength from the member to member relationships that make up our organization. In an effort to build stronger connections among the members in the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, we are introducing an exciting program designed to showcase and give back to our members that are actively working towards this common goal. New for 2012 is the Member Referral Program. Any current member who recruits a business to invest in a new Chamber membership will be awarded $100.00 off their membership dues for the next year. The new business that

Greater Owensboro Business

joins, and the current member who served as the recruiter, will both receive the opportunity to showcase their products and services at an exclusive business expo. This expo, the Members Choice Awards, will take place November 8th at the Hines Center in Philpot. If you know a business that you would like to refer to take advantage of the new program or if you have any questions, please call me at the Chamber office at 9261860. I would love the opportunity to share with you how your business can take advantage of all the programs we offer at your Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.

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On the


Third Quarter 2012

Greater Owensboro Business


GOB30 Curtis A. Hamilton, a financial advisor in the Wells Fargo Advisors’ Owensboro office, has been named associate vice president (investments). Wells Fargo Advisors is a national brokerage firm based in St. Louis. Hamilton, a graduate of Brescia University, has been a financial advisor for 11 years. He joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 2001. Glenn Taylor, president of Glenn Funeral Home and Cremator y in Owensboro, was one of three funeral directors selected to ser ve as a mentor for the National Funeral Director Association’s (NFDA) Meet the Mentors program, an event supported by the Funeral Service Foundation. Meet the Mentors, which took place March 26-27 at Emory University in Atlanta, brought 50 young funeral professionals together to learn from three leading funeral directors and to network with like-minded peers. During the program, each mentor gave a presentation in which they shared lessons about how to build a successful and fulfilling career in funeral service. During his presentation, Taylor discussed goal setting and cultivation, the development of “To Be Lists,” and the importance of a balanced career. Following the presentations and a panel discussion, the young professionals broke into groups to personally interact with each mentor. Taylor also is secretar y-treasurer of Owensboro Memorial Gardens, president of Owensboro PreArrangement Center, past president of Selected Independent Funeral Homes and the International Order of the Golden Rule, and former chair of The Funeral Directors Symposium. More information about the Meet the Mentors program can be found on the NFDA website, For more information about NFDA, visit Ryan M. Howard, CPA, has joined the accounting firm of Ebelhar Whitehead, PLLC, CPAs & Advisors as audit supervisor. He has more than five years of experience super vising internal and external audits, attestation engagements and leading consulting projects to review compliance with laws and regulations. Howard, a Brescia University graduate with a bachelor of science degree in accounting, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts and the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accounts. Shannon Raines recently completed the Risk Management Program, a three-month program on family wealth planning offered through J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons.


John Obermeier, store manager of Obermeier Do it Best Hardware and Rental in Rockport, Ind., has been named a 2012 national Young Retailer of the Year by the North American Retail Hardware Association. Obermeier was one of eight selected by the national recognition program that honors the outstanding achievement of home improvement retailers age 35 or younger in the U.S. and Canada. The 28-year-old Obermeier serves as manager of the store that’s been in his family since 1959, handling both daily operations and long-term strategy. Since taking over as store manager in June 2009, he’s grown sales while increasing merchandise selection at the store. In recognizing Obermeier, the NRHA highlighted several of his accomplishments and initiatives, including improving the store’s merchandising standards and inventor y management, increasing staf f and store productivity through more efficient operating processes, expanding the store’s rental center and growing the store’s e-commerce online presence. Obermeier uses the store’s partnership with Do it Best Corp. — an international hardware, home center and lumber yard co-op — to leverage numerous learning and development opportunities. Obermeier also has a record of community involvement, including serving on the board of a grassroots community development organization. Other areas judges considered in making the award were career advancement, professional accomplishments, education and goals for the future. Obermeier will be honored at a special event at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas during the first week of May. The North American Retail Hardware Association is a 109-year-old not-for-profit trade association. Neel Ford, commercial lines insurance producer at E.M. Ford & Co., recently received his AFIS designation by passing the final portion of the three-part program. This cer tifies him as an Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS). The designation is a professional credential that deals with unique issues in the farm and agribusiness industries. Along with the AFIS designation, Ford holds AU, Associate Underwriter and CPIA, Cer tified Professional Insurance Agent, designations. Ford is part of E.M. Ford & Company’s expanding agribusiness unit. The company has been appointed by ProAg, a national crop insurance provider, as its only local representative. Ford has been certified to sell their federal crop insurance policies as well as their other agricultural insurance products.

