A special supplement to the Great Fort Wayne Business Weekly
Congratulations, Lindsay Koler! We’re proud of the positive impact you make in our community and we’re proud to have you as a Partner at Grunden Law Office. Lindsay continually demonstrates our firm’s desire to support our clients’ decisions and choices while offering the assistance they need.
Lindsay Koler, Partner - Attorney at Law
A speciAl publicAtion of the GreAter fort WAyne
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Get inspired by this class Each year, we have a chance to be inspired by the next generation of leaders in our northeast Indiana community. The 2017 Class of Forty Under 40 meets the bar set by previous classes, if not raises it in terms of commitment to their careers, communities and families. All of the individuals being honored this year juggle a number of obligations and excel at finding a balance between work, community commitments and family. Hard work and persistence is what is contributing to this class’ current and future success here in northeast Indiana. A number of the individuals being honored had their first jobs delivering newspapers, tasseling corn on local farms and serving up burgers at restaurants. Others were blessed to learn a trade from a family member or mentor and used those skills as a building block for a career. While most of the class members do not want to be identified as millennials, given the negative connotation society has associated with this generation, this class embraces the technolog-
Lucretia Cardenas Business Weekly Editor
ical efficiencies that helps them exceed at their work. And, this class is familiar with emojis – as evident by the number of smiley faces that were included in the original answers to the questions featured in this special section. Each year, the Forty Under 40 honorees remind us that northeast Indiana can attract and retain amazing talents. These individuals are examples of the passions and interests that keep people in our region. We need to learn from them and build upon what we learn so that we can continue to grow a successful economy here in northeast Indiana. Congratulations to this year’s class and thank you for your commitment to making this region a better place to live, work and play.
George O. Witwer Publisher Emeritus Terry G. Housholder President Randy Mitchell Chief Executive Officer S. Rick Mitchell Chief Financial Officer
The Forty Under 40 is a special publication of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, KPC Media Group Inc. ©2017 All rights reserved.
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly is proud to partner with the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for all 2017 events. This year’s Class of Forty Under 40 winners were photographed in its new Conference Center lobby.
Forty Under 40 portraits taken by Ray Steup, Creative Content Producer, KPC Media Group Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LYNN ALTEVOGT ........................................................3
KEVIN J. MITCHELL ..................................................31
AMY BALLARD ...........................................................4
BRIAN C. NORDAN ....................................................32
JEFF OSTERMANN ....................................................33
RACHEL D. BOBILYA ..................................................7
ALEX PLATTE .............................................................35
EDISON BYZYKA ........................................................8
BETHANY COPPERIDGE ...........................................9
BILLY REFFITT .............................................................37
JEREMY A. CRONKHITE ............................................11
TONY DESPLAINES ...................................................12
COREY SMITH .............................................................39
PHYLLIS EILEEN SMOOT ..........................................40
JONATHAN GOTTSCHALK .......................................14
STACEY STRACK ........................................................41
AL W. HAMED .............................................................16
CHRISTINE A. STEPHAN ..........................................42
SAM HARTMAN .........................................................18
ANGEL SUTTLE ...........................................................43
EMILY SZAFERSKI ......................................................44
JOEL M. JOHNSON....................................................20
ERIC TRABERT ............................................................46
RYAN KAY ....................................................................22
BENJAMIN D. VAN ORDER ......................................48
SHUBITHA KEVER ......................................................23
ADRIENNE WAMPOLE ..............................................49
LINDSAY M.L. KOLER.................................................25
ANDREW WELCH ......................................................50
SATIN LEMON ............................................................26
ERIN WHITTLE ............................................................52
BRAD MINEAR ...........................................................27
DONNIEKA WOODS ..................................................53
MIKE ZAWAHRI ..........................................................55
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Employer: Three Rivers Running Company Title: Marketing Coordinator Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication, University of Saint Francis (2011) Community organizations with which you are involved: Community involvement is absolutely essential to our business and one of my favorite aspects of my career. We sponsor around 70 races per year and are particularly involved with Girls on the Run of Northeast Indiana, Fort Wayne’s Smallest Winner, and NeighborLink Fort Wayne. High School: Snider High School, Fort Wayne Hobbies: Running, writing, reading and petting dogs. Why are you in northeast Indiana? Northeast Indiana is the only home I’ve ever known. I thought about leaving Fort Wayne for college, I was very close to going to Butler, but, ultimately, I decided to attend the University of Saint Francis and I am so happy that I did. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I’ve dedicated my career path, my time, my energy, and my family’s business to northeast Indiana and the Fort Wayne community. I hope that I can make things better for those who chose to make it their home. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I have built my life around my passion for running which makes each day a dream come true. I was just as obsessed with the sport of running when I was 12 years old as I am today. Sharing that passion and seeing
others experience it themselves for the first time is the highlight of my career. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I typically work between 35-40 hours at 3RRC on any given week, plus an additional 10-20 hours of coaching, depending upon the time of year. What does success mean to you? To me, success means waking up each day excited about the work I get to do and the people I get to help. Success isn’t about how much money I make or what title I have. Success is being proud of what I have accomplished and excited for what I will accomplish. It is about how each small task that I accomplish will fit into the bigger picture. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? From kindergarten on, I have always been a talker. I have developed a little more tact since then, but occasionally I still get myself in trouble. I have had to learn to take a step back from situations, calm down and think before speaking. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I tend to find that I am at my most productive when I am at my most busy. The more challenges in front of me, the better equipped I am to handle each one. I always make sure to take care of myself first so that I can take care of all my other responsibilities. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? This past Christmas, my boyfriend Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY bought us an Apple TV. It allows us to stream anything online onto our television. Sometimes I wonder if it’s smarter than I am. What is a book you would recommend? I am a huge proponent of the Harry Potter book series. It’s at a reading level that many people can grasp, but the themes challenge your perception of the world. There is a lot of be learned about life, good vs evil, personal discovery, and banding together in every Harry Potter installment. A good book will meet you where you are and challenge you to be better than when you started. For me, the Harry Potter books did that every chapter. On a personal level, I have volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana as well as LivingFortWayne.com. From 2012 to 2014, I was an assistant track and field and cross country coach at Bishop Luers High School. In the spring of 2015, I coached girls track and fieldat New Haven High School. Presently, I am the head girls cross country coach and assistant boys and girls track and field coach at Snider High School. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from the salon Absolute Style where I worked as a receptionist. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My parents have always been extremely supportive on a professional and personal level. For the past year, my father and I have worked alongside one another operating Three Rivers Running Company. We are constantly working together to on ways to improve our products, services, and community involvement. Working with my father as colleagues and equals has been the ultimate level of support and respect he could give me. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I had dreamt of being the head cross country coach at my alma mater, Snider High School, for several years and in the summer of 2016 I achieved that dream. What lessons did you learn from it? As I try to reach higher goals in my professional life, they progressively require more work and more effort. It is always worth it. What is your current professional goal? Three Rivers Running Company is my family’s business and I aspire to someday own and manage the business myself. Page 3
FORTY Employer: 3Rivers Federal Credit Union Title: Branch Manager, Kendallville Education: Business Management, Indiana Wesleyan University Community organizations with which you are involved: I am currently the Noble County Young Professionals Network board president, I also sit on the Noble County United Way board as well as the Kendallville Plan Commission board. High School: Lakeland High School Hobbies: I enjoy checking things off of my bucket list. A recent mentor of mine encouraged me to create a bucket list. I often forget to take time for myself and need to focus on me at times as well. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I am in northeast Indiana because many generations of my family have been here, and it is home. There is just something about living in a town where people know your name. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy helping people. Helping people gives me a sense of purpose in life. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 50-plus, but not really sure I ever stop. What does success mean to you? Success means that I did everything I possibly could to help others throughout the day. If I can make a difference for someone, that is what it is all about. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My biggest mistake so far was letting something go on too long. Sometimes you need to recognize that no matter how much you believe in someone, they must be willing to be on the same journey. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I have always wanted to make a positive difference and I think that is what pushes me. I have wonderful support from my husband, family, and boss who all encourage me on a regular basis. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I do not have anything really cool, however, I won a Bose Bluetooth wireless speaker a few months ago, it allows me to listen to music that I enjoy while cleaning the house. What is a book you would recommend? I would recommend “Break Your Own Rules,” by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt. It talks about many great things, but the biggest thing that stood out Page 4
to me was the fact that most women feel like they need to know everything about everything before they feel qualified to do something. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? I received my first paycheck from Lords Seed Inc. at the age of 13. My best friend Rebekah’s parents owned the company. I detasseled corn for them for five years during the summer months. I can remember coming home with my shoes caked in mud and dreaming about corn at night. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have received support from several people along the way. Jody Blake, my first bank manager, was an amazing mentor and lifelong friend. She encouraged me to always do my best and to go the extra mile. Don Cates, my mentor before I accepted my current position, he taught me the value in asking the right questions and listening to understand “why”. He never answered my question(s) but rather turned my question(s) into a learning opportunity. Jenni Long, my boss, my mentor, my amazing coach, always supports me in everything I do by encouraging my personal and professional growth. Jennifer Schmidt, has been a wonderful sounding board as a peer/ mentor/friend. My team are all amazing and push me to be the best I can be for them each and every day. Lynnette Leamon, executive director of the KendallForty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
ville Chamber has really helped to inspire me to continue despite the adversity that happens when you begin a new journey. My mom has always believed in me more than anyone. Finally, my husband Keith helps me with our kids and supports me in everything I do. He is my rock! What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I would have to say the biggest accomplishment so far has been the organization of the Noble County Young Professionals Network. Taking it from an idea to an actual working board has been such a wonderful experience for me. I have learned so much and have met wonderful people from Noble County and beyond as a result. We are working toward keeping people in our area and making it a destination that others want to visit as well. What lessons did you learn from it? I have learned a great lesson. If you want something to happen, you need to be willing to take a step forward. Chances are, others might want the same thing, but just do not act. It takes courage, patience, and a lot of support from the community to get something like the Noble County YPN together. What is your current professional goal? My current professional goal is to help people in whatever capacity that may be. Helping people is what I enjoy the most. Whether it is with the membership or team members, I want to help everyone realize their dreams and make it reality.
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FORTY Employer: Northern Lakes Insurance/ Owner Title: President Education: Bachelor of Science from IPFW Community organizations with which you are involved: Rotary, volunteer varsity baseball coach at Wawasee High School, University of Saint Francis basketball advisory committee High School: Wawasee High School Hobbies: Boating with family and golf Why are you in northeast Indiana? My father Ron Beasley started Northern Lakes Insurance here. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? Helping people protect their assets and seeing all types of businesses. About how many hours a week do you work on average? The reason I love my job so much is I feel I am always truly working. I enjoy networking and meeting new people and opportunities. I think anytime I am out I am working on building relationships. 40 plus hours a week is a good estimate. What does success mean to you? Being happy and doing what I love to do every day to provide for my family What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Allowing an accountant to gain too much access to my business matters. I learned so much from this and have become a much better business man because of it. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I take a great deal of pride in helping others and I strive to do that every day. I feel every day brings a new challenge or opportunity and that keeps me going. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? Does a new driver for my golf bag count? Ha! I am not a tech guy but I did purchase an iMac for my wife recently. I am still trying to figure out what it does! What is a book you would recommend? I honestly don’t read many books, as I prefer magazine articles pertaining to insurance issues. A book would be Michael Jordan’s “The Pursuit of Excellence.” What do you do to relax? I enjoy just being with my family and taking a nice boat ride around Lake Syracuse where we both grew up. Those are some of the most relaxing times in the Page 6
summer for us. My wife can tell you I also like to sneak out to the golf course any chance I get! Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Blake Shortill Construction/brick layer What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My parents were the biggest support growing up and teaching me my values. I have had a lot of guidance from my Dad’s colleagues over the last 11 years since my Dad’s passing in 2007. The biggest mentor I had since taking over the agency was the late Tony King Sr. He was always there to help me and guide me as I learned the insurance business. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? That my Dad’s agency is still growing and expanding 10 years after his passing. He would love to see what it has grown into and we plan on keeping that up for many years to come. What lessons did you learn from it? That the harder you work the luckier you get, as my Dad always said. There is no substitute for hard work. What is your current professional goal? To keep growing Northern Lakes to be one of the top agencies in the state of Indiana. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? My staff and I are regularly attending meetings on different topics in the Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
insurance industry. I feel we are a well versed agency with a lot of knowledge on many areas of the business. Everyone in my agency is a full licensed agent. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? We just added another child so I am back to the drawing board on the balancing act! Seriously it is a team effort with my wife, Nicole, who is tremendous at what she does, as a stay-at-home mom. I have learned that is a full time job in itself. The work she puts in allows me the time to focus on my agency and growing it the way I need to. I love spending time with my kids and there is nothing better than coming home to a smiling face on them. I have learned that there are times to just shut down the work mode and be with my family, as that is the most special time. I enjoy giving back to the community with coaching and that has been so fun for me. I played 3 sports and have always wanted to be a coach. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? I would say Gen X as I relate to a lot of my Dad’s colleagues. I am 33 but am not very good with technology (just ask anyone at my office!) I still do things here old school like I was taught by my Dad and Tony King. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? That you spend a lot of your time working so find something you truly enjoy doing! That was a line my Dad told me and it is so true.
RACHEL D. BOBILYA
Employer: Ambassador Enterprises Title: Senior Operations Manager Education: Bachelor of Science from Ball State University, pursuing my MBA through Huntington University Community organizations with which you are involved: Charis House, Vincent Village, United Way Day of Caring High School: Huntington North High School Hobbies: Movies, travel, music, playing with dogs and kids. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I grew up in Huntington. Went to Huntington North High School. Then we went to Ball State University. I worked in Chicago for about eight years, then came back to be near family. I have been in Fort Wayne since 2009 and love it here. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? My favorite part of real estate and management is the hustle and bustle. The days are never the same and you never know what issues will come up on a daily basis. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I work about 50 hours a week on average. What does success mean to you? I think success means something different to everyone. I think if a person is content in their life they are successful. Not everyone needs to achieve accolades or letters behind their name to be considered successful.
What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I have made a lot of mistakes. I have fallen on my face so many times. I try to learn from those things, but they happen daily. I think my greatest mistake is staying in a toxic job environment too long. With hindsight I realized how much anxiety it caused me and how it affected my daily life. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Family. I am so close with my siblings, and my mom and dad. My husband and I love to spend lazy weekends outside with the kids and the dogs. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? For Christmas, we got a Google Home device. We have been loving it. It is so funny to hear my 4 year-old, Davis, say “OK, Google. Play funny cat videos.” What is a book you would recommend? I read a ton, and I know it is a good book if I continue to think on it after I finish reading it. “The Goldfinch” was one of those books. Also, at AE, reading is a part of our daily life. Currently, we are integrating ideas from “The Ideal Team Player” in our daily work life. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from Owen’s Supermarket in Huntington. My first job was a cashier there and I ended up working there from about 15 through college graduation. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My entire family has been supportive and proud of my career path. But my grandparents, Betty and Russ, have always been the biggest advocates for higher education and career advancement. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I think my biggest accomplishment is related to my time in Chicago working with troubled assets. It was an amazing 10 years. I learned so much so quickly. Those skills have served me well over the years. What lessons did you learn from it? I learned a lot of lessons during that time. I learned lessons in humility, tenacity and assertiveness. What is your current professional goal? My current goal is to add value and be a net contributor to Ambassador Enterprises every day. I also want to continue developing personally and professionally. Finally, I want to finish up my MBA and bring new knowledge and tools to my position. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I think continuous growth, and learning is key to remaining relevant. You have to adapt and change with the times. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? That can be very tricky. AE really stresses work/life integration and balance so it has become easier since I joined their team. We integrate community involvement and impact into everything we do. What do you do to relax? Relaxing for me is family time. We like movie nights and in the summer, hanging out on our patio Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? I would consider myself a Gen Xer. I don’t always relate to the mindset of a millennial, but I do appreciate them for their differences. Life would be very boring if everyone approached things the same way. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? I would tell myself that in your 30s you will feel comfortable in your own skin. You will feel confident in who you are. All the things that are important now won’t even be on your radar when you get older. Oh, and don’t be such a know it all. Page 7
FORTY Employer: Hefty Wealth Partners Title: Chief Investment Officer Education: Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA Institute; B.S. Finance and Economics Minor, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne Community organizations with which you are involved: I am currently serving a second three-year term on the executive board of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church where I also lead the stewardship committee. Also, through the end of 2015, I completed a nearly six-year involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters, both in Allen County and in DeKalb County. High School: Carroll High School Hobbies: With two little ones at home, my hobbies have quickly evolved to playing soccer in the backyard, building tall buildings with massive Legos, and finger painting! Why are you in northeast Indiana? As a millennial, and a parent to two young children, there’s no other place that I could envision myself that would grant such a phenomenal community, exceptional career opportunities, an amazing standard of living relative to the cost of living, and a place that is strategically growing and on track to become an even more appealing community. Outside of those crucial components, my family, as well as my wife’s family, have lived in the community for decades and are currently still living in the area. Being close to them is very important. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The daily changing and evolving nature of global economics, politics, and overall capital markets is by far the most enjoyable to me. The need to stay updated on a daily basis is a crucial component to my profession and it’s something that I greatly enjoy. The subjective component of digging through the data daily and pinpointing relevant factors that affect the firm and our clients is something that I carefully scrutinize and it’s something where I’m dealing with new perspectives every day. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 50 hours (four week average) What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My greatest mistake, or rather my greatest misinterpretation, was evident early in my career when I initially entered the investment management industry. I knew that I wanted to remain in the Northeast Indiana region but that meant I couldn’t work for a large Wall Street bank in Chicago or New York. My perception was that the investment management industry in the local area could not likely provide the opportunities that would have Page 8
otherwise been available. In a sense, I felt that I may be settling for something mediocre. In retrospect, that was not a positive way of thinking. What I’ve learned from that is that by continuously aligning myself with ambitious and driven individuals, it doesn’t matter where the physical location of that business is, nor does it matter whether it’s a small or large operation. My evolving success in my current position over the past four years has been a true testament to that and I look forward to the future! What does success mean to you? It means that you’re doing something you enjoy and that adds value to your life as well as in the life of others. If you truly feel and believe that others are better off when they’re associated with you and your firm then that’s a feeling of success. Financial well-being is also part of success but if those first two stated components are met, the financial aspect of success is usually reciprocated. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I view myself as very ingrained in the community and my goal is to always provide the best version of myself at work, at home, and in the community. That concept provides great motivation for me because I want to live and work in an area that is always growing and improving. I want others to view Fort Wayne as a great place to live in! That motivation turns into energy in almost everything I do and allows me to enjoy my personal and professional life in Northeast Indiana. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My newest piece of technology is my car. In February of this year I upgraded from a 2000 Volkswagen to a 2015 Cadillac. Outside of the immense visual differences, as well as the driving experience, the technology has been a great bonus. Things like in-car 4G Wi-Fi, hands-free phone call abilities, on-demand music apps, ability to start the car and turn on the heat/AC directly from my phone, as well as a few other things, are my newest ‘pieces’ of technology. What is a book you would recommend? “Superforecasting,” by Phillip Tetlock, an economist that proved Ph.D. economists’ forecasts are about as good as those forecasts from dart throwing chimpanzees (over the long-term). “Superforecasting” is not about that topic, however, but it provides an objective based framework on how to analyze data and how to methodically think about alternatives. It’s a great critical thinking book that’s perfect for today’s data heavy environment. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? The best support that I received was centered on others believing in my ability to handle increased responsibility at a relatively quick pace and allowing me to confidently build on prior experiences. When combining that support with the fact that my superiors were also phenomenal mentors, both professionally and personally, the end result is one that has allowed me to explore opportunities that have been extraordinary.