Greater Owensboro Business

Robert A. Edge was honored by Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company as the Agent of the Year for the company’s District One. Gavin C. Roberts also was honored as Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company’s Agency Manager of the Year for District One. Edge and Rober ts work from the insurance company’s Frederica Street office. Agent of the Year and Manager of the Year selections are based on overall performance. Consideration is given to new business, life insurance and property and casualty insurance production, loss ratio, retention of business, attitude and cooperation with claims and underwriting. Edge is in his fourth year, and Roberts is serving his 11th year with Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. The awards were presented on April 26 in Hopkinsville. Don Stroud was elected chairman of the board for Audubon Federal Credit Union at its 56th membership annual meeting on April 24. Other board members elected were: Robert Kirk, vice-chairman; Edward C. Ricke, Jr., secretary; Tim Goff, treasurer; Susie Imel, Dora Hulsey, Eddy McFarland, members. Arthur Schwartz was appointed chairman of the Supervisory Committee. Member Tim Goff also was appointed to the committee. Beverly Knott is the CEO. Carol Bordes of Owensboro has joined Mark Schmidt Remodeling Inc as office manager for the company. She has more than 20 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience and will be responsible for the day to day office operations for Mark Schmidt Remodeling. Roy Roberts, formerly of Owensboro and currently a member of Brescia University’s Board of Trustees, was selected as the 2012 Triangle Business Leader of the Year by Business Leader magazine on Wednesday evening. Roberts was chosen because of his business’ significant number of performance awards, support of the business community, and significant involvement in the community’s social needs, according to the news release. He was chosen as the 2009 Triangle Business Leader of the Year as well. Roberts, of North Carolina, is president, CEO and owner of Alliance of Professionals & Consultants Inc. (APC) headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. The company, with more than 850 employees, provides business and technical profes-

Third Quarter 2012

GOB31 sional services in 38 states, Canada, Europe and Asia. Roberts currently is serving on the U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise. Roberts also serves as president of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of North Carolina and serves on the North Carolina American Indian Economic Development Initiative. Roberts, son of Roy and Ruth Roberts, both deceased, grew up in Owensboro, attended St. Joseph & Paul grade school, Owensboro Catholic High, and earned a mathematics degree in 1968 from Brescia. Justin Ray has joined Edward Jones Financial Advisor Rusty Burton as a second financial advisor in Burton’s Owensboro office. Marilyn Ebelhar, a state- and nationallycertified therapeutic massage therapist, has moved her services to Allure Salon & Spa at 201 Salem Drive. Matt Mattingly, Kevin Parker, Lindsay Johnson and Chelsey Simon either have earned promotions or been hired at WaxWorks/VideoWorks in various roles. Mattingly is the IT applications developer. He is a 2006 graduate of Brescia University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics. He will be working with all departments at WaxWorks to maintain and develop any applications needed and to keep all systems up to date and running smoothly for dayto-day operations. Parker is working in the accounting department as a financial accountant. An Owensboro native, he is a 2007 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He also is a 2010 MBA graduate from Murray State University and is currently sitting for his CPA exam. Johnson has been promoted to marketing coordinator at WaxWorks/VideoWorks. She has worked at WaxWorks since 2010 in warehouse and fulfillment. She has an associate’s degree from Owensboro Community & Technical College in applied sciences with a certificate in office systems technology. She will be working with Marketing and Advertising Departments to assist in developing programs to promote products and services at WaxWorks. Simon has joined Team Marketing, a division of WaxWorks/VideoWorks, in inventory management. She is a 2006 graduate of Apollo High School, holds an associate of arts degree

Third Quarter 2012

from the former Owensboro Community College. She will be receiving and filling orders on a regular basis while working with sports memorabilia such as NBA/NFL licensed product orders for Team Marketing. Tim Bullington is now a sales representative for Colonial Life in Owensboro. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, based in Columbia, S.C., is a subsidiary of Unum Group. Tracy Thacker, a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Owensboro, recently was recognized by the firm for his job performance that earned him an invitation to Edward Jones’ annual Managing Partner’s Conference in April in Phoenix. The three-day meeting pools Edward Jones’ most successful financial advisors for a discussion with Jim Weddle, Edward Jones’ managing partner, on issues facing the firm and the financial ser vices industry as a whole. Only 350 out of more than 12,000 Edward Jones financial advisors were invited to attend the conference. Edward Jones is headquartered in St. Louis. Don Br yant of Bryant Engineering is retiring, and an open house/reception will be held in his honor from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the engineering offices, 4215 Benttree Drive. The reception is open for friends and well-wishers. Bryant was Daviess County engineer for a number of years before leaving for civil engineering’s private sector in 1991. Lindsay Barron has been named managing director of energy services at Big Rivers Electric Corporation. She is a direct report to Bob Berry, vice president, production. Barron, a west Kentucky native, is a graduate of Webster County High School and the University of Southern Indiana, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), she has more than 13 years’ experience working for electric utilities. She has served as director, risk management and strategic planning, at Big Rivers since September 2010. Prior to joining Big Rivers, Barron was the manager of market research and analysis at Vectren Corporation. Cindy Whitley has opened Cuttin’ Up Hair Salon at 617 W. Parrish Ave. The master stylist received her cosmetology degree in 2001 from Mr. Jim’s Beauty School. She also received Paul Mitchell and Matrix hair coloring training in her former job with J.C. Penney’s Salon and has worked at Cost Cutter’s. Chara Haig is the salon manager. She has four years of experience as a stylist and received her degree from Empire Beauty School in Louisville. She, too, is a former Cost Cutter’s stylist.

Greater Owensboro Business

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Messenger-Inquirer Jacqueline Jordan, Special Publications Editor 270.691.7233,

Jenny Sevcik, Photography Editor 270.691.7294, John Shelton, Graphic Designer Staff Writer Joy Campbell Staff Photographers

John Dunham Gary Emord-Netzley Contributors Benjamin Hoak Libby Johnson

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Greater Owensboro Business

Third Quarter 2012

Chamber Business Magazine  

Third Quarter 2012

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