Employer: Costco Wholesale Title: Pharmacist Manager Education: Vanderbilt University, Bachelor of Arts, Medicine Health and Society; Belmont University College of Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy Community organizations with which you are involved: • African American Healthcare Alliance • Allen County Health Disparity Coalition • The Links Inc., Fort Wayne chapter • Indiana Donor Network • Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana • Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana High School: Ridgeway High School, Memphis, Tenn. Hobbies: Traveling, yoga, shopping, attending live sporting events, going out to eat with family and friends, watching Netflix Why are you in northeast Indiana? Work brought me to northeast Indiana. I moved to Fort Wayne in August 2013 to open the pharmacy at the (then new) Costco Wholesale, which opened in October 2013. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The aspect of my profession that I enjoy the most is serving others each day that I work. Each day presents opportunity after opportunity to meet the needs of others, and that is very fulfilling to me. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 45 What does success mean to you? Success means being great and excellent in all that I do (i.e. achieving goals, my work ethic, building meaningful relationships,
growing spiritually, etc), and also helping bring out the greatness and excellence in others. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My greatest mistake thus far has been procrastination. From procrastinating on various assignments throughout the years (my procrastination was at its worst during my college years), I’ve learned that I can provide my best when I don’t wait until the last minute to complete tasks. Also, by avoiding procrastination I’ve learned I experience way less stress. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? My energy to accomplish what I do at work, at home, and in my community comes from one of my favorite Bible verses: “…to who much is given, much is required…” (Luke 12:48). What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My newest piece of technology is the iPhone7, and it does almost everything. What is a book you would recommend? A book that I recently read and recommend is “40 Days to Personal Revolution,” by Baron Baptiste. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from FedEx Express. I was a Human Resources Intern for the summer. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Five months after graduating pharmacy school in October 2013, I had the opportunity Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY to oversee all aspects of opening a new pharmacy in a new market. What lessons did you learn from it? The lessons I learned were how to: (1) set up a new pharmacy, (2) set up an over-thecounter section and Costco’s merchandising policies and procedures, (3) hire, train, and develop new employees (both pharmacy technicians and pharmacists), (4) develop marketing strategies for a new pharmacy in a new market, and (5) establish and grow a clientele base. This experience likely will be one of the most valuable experiences of my career. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? Encouragement, love and positive reinforcement were the main types of support I received along the way to help me advance in my career. I have a very strong support system, and they have been critical in helping me advance in my career and life. Special thank you to my family, friends, pastor and church family in Memphis, Tenn., and the pharmacists I worked with in Nashville, Tenn., while in pharmacy school. What is your current professional goal? One of my current professional goals is patient safety. More specifically, I aim to ensure that each prescription I dispense is appropriate for the patient, and that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with that medication therapy. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Pharmacy, like many other professions that require licensure, has biennial continuing education requirements. Along with maintaining CE requirements to remain current/relevant, questions often arise from prescriptions received from patients. These questions lead to conversations and collaboration with other pharmacists, nurses, and physicians about medications. Sometimes questions on prescriptions require me to delve into package inserts to find answers to medication-related questions. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? I work long days, so balancing family life and community involvement quickly became priority after starting working and feeling like all I did was go to work and go home. I balance my career, family life, and community involvement by being creative with my time and not making excuses. Creativity with my time usually involves volunteering before going to work and on weekends, and spending time with friends (I actually have no biological family in Fort Wayne) in the evenings and on the weekends. Page 9
Check it out and Reach Big – your message can now reach over quarter million North East IN region residents. Call today 260.426.2640 Serving northeast Allen County
on being chosen by a panel of distinguished judges for making a difference on the job and in his community as a 40 under 40 honoree.
Serving northeast Allen County
Serving New Haven & east Allen County
Serving southwest Allen County & Roanoke
Congratulations Jeremy Congratulations on the honor of being chosen as a recipient of the 2017 Business Weekly Forty Under 40 award. Steel Dynamics is very proud of your accomplishments.
JEREMY CRONKHITE Page 10
Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
JEREMY A. CRONKHITE
Employer: Steel Dynamics Inc., Structural & Rail Division Title: Heavy Section & Rail Mill Manager Education: B.S. Material Science & Engineering, Purdue University Community organizations with which you are involved: During my time at Purdue, I was a part of the Purdue Reamer Club and still attend as many events with them as possible. I am also an active member of the John Purdue Club and Purdue Alumni Association. With Steel Dynamics, I stay very active in our internship programs and also campus recruiting helping to give experience to young engineers. High School: Angola High School Hobbies: I have been involved in winemaking for the past eight years. I enjoy making wines and also entering them into amateur winemaking competitions. I am able to apply my engineering principals to this hobby as well as my love of chemistry. It also is a great conversation starter. I also enjoy fishing in the summer time and spend much of my time on the lakes in northeast Indiana. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised in northeast Indiana and after graduating from Purdue University I decided to start my career with Steel Dynamics after I completed two engineering internships with them the previous two summers. I couldn’t be happier to live here and be close to family and friends and also work for a great company. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The best part of my career is that it is ever changing and I get to work in such diverse
areas within our organization. I am responsible for a group of 150 employees. My typical day consists of everything from working with our customers to managing our department’s operating budget, to being on the shop floor working with our operators and engineers to solve production or quality related problems. I am someone who loves the hands-on aspect of my career and the freedom within our organization. One day I may be dressed up working with a customer on developing a new product and the next day I may go home covered in dirt after a day on the shop floor working on a maintenance or quality related issue. What does success mean to you? Success to me is being in a position where I can be proud and passionate about my career as well as the company I work for. Steel Dynamics has given me a great deal of responsibility since I was a young engineer right out of college. I am very passionate not only about how our organization does business but also how we are a good member of the communities within which we operate. Since I have been involved on the management side of the business I have been fortunate enough to also be involved with some of the philanthropy we are a part of in our local community. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Certainly throughout my career I have made mistakes along the way. I always looked at each one of these opportunities as a chance to grow and learn. I am fortunate to work for an organization that rewards individuals for their contributions. We accept that Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY sometimes new equipment or technology is a risk and we are willing to take those educated risks as long as it never sacrifices safety or quality. This has allowed me to not look at mistakes as failures but learning opportunities. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I typically average around 50 hours a week. This certainly varies greatly depending on what we have going on. It can be much more especially when we are commissioning new equipment or products, but also is closer to the 40 hour range in weeks when I have commitments outside of work. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I am a very high energy person who loves to stay busy. I think it is important to remain balanced between work and home. I am always interested in working with my hands and applying science to both my hobbies and career. After a stressful week in the office I can be found working on wine recipes and applying my knowledge of chemistry to my passion for winemaking. I think it is also important to travel and learn from different cultures. I have been fortunate enough to travel not only for pleasure but also for my career. I have traveled to many steel mills throughout North America and Europe and have learned something new from every single one of those opportunities. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I recently bought a new Apple MacBook Pro that I really enjoy using. I use it not only for business but also for personal use. I am able to tie all of my devices together with it and use my home server as a cloud to store my photos and music. What is a book you would recommend? The latest book I read was “Grit,” by Angela Duckworth. In this book Angela describes that it is not talent or knowledge that drives people to success but a trait she calls Grit. Grit is a combination of passion and perserverance. I related very much to this book as I have always felt that it is passion and drive that take people to a high level of success in their life. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have been fortunate to have the support of my friends, family, and some really great mentors along the way. I started at SDI as a summer intern when I was a sophomore in college. My mentor, Ken Reid, was a great friend and a huge influence early in my career. He, and several other leaders in the company really took me under their wings teaching me and giving me advice. Page 11
FORTY Employer: Fort Wayne TinCaps Title: Creative Director Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of Dayton Community organizations with which you are involved: First-year board member for AdFed Fort Wayne, member of the Fort Wayne Curling Club, member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America – Indiana Chapter, and member of the CCFA Take Steps Walk Committee High School: Brookfield East High School in Brookfield, Wisc. Hobbies: I love to go fishing in my kayak. It’s a great way to get out and forget about everything else going on in my life, whether I catch anything or not. I also enjoy riding my bike along the River Greenway and stopping somewhere downtown that I can eat outside. And even though I’m at 70-plus TinCaps games every year, I still enjoy going to other baseball games when I don’t have to work them! Why are you in northeast Indiana? I came to Fort Wayne for an internship with the Fort Wayne Wizards because I was looking for a job in the sports industry. I didn’t know anything about the team or the area before I arrived, but ever since then I’ve kept finding more and more things that have kept me here and that make this a great place to call home. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I love being creative and making things from scratch and the challenges of having to create pieces for every department within the organization. I also genuinely enjoy the people I work with because we all have the same interests and we are all doing our best to ensure the success of the team. Even though we may butt heads now and then, it’s because we are passionate and all want to put forth the best product that we can. Finally, I love the fact that we can serve as a release for other people to come to the ballpark for a few hours of fun and relaxation away from their normal routines. About how many hours a week do you work on average? That is a tough question. During the baseball season, if we have a week of home games, I can easily work an 80-90 hour work week. In the off-season we work a more normal office schedule, but I love my job and if I’m feeling creative I don’t worry about the clock and just try to get what’s in my head onto a computer screen. What does success mean to you? Success and being successful means doing something that gives me personal satisfaction while also benefiting the organization. I’m not concerned with how much money Page 12
I’m making or how much time I’m putting in because I enjoy what I do. And ultimately I think that is a sign of being successful. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? When I was younger, I would spend far too much time worrying about what others were doing, even though it didn’t really affect me. If someone was doing something that I didn’t like or understand, I would stew on it and get worked up over nothing. I wasted a lot of time and energy when I didn’t need to use any! These days, I don’t give it nearly as much thought, I am able to move on to other things and I’m happier and healthier than because of it. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? At work, I stay motivated by knowing that what I’m doing is representing the team and I want to put out my best effort for that reason. It’s a very similar thought process when it comes to helping in the community. Most people will realize that I work for the TinCaps and I take pride in representing the team in the best possible way. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I haven’t purchased any new technology since updating my phone and I think we all know what those can do! Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first job was working the bakery counter at a local grocery store in Brookfield, Wis. It was a good first experience dealing with people in the customer service industry. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? When I was in college, everyone was prepped that, “When you leave here, you will be making almost no money and be working a ton of hours. And if you choose to work in baseball, it will be even worse.” I knew that was the field for me, even though my professors tried to convince me otherwise. That helped me prepare for a career in sports. To excel in the creative aspect of the job, the leaders with the Fort Wayne Wizards put a lot of confidence in a kid who had never done the job before and was learning along the way. Ever since then, I’ve felt like I’ve needed to repay their support in the form of hard work and constant self-improvement, both at work and personally. And of course, my parents have supported me the entire way. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the man I am today. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Hands down, it is being part of an award-winning staff with the TinCaps. In 2016, the TinCaps were awarded the John H. Johnson President’s Award for organizational excellence. It is awarded every year to one Minor League Baseball team (out of 160 professional teams) and is based on contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry. To be a part of such a great team and staff is something special. We love being a part of the Fort Wayne community, but to be recognized by peers within the industry is truly something special.
Employer: Lincoln Financial Group Title: Manager, Contact Center Web Support Education: BA in Psychology, IPFW Community organizations with which you are involved: Q Consulting & Education, Visiting Nurse and Allen County Democratic Party High School: Bishop Dwenger Hobbies: Running on the Fort Wayne Trails and adding to my extensive flag collection. Why are you in northeast Indiana? Every time I travel to another city, I always feel relief when I get back to Fort Wayne. There is a sense of community here that you don’t find everywhere. The region is growing and I have witnessed many people in this community pulling together to create the success we are seeing with new jobs, entertainment, parks, residential buildings, river clean-up and trails. The people in this community are invested in improving the quality of life and it is exciting to be able to contribute to that success. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy the people the most. I currently manage the team that I was a part of when I first entered the company. I manage over a dozen people and they are the reason I push myself. I am in a position where I get to help them grow in their careers, praise their success and eventually see them outgrow me and move on to the next level. Their success is my success and I am very proud of the work they do. What does success mean to you? I am motivated and driven by attaining
goals. Success to me is achieving those goals both personal and professional. It’s very important to me to have well-balanced goals across my job and my personal life by making sure I am growing in my career but also in my relationships. I often contemplate if I have I been a great friend, a great employee, a great boyfriend, a great boss and a great family member. If the answer is no, I need to communicate new goals and push myself to improve. If the answer is yes to all of those, then that is truly what I view as success. About how many hours a week do you work on average? In a typical week, I work an average 45-60 hours. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I would say my greatest mistake was not pushing myself more in college to graduate quickly. When I first started my degree, I was very unsure about the direction I wanted to take in my life. I wasn’t actively present in my classes and ended up taking a break. I learned during that time that I needed to refocus and push myself. I created new goals, went back to school, changed my work schedule and was able to graduate. Also, that hideous shoulder tattoo I got when I was 19. Big mistake. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I stay energized by keeping myself in a routine and regularly planning. Every Monday morning, I schedule the first two hours to go through and plan out my entire week. I list out everything I need to accomplish and set specific time for it throughout the week. It Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
helps keep me focused and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed because I know what to expect. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I don’t buy a lot of technology. I recently purchased a Chromecast and a Fitbit. I don’t usually buy technology unless it is practical and something I can use on a regular basis. What is a book you would recommend? I recommend reading “Team Players and Teamwork” by Glenn M. Parker. Almost all of the work that I do involves other people contributing and communicating. This book helped me foster an effective team by understanding the complex dynamics of each member’s different personalities and approach. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck was from Fort Wayne School of Dance. I cleaned the floors, emptied the trash and babysat younger siblings of dancers, but somehow never picked up any rhythm. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have been exceptionally lucky to have great leaders in my life who empowered me, friends and family who stood by me and community members who showed up to support me. I would not have success if it wasn’t for the support of the many people that I care about. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment thus far was helping prevent discriminatory language from being added to Indiana’s constitution. In 2013, I took a leave from my job to work for Freedom Indiana organizing against a constitutional amendment that would have banned my boyfriend and me from marrying. I traveled across the state meeting families, listening to their stories and empowering them to get active in the democratic process. Being part of a movement that changed two dozen legislators minds, prevented a harmful referendum that would have divided our communities and securing a future for my family in Indiana was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What lessons did you learn from it? I learned that Hoosiers are wonderful people. We often are stereotyped as close-minded or backwards, but I spent months in small Indiana towns and was inspired by the passion and love of community members who advocated for a cause that didn’t personally impact them. I met people who traveled over 100 miles in a snow storm to the Capitol building just to support their neighbors. I still have close relationships with families that I met during the campaign. Page 13
FORTY Employer: Cirrus ABS Corporation Title: Vice President of Technology Education: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics Community organizations with which you are involved: Fort Wayne Running Club, board member, website administrator and marketing committee chair; Community Harvest Food Bank, SeniorPAK delivery driver; Fort Wayne YMCA, River City Rat Race committee, online marketing; Fort4Fitness, race committee, F4F pace team organizer; Kingston Retirement Community, volunteer visitor; Arts United, Beat Beethoven 4-Mile run committee member, part of the Taste of the Arts Festival; Fort Wayne .NET User Group, member and sponsor; Riley Children’s Foundation, Run for Riley Committee, co-race director; Hour of Code Initiative, volunteer lecturer. I have also assisted running events attached to dozens of local charitable organizations in an unofficial manner. High School: Woodlan High School Hobbies: My hobbies include learning about new and emerging technologies, running and looking at new opportunities to volunteer my time in the community. Why are you in northeast Indiana? My family and friends are all based here, and virtually anything that I want to do in my spare time can be found here. I call northeast Indiana home. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy the fulfillment of discovering technology solutions to challenging technical issues or marketing problems for our clients. I also enjoy the fact that technology is ever-changing, and new topics must be learned on a constant basis to continue advancing ones knowledge, and I find myself in a constant state of learning as a result. What does success mean to you? Success to me is defined by changing something for the better. This applies not only to my professional career, but also in my volunteer efforts. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My biggest mistake was not becoming involved in my community sooner. I learned there are many people who have a considerable passion for helping others, and I would encourage you to think more about what you can do to help. It has exposed me to an amazing number of people and causes I would never have known about. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I stay energized by learning about new things related to technology and marketing, Page 14
and pursuing those interests in the manner of my choosing. My approach may not seem controlled to some, but it permits me the ability to focus myself continually on new tasks and challenges to overcome. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My latest piece of technology is a home-brew server running a popular distro of Linux. I utilize this server to experiment with new virtual machines, network configuration, software and appliances within the confines of my home network. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from Scotts Food & Pharmacy, which no longer exists and was purchased by Kroger. My first job was working as a bagger, but I was eventually moved into a position in the dairy and frozen departments. Over time in the dairy and frozen department, I was given the responsibility of ordering product for the frozen department, and occasionally moonlighting in our grocery department for several years, before leaving to work for Cirrus ABS shortly after college. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? In my professional career, I have progressed as a result of opportunity and support from those around me. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work with a wide range of clients that afforded me an opportunity to advance my career by experiencing a tremendous range of industries and sectors within our community, and be a part of teams comprised of some of the hardest working and talented people in my industry. I pursued this path with passion, and am humbled to have received the support of Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
friends, family and co-workers that allowed me make this journey. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? When I look back at my professional career with Cirrus ABS, it is difficult to pinpoint a single accomplishment that had such a far-reaching implication for our company and myself. One accomplishment does stand out among all of them, because it formed the basis for all future client work and system implementations performed afterwards. I was privileged to lead and be member to an amazing team that developed the Cirrus ABS eBusiness Framework, upon which all of our technology development continues to occur. My responsibilities during the creation of our platform included system architect, lead developer and project manager. I could not be more proud of creating that foundation, the people I was privileged to work with that made it a reality and the faith of our company’s leadership to put me into that role. My accomplishments in my community involvement have been extremely varied, but one special accomplish stands out among the rest. My decision to take on the race directing responsibility, along with my fellow co-race director Elizabeth Schloss, of continuing the Run for Riley, the largest public fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in Fort Wayne and the largest running event fundraiser in all of Allen County. I contribute a great deal of time to local running events throughout all of Fort Wayne, but this is the only race you will ever see my name listed as the director of. The benefit Riley Hospital for Children provides to Indiana cannot be understated, and I could not be more proud to continue the tradition.
PLATINUM SPONSOR IPFW
2101 East Coliseum Blvd. Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 Phone: 260.481.4739 Website: www.ipfw.edu
Established in 1964, Indiana University– Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) is the largest university in northeast Indiana. As the state’s Multisystem Metropolitan University, we are uniquely positioned to serve the region as a crossroads of intellectual, social, economic, and cultural advancement and continue to expand our global reach through research, scholarship, and creative expression. IPFW combines challenging academics with a focus on student success across many prestigious degree programs, taught by nearly 350 full-time faculty.
More than 8,300 degree-seeking students of diverse ages, races, and nationalities pursue their education on our nearly 700-acre campus. More than half of our students are first-generation college students and 15% are from underrepresented populations. And 73% of IPFW students receive some form of financial assistance to achieve their academic and career goals. A majority of IPFW’s growing alumni network of 57,000 live and work in northeast Indiana, contributing to the region’s economy, vitality, and intellectual strength.
PLATINUM SPONSOR Jacob Insurance Service LLC 1220 S. Wayne St., Suite 2, Angola, Indiana 46703 Phone: 260.665.3194 Website: www.jacobins.biz
Founded in 1945 by Loyd Jacob of Orland, IN, Jacob Insurance Service continues to prosper 72 years later. During their proliﬁc 72 year history, JIS has been fortunate to lay claim to two Mayors as part of their rich history. Wendell Jacob served as Mayor of Angola 1961 - 1965 and current Mayor Richard Hickman has served since 2002. The business has been run by a Jacob family member for 70 of the 72 years. Having acquired several agencies over the years to enhance their customer base and product line, JIS looks to provide quality
companies including but not limited to Allstate, Auto-Owners, Frankenmuth, Pekin, Progressive, and Westﬁeld. Visit their website for a detailed list of coverage offered www.jacobins.biz JIS features a friendly and knowledgeable staff including Susan Ralston, licensed agent/agency owner, Eric Trabert, licensed agent/producer, Geri Garrard, Heather Hanna, and Megan Poe licensed agent customer service representatives. In addition to serving Indiana, they also serve Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida.
Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
Employer: Hamed Homes Title: President Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Indiana Tech University; Master of Business Administration, Indiana Tech University; Master of Science in Management, Indiana Tech University Community organizations with which you are involved: Leukemia Lymphoma Society – Man/Woman of the Year Campaign Leukemia Lymphoma Society – Light The Night Campaign Parkview Foundations – Cookin’ Men Chef High School: Carroll High School Hobbies: Weight training has been an integral part of my life for nearly 20 years. This has been a catalyst for relaxation and stress relief. Having stated that, I weight train daily, as this helps me to continuously engage my competitive nature, relieve stress, and make time to examine the events of the day. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born, and raised, in Fort Wayne, and as such, have grown accustomed to the community. Additionally, I’ve established a strong network of family, friends, and associates throughout the community, and to this point, find a great deal of value in cherishing these relationships, which aids in helping to continue to call Fort Wayne my home. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I truly enjoy my profession. As such, this remains paramount, as enjoying my day to day helps to ensure I never ‘work’ a day going forward. To that point, communicating with my clients and working with my teams has proven to be a pivotal component, relative to the success of my business. Having stated that, it is important to me to continue to maintain an established communication platform, for both my clients and my team members, so as to ensure my company can continue to be an innovator in our craft, and remain among market leaders in luxury home construction. About how many hours a week do you work on average? All of them, ha. Be it on a job site, in my office or at home, I am most always thinking about, or analyzing, my day to day objectives and forthcoming initiatives. What does success mean to you? My personal definition of success is not derived from surpassing individually quantified financial benchmarks, or counting the accolades distributed on my office walls, but rather providing my wife and family with the financial freedom to experience life and create new memories together, as it is within these moments that I most appreciate my ‘success’. Moreover, maintaining a successful balance between family life, vertical career Page 16
growth, and community involvement is of the utmost importance, as these components are, in my opinion, the defining measures of one’s success. To this point, I simply make….the…. time. I’ve found that, if it’s important enough, and you have the will, there’s a way. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Doubt. I learned quite some time ago that allowing doubt to infiltrate your mindset can seriously debilitate plan initiatives and work to stifle plan objectives, in their entirety. While it certainly behooves one to analyze and calculate relative risk measures, doubt can instigate a lack of confidence, which in turn, can lead to a myriad of issues and concerns. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? This would have to absolutely, and unequivocally, be my iPhone. This device is an essential pillar of my day to day, and helps to maintain organizational solvency. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I make an effort, or try to, each day to work towards growth. Be it spiritual, mental, physical, etc., I’m a strong advocate of continued education, regardless of the platform or capacity in which you experience it. To this point, I work diligently and continuously, to maintain a strong knowledge of the local and regional real estate market(s). Moreover, I take pride in employing a systematic approach to researching and implementing new market trends, relative to the design components of my homes. This helps differentiate my company product line up, offering a truly unique and custom home to Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
AL W. HAMED
each respective client. Learning to establish favorable habits helps to create a routine which has helped afford my family and I with a litany of cherished memories and opportunities. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? As a second generation custom home builder, I’ve spent many years working on a myriad of job sites, often in a different capacity, so as to better afford myself the opportunity to learn the intricate details of the business – as was instructed by my father, and business owner/employer at the time. From pouring concrete in the early morning hours (which wasn’t always the easiest during those high school summer vacation months), to cleaning up copper and PVC remnants after plumbing installation, to the smell engraved in your nose from sweeping up sawdust, from fresh cut lumber, these were just a few of the tasks that helped me to garner a better appreciation of a ‘hard earned dollar’ and subsequently helped to instigate my affinity for new construction… as well as my first paycheck. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My family has been a considerable supporting influence throughout my career advancement efforts. My parents were devout in their character building initiatives throughout my life, and as such, were instrumental in any level of success I obtained throughout the years. Moreover, my wife has helped me tremendously, in nearly every facet of my life, and is truly the foundational pillar of our family unit. For these reasons, and many more, I am forever grateful.
SAM HARTMAN on being 40 under 40 by selling Fort Wayne and all living in the city has to offer!
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Congratulations Al on your Forty Under 40 accomplishment! We greatly appreciate your hard work and service to the community. Traditional Excellence, Contemporary Luxury
Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
Employer: Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber Real Estate Title: Associate Broker Education: Bachelors in Business Management and Entrepreneurship from Trine University Community organizations with which you are involved: • TeamRWB • Indiana Run for the Fallen • UPSTAR YPN • Community Harvest Food Bank • Junior Achievement. High School: Bishop Dwenger High School Hobbies: Anything outdoors and active, walking the dog, sand volleyball, pick-up basketball, CrossFit, golf, snowboarding, wakeboarding Why are you in northeast Indiana? Fort Wayne is home! Always has been and always will be. I’ve never had the urge to “escape” Fort Wayne. I’ve only had the urge to be a part of what it is and what it can be. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? As a Realtor I am in the service industry, and I’ve always enjoyed serving the needs of others. But probably the most fulfilling part of my job is the relationships I am able to form during the process. Nothing feels better than having the authentic trust of a client. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 40-50 hours. Lots of nights and weekends. What does success mean to you? In college I was never exactly sure of what I wanted to do professionally. All I knew was that I wanted to be viewed as a true expert in my field. So for me, I feel successful every time I am contacted for my opinion on real estate, interviewed for an article on the local market, or even when someone from my own family asks for my help. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? It took me a little time to find my way in this world. It took a handful of crappy jobs and stressful times. I guess I was your typical millennial in this circumstance searching for fulfilling and challenging work. But I wouldn’t call any of those jobs mistakes because they’ve helped lead me to where I am today professionally. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? A pot of coffee in the morning and at least an hour in the gym daily is usually enough to keep my energy high. What is a book you recommend? “Love Does” is a faith-based book by Page 18
the amazing Bob Goff. It’s an awesome example of living life fully and treating people amazingly. A really motivating and inspirational book in my eyes. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? Technology is unavoidable. If I’m not using it then I’m not servicing my clients appropriately. E-signature systems allow me to be paperless and be timely with contract submissions which is imperative in our competitive real estate market. Also, 3-D virtual home tours allow prospective buyers to get a virtual open house of the home without ever stepping foot in it. This is beneficial for the out of town buyers who might not otherwise have the chance to see a home before writing an offer. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Federated Media, radio advertising sales What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I owe so much to my parents. Each career leap I’ve made stemmed from the great reputation and relationships that I had built over the years and I honestly owe that to my upbringing. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Last year I was honored as a finalist for Coldwell Banker’s Global 30 Under 30 Award. However, this Forty Under 40 Award means so much to me, because it is on a micro level. It is honoring those right here in our community who are giving back and striving to make the community a better place. To be recognized in this group is a great honor. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
What is your current professional goal? I have my personal income and production goals, but as long as I continually satisfy the needs of my clients with exceptional service then I will feel like my goal has been met. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Change is rampant in any industry and you must be able to adapt your marketing and your service to the changing trends and technology. I try to utilize as many of the newest and best technologies to better market listings and to service client’s needs. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? It’s difficult at times with the demands of a very competitive real estate market, but the industry does allow a unique sense of flexibility. I think it’s important to make the most of the down times and to not stress over the last minute needs of clients. What do you do to relax? A long walk with the dog and an hour in the gym every day is usually enough to keep my sanity. I wouldn’t say I do much relaxing though, because even in my down time I love being active. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? My birthday would identify me as a millennial but I’ve never been much of a fan of generational labels and stereotypes. I guess that is such a millennial thing of me to say! What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? I’d tell him “thank you,” because all the sacrifices and difficulties he went through made for a pretty great life.
Employer: Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, Allen County Memorial Coliseum, Parkview Field Title: Program Manager, JA; Usher Coliseum & Parkview Field Education: BA in Interpersonal & Organizational Communications, minor in Spanish from IPFW Community organizations with which you are involved: Miss Three Rivers Festival, Three Rivers Festival Board of Directors, Delta Sigma Theta High School: South Side High School Hobbies: I really enjoy shopping, traveling, and listening to music Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised here. I have a hard time leaving the area because I feel rooted here. I really enjoy the people and activities in this area. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy connecting with people. At Junior Achievement I have the privilege of working with people before, during, and after they visit classrooms. It is neat to watch them grow as volunteers. I also have the honor of working with the principals and educators. At the stadiums I have the honor of working with people who look forward to coming there. It might be the circus or a company outing. I realize that people work hard to provide those outings to their friends, co-workers, and families. There are days that we do six- to 13-hour shifts. I have to realize that it is more than those six to 13 hours. Each show or game is an event that someone has been looking forward to. It is an honor to
serve them on such a special occasion. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I normally work 40 hours a week at JA. Then I do another 15-20 hours (or more) at one of the stadiums. What does success mean to you? Success is more than accomplishing a goal. It is the satisfaction that you get from that action. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? There was a time after I finished college that I felt that I was not where I should have been professionally. I found myself working retail thinking wow I have my degree. I had to realize that my degree was worth more than job status. It is the values and the knowledge that I carry with me daily. There came a period later in my life that I did not have a title, and things were much easier when I accepted this theory. I cared less about where I was supposed to be and accepted things for what they were. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Curiosity really drives my energy. I have always enjoyed event management. That is something that I started when I was elected vice president of student body programing in the IPFW Student Government. My advisor accepted a new job during my second term. This allowed me to take on even more in my position. I have always enjoyed learning about smaller things that create a bigger picture. Working at the Coliseum and Parkview Field still allows me to work with Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
events. I recently changed my diet to include some healthier food. The energy from this has been great. I do guided meditation on a regular basis. This is great for clearing my mind. Prayer is also an important part of my life. This allows me to let go of things that I cannot change. There are some weeks that I spend more time away from home. I take the time to mentally prepare for what is ahead of me. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? Kindle Fire Tablet. I use it mostly for downloading books. What is a book you would recommend? I remember really enjoying “A League of Their Own.” I have been slowly working my way thru a book called “Joyride.” It is a teen book, but it is a nice escape from the real world. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? I received my first paycheck from the Disney Store. I was a cast member. My roles included greeting, folding shirts, re-organizing plus mountain and assisting guest at cash wrap. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? There is not enough space to talk about all of the support that I received along the way. It started with my high school teachers, coaches and guidance counselors. The staff at South Side High School and IPFW played a big part in my career development. I would like to thank the former Chancellor Mike Wartell and his staff for all of their support. I had the honor of serving as the vice president of student body programing in the student government. There were a number of people, and former leaders who mentored us. I am grateful for all of their support. I would like to say thank you to the IPFW Communications Department for all of their guidance. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment is just getting where I am today. I have been blessed to meet a lot of people, and to see a lot of things. I am grateful for each of those things and people. It has also been an pleasure to watch the Miss Three Rivers Festival program develop. I was featured for the program in a national publication. It is amazing to see that program grow, and be embraced by the Three Rivers Festival. What lessons did you learn from it? I have learned that persistence is everything. Things will not all ways go as planned. Page 19
Employer: Johnson and Cohen Orthodontics Title: CEO and Orthodontist Education: BA – Biology, Utah State University; MS – Instruction Technology, Utah State University; DMD – Dentistry, Case Western Reserve University; MS – Orthodontics, University of Michigan Community organizations with which you are involved: Kids First Craniofacial Clinic – volunteer Isaac Knapp District Dental Society – board member The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – leadership University of Michigan Department of Orthodontics Alumni Assoc – co-president High School: Logan High School, Logan, Utah Hobbies: Family, seriously anything with my family is fantastic. I enjoy watching my kids in sports and dance, traveling, learning new things, playing with technology, listening and playing music, reading, and watching movies. Why are you in northeast Indiana? Why isn’t everyone else? Honestly this area of the country is amazing! At the end of orthodontic residency my wife and I could literally have gone anywhere in the world and this is where we choose to live. Here we have an abundance of blessings, great people, beautiful land that produces food, and the conveniences of a large city without many of the “big city problems.” What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? Watching the people’s lives change as they realize their dreams. It’s incredible the difference a smile can make in someone’s life. Watching increased confidence and self-esteem as the external picture of who they are comes closer to the internal picture of who they aspire to be. At Johnson and Cohen Orthodontics our logo is “Creating Smiles, Changing Lives” and we truly believe in that process as we have seen it play out time and again the lives of our patients. This is the reason that I enjoy orthodontics, volunteering time with my church, and also the reason that I enjoy teaching at the University of Michigan. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I suppose that would depend on if you are solely looking at the time I spend at Johnson and Cohen Orthodontics or if you are combining all the activities I am involved in… we’ll take an average of 60-70. What does success mean to you? Success is defined for me as a process of achieving a goal. The reason I focus on the process is that in reality it is the process Page 20
JOEL M. JOHNSON
that makes you better, the process that creates the metamorphosis that you desire. The accomplishment of a goal is simply the acknowledgment that the process in that one aspect is completed. The Olympic athlete isn’t any better of an athlete when they receive the gold medal than they were the day before… but still, it’s nice to have a gold medal. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Most people who succeed have made many mistakes along the way, some to be shared, some to keep private, but all successful people learn from those mistakes. Failure is an amazing teacher if you are willing to learn. When I first began teaching I attempted to teach just like one of my mentors whom I admired greatly…it was a disaster for several weeks. After those first weeks I sat down to try to figure out why it was going so poorly for me when it had worked so brilliantly for him, and that’s when I figured this important fact out, that the person was the difference. It worked for him because it came from within him. From that point on I have never tried to be anyone else, just the best version of myself. That’s all any of us should ever be. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Correct priorities allow one to be revitalized daily. My family is always first, they give me the internal drive I need to continue innovating. Because I treat all patients as I would family, keeping my family as my primary focus helps in all other aspects of my life. My involvement in church and community also instills a level of gratitude for what I have been blessed with into my heart and infuses what I do with Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
greater purpose. Of course exercise and correct eating keep me fit and healthy. Reading books, teaching, and attending education classes keeps my mind active and allows me to always keep an eye towards the future. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? Form2 SLA 3D printer. This printer allows me to use the scans we take of people’s teeth (dental impressions will soon be obsolete) and print out a model faster with better precision for the fabrication of orthodontic retainers, appliances, etc. to better serve Fort Wayne Where did your first paycheck come from? Bridgerland-Cache Animal Hospital. What was your job then? Kennel Technician (Super Duper Pooper Scooper) - No job is too lowly. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? There are so many people that singling a few out for brevity will be difficult. First my parents as it was from them I learned to love a job well done, to work hard, and to always remain ethical and true to myself. Manish Valiathan at Case Western for guiding me along my path to becoming an orthodontist. Jim McNamara for supporting me through the tough years of residency and showing me true friendship. Ron Cohen for introducing me to the business of orthodontics and supporting my growth in the field. My team at work that pull together everyday to improve the quality of care our patients receive. My children (Hyatt, Porter, Abbie and Sydney) for loving me constantly without reservation. Mostly my wife, Bridgett, for always believing in me, my stalwart support, my personal cheerleader, the love of my life, my angel, and my queen.
and Isaac Knapp Dental Education Foundation would like to Congratulate
Dr. Joel Johnson 40 under 40 Recipient
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Employer: AMI Investment Management Title: Financial Advisor Education: • BS Management, Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette. • Certificate in Financial Planning, Boston University Community organizations with which you are involved: • Past-President of the Purdue Alumni Club of Fort Wayne • Current Board Member, Purdue Alumni Association • Board Treasurer, Power House Youth Center • Parkview Foundation’s Cookin’ Men • Emmanuel Community Church High School: Blackhawk Christian Hobbies: Reading and playing golf. Why are you in northeast Indiana? Northeast Indiana is a great place to live and work and most of my family is here. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? Helping my clients navigate their financial journey. It’s very rewarding when I can lend my expertise and make suggestions that have a life-changing impact on someone’s financial future. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 40 What does success mean to you? I agree with John Wooden’s definition: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with great partners. It’s the best way to maximize your enjoyment in life and it tips the odds of success in your favor. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I am passionate about the activities I’m involved in so it’s natural for me to keep a high energy level. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? It would probably be an AV cord I use to connect my mobile devices to my car so I can listen to podcasts while driving. I’m a big fan of “The Tim Ferriss Show.” What is a book you would recommend? “The Automatic Millionaire,” by David Bach and “The Obstacle is the Way,” by Page 22
Ryan Holiday Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Vera Bradley. My mom was in charge of the annual tent sale at the Coliseum and I broke down empty cardboard boxes after school. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? Endless. I’ve learned that most people are willing to help, you just have to ask. My wife always supports me in whatever new idea I’m working on and has been a wonderful partner in life. My parents have been my biggest fans. My firm is structured and run so that it provides both personal and professional support. Many businessmen and women who have been willing to meet with me and share their stories and advice. All of my clients who have given me their trust and confidence. One of my heroes, the late Eugene Parker, showed me that you can do anything with hard work and creativity. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Serving my clients. I love working for the families and companies that I get to work with. Our motto is to treat our clients in a manner they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. What lessons did you learn from it? Doing the right thing never goes out of style. If you always do what’s in the best interest of those you serve, you will be successful. What is your current professional goal? Do the best I can for my clients and continue to grow the number of families and Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
organizations I work with. Also, as treasurer of a non-profit youth center, I’m always thinking about ways we can improve the fundraising efforts of our organization to serve more kids. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Lots of reading and networking but it’s the questions from my clients and colleagues that continually push me to stay up to date on current financial planning topics. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? I prefer to view them as one. My faith, family, career and philanthropic activities all mesh together in my mind. Each of them do require a level of focus but I like the quote: “Be where your feet are.” What do you do to relax? I like to read, play golf, enjoy a beverage and good conversation with a friend, play with my bulldog (“Mackey”) and spend as much time with my family as possible. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? Based on my age I am a millennial but to me that simply identifies the year I was born. I think I have characteristics of both. While I think it’s important to embrace new technologies I find it extremely valuable to connect with people the “old school” way by actually picking up the phone and talking to them. I see the value of old fashion hard work and reaping what you sow. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? Don’t try a jump on a motocross bike in the year 2015…it doesn’t end well.
Employer: IPFW Title: Director, TRIO Student Support Services Education: B.A. Political Science-Indiana University (Fort Wayne) 2002; M.P.A. Indiana University (Fort Wayne) 2009 Community organizations with which you are involved: I’m the Indiana representative on the Educational Opportunity Association — a regional professional organization comprised of educational opportunity professionals in 10 Midwest states. I am also the legislation and education chair for the organization — helping to organize combined advocacy efforts for all ten states. I also serve as the president of Indiana’s Educational Opportunity Association, Indiana TRIO—a state association of professionals who advocate for opportunity in education for low-income, first-generation, and traditionally underrepresented students. High School: Heritage High School in Monroeville Hobbies: I enjoy rescuing and rearing caterpillars and butterflies, growing vegetables and flowers, taking photographs (mostly of my children), and spending time researching family genealogy. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy helping students reach their full potential. It’s rewarding to be able to see students overcome obstacles, defy stereotypes, and reach educational goals they have set for themselves. The students I help go into a number of different fields after graduation; and, helping such diverse students means I’m helping the community as a whole. Students I’ve worked with have gone on to be counse-
lors, managers, health care professionals, teachers, civil servants, and even engineers. Feeling like I help the community is what I enjoy most about my profession. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was raised in northeast Indiana and I have strong ties to the region. Northeast Indiana was a great place for me to grow up. I had the advantage of being near the city with all its diversity and innovation — while still holding on to rural family traditions like growing my own food. When my husband and I had our children, we wanted them to grow up with the best of both worlds too. About how many hours a week do you work on average? More than I’m required. I am lucky to have a job that doesn’t feel like work most days. Helping people around me seems much more like a way of life than an occupation. What does success mean to you? Success is doing your best and maintaining the best standards possible. It’s setting ambitious goals and reaching them. It’s not being afraid of a challenge. And, it’s making the world a better place than how you found it. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I really try not to focus too much on my mistakes. I make a lot of them and try to learn from each of them, but I really try to see them more as learning opportunities. If I had to choose one thing I would really try to do different professionally, I would say: hesitate less and be bold more often. I think early on in my career, I lacked confidence in my some of my abilities and didn’t assert myself as much as I should have. Time and experience have Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY helped me become much better at both. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I’m a doer. There is no part of me that doesn’t want to be busy and occupied doing something-especially if it’s truly meaningful to me. Knowing that I am helping my family, students, or the community keeps me going. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? The newest technology in our house is Google Home. Right now we like to have her adjust our lights for us and play music — but my kids also enjoy asking her questions and having her tell us jokes. What is a book you would recommend? I would recommend everyone read: Every Student Has a Story: Personal Narratives from First-Generation College Students. I am very proud to have been a part of this project and I believe the book offers a candid look into the struggles first-generation college students at IPFW face and how they have been able to overcome those challenges. I believe more local projects like this are what will help to advance our community. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck was from a small factory south of Fort Wayne. I got a summer job there gluing liners inside silverware boxes when I was 16 years old—mostly because my mom thought it would help give me motivation to go to college after high school. The best thing the experience did for me was let me work alongside my grandmother, Freda Smith, who also worked in the factory. It helped me better understand my family, their struggles, and their desire for me to rise above as many of those struggles as I possibly could. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My parents, Cathy and Rick Smith, have always been supportive of pushing me to excel and change the world around me more positively. And my sister, Natasha, is like my right arm. She has been a constant cheerleader and has kept me going—even when I have questioned my own decisions. Along with them, I have also been very lucky to have been surrounded by strong professional women who have helped guide me along my way. Most notably is my former supervisor and friend, Roxanne Gregg. She hired me as a secretary many years ago and then helped me gain valuable experiences to advance and get promoted within my profession. Her example has been something for me to aspire to; and to this day, she is still one of my biggest sources of support, knowledge, and encouragement. Page 23
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LINDSAY M.L. KOLER AGE: 34
Employer: Grunden Law Office/ Food Snob Title: Partner, Attorney/ Co-Owner Education: J.D, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Bachelor’s from Baldwin Wallace College Community organizations with which you are involved. • Board Member, Three Rivers Natural Foods Co-op • Volunteer and sunday school teacher at Emmanuel Lutheran Church • National Health Care Decisions Day Volunteer • Toys for Tots and Allen County Christmas Bureau volunteer • Walk to Remember (Infant Loss) Volunteer High School: Concordia Lutheran High School Hobbies: Golf, reading, yoga/pilates. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I am a Fort Wayne native, I returned to my hometown a couple years ago after working and attending college and law school in Ohio. The opportunity presented itself for my husband to partner with my father to run Fall Creek Homes, a local homebuilding company my father founded over 30 years ago. It was an incredible opportunity for our family to move back and for my husband to utilize his background in real estate and as a CPA for a company with such deep roots in the Fort Wayne community. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I thoroughly enjoy connecting with people and helping them through difficult times. I think there is so much misinformation when it comes to Medicaid and estate planning; my favorite
part of my job is to provide families helpful information and provide guidance to them as they determine what is best for their family. About how many hours a week do you work on average? It truly varies week by week. I typically am in the office three or four days a week. I am able to work remotely, which provides me with great flexibility in my schedule. What does success mean to you? That is a very hard question - what comes to my mind first are the objective factors one may consider when thinking about success, like salary, job title, benefits, etc… While those factors cross my mind when I think of success, there is so much more to defining success for me. I think my definition of success is not static, it has changed over time and I am sure it will continue to change. I think success for me right now involves working towards building relationships where I can be a trusted advisor, making a difference in people’s lives for the better, while maintaining balance in my own life and having time and energy for my family. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Looking back, I think the mistake I made at the first law firm I worked for was not having a person I connected with as a mentor there. Later on, when I began working for a different firm, I found an incredible mentor and what a world of difference that can make. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I think focusing on living a healthy and balanced life, helps me stay energized to accomplish my goals. For me staying healthy Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
means, eating healthy foods that nourish my body (so no fast food for me), exercising, spending time with my family and being involved with work and other activities that I am passionate about. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I am definitely not the type to run out and buy the newest technology, I have my iphone, laptop and ipad and that’s about the extent of the technology I use on a regular basis. We just built a new home and we can control our heat/air with our phones, which I think is pretty neat! What is a book you would recommend? Most of my reading these days is for work, however, I just finished reading a book called “The Genius of Generosity.” Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Baskin Robbins – ice cream scooper. Fall Creek Homes - my dad is a local homebuilder and I would help with open houses and administrative tasks in the office. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? God and my family have been constant supports in my life. My parents provided me with guidance, as well as set an incredible example with their entrepreneurial spirit and hard work ethic. My husband has always been my biggest supporter, encouraging me all along the way and is my frequent sounding board for new ideas and tough decisions. I have also had the pleasure of working with several great mentors that have taught me valuable lessons and helped encourage me. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Becoming a named partner at Pirozzi Koler LLC in Ohio and a partner at the Grunden Law Office in Fort Wayne. Starting Food Snob, a healthy baking mixes company that focuses on whole food ingredients. What lessons did you learn from it? In becoming a partner at Pirozzi Koler, I took on new responsibilities of not only doing the work of an attorney, but also managing a law office, looking at the big picture including marketing, talent retention, growing the practice and ensuring we are meeting the needs of each client. When my husband and I decided to move back to Fort Wayne a couple years ago it was daunting to think about starting over, but Fort Wayne is where I grew up and I have enjoyed being back; I found a great fit at the Grunden Law Office. Delving into starting Food Snob, while also working as an attorney was difficult, but it taught me anything is possibly with hard work and a passionate spirit. Page 25
Employer: First Federal Savings Bank Title: Marketing Director Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, Associate’s Degrees in Business and Commercial Art, all from IPFW. Community organizations with which you are involved: Currently, I am heavily involved at the Parkview Huntington Family YMCA as a volunteer and race director of the YMCA Sock Soaker, which raises funds for the organization’s annual campaign. My husband and I volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Big Couple and fund raise through their annual Bowl-for-Kid’s Sake. I also coordinate the in-house campaign for United Way at our offices. High School: Huntington North High School in Huntington Hobbies: I enjoy watching movies, reading books under the sun, exercising and spending time with my family. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I grew up here. My family is here. I’ve never had a desire to be anywhere else. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The people I work with! First Federal Saving Bank has a great group of professionals that help each other both professionally and personally. It is so wonderful to look forward to going to work and being supported. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 35 What does success mean to you? I believe when you make a difference to others, you have been successful. To me, doing your absolute best at something, win or lose, equates to success. When I eat a salad for lunch instead of the cheeseburger I wanted, success! Life’s small victories! What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I am not sure one of specific mistake but missed opportunities drive me crazy. They happen every day. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Setting unrealistic expectations leads to disappointment. I think setting attainable short term goals help keep me energized and on track. Let’s never underestimate the power of caffeine. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My four-year-old 5s iPhone…sad, I know. I am not much of a techie! What is a book you would recommend? “Wherever You Are,” by Nancy Tillman. Page 26
It is my favorite book to read to my daughter. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Myer’s Ice Cream Parlor, in Huntington. I was a cashier/ice cream scooper/barista not a very good one. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I’ve been with First Federal Savings Bank for over 15 years and am grateful for the opportunity they gave me at such a young age. I began at the bank as a teller, worked in the accounting department through most of college and completed my internship with the previous marketing director. I was 23 and hadn’t graduated yet but leadership had faith in my ability to succeed and they’ve supported my development ever since. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? First Federal Savings Bank is community oriented. The employees are encouraged to pursue volunteer opportunities that coincide with their passions. Through my passion, I, along with a small committee, founded an obstacle race in Huntington for the Parkview Huntington YMCA known as the YMCA Sock Soaker. This will be our third year for the race that continues to grow annually and raise money for their annual campaign. It is a fun way to raise awareness as well as encourage individuals to stay or get active and challenge themselves. I have heard the most rewarding stories about how it helps people conquer their fears and that it is more than just a race to people. It is an Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
awesome feeling to have that impact and I am sure there are plenty of stories that I will never hear, especially from the children and families that benefit from the funds raised. What lessons did you learn from it? I’ve been so humbled by what people are willing to give. Whether it’s monetary, their time or their skills, I have had the pleasure of working with the most kind-hearted people that will do anything just because you asked them and they can. Delegation can be a struggle for me but I have learned through this process that it takes an army! I am grateful for their dedication and what we have accomplished together as a team. What is your current professional goal? My goal is to continue to expand my industry knowledge and promote First Federal Savings Bank, specifically in its newer markets. We are well established with a large portion of the market share in Huntington. There is a whole new set of challenges in the Warsaw and Fort Wayne areas, and it is challenging to stand out among competitors. We are continuing to grow and deliver the same value our Huntington customers have known for generations. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? The Indiana Bankers Association offers roundtables, seminars, webinars and professional development materials that are all helpful. Banking, especially banking compliance, is ever changing. Thankfully, our COO has the responsibility of keeping up on all departments, but I still need to know the dos and don’ts for bank advertising. Networking is an invaluable resource.
Employer: Minear Real Estate LLC Title: Owner/Managing Broker Education: IPFW and Troyer School of Real Estate Community organizations with which you are involved: I volunteer with Whitley County Day of Caring. My company offers a quarterly donation to a not-for-profit organization or person in need. We also host many free for the community events such as; Santa and reindeer annually at Christmas time, donate live Christmas trees to families in need, and host an annual sand volleyball tournament that raises money for donation. High School: Columbia City High School Hobbies: Shooting guns, poker, basketball, playing with my four kids Why are you in northeast Indiana? Northeast Indiana is a great place to raise a family. My wife and I both grew up here and enjoy raising our kids in a small town atmosphere near our families. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I love that every day is different and full of different possibilities. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 30-60 hours per week depending on the time of year. Summers are extremely busy while winter and holiday time is generally pretty slow. What does success mean to you? Success to me isn’t measured on how much money you have. It’s based on
balancing both family and work in a way that you can be proud of and feel like neither side suffer because of the other. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My greatest mistake was waiting longer than I should have to take the plunge and go out on my own as a real estate business owner. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I want my kids to see that hard work does pay off and that with hard work you can also be a good parent and have good community involvement. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? We just recently purchased a matterport camera that allows people to showcase their home through a very high tech “walk-through” virtual tour. What is a book you would recommend? “The Lone Survivor” Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Pirates Cove. Dishwasher. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? Family support was a big help in advancing my career. My mother-in-law was working with Ideal Suburban Homes when I started and got my foot in the door with them representing them as a builder rep. My wife also helped get Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
Minear Real Estate started by quitting her job to become an office manager to help keep things running smoothly when we first opened in 2010. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Becoming one of the top real estate brokers in Whitley County resulting, in opening my own real estate company in 2010. What lessons did you learn from it? Hard work and persistence pays off. What is your current professional goal? To keep Minear Real Estate running as a respectable and honest company with brokers that people can trust. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I stay on top of market values, volunteer on our local MLS board, and keep my eyes and ears open to what is new and upcoming in real estate through research. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? It is definitely a balancing act that is sometimes easier than others. Real Estate can be a tough business because you are usually working evenings or weekends. I try the best I can to make sure that I am not working two evenings in a row so that I can spend time with my wife and four kids. I also think it is setting a great example to my kids to show that a strong work ethic has its benefits as well as a life involving community service. When we host special events or are volunteering with the company I try to involve our children as much as I can. What do you do to relax? I enjoy playing games with my kids, reading, watching a good movie, and shooting at the range. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? I would say that I identify as both Gen X and millennial especially considering I was born right on that teetering year of 1980. I am a hard worker which is a trait of a Gen Xer but I am also constantly looking at the newest and most advanced technology as a millennial would in order to help better our company. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? Don’t be in such a rush to grow up. Have fun, learn as much as you can, and stay determined. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Page 27
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Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
Employer: Empyrean Events and Catering Title: Chief Event Designer Education: Ball State University, Huntington North High School Community organizations with which you are involved: International Live Events Association Indiana Chapter High School: Huntington North High School Hobbies: Traveling, reading Why are you in northeast Indiana? I grew up in northeast Indiana and found my way back to this area as it is at the core of my heart “home.” The growth, development, and potential of this area is more exciting than ever and I am thrilled to be a part of that movement. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I am passionate about creating unique and memorable experiences for clients. We are in the business of happiness and by nature of the job we get to be creative on a daily basis. I have always found myself searching for creative outlets and there are few other professions that allow as much creative freedom as the events industry. About how many hours a week do you work on average? My average hours in the office are 60 per week; however; I am never “off” work. This isn’t a clock in and out job. My life’s passion is my work and I am constantly immersed in the success of the company, our clients, and the growth of our staff as a whole. What does success mean to you? I define success as living a life that you are passionate about. Each person’s answer to that is different but everyone has the ability to achieve it. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? As I started college, I knew I was not committed to the area of study I had selected. It was, of course, the “right thing” to do but in my heart of hearts I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I ignored that inner voice and went through the motions of life at the time not giving or investing myself to school. It was the first example of many I’ve found that following your passion, no matter what that may be, is the best way to succeed on your own terms. Happiness and joy aren’t always found in the path that others intend for you. Only you can define that. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? The biggest motivator for me in all areas of my life is staying in sync with the current market, trends, and like-minded individuals. Page 30
What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My Ipad Pro is by my side every day. I can be found on it searching for inspiration or remotely connecting to my office. It’s a fabulous tool for anyone in the creative field. What is a book you would recommend? We have a book club in our office that focuses on professional development and management styles. We are currently working through Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits for Managers: Managing Yourself, Leading Others, Unleashing Potential.” I find that even if I’ve read some of these books several times, I pick up a new piece of knowledge that applies to different points in my life at the time. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? I earned my first paycheck working for my father’s sporting goods company at the age of 13. I spent afternoons and weekends working in the retail area of the store or pulling shirts off the industrial dryer. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My friends and family have always been supportive of my choice to pursue the special events industry. Throughout my career I’ve met several influential professionals who have encouraged me to continue to grow and learn. These people have become mentors and friends who have always been available when I’ve sought advice or direction. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? The launch and opening of Empyrean is by far my biggest accomplishment and was the result of countless hours of hard work and relentless determination. Empyrean has Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
brought me several career highlights including winning more than 10 international awards for catering, mixology and design. What lessons did you learn from it? The opening of Empyrean has taught me many lessons. The most dominant has been about people and the value of culture within an organization. Without a healthy and creative internal culture our service standards simply cannot be achieved. What is your current professional goal? I am focused on the continued growth and development of Empyrean’s services. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? One of my personal standards is to constantly be engaged in the growth of the special events industry through continued education. Our membership in associations like the International Caterers Association and the International Live Events Association, allow me to connect to the best professionals in the world and to share and collaborate with them to better myself, our staff, and our company. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? This career is demanding and intense. I am fortunate to work alongside my husband which allows me to incorporate career, family, and community together. What do you do to relax? Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t know what the word relax means. My career is my passion so taking a break from that is few and far between. When I do spend time outside of work I can be found with my daughter, checking out a new restaurant, or at a concert.
KEVIN J. MITCHELL
Employer: Faegre Baker Daniels LLP Title: Partner Education: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D.; Ashland University, B.A. Community organizations with which you are involved: Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – volunteer attorney; St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church; and the Indiana State Bar Association – Leadership Development Academy. High School: Worthington Christian High School, Columbus, Ohio Hobbies: Sports, especially with the kids; reading and writing; and occasionally drawing Why are you in northeast Indiana? I moved to Fort Wayne with my wife and daughter in 2007 to begin my legal career with Baker & Daniels (now Faegre Baker Daniels). My wife and I are both originally from Columbus, Ohio. Our first child, Callie, was born while I was attending law school in Cleveland, but our three boys are nativeborn Hoosiers. We have enjoyed becoming more actively involved in the community as we have established roots in our local church and schools. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy the legal process — investigating the facts, analyzing legal issues, and developing and executing a strategy to resolve disputes. I especially enjoy trial work. But more than anything, I enjoy when clients let me into their world so I can see how the business or institution operates, understand their key objectives and guiding principles,
and determine how the legal issue I am handling impacts the whole. This allows me to become a trusted advisor. About how many hours a week do you work on average? Probably too many — but I don’t think that is unique to the legal profession. What does success mean to you? 50 years of marriage. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? With all of the competing demands in life, I sometimes fail to prioritize exercise as I should. I learned that it’s much easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Coffee. Exercise would be more effective, so I’m working on that, too. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? A new BlackBerry (yes, they still make them!). It may not have all the bells and whistles of an iPhone or some other smartphones, but the keyboard is handy for work emails. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from a Kroger in Columbus, Ohio, where I bagged groceries. Other early jobs included a newspaper route, bussing tables and landscaping. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I believe some of my biggest accomplishments are in process. My most memorable accomplishment would be my first jury trial Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
in federal court several years ago. I still remember getting called back to the court with our client to hear the jury’s verdict. What lessons did you learn from it? The law truly is a service profession. Through our hard work and collaboration, our team delivered an exceptional result for our client. What is your current professional goal? I want to continue developing my litigation practice and, specifically, do more work with financial institutions in northeast Indiana and the surrounding region. I also want to continue looking for opportunities to give back through pro bono services. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My greatest support is at home. My wife, Kim, and I have been together since our junior year in high school, so she has walked each step with me, through college, law school, and the transition to the practice of law. She is my best friend. Our children – Callie (10), Charlie (8), Jack (8) and Harry (5) – are an inspiration to me as well. I also received support from colleagues at Faegre Baker Daniels, both in Fort Wayne and our offices across the country. Investing in others is part of our firm’s culture. Being able to walk down the hall or pick up the telephone to discuss a legal issue or strategy is priceless when you are developing your practice. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I attend continuing legal education seminars and read a variety of materials regarding new legal developments. As a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, I am fortunate to draw on the depth and breadth of the firm’s many resources, including over 700 attorneys across the globe. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? As an attorney, time is my most precious commodity. I measure my life six minutes at a time. I try to live intentionally and manage my time as well as possible. What do you do to relax? Above all, I enjoy spending time with my family—enjoying a cup of coffee with Kim or a meal together, tackling a new home project, and watching Callie, Charlie, Jack and Harry in their various sporting events. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? Gen X. I was the youngest of three brothers, and I tend to identify with them. What is a book you would recommend? Our family enjoys reading “The Chronicles of Narnia,” by C.S. Lewis. Page 31
Employer: Afdent Dental Title: CEO Education: Associates Degree from Holy Cross College in 1998, Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Western Michigan University in 2000. Community organizations with which you are involved: Easter Seals Arc, The Carriage House, Rotary, AMA, BBB, TLC, Snite Museum of Art, Hello Gorgeous, Logan Center, St. Vincent High School St. Joseph High School South Bend Hobbies: Golfing, Enjoying time with family and friends at the lake. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised in Granger Ind. Through my childhood and my adult life I was close to the founder of Afdent and his family. After college I decided to join the Afdent family and had the honor of meeting the founder of Afdent Fort Wayne, David Allen. I have been with Afdent for 16 years. Through most of those years I have been in the Fort Wayne area. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy changing people’s lives through dentistry. I also enjoy growing the Afdent family here in Fort Wayne. Afdent Fort Wayne now has over 115 employees. When I started we had around 20 employees. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 50-plus hours per week. What does success mean to you? Success to me means loving what I do and enjoying my time in and out of the office. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Becoming a CEO at such an early age was an eye-opening experience. Learning how to develop and maintain a culture while growing rapidly was a tremendous experience. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I stay energized by staying active and always looking forward. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? The latest piece of technology I have purchased is a whole home automation system. Quite frankly I am still learning how to use it. Classic Stereo has been back out for several lessons. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from Lazzara and O’Hara Soft Water. It was my grandfather’s Page 32
BRIAN C. NORDAN
business. I worked as a sales person and also helped install water softeners. There I learned a very old school work ethic. What is a book you would recommend? “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” by Robert Kiyosak What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? From an early age my family has always provided an enormous amount of support. Though their business backgrounds were varied, it always came down to a handful of business truths – treat people as people, take care of your customers, be willing to work harder than the next person, look people in the eye and smile. Beyond my family, Afdent founder, Dr. Roger Pecina, has been a great mentor of mine, as has the founder of Afdent Fort Wayne, Dr. David Allen. Together we have really formed a great team, and their business philosophies continue to be an inspiration to me. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment is becoming CEO of Afdent Dental. We are the largest independently owned dental practice in the country, which means we have a great opportunity and duty to take care of people and their dental health needs. I’ve been with the company for 16 years, and in that time we’ve added programs that really benefit the people of Fort Wayne like the giving away of thousands of free dental cleanings every year. I am also really proud of all of the additional jobs we’ve been able to create. What lessons did you learn from it? We’ve all heard from when we were young about the “Golden Rule.” Treating Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
people as you wish to be treated, or in the case of Afdent – treating patients as though they were your very own family. I have been fortunate enough to witness the effect this can have on peoples’ lives time and time again. From the caring attitudes of our Afdent team and the feeling at the end of the workday when you know you’ve really helped, to seeing the gratitude in satisfied patients, to the number of family and friend referrals we see each and every year as literally thousands of people visit our office annually. Treating people with kindness and compassion is not just a good way to live, it is very good for business. What is your current professional goal? To continue to grow the Afdent family, while staying rooted in Afdent’s core goals – always making sure our patients remain our top priority. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I remain current by accompanying my doctors and staff to all of their continuing education courses. I also have always strove to learn from family and friends and others I respect just watching, listening, and following their example. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? I maintain balance a couple of ways. First, just by consciously keeping things in perspective. Understanding that a great career is just that – a great career – but people are what truly make all the difference. Second, is planning. I make sure that I am setting aside time to relax. Time to hangout with friends. Time to help and get involved in the community. Planning is huge!
Employer: Sweetwater Sound Title: Vice President, Performance Improvement Education: BS, Finance & International Business - Indiana University, Bloomington; MBA – Taylor University Community organizations with which you are involved: I currently serve as vice chairman of the board of The Rescue Mission, on the board of As Our Own (an organization rescuing vulnerable children in India) and in various roles with Pathway Community Church. High School: Northrop High School Hobbies: I enjoy reading, competitive swimming and spending time with my wife and four girls. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I grew up here, met my wife here and learned to root for IU basketball here. We both moved down to Bloomington for college and spent a couple years out-of-state right after graduation but moved back once we started planning our wedding. Getting away for a few years gave us a greater appreciation for what a wonderful region this is. And it’s incredibly exciting to be investing back in to the community by serving those in need and helping grow multiple businesses and jobs. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I thoroughly enjoy helping our customers pursue their dreams while working alongside an amazingly talented group of people - and that starts with Chuck (Surack) and John (Hopkins). The way they set the tone in putting their hearts and minds into taking care of our employees and customers is inspiring. It’s
a great privilege to be working with them in stewarding our Sweetwater philosophy to always “do the right thing.” About how many hours a week do you work on average? It’s hard to say exactly how the hours work out because I make every effort to be available whenever a situation or one of our team members might need me - and that tends to vary. But I also make sure to carve out dedicated evening and weekend time to stay focused on my family. On average, it probably works out to 50-60 hours per week. What does success mean to you? I sometimes lead an exercise with our team members where I ask them to write down how they’d like to be remembered 20 years from now. The answers almost always revolve around wanting someone close to them to have been proud of them – a parent, a spouse, a child or maybe a friend. Despite this reality, many of us end up reverting to seeing our accomplishments as determinants of our success. We mistakenly end up thinking that these accomplishments are going to help us hear someone say to us “well done.” But, ironically, relationships don’t thrive based on bigger accomplishments – they thrive when someone knows they can be entirely truthful, gracious and share who they really are with us. So, if we want a successful life, I believe it all comes down to proactively opening ourselves up to receiving truth and grace – that’s how we’ll hear the “well done.” What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I’ve made plenty of mistakes – and some of them hurt people I was the closest to. Very Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
early in my marriage, I thought I’d be better off if I tried to minimize those mistakes by not being entirely truthful with my wife about them. But I soon realized that complete and total honesty is always the best policy – even when the only outcome you can see might seem disastrous. The forgiveness you can receive on the other side of being honest about yourself is by far the most freeing gift imaginable. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I make focused efforts to stay connected to my source of life – Jesus. I find that both my energy and sense of peace dramatically increase when I spend time talking with him through prayer, getting to know him better through reading the scriptures and listening to him in the small, silent internal promptings. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I don’t know if this really counts as technology or not - but we bought our girls a pair of Trolls-themed walkie-talkies for Christmas. So, I’ve spent a fair share of time playing “spy” around our house the past couple months. Sometimes the old school technology is the best kind – at least until the batteries run out! Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? I started working as a fill-in summer lifeguard at various community pools around town before landing my first steady life guarding gig at Glenaqua Pool. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? By far my best advisor has been my wife, Kelly. She’s my biggest fan, and always brings a thoughtful perspective to work and career discussions. I’ve also been privileged to work alongside many absolutely outstanding individuals. Some helped by providing direct personal and professional advice and others just led by example – but everyone I’ve worked with has played a role in shaping my path. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I consider it a great privilege to be a steward of our Sweetwater philosophy to always “do the right thing”. We’ve had great success in building up some wonderful local businesses in our Sweet Family of Companies -Longe Optical, SweetCars, Sweet Aviation and others. But more important than the financial wins, is that we’re taking care of people and playing a role in enabling them to achieve their dreams. Every time a new team member catches this vision and turns it into a great experience for one of our customers, I consider that to be the biggest part of anything I’ve accomplished. Page 33
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Employer: Rothberg Logan & Warsco LLP Title: Attorney Education: Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Indiana University Bloomington; J.D., Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law Community organizations with which you are involved: • Allen County Bar Association, chair, bankruptcy and creditor’s rights section • Mustard Seed Furniture Bank, vice president, board of directors • Risk Management Association, Northern Indiana Chapter, board member • St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church, secretary, parish council • Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic, former board member High School: South Side High School Hobbies: While I wouldn’t call it a hobby, I study and sing Byzantine chant through my church. I also play tennis when I get the chance, I’m in too many fantasy football leagues, and I’m always in search of the latest, greatest software to improve my life. If I can find someone to help me lift the heavy sofa in my basement and make some room, I might set up my drums for the first time in too long. Why are you in northeast Indiana? My wife and I are both from Fort Wayne, but we were living in the Chicago area before law school. After a lot of soul-searching, we decided that Indiana suited us best, and we came back to Bloomington for law school. Between the collegial legal community, our relatives located nearby, and the exciting growth going on downtown, I couldn’t be happier to be back in Fort Wayne to grow my career and my family.
What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The practice of law gives me the chance to learn something new with each project, and to dig in and figure out creative solutions to difficult problems. Although it doesn’t happen every day, I also enjoy the opportunity to connect with a person who is feeling vulnerable, give them confidence, and help resolve their problems. About how many hours a week do you work on average? Unless things really blow up, I average around 50 hours a week. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? After I finished my undergraduate work I went straight into a graduate computer science program. My mistake was that I failed to properly prepare for grad school. I was surrounded by very talented students who were focused on maximizing their school opportunity, but my mind was stuck in undergrad and I was overmatched by my classmates. It was kind of a lost year. However, that experience taught me that grad school is a serious investment that requires intense focus and a clear sense of purpose. When I returned to law school, I knew my goals, I understood the steps it would take to achieve them, and I was determined not to let anyone outwork me. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Both my faith and my family are very important to me. When my day-to-day activities support those priorities — work that provides for my family or community involvement that Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
allows me to serve others — it is easy to stay energized. Becoming a father two years ago gave me motivation to become a role model, not just live for myself. What does success mean to you? I believe success is about overcoming mistakes and weaknesses, setting challenging goals, and achieving those goals without regrets. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My wife and I bought a Roku recently to stream internet TV channels. Not very cutting edge for 2017, but we’re very happy with the money we save on cable. What is a book you would recommend? My reading has become too utilitarian; I need to read more for fun. However, the book that’s had the biggest impact on our family recently is “The Total Money Makeover,” by Dave Ramsey. Learning to focus our financial resources has allowed us to pay off an enormous amount of debt quickly, despite my wife’s leaving her job after our son was born. I know many of my peers have similar challenges with large student loans, and I heartily recommend this book to help gain control. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Starting when I was 9, I teamed with my older brother to deliver the News-Sentinel to the good people of 46807. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? Before law school, I worked for Discover Card, which taught me a lot about working in a corporate setting. At Rothberg, I have been treated as a professional since my first day as an intern. I have been given top-quality projects that stretch me, mentorship from a variety of successful attorneys, and the firm’s support in all of my community activities. I am blessed and grateful for my opportunities. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I’ve been proud to support clients in many interesting and important projects. Over the past few years, Rothberg has been fortunate to be involved in several significant and high-profile downtown developments. Meeting the challenges of closing those transactions has been professionally fulfilling. What lessons did you learn from it? I have seen that despite public scrutiny, time and cost pressures, many competing interests, and parties involved across several cities and states, it is still possible for a development group to pull together and accomplish a huge project collegially. Being involved in those developments has made me optimistic for Fort Wayne’s future. Page 35
Employer: Kendallville Housing Authority Title: Executive Director Education: High School Diploma/ Tallahassee Community College and Santa Fe Community College Community organizations with which you are involved: Noble County Young Professional Network, a board member on the Kendallville Housing Finance Committee and I also help serve the monthly dinners at the Lamplighter apartments to the residents. High School: Tavares High School in Tavares, Fla. Hobbies: My free time is spent with my family. My kids love swimming, so in the summer we go out on our lake as much as we can. I am also in the process of starting my own online clothing boutique, which is more of a passion than a hobby. I would also love to get back to playing golf. Why are you in northeast Indiana? To make a long story short… I was living in Florida and came to visit my family. While I was here, I met my husband through my cousin. They went to high school together and I have been living here ever since. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy what a great staff and board members I have. They are great to work with. They make my job that much more enjoyable. I also enjoy seeing the residents. I have known some for as many as 12-plus years so we have gotten to know one another pretty well. About how many hours a week do you work on average? It all depends on the week and month. In public housing, HUD requires paperwork to be submitted different times of the year. I would say my busiest time of the year is year-end and when we do our audit. What does success mean to you? Success can come in many different forms. To me, is means where I am today in my career and family. It is to fulfill the goals and dreams I have set. That is where I get real satisfaction and happiness. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Not applying for the executive director position the first time it became available. I did not feel confident enough during that time. I learned to try and not overthink things and to give myself more credit. I think we are our own worst critics. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? It can very tiresome at times, you just have to push yourself that much harder and know the outcome is going to be great. It can be as little as feeling better because you stayed up Page 36
late to get the house clean or the volunteer work you did is making your community that much better. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I do not always stay up to date on the latest technology. My IPhone 7 is my newest piece of technology. It seems that the world today revolves around having some sort of smart device. I do not know one person that does not have a cell phone. My elderly residents have been using them for years. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paying job was at a golf course named Deer Island. I worked in the pro-shop collecting greens fees, scheduling tee times and displaying the apparel. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My family, staff and board of commissioners as well as my very supportive husband. He has always believed in me when I have doubted myself, and has challenged me to go after my goals. What is a book you would recommend? I haven’t read many books lately, I had more time to read when my twins were born prematurely weighing a whopping 1 pound, 14 ounces. During their three-month stay in the NICU, I read a lot of books about preemies. My husband has been really into reading parenting books and has bought me a few recently. So, if you are a parent or plan on being one I would recommend any parenting books by Meg Meeker. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I would have to say becoming the executive director at the Kendallville Housing Authority. I started with the company over 12 years ago, and after hard work, dedication and great support from my family, co-workers, and board members I worked my way up to the position I have been in now for over two years and am loving it. What lessons did you learn from it? I may have doubted myself many times during the transition to my new position, but it was well worth it in the end. I just always try to remind myself to stay positive… You got this. What is your current professional goal? I would like to continue to grow in my current position and to become as knowledgeable as I can. It is also very important to me that I continue having a great relationship with my tenants in the senior/disabled HUD housing complex that I manage. I have known many of them for over 12 years now and they have seen me in many transition’s through the years, from me getting married to having children. I myself have seen their many transitions from seeing their grandkids grow up, to losing a loved one, or even losing the battle themselves. I want them to continue loving the place they call home. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I feel in public housing rules and regulations are always changing so you must stay current taking training courses, attending conferences, networking with other housing authorities and staying up to date on HUD publications.
BILLY REFFITT AGE: 36
Employer: Entrepreneur Title: CEO & Founder - Great Lakes Mobile, Founder & President - Reffitt Investments LLC, Founder & President - yo2go, President - SunKiss Tanning, Chairman - Columbia City Downtown Business Alliance Education: AAS, Ivy Tech; Executive Leadership Program, Notre Dame; Multiple management and Leadership courses from American Management Academy and St. Francis University Community organizations with which you are involved: (Current) Columbia City Downtown Business Alliance, Whitley County Community Foundation, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement (Past) Signature Giving, Columbia City Housing Authority, Columbia City Main Street Association, Big Brothers / Big Sisters High School: Whitko High School Hobbies: Family time, traveling, drone videography Why are you in northeast Indiana? Born and raised What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I love being an entrepreneur because of the challenges I face on a daily basis. I also enjoy the thrill of being able to make a difference in other peoples lives by giving them opportunities that otherwise may not exist. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 60 What does success mean to you? Helping other people attain a position they dreamed of / create a company of their own.
What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My biggest mistake has been getting into bad partnerships. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Without the passion of wanting to create a better life for my family I wouldn’t be so motivated. Earlier in my career, I did things for selfish reasons, but now that I look at myself at a servant leader I feel like I am obligated to make a better life for my family and my neighbors. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? Yuneec Q500 Drone. It is well built, easy to control, and takes video in 4K UHD. What is a book you would recommend? “The Art of War” Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Aside from baling hay when I was a young teenager, I believe my first official paycheck came when I was 16 from McDonalds in Warsaw, where I was a grill cook. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? The greatest support I have received professionally is from some truly great mentors/leaders at Centennial Wireless who pushed me to never settle for anything but excellence. Personally, I would credit my ambitious attitude to coming from a humble background, but always being told by my family that I could truly do anything I set my mind to. What is your current professional goal? My current goals are to grow Great Lakes Mobile to have 15 AT&T locations; philanthropForty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
ically my goal is to renovate a 125-year-old church in downtown Columbia City into an interactive children’s museum by the summer of 2018. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? In late 2014 I negotiated the multimillion dollar sale of one of my previous companies, Mobile King – an AT&T Retailer, to Spring Mobile, a division of GameStop. Although our company was doing very well I believe I did the right thing in choosing to sell because it gave our 56 employees the opportunity to work within a Fortune 200 company with better benefits and pay than we could offer. What lessons did you learn from it? I learned to really negotiate from a position of power, even though I was dealing with a much, much larger organization. The three month negotiation taught me lessons that I use on a regular basis to this day. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Reading and listening to all forms of communication. I am constantly searching for ways to improve all of my businesses, Google is one of my best friends. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? Being married with four children I have to make a lot of sacrifices. I spent my 20s being a workaholic but I have learned to delegate enough tasks and responsibilities to not only spend quality time with my family, but also coach their sports teams. What do you do to relax? I play cards and watch a lot of football with friends in the winter. In the summer I enjoy spending time at the lake and traveling with my family in our RV. I also enjoy sampling and reviewing craft beers from all over Indiana and Michigan. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? That’s a tough one because my age puts me close to the fence. I typically say Gen X because I’m very self motivated and do not need people to slap me on the back when I’ve done a good job, however, I think some of that comes from my military background. I definitely have some millennial traits as well though because I think I’m relatively creative and optimistic. I’d say I’m definitely a mix, but more Gen X. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? Dream big, I recently looked at my old senior yearbook where I wrote down my life goals. I have far surpassed those. I would also tell myself to always figure out how I am going to work for my dream rather than someone else’s. Page 37
Employer: Town of Churubusco Title: Clerk-Treasurer Education: B.S. Business AdministrationIndiana Tech; M.S. Management- Indiana Wesleyan University; obtaining Masters of Public Administration- Indiana State University (graduating Fall 2017) Community organizations with which you are involved: • Vice-President- Churubusco Chamber of Commerce • Vice-President- Churubusco Youth Foundation • Chairwoman- Indiana 3rd District Democratic Committee • Board of Directors- Accelerating Indiana’s Municipalities • Board of Directors- Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers • Past-President- Churubusco Rotary Club • Churubusco Tree Board • Volunteer- Junior Achievement • Volunteer (and graduate)- Emerging Leaders Program • Creator and instructor- Local Government module at Churubusco High School High School: Churubusco High School Hobbies: I honestly do not have any. I’m way too busy. I guess volunteering for nonprofits and political campaigns is my hobby. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I moved back to my hometown from Indianapolis after I had my first child. There is a lot to be said about having the support of your parents and family when you become a parent. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I love making a difference in my hometown. Walking down the street, I can look at the newly installed sidewalks or the recently planted trees and know I’m partially responsible for those being there. It’s really an awesome feeling to know that these things that will be around for many years are my fault. About how many hours a week do you work on average? It really depends on the week and what’s going on, but usually it’s between 40-50. What does success mean to you? Success means accomplishing what you set out to do. And while I have accomplished mild successes, I would not consider myself successful. I think I can and should be doing more. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My greatest mistake was probably quitting college after my junior year, but had I finished, Page 38
I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. Because I finished later with another major, I was able to gain valuable knowledge and experience that has helped me in my current role as clerk-treasurer. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? It’s easy to stay energized at work and within my community when many of the projects I oversee or are responsible for come to fruition. At home and school, it’s another story. I feel like I’ve been in school forever (I’m working on my second master’s degree) and at home I am not motivated to do much of anything. I think I pour myself into so much outside of home that when I get here, I’m just kind of done. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I don’t have it yet, but my husband just pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch. It’s a video game system that I will probably never use. I guess it does some cool stuff? Other than that, my newest piece of technology is my phone, and it’s almost a year old. I love technology, but I don’t need the latest and greatest thing. I’m totally okay with using things until they break. What is a book you would recommend? I cannot remember the last time I read for fun. Since I’ve been in school, I only read what I’m assigned (and even then, I don’t always do that!). I’m pretty lame. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first actual job (other than babysitting) was at Shroyer’s Variety and Hardware in Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
Churubusco. Janet Shroyer hired me when I was 14 to be a cashier and stocker. She and her husband taught me a lot about customer service, community, and business. I still frequent the store with my own children and work with their daughter and current owner, Lori Fulk, on many events with the Chamber. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My family members are my biggest cheerleaders and have supported me in all my endeavors since an early age. While my husband is not crazy about the amount I take on, he understands I do it for the greater good of Churubusco or whichever organization I am working with. I also work for one of the most supportive communities in Northeast Indiana. The staff, our Town Council, and the citizens of Churubusco are amazing people and we are all trying to make our little town a better place to live, work, and play. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I am a two-term elected Democrat in a very Republican area, which in and of itself is quite a feat. Other accomplishments include writing and being awarded numerous grants for my hometown that have allowed projects that have been but pipe dreams to be completed. What lessons did you learn from it? I have learned to be as transparent as possible as there is always someone watching and to better communicate with those that may not agree with me. I have also learned that in government, nothing is easy and nothing is quick, but when projects are finally complete, the result is well worth the wait.
Employer: Smith Academy for Excellence Title: School Leader Education: Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, Master’s in Education Administration Community organizations with which you are involved: With the amount of time I spend at Smith Academy, including all extracurricular activities, I have not recently had time to be actively involved with other organizations on a regular basis. High School: North Side High School Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, watching shows about cooking and eating whatever I’ve been cooking. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born in Muncie and my family moved to Fort Wayne when I was 2 years old. My wife and I both have most of our family in this area. We have chosen to stay in northeast Indiana because we have invested a great deal here and we are committed to helping build the Fort Wayne community. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I really enjoy seeing young people grow. I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of young people and seeing them develop academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally is very rewarding. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I generally work about 55 hours per week. What does success mean to you? Simply put, success for me is fulfilling my mission. Because of my faith in Christ, my mission is to share His love with everyone I
can. The primary way I try to accomplish this in my career is by helping as many young people know their value and realize their potential as I possibly can. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? One of my greatest mistakes has been misplaced focus. I am very task oriented so, at times, I have put too much emphasis on minutiae. I have learned (and continue to learn) that, although tasks absolutely need to be completed, I must also evaluate the motivation behind the tasks on which I spend great time and effort. If I’m simply engrossed in checking items off my to-do-list, I’m less effective. I’ve learned that when I have the right motives, I am much better at choosing tasks and prioritizing them appropriately. This makes me more efficient and effective. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? One thing I do to stay energized is try to reflect on victories and focus on the positives. It can be easy to become drained and disillusioned when fixated on the woes of life and work. I find positivity to be invigorating and life-giving. I have also learned to find strength in my weakness. When I am honest with myself and admit that I cannot be Superman, I can allow myself to draw strength and energy from God, my family, coworkers and friends instead of trying to do everything myself. Another thing I do is enjoy time with my family as much as possible. Although it can be very difficult to balance work and family, I find that balance to be critically important in my effort to maintain Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
energy and effectiveness in many areas of my life. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My iPhone is probably the newest piece of technology I own. It does everything! I probably rely on it a little too much. What is a book you would recommend? I would recommend a book on leadership called “The Way of the Shepherd,” by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak. It’s a short read but powerful. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first job was at StaGreen Lawn Care Service. I had a great experience working for this business doing landscaping work as a summer job. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have received some great assistance and support during my career. When I started off as a teacher, I received great training from my principals. These administrators also gave me opportunities to take leadership positions within the school. My wife, Tanna, was incredibly supportive as I worked through my graduate program. Part of that program included an internship with my father, Thomas Smith, who has been an amazing resource and support throughout my career. He has been my 1 mentor and the single most influential person in my life. Other people that have had significant roles in advancing my career include Dr. Laurie Owen from Grace College, and the wonderful, dedicated staff and volunteers who have worked with us at Smith Academy over the years. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I believe that the most significant thing I’ve been able to accomplish to this point is cofounding a great school. Being able to take the vision of my brother, Cameron Smith, and help make it a reality is an extremely fulfilling experience. Our school has been able to impact a great number of young men’s lives and provide them with unique opportunities and support that they would not have otherwise received. What lessons did you learn from it? One of the things I’ve learned from starting a school from the ground up is that I’m blessed to have a very strong family. This is evident, not only from the work my brother and father have done, but also from the sacrifices made by my mother, Toni Smith; sister, Angel Dixon; and brother-in-law, Tony Dixon. I have also learned that God is faithful in spite of my shortcomings. Page 39
Employer: Saint Mark’s and Mount Pleasant Lutheran Churches Title: Pastor, Reverend Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in Theology and Hebrew from Valparaiso University and Master of Divinity from The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, with a certificate for Biblical Emphasis. Community organizations with which you are involved: East Noble AFS, Girl Scout Troop 10101, The Apple Tree Center, Central Noble Ministerial Association, and the East Noble Ministerial Association. North East Conference Ministerium of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA. High School: Alan B. Shepard High School, Palos Heights, Ill. Hobbies: I like to walk/run 5ks or more, gardening, canning, boating, traveling and finding unique festivals. Why are you in northeast Indiana? Coming from Chicago and seminary, I was assigned to the Synod of Indiana and Kentucky. I received a few church profiles and was drawn to the churches in Noble County. The county and the surrounding area is so beautiful with all the lakes and natural forest areas, farming, and state parks. There is also no scarcity of activities to do in Noble County and the area. All of this drew me to northeast Indiana. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I really enjoy meeting new people, getting to know them, and learning their stories. Through their stories, I can see how God has been with them and worked in their lives. About how many hours a week do you work on average? Between 45-47 hours. What does success mean to you? When I work with a group of people on a project and we work together and follow through, that is success. When I or a group of people work together to solve a problem and it is solved, that is success. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? There have been a few projects that I intended to start or even start and did not follow through. One of them was creating a banner to celebrate the 165th anniversary of the churches during Easter. I purchased the material, even had the people of the church trace their hands on it. It was going to be lovely. Although time and delivering a child into the world halted the project, I didn’t see it through and my planning was not solid. What I learned from this is that if I have an idea for a project, I see it through and finish it, even if Page 40
PHYLLIS EILEEN SMOOT
it doesn’t turn out perfect. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I wake up early to work out at the gym and have some peace and quiet time where I’ll drink coffee and spend some time with God before the day gets going. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I got a lavalier microphone that can plug into my IPhone. I hope to use it to make videos for the churches I serve and or have better sound quality when I do Facebook live. I’m also dreaming of doing a podcast and the microphone would be helpful in that endeavor as well. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first job was as a swim instructor at my high school, Alan B. Shepard in Palos Heights, Ill., my freshman year. They offered swim lessons to the people in the community on Saturdays. I really enjoy swimming and have had lessons since I was six months old, and so I applied and got the job at age 14. It was so much fun seeing that work permit and then getting that first check. I know I didn’t spend it all in one place. In fact, I most likely saved it. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My vocation of being called a pastor started out with discernment and education, with the help of congregations I was a part of a long the way. At Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso I am thankful, at that Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
time, for Jeremy Myers who was the Youth director and let me help teach and lead their confirmation classes. I am grateful for the opportunity to be the youth director at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church in Antioch, Illinois for the chance to lead them in their youth in discipleship. The good people of Saint Mark’s and Mount Pleasant Lutheran Churches in Noble County to call me as their pastor, to lead them into the mission and vision they had set for themselves. From the very beginning of my path to ordained ministry, my family and friends supported me in this journey. So I’d like to thank them, my family which currently entails aunts, uncles, my sister, my family I married into, the Smoots and the Winklers up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which leads to my husband, Pastor Justin Smoot, my two daughters, Lillian and Genevieve, and even my exchange daughter, Ceudah Hajashafira really have supported me along the way as part of their family. I’ll even give a shout out to my friends whom I have chosen as family. All of that is a blessing to have for support. The staff of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as my colleagues of the Northeast Conference Ministerium have been there for me to wrestle with problems and search out solutions. They have prayed for me and my call to the churches as well. I have a few good friends, who are also colleagues, that attend continuing education events with me. They support me with laughs, cries, and a good time while honing my skills as a pastor.
Employer: The Mako Group LLC Title: Senior Security and Controls Advisor Education: Bachelor’s in Accounting from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Community organizations with which you are involved: • Board of directors for the Fort Wayne Ballet serving as development chair and participates in the finance and investment committees. • Academic chair for the Institute of Internal Auditors being responsible for connecting college students with experienced professionals. I also create and coordinate yearly scholarship for college students. • Accounting panels for the IPFW Accounting Society • Junior Achievement – JA in a day participant • President of the St. Charles Home and School Association board. High School: Southwood High School in Wabash Hobbies: My hobbies include, spending time with my family, reading and taking dance classes. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I live in northeast Indiana mainly because of the community and job opportunities. I’m originally from LaFontaine, and living in northeast Indiana is still somewhat close to my family with having the opportunities of a larger city. It is also a great place to raise a family. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The main reason why I love my profession
so much is that it is always changing and evolving, so it gives me a lot of opportunity to be challenged and room to grow professionally. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I typically work between 40 and 45 hours a week. It all depends on what client I’m working on and the time of the year. Sometimes it’s a little more. What does success mean to you? Success to me means having a career and job I really enjoy, where I can be challenged while doing something I am passionate about. It is important to me to not only be able to provide for my family, but also have the time to be actively involved in my kids’ lives, so having a good work-life balance is a sign of success to me as well. Also, to me, success means being in the position to make a difference by giving back to the community. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? The biggest mistake I’ve made in my career is having self-doubt. I was too focused on doing a good job and what it meant if I didn’t, that it didn’t allow me to perform at my full potential. Since then, I’ve realized that no one is perfect and that if I do my best it will always work out. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? The main way I stay energized to accomplish what I do is to remember why I’m doing it. I’d like to say I get lots of sleep, but with a newborn that doesn’t happen Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
FORTY very often. I also take time to meditate and do yoga. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? We recently bought a Smart TV and use it for our Amazon Fire TV Stick to watch Hulu, Netflix and PlayStation Vue. We recently cancelled our cable and save a lot of money by using it. What is a book you would recommend? “Good to Great” by Jim Collins Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from The Honeywell Center in Wabash. I was a busser/ server at the time, which I would say is one of the most humbling jobs anyone could have. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have been very fortunate to have had some great mentors who have helped me grow professionally and personally. However, I would have to say that my family has been the biggest supporters of my career. My father never graduated from college. He taught me the value of hard work and the importance of a college education. His strong work ethic rubbed off on me, giving me the drive that I have today. In addition, my husband has been there every step of my career and has always believed in me and I owe a lot of my success to him. When I was ready to give up, he gave me the inspiration and encouragement I needed to keep going, What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment thus far in my career was when I was selected to work closely with E&Y senior managers and business area management to identify risks and control gaps for a Fortune 500 company. I helped create effective controls and efficient processes to mitigate risks identified and added value to the business areas I worked with. What lessons did you learn from it? The biggest lesson I learned from it is that there are many ways to achieve the same objective and the importance of being open minded to that. What is your current professional goal? My current professional goal is to become a certified public accountant. I’m currently spending any free time that isn’t focused on my family or volunteer activities to achieve this. I’d also like to continue to find ways to help students succeed once they graduate. I was very blessed to have had some phenomenal professors, counselors and professionals here in Fort Wayne that gave me great advice and helped guide me. I hope to do the same for current students. Page 41
Employer: Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic and IPFW Title: Dental Hygiene Coordinator and Dental Hygiene Clinical Instructor Education: MS Dental Hygiene Community organizations with which you are involved: Isaac Knapp Dental Hygienists’ Association, Tobacco Free Allen County Coalition, IPFW Dental Hygiene Accreditation Committee, Matthew 25 Dental Advisory Board, Indiana Diabetes Prevention Network High School: Homestead High School Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, watching documentaries, and DIY home improvement projects. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I moved to Fort Wayne, with my family, when I was 14 and have never had a reason to leave! The cost of living has always been affordable, I have been fortunate to have always found work, and it’s a great place to raise a family. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? Dental hygiene is much more than just “cleaning teeth”. I have the opportunity to educate my patients on what is necessary to obtain and maintain a healthy mouth; because of this, I get to witness some amazing instances of patients who make great strides in achieving optimum oral health. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 40 What does success mean to you? Success means finding what makes you happy in life and giving it everything you’ve got — whether it’s your family, your career, your hobbies, or everything you encounter! What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I have made numerous mistakes in my lifetime, but the greatest has not been trusting in God for my life’s plans. Only He knows what I am supposed to do and to accomplish and I have to put all my trust and faith in Him! How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I try to eat healthfully and exercise regularly and I lean onto my husband to help me where I fall short. We work as a team and this keeps me energized and motivated! What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I am not really a high-tech gadget person, but I do rely on the calendar in my phone to keep me somewhat organized! What is a book you would recommend? “Bridges Out of Poverty” because if everyone understood poverty and what it takes to get out of it, I feel there would be more empathy and less judgment and condemnation Page 42
CHRISTINE A. STEPHAN
for this population of people. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from Mike and Judi Loomis, I was a nanny for their son. I started working for them when I was in high school and into college, until my schedule got so busy, I had to resign. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My support has come from my family, namely my dad. As an emigrant of Cuba, my dad has always been an advocate of pursuing every opportunity that presents itself. These opportunities have given me a rich and fulfilling career, thus far. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment has been securing my position at Matthew 25. Before I started this position, I was certain I knew where my career was going; but I was wrong, God had a different plan for me. What lessons did you learn from it? I have learned that I am not in control of my life, God is. He has given me so many gifts within my career, and I am forever grateful. My position at Matthew 25 has taught me the world is bigger than me. I have the opportunity to be a positive light in the lives of others, much beyond just caring for their teeth. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Dentistry and dental hygiene are always changing and evolving, so it is absolutely necessary I attend continuing education courses, read journals, and network with other dental professionals in order to stay Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
current in my field. I have to be open to new ideas, treatment modalities, and constructive criticism from my peers in order to provide my patients the best care possible. What is your current professional goal? My professional goal is to continue to impact the lives of those around me through my position at Matthew 25 and allowing God to guide me in ways only He knows are best. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? In short, my husband Mark. He is my rock and number one supporter. He keeps me grounded yet supports my dreams and my ambition. Because of him, I have learned how to balance all that is important to me without forgetting what is most important to us, our family. What do you do to relax? I love to watch documentaries of varying subjects! Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? I identify with a little of both. While I am independent, autonomous, and self-reliant like most Gen Xers, I am also tech savvy, civic-minded, and progressive like many millennials. Plus, identifying with millennials keeps me feeling young! What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? I would tell my high school self not to worry about being a nerd with such focused ambition. That focused ambition is going to help you achieve the career and life goals that are so important to you. Just be you… the quirky, awkward, purple blazer-wearing nerd that you are.
Employer: Adams Radio Group & Halo Media Inc. Title: On-Air Personality/Brand Director & CEO Education: Indiana Tech, Business Management with a concentration in Marketing Community organizations with which you are involved: • Three Rivers Festival Marketing Board • Middle Waves Music Festival Marketing Board • Girls’ Mentor at Lane Middle School • Always 100 Youth Mentor High School: Concordia Lutheran High School Hobbies: Spa days, traveling, roller skating, reading anything and everything from pop culture articles on blogs to the latest from the New York Times Bestsellers List Why are you in northeast Indiana? As a native of Fort Wayne, I was born and raised here and my parents allowed me a beautiful childhood and stellar educational opportunities. It is my intention to provide those same important factors for my children as they prepare to one day become leaders in this community. Being in northeast Indiana has also allowed me to build tremendous professional connections over the years. This has been an advantage for me in my career since I’ve been in this market throughout college as well connecting, collaborating, and contributing to the Fort Wayne area. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I absolutely love interacting with my listeners at events, remotes, speaking
engagements, and daily on the air. It is truly a responsibility to provide uplifting, empowering, and relatable content to the supporters of B96.9 and I make it my purpose to motivate others utilizing the airwaves as my platform. I consider it a tremendous honor to speak into the microphone and communicate with my community each and every day! About how many hours a week do you work on average? Between my radio show, networking events, client meetings, and board meetings…I work from about 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on average each day but when you love what you do, you don’t really “work” a day in your life. I’m blessed to LOVE what I do! What does success mean to you? Success means leaving a legacy of honor, integrity, empowerment, influence, and change. It is my intent to create something that lives beyond my lifespan and continues to impact our youth within the community and beyond. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? My biggest mistake was staying in corporate America longer than I should have. I always knew I was created to be my own boss and it took me getting fired to make the decision to step out on faith, mask my doubt, and take a leap into my purpose. It taught me to be fearless and persistent in every aspect of life. If you aren’t happy where you are, change it. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? Lots of Starbucks, regular volcanic stone Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
massages, and plenty of prayer! What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My MacBook Pro…it is the pulse of my business and keeps me efficient. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Due to my serious affinity for shoes, my first paycheck came from my first job as a sales cashier at Foot Locker, in Glenbrook Square Mall when I was a freshman. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I wouldn’t be who I am without the continued acknowledgment of whose I am. My faith is what has fueled me through the disappointments and trials that I’ve had to overcome on this journey. I’m forever grateful for the unwavering support of my parents along with my beautiful family, the encouragement of my friends aka “my Game Changers”, and the unparalleled favor of God working on my behalf. Also, I’m thankful for my mentors in business: Terra Brantley of WANE-TV and Tim Bawmann of The Fort Wayne Mad Ants. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Honestly, I feel that I’m still in the process of accomplishing amazing things. This honor as one of Fort Wayne’s Forty Under 40 definitely is a career highlight! After several years working on-air and behind the scenes with Indiana’s NewsCenter, I stepped out on faith and founded my public relations firm, Halo Media Inc. Though I was met with much uncertainty and faced numerous ups and downs in business, I persisted and was able to expand my brand internationally to Cape Town, South Africa and Paris, France in 2016. It takes passion, purpose, and the heart of a champion to become an entrepreneur. However, it was that same tenacity and resilience that eventually led to an offer to have my own midday radio show with B96.9FM of Adams Radio Group. By developing community initiatives such as the B96.9 Medical Minute with Parkview Health and the African American Healthcare Alliance, I have been honored to leverage my radio platform to impact our listeners positively. What lessons did you learn from it? Always be willing to challenge yourself and never let fear rob you of your destiny. I’ve learned that when someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re unsure if you can do it, say “yes”… then learn how to do it later. Don’t let life pass you by. If you aren’t happy where you are, make some adjustments. Page 43
Employer: Barrett McNagny LLP Title: Partner Education: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Saint Francis; Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University School of Law Community organizations with which you are involved: Martin Luther King Montessori School, Bill Lewis Center for Children and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society High School: Snider High School Hobbies: Attending athletic events for my kids and my niece and nephews. Playing tennis and practicing yoga. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I am here mostly because my family is here and I was born and raised here. I also like feeling as though I can make some impact in my community. Fort Wayne provides that opportunity. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I absolutely love feeling like I can help people through a very difficult time in their lives. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 50-55 What does success mean to you? From a professional standpoint, I want clients to view me as competent and compassionate. I truly hope to help make my clients’ lives and the lives of their families better. Personally, my success is in maintaining a happy marriage that my kids will look at and strive for someday, guiding my boys to be honest and hardworking and being a leader in my environment. Finally, success to me is in living a life without regret. I take calculated risks and I do my best to live life as a driver, not a passenger. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I make mistakes every day. I cannot recall a particular mistake (at least that I can speak of) that I would characterize as my greatest mistake. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I work out often and I spend time laughing and goofing off with my kids and my husband. I also eat healthy. I do whatever I can to stay young and maintain my energy. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? I am getting ready to get the Surface Pro. I have absolutely no idea how to use it but I will figure it out soon. I did get the Apple Watch over the winter holiday. I use it mostly for the heart rate function and GPS. I am not a Page 44
technology person. What is a book you would recommend? I read all fiction because I read to get away. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to read lately. My favorite series were the “Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and the “Fifth Wave.” Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck came from Azars in 1995. I was a waitress during high school. My first position as an attorney was at Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom LLP in 2003. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have received so much support from my family. My parents have always instilled in me a belief that I can do whatever it is that I desire to do. They made me believe that I was special and capable no matter what the circumstances of life were at the time. My sister, Trisha Paul (now a partner of mine at Barrett), has been an incredible influence and best friend. Finally, my husband, Maciek Szaferski, provides unwavering support for me and my endeavors and picks up the slack in many areas to help me excel professionally. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? This is a tough question because of the type of work that I do. I believe that I have built a successful dissolution practice while maintaining dignity and integrity in the way I conduct myself and in the way I encourage my clients to conduct themselves during the process. I am able to sleep at night and look my boys in their eyes by knowing that I Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
practice law with the bigger picture in mind. I am aggressive in court and in protecting my client’s interests, but I also do my best to mitigate the damage done to a family through the divorce process. I am really proud of that. What lessons did you learn from it? I have learned that sometimes I am not the right fit for a particular client and that is OK. I have learned that clients generally will come back and refer others to me when they realize that I care about their families and the outcome of their case. What is your current professional goal? I am a partner in a fantastic law firm in Fort Wayne. I have achieved what I want in that regard. At this point, my goal is to never stop learning. I want to become a better attorney with each passing year. I learn so much with each case that I have and I am thankful for that. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I remain current and relevant by realizing that I do not know it all. It is incredibly important to always learn and seek guidance from others within the profession. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? Family…family… family… Between my husband and my parents, I have so much help. In addition, my boys are my priority first, last and always. I believe that my successes will help to shape my sons and teach them that discipline and hard work pay off. What do you do to relax? I play with my sons, attend a ridiculous amount of sporting events, play tennis and hang out with my husband and friends.
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Employer: Jacob Insurance Service LLC Title: Insurance Producer Education: Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, Ball State University Community organizations with which you are involved: Angola Area Chamber of Commerce, membership committee; Young Professionals Network of Steuben County, leadership development chairman; 4-H, 10-year member, volunteer; Steuben County Humane Society, volunteer; RISE Inc., volunteer; Misc. volunteer work for nonprofits; member of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. High School: Columbia City High School Hobbies: One of my hobbies that I really enjoy is videography. I enjoy creating cinematic videos for my friends and family to enjoy. I also like the fact that video captures the entire “moment” compared to a photograph that cannot do the same. Although, photography is also fun in its own way. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I have experienced most regions of Indiana fairly extensively. Having lived in Southern Indiana, Central Indiana, and, of course, Northeast Indiana. Overall, from my experience, northeast Indiana is the greatest region to live in. The people are courteous, generous, and the economy seems to be doing great compared to the Northwest and Southern regions. I choose to live here because people are well “grounded” and more like-minded as I am. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy helping people and business owners with their risk management. Many rely on me to be there when an unexpected loss occurs. It is great knowing that I can help “put the pieces back together” when a claim occurs. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I typically expect to work approximately 40-50 hours per week. There are many community events that I will attend while representing Jacob Insurance Service after the week day is over. I do not really worry too much about how many hours I work though. I truly enjoy what I do, therefore, it does not feel like “work” for me. What does success mean to you? Many people think that success is measured by the amount of money in your bank account. To me, that is not success. Throughout my life, I have met many wealthy people that are considered “successful” but are also miserable with their lives. Which, to me, does not sound like success. I believe that success is not measured by money or materialistic goods. It is being happy and becoming a master at whatever you do. Being successful Page 46
is having people respect you and remember you when you are gone. Success is making an impact on people’s lives for the greater good. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? The goal is not to make any mistakes but we all know that is unrealistic. I do not believe that I have made any major mistakes as of yet in my career but there has been some minor mistakes that have been made. The minor mistakes are sometimes irrelevant and can be fixed very easily. With that said, I still realize that a mistake was made and I try not to make the same mistake again. Therefore, I have learned to pay more attention to detail and to review the entire insurance application before issuing the policy contract. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? This is tough sometimes. I think what keeps me energetic are times like this when I am recognized for my hard work. Winning the Forty under 40 is a big deal to me. This award has given me more ambition to grow personally and professionally. Also, helping businesses with their risk management is also a thrill. It feels good when a company chooses me to be their insurance agent. I enjoy being part of a variety of industries and to be recognized as a professional in my field. What is a book you would recommend? Any book written by Hal Becker. Hal Becker is a great guy who became one of the greatest sales people in the world. Hal trained me to become a professional salesperson. He is very knowledgeable and knows how to sell. If you are in sales, I recommend Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
reading Hal Becker’s Ultimate Sales Book. You can also check out his website at www.halbecker.com. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? The newest piece of technology that I personally own is a Sony Alpha 6300 Mirrorless 4K Camera. It takes awesome photos and films video at 4K resolution. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first “real” paycheck came from a restaurant in Columbia City called Crossroads Inn. I was 14 years old and my job was to wash the dishes. At the time, cell phones were becoming more popular. Therefore, I had to get a job in order to pay for my “minutes!” What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I receive a lot of support from Susan Ralston, owner of Jacob Insurance Service, along with the rest of the staff. Outside of the workplace, I receive additional support from my friends and family. They do not question any of my decisions and they all push me to become the best I can be. I appreciate them greatly. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Gosh, this is a tough one. I think the biggest accomplishment in my career thus far is being named as the garage insurance expert for one of the largest insurance companies in the Midwest at the age of 24. This provided an opportunity that opened doors to me that most agents never experience. Therefore, I am very appreciative and I was happy to be recognized for my hard work in such a niche market.
JACOB INSURANCE SERVICE PROUDLY CONGRATULATES ERIC TRABERT A 2017 FORTY UNDER 40 RECIPIENT!
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2017 SPONSORED BY:
WELL DONE, ERIC! JACOB INSURANCE SERVICE LLC TRUSTED INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENCY SINCE 1945
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Employer: Northwestern Mutual Title: Financial Advisor Education: Business Management/ Psychology IPFW Community organizations with which you are involved: Pathway Community Church High School: Blackhawk Christian Hobbies: Workout, coaching a ridiculous amount of kids sports Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised in Fort Wayne and surrounding communities. I love this place, it’s part of who I am in every aspect. Gwen and I are surrounded by family and a community of friends that we wouldn’t trade for any tropical climate! What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? The impact that I’ve been blessed to have on my clients lives is unparalleled. Whether it’s walking through the premature passing of a family member and seeing the plan we put in place kick in and working with them to walk through the things that are truly important in that time or growing with the families that I’m able to impact as they work to see their goals in life come full circle, the lasting relationships that I am blessed to have in my clients can’t be found in any other profession. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 45 What does success mean to you? Honoring God by modeling His love to those around me and affecting them on His behalf. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Not taking enough risk in building my business, especially earlier on. I regret not having leveraged every resource to really capitalize on the opportunity in front of me. I’m currently working to establish a team that allows me to work exclusively in my sweet spot and gives others the freedom to build on their personal strength and creativity. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I’m pretty easy to sway on behalf of a good cause and having little kids that jump on your head at 7 am if you don’t play and feed them certainly helps. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My Surface Pro. It gives me the ability to transition from laptop to tablet and has Page 48
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really given me the ability to be much more efficient. What is a book you would recommend? “Executive Toughness,” by Dr. Jason Selk Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Fort Wayne Newspapers. I had the paper route for half of Grabill! What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? God is faithful; He controls the fish! Gwen…from day one of me starting my financial practice with Northwestern Mutual she never doubted for a second that I would find success. Northwestern Mutual is the pre-eminent planning firm on planet Earth and their leadership both locally and nationally reflect that level of excellence. It’s impossible to do anything but rise to their standard of a client first, abundance mentality. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Pacesetter first 40 What lessons did you learn from it? A high activity, fast start in our industry sets the pace for a long lasting career. Without an attachment to high activity early on you’d better have a solid plan B! Also, you never know the magnitude of your impact as an advisor until you deliver a death claim. In that moment, however tragic, you realize very quickly that the lives you touch throughout the planning process are so greatly impacted by your work. Nothing drives you to strive to reach more people as that level of impact! Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
What is your current professional goal? 1) See more people 2) Fight to see more people I will impact 120 lives in 2017 by walking them through Northwestern Mutual’s unparalleled planning process. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Read constantly. Articles, educational materials, NM’s internal resources. It is also necessary to stay up to date on my clients lives. I strive for one to two touches per year with my clients, more if requested. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? Gwen is great about letting me know if something is out of balance. Also, I have a daily reminder on my calendar that says “your work begins when you get home.” What do you do to relax? Workout at the Parkview YMCA or family movie night. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? It really depends on the day. I’m a performer so I identify with my surroundings. At my core I tend to lean in the direction of the Gen Xer but I can’t stand labels and thrive in an environment where my independence is allowed so in that I’m like a millennial. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? Discover who you are by who you are in Christ. Love others and covet relationships with everything in you. Never sacrifice influence on account of opinion!
Employer: Ambassador Enterprises Title: Governance Advisor Education: MBA in International Economic Development, Eastern University; Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Systems, Taylor University. Community organizations with which you are involved: Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity, Blackhawk Ministries High School: Blackhawk Christian School Hobbies: Our stage in life is not conducive to hobbies. Ask me again in 20 years, and I hope to have a great list! Why are you in northeast Indiana? Though I spent my teenage and college years in Indiana, I was living in suburban Philadelphia when I met and married my husband. When we were starting our family, we decided it was important to us to live in a place that was close to family, offered a community that shared our values, and was affordable enough to allow one of us to stay home with our kids. For all those reasons, we moved back to Fort Wayne just a few weeks before our first child was born. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy most the opportunity to help our team articulate and execute on a vision for strategically leading our operating companies. The reason I enjoy it because the magnitude of impact strategic leadership from the board can have of the success of an organization. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I work about 50-55 hours each week.
I’m pretty good at keeping it to 40 hours in the office and – like most of us – put in the balance after the kids go to bed. What does success mean to you? Success as a team means using our full resources to find the best solution together. I’m not as sure what personal success means yet. I think it may have something to do with bringing everything I have to the table – in tasks as well as in relationships. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? Very early in my career, I hid something about my personal life from a supervisor. I knew she would not agree with my actions and would try to interfere. I justified my behavior with thoughts like: her concern is irrational; my actions are moral and ethical, I’m pretty sure; my intentions are good; I know better than her how to make decisions for my life; and, it’s really none of her business, anyway. While there is some truth in each of those statements, there is very little wisdom. Like none, maybe. Inevitably, the hidden behavior surfaced and caused what turned out to be irreparable harm to my relationship with my supervisor and the valuable work I was entrusted to do. Among the many things I learned – am still learning – from this mistake are 1) the need for hiddenness is a good indication that I am self-deceived, 2) no one cares how good my intentions are if my behavior is harmful to them, and 3) the discipline of submitting to a leader – even an irrational one, at times – is required in order to complete the work I am called to do. Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
What is a book you would recommend? That depends on the category! Here’s a start … Novel: “The Nightingale,” by Kristin Hannah Classic: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee Relationships/Personal growth: “Leadership and Self-Deception,” by the Arbinger Institute Business/Leadership: “Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni Spiritual and basically all things: the “Bible,” specifically the books of Proverbs, John, and James How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? A desire to make an impact – move the needle on meaningful problems in all those areas – keeps me going. That, and coffee. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? We just implemented a cloud-based portal software that will allow us to administrate our boards more efficiently and securely. That is entirely nerdy and uncool, but it will make us better so I’m pretty excited about it. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Detasseling corn for my sister and brother-in-law’s farm. I think I was 14. The corn was taller than I was. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? Over the course of my career, I have been blessed to have several personal champions – individual leaders and mentors who have cheered me and challenged me. I have also been fortunate to work for companies who value their younger team members. Those employers invested in me with opportunities to lead and the grace to fail. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? I don’t think of my career in terms of individual accomplishments. But what I find most satisfying are opportunities I’ve had for significance in my work, feeling as though I am making a greater impact. What lessons did you learn from it? I’ve learned that, for me, being able to make that greater impact – more so than climbing the corporate ladder – is what motivates me to work harder, think bigger and have more fun. Page 49
Employer: Ivy Tech Community College Northeast Title: Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Education: M.S., Integrated Marketing Communications, Eastern Michigan University; B.S., Business Management, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; B.A., Media and Public Communication, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Community organizations with which you are involved: IPFW Alumni Association board of directors, Fort Wayne Center for Learning, St. Charles Catholic School, Ronald McDonald House of Northeast Indiana, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, Team Pineapple, National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, Global Health Systems Foundation, Riley Hospital for Children High School: Snider High School Hobbies: Playing and coaching volleyball, coaching baseball, hanging out and spoiling my nieces and nephews, being with friends and family Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, and this city and area is part of who I am to the core. I could have gone away to school, but it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do. While I think part of me was scared, the rest of me knew I had a path to carve here in the Summit City. I always say a combination of right and wrong decisions led me to where I am today, and I am so thankful for each one of them and for staying the course. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? Two things. Every day is a new day in what I do to support the mission and vision of changing lives through higher education at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast. Things are always interesting and exciting, but I also need to mention I enjoy working with my direct staff on the marketing team we’ve built at the college. I am so thankful to say I work with and get to lead some of the most intelligent, hard-working, and creative people on campus. About how many hours a week do you work on average? I’d rather not say, because sometimes it feels like I would be trying to win a race for the most hours worked. My belief is that you work until the work is done. What does success mean to you? Success is being the best you possibly can be, day in and day out. It means working toward and finding the next big idea to make a difference with the team. It means feeling Page 50
accomplished when you go home at the end of day well spent at the office. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I would say my greatest mistake so far would be a period of time in my career in which I was too personally connected to my work. While I think it’s important to be fully invested, I now see there needs to be a separation from the work and the person. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I think it’s all about doing what you have a passion for at work, at home, and in the community. If one is involved in things to add something to a resume, then it’s for the wrong reasons. Some days I think I might be involved in too much, but then I realize I am doing what I love to do. If I ever find a point where it becomes too much, I know it’s time to make a change in some way. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? This definitely has to be the various WiFi-operated home smart devices (e.g. Amazon Echo Dots, Ring.com door bell, and WiFi-enabled light bulbs). Over the last year, I have kind of developed a borderline obsession with making the home high tech. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Wow! That definitely goes way back to age 15, when I worked my first part-time summer job as a Wildcat Baseball coach. I was hired as a junior coach at the Blackhawk Middle School site, which is actually the same site I grew up playing baseball during Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
the day (played Little League at night). What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My family and friends have always been amazing support structures for me along the way. When things got tough and seemed impossible, they were always there to listen and provide the kind of advice I needed to keep forging ahead. My predecessor at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, Ed Reed, was a great mentor and actually played a part in encouraging me to seek out a master’s degree program that fit my career path. He also allowed me to grow in my previous assistant director role by providing opportunities beyond the job description. These were great learning moments along the way and were integral factors to help me expand my knowledge and expertise in the marketing and communications field. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? As odd as it may come across, I believe my biggest accomplishment thus far is having built the marketing team we have at Ivy Tech Northeast. Since being promoted in January 2011, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to hire each staff member. And all but one is still at the college (that one ended up getting a promotion to our Indianapolis campus). We are not just colleagues. We are friends, and we think of each other as an extended family. I know every day when I come into work, I can count on the team to get the job done and believe it’s one of the most reliable groups on campus and also within our statewide system.
KNOW WHO WE ARE PROUD OF? That’s right, ANDREW WELCH. Ivy Tech Northeast would like to congratulate Andrew on his Forty Under 40 award. Thanks for making a difference with all you do! CHANGING LIVES. MAKING INDIANA GREAT. IvyTech.edu/northeast 888-IVY-LINE
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Employer: Whittle Consulting LLC Title: President and Founder Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, IPFW; Masters of Business Administration, IPFW; Certified Public Accountant Community organizations with which you are involved: Indiana CPA Society, leadership cabinet, and Start Fort Wayne, LevelUp advisory board High School: Elmhurst High School Hobbies: I love to water ski, and on summer weekends you’ll find me at my family’s lake cottage on Coldwater Lake, Michigan waiting for smooth water so I can get behind the boat. Why are you in northeast Indiana? My roots are in northeast Indiana. I was born and raised here, I went to school here, and my family is here. My husband and I considered moving out of state after college, but we realized that northeast Indiana was our home and that we had no interest in moving elsewhere. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? My passion is helping businesses and nonprofits reach their goals, and I am able to do that through my work. Although I am a CPA, I strive to provide only services to clients that have a strategic undercurrent. Because of this, I’m able to work with clients on strategic planning, operational projects, as well as strategic accounting services. About how many hours a week do you work on average? On average, I work between 40 and 45 hours a week. What does success mean to you? I define success as doing what you love every day. Success is an ever-changing goal, because as you grow both personally and professionally it redefines itself. Looking back on my career, what I considered to be success 10 years ago would not be what I would call success today. I can say with confidence that today, I am doing what I love! What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? When I was a young manager, I did not realize that my staff’s failures were my own failures. If one of my staff was not performing, I would address the issues with them and then assume that it was their issue if they continued to underperform. What I now know is that I was a contributing factor in their failures because perhaps I did not give them the tools that they needed, the support that they required, or I quite possibly Page 52
put them into a role that they just were not suited for. I now approach leadership and managing people differently, and work hard to provide staff with the support need to be successful in their career. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? My energy comes primarily from the passion that I have for the life that I live. I love the work that I do with clients, love my kids and husband, and engage in community organizations in which I am passionate about. Additionally, I carve out time for just me, which allows me to reset when I start to feel stressed. Lastly, I have an amazing group of friends who have set each other as a priority in our crazy lives. We get together regularly and rally around each other when one of us needs help. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? This question is embarrassing, as I’m not as “techie” as I should be. My newest piece of technology is my laptop, which fits inside of a sleeve the size of a padfolio. This was a huge change, because the accountant in me had trouble letting go of the big laptop with a 10-key on the keyboard. I got crazy when I purchased my laptop and went with a touch screen, which I thought was ridiculous but I use it quite a bit! What is a book you would recommend? The first book that comes to mind is one that I just finished, called “Present Over Perfect,” by Shauna Niequist. This book discusses the author’s journey to find a life with more soul, and to leave behind the Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
frantic pace that oftentimes leaves us burnt out. I connected to this book because as the mother of two young girls as well as business owner, I most often find myself caught up in the hustle of everyday life. This book reminded me that I am responsible for setting the pace of my life, and only I have the power to slow things down to live simply and to take time to enjoy the moments that I’m experiencing. This is easier said than done, but I am really focused right now on changes to move my life in that direction. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? I got my first job when I was 16 years old at Sandpoint Greenhouse. I worked in the greenhouse after school cleaning and pricing plants, and on weekends I ran one of the cash registers. Sometimes I miss the days of digging in the dirt! What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My family has always been supportive of my career. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to work for great mentors, starting with my first job at the greenhouse. Our head grower was the hardest working person I’ve ever met, and his passion for what he did and for those he loved was clear in his every action. After leaving the greenhouse to work for public accounting firms, I was fortunate to find employers who gave me amazing opportunities for growth by allowing me to work on challenging client engagements. Those mentors and client experiences gave me the foundation on which I’ve built my career.
Employer: Aging & In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana Inc. Title: Associate Vice President of ADRC and Community Services Education: MBA in Healthcare Management from Colorado Technical University; Bachelors in Social Work from Bluffton University Community organizations with which you are involved: I am a member of the Council on Senior Services and of Senior Information Fair. High School: Lima Senior Hobbies: playing volleyball and softball. I also like to do my nails. Why are you in northeast Indiana? I met a man who is now my husband. Once we got married staying in Fort Wayne was the best option for my career because I would not be where I am today in my career if we would have moved back to my hometown. What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy meeting people of all ages and backgrounds. I also enjoy helping them connect to the many community resources in northeast Indiana. About how many hours a week do you work on average? 40 What does success mean to you? Success to me means being your best self in all aspects of life. I work hard on a daily basis and I want that to reflect in the staff I supervise and also the teenagers I have coached over the years. I want my son to know if you work hard you will be
successful. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? I took longer to get my bachelor’s degree than what I wanted. I took a year off in between my junior and senior year. I learned that once I put my mind to something I can accomplish anything I want. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? I almost always get seven to eight hours of sleep and I drink Folgers everyday. I exercise regularly and I take good care of my diabetes. What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? My husband bought me the Galaxy S6 edge. It has my calendar on it so I always know what my day looks like at work and with my son’s activities. I have every app you can think of on it from my banking to my social media apps to stay current. What is a book you would recommend? “Warrior Magnificent” by Jamie Virinios Cruse. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? Capis Drive thru in Lima, Ohio, while in high school. I made a variety of food and stocked coolers on weekends around playing three sports. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? My parents have been my no. 1 fans when it comes to my career. They do not Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
always understand my roles, but have been huge supporters and my husband has always supported me 100 percent when it came to me advancing in the healthcare field. My supervisor Maureen has mentored me to succeed at every position I have held at Aging & In-Home Services. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? My biggest accomplishment thus far in my career has been being able to mentor staff to advance their career ambitions and helping those who call into the resource center to navigate through the healthcare system. What lessons did you learn from it? Not every person has the same ambitions that I have and I have learned to adjust how I mentor based on their career goals. When working with the community I had to understand that there is not a resource for every need. What is your current professional goal? To continue to grow my knowledge in the healthcare field and continue to mentor new staff to become future leaders in the social work profession. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? I get involved with committees, networking events and I attend a variety of trainings throughout the year. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? I am very organized and operate on a schedule. I involve my family in everything I do, especially my son so he understands it is okay for mom to have a successful career without taking time from him. As a coach my son was in the gym at practices and on the bench with me during games. What do you do to relax? I play in a women’s volleyball league, I play softball during the summer and hang out with my 6 year old. I also like to watch Lifetime and Hallmark movies. Do you identify with Gen X or as a millennial? Why? I do not identify with either Gen X or millennial. I am just me and being in the social work field I can relate with different generations and adapt to my surroundings. What would you tell your high school self based on what you know now? That no matter what obstacles get in your way you are a strong woman who can achieve whatever you desire know matter what anyone tells you. Growing up with Type 1 Diabetes will not stop you from achieving your dreams. Page 53
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Employer: Parkview Health Title: Manager of Finance Education: BS in Accounting & Finance from Indiana University – Kelley School of Business. MBA from University of Saint Francis. Community organizations with which you are involved: American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Junior Achievement, Generosity Feeds, and Greater Fort Wayne. High School: Elmhurst High School Hobbies: Spending time with family, cooking and grilling Why are you in northeast Indiana? I was born and raised in Fort Wayne and love the people and communities I am involved with. This is my hometown and it is great to see so many new and exciting things going on in the region! What is it about your profession that you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy many aspects of my job, but if I had to choose one, it would be that I have the opportunity indirectly to provide excellent patient care in a non-clinical way. About how many hours a week do you work on average? This really depends on what projects we are working on. On average I work between 50-60 hours a week. What has been your greatest mistake thus far and what did you learn from it? One mistake that has been a long life lesson is something I learned at my first job out of college while working as an auditor in public accounting. Trying
to meet a deadline for a specific client, I rushed to turn in the audit report to a senior manager. When the report was reviewed, there were a lot of errors. While reading all of the comments from the senior manager, I immediately learned that rushing an assignment to meet a deadline is not always the most important part of completing the assignment. What was most important was the quality of work and rushing it to turn it in quickly, I sacrificed quality. Now, when I have deadlines to meet, I know that quality is just as important. If I need extra time, I will speak up and let the team know why. In the end, the quality of my work impacts the overall success of the hospital, and ultimately, the care we provide the community. What does success mean to you? To me, success doesn’t necessarily mean winning; it is always giving 100 percent to everything I do. How do you stay energized to accomplish what you do at work, at home and in your community? For me, family, career and community are all interconnected and when you love what you do, to find the time for it. Of course, coffee is key! What is the newest piece of technology you own and what does it do? With three young children, they are constantly downloading kid games on my phone and I am amazed how cool the games are. Most of the games are actually educational while having fun. What is a book you would recommend? Forty Under 40 • 2017 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc..
I recently finished “The Spark, the Flame and the Torch,” by Lance Secretan. I had the privilege to hear him speak and was truly inspired by him. Reading his book motivates you to be the best leader possible. Where did your first paycheck come from? What was your job then? My first paycheck was from Orchard Ridge County Club, working as a golf caddy at the age of 13. The golf bags were taller and weighed more than me. What kind of support did you receive along the way to help you advance in your career? I have received support from many mentors and colleagues throughout my career, as well as family members. More recently at Parkview, several leaders have allowed me great opportunities. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career? Leading and managing a multimillion dollar renovation project at Parkview Randallia with absolutely zero construction experience. What lessons did you learn from it? The bigger the obstacle, the greater opportunity you have for growth and development. While incredibly challenging, being tasked to manage Parkview’s renovation pushed me to expand my horizons and learn new skills. Whenever forging new challenges you will face obstacles and hurdles, but they are great learning opportunities. What is your current professional goal? I hope to have an even greater impact within Parkview. Ultimately, my goal is to assist and help lead the organization to continue to provide excellent healthcare services to this great community. How do you remain current/relevant in your profession? Reading various magazines and industry publications is one way to remain relevant in healthcare and finance. How do you balance your career, family life and community involvement? All three of these are important and fulfilling to me. I find opportunities within the day to get work completed, whether it’s early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. This sets a great example to my children about time management and getting involved in the community. What do you do to relax? Spending time with family and good food, of course! Page 55
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