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New Castle | Henry County

ANNUAL AWARDS Chamber Citizen of the Year

Chamber Magazine Spring 2017

ARTS DISTRICT:

Signs of love DOWNTOWN

rehab THE

Wright 150 TH

ANNIVERSARY OF WILBUR’S BIRTH

PLACE

Business of the Year


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New Castle’s people and places are fabric of our community

T

he Chamber magazine has proven to be a good vehicle to tell the successes of our local business community. Our goal at the outset was to give voice to those making impactful contributions on a very local level. This issue is no different. EXECUTIVE In this issue, you’ll read about our DIRECTOR Business of the Year and our Citizen of the Year, two annual awards that raise up the community and shine a light on the positive work and influence people have had on New Castle and Henry County. You’ll read about the 2016 New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, which just opened a new, spacious Missy Modesitt headquarters on the city’s south end, signaling another near century of commitment to the community. Henry County REMC, a longheld and locally influenced company, had outgrown its location of nearly 80 years and immediately started looking at how it could expand yet remain a vital member of the community. It is a company connected to the fabric of our community. You’ll read about Dennis Hamilton, our Citizen of the Year, who is a selfless ambassador for New Castle and Henry County. “Dennis Hamilton has been a resident of Henry County for 10 years but you would think he’s been here all his life. He is a humble, quiet personality who consistently models amazing citizenship and deserves to be recognized for his daily walk,” wrote Beverly Hankenhoff, who nominated Dennis for the Chamber award. While he wasn’t born here, you’d be hard pressed to find someone more dedicated to our community’s wellbeing. He is part of the fabric of our community. You’ll meet married couple Mike and Stories Patty Broyles, along with Mike’s cousin Scott Frost, who have teamed up to refurbish better several historic structures, saving the told lead properties from certain decay and eventual demolition. to lives Although the district has seen a decline better in prosperity, with two banks vacating downtown branches and several businesses lived. migrating out to the more traveled State Road 3, the Broyles and Frost believe that historic New Castle can have a thriving urban center again. These are the kind of people who make up the fabric of our community The Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum marks the 150th anniversary of Wilbur’s birth near Millville this year by encouraging the public to visit the site where one of history’s greatest inventors got his start. These are the places that are the fabric of our community. Stories better told lead to lives better lived, and that’s what your Chamber magazine has tried to do in each issue. I hope it’s become part of the fabric of our community. Missy Modesitt is Executive Director of the New CastleHenry County Chamber of Commerce. 4 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017

New Castle | Henry County

Chamber Magazine

Volume 7, Issue 1 PUBLISHER Missy Modesitt, Executive Director, New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce info@nchcchamber.com DESIGN AND EDITORIAL DIRECTION The JMetzger Group Juli Metzger | juli@thejmetzgergroup.com John Metzger | john@thejmetzgergroup.com www.thejmetzgergroup.com 765.744.4303 CONTRIBUTORS Writing: Doug Gruse, Martha Strauss Photography: Kurt Hostetler To advertise, contact The JMetzger Group: 765.744.4303 | john@thejmetzgergroup.com For subscription information, contact Missy Modesitt at 765.529.5210.

Chamber Magazine: The voice of New CastleHenry County Chamber businesses. It is a product of the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and The JMetzger Group. These materials are the sole and exclusive property of the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and The JMetzger Group, and may not be used without written consent. Copyright 2017: The New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and The JMetzger Group.

The JMetzger Group specializes in branded content, custom publishing and social media solutions. Learn more: www.thejmetzgergroup.com


Board of 2017 Executive Board

Kevin Davenport Clean N Simple Bob Hansen The Courier Times

1st Vice President Vickie McIntosh First Merchants Bank

Joel Harvey Hayes Copenhaver Crider Harvey

2nd Vice President Kevin Brown Hinsey-Brown Funeral Service Exec. Board Secretary Myra Strobel GEO Group

Cindi Kiner The HR Connection Leisa King Citizens State Bank

Doug Meier State Farm Insurance

Randy Riggs Shelter Insurance

Download our mobile app!

Mary Campbell Executive Assistant

2017 Ex-Officio Members Linda Link Chamber Ambassador (Not Pictured) Corey Murphy President: Henry Co. Economic Development Corp.

Greg York Mayor: City of New Castle

Mark your calendars!

Dan Redmond Noble Roman’s Take N Bake

Immediate Past President Rebecca Gonya Big O Tires

Missy Modesitt Executive Director

Lee Stacey Henry Co. Convention and Visitors Bureau

Chris May Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Treasurer Paulette Lees MainSource Bank

Download FREE: MemberPlus on

Chamber Executive Staff

Ric Barr Castle Pawn Shop

President Dave Nantz Nantz Photography

The MemberPlus app allows you to conduct Chamber business from your iOS or Android device!

DIRECTORS

Cara Taylor FC Tucker/Crossroads Real Estate Christy Tompkins Individual Melissa True Henry Co. REMC Luci Welch Henry Community Health

P Monday, May 29

Memorial Day Parade and Festival Ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. in Downtown New Castle

PSaturday, Sept. 16

Chamber Cash Bonanza Beginning at 6 p.m. at The Armory 1537 Grand Avenue

Stay informed: Sign up for our weekly E-Blast!

nchcchamber.com

321

Your Chamber: By the Numbers

members (2016)

92%

retention rate

National average: 85%*

27.2%

Eblast open rate

National average: 22.4%*

1,174

Eblast addresses

*Source: Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

Chamber Website nchcchamber.com

directory 17,888 business searches calendar 10,444 event views 6,320 category searches link 8,638 quick searches Website data: 2016


New Castle | Henry County

Chamber Magazine TABLE OF CONTENTS

9

Robert Indiana

WILBUR WRIGHT

16 19

12

Downtown rehabilitation projects

Business of the Year Citizen of the Year

22

Annual Dinner

ON THE LOVE statue in the Robert Indiana COVER: Arts & Cultural District. 6 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017

20

Community events designed to improve our quality of life

A

s we embark on a new year, it’s important to review where we’ve been and the successes we’ve had. We ended the year with 319 active members; that’s the highest total we have had in more than eight years. Our plans for 2017 are no less ambitious and I am confident that our staff and board members are up for the challenges ahead. First, we want to be sure that the Chamber meets the expectations of our members; that we are providing the value that you expect for the investment you are making. If you BOARD have lost track of your Chamber PRESIDENT benefits and you want a reminder or you would like to get more involved, call the office and set up a meeting with our staff or with me. We will be happy to talk with you whether you are a new member this year or you have been a member for several years. In the coming year, we will continue to foster strong David Nantz relationships with city and county government, the EDC and the visitor’s bureau in an effort to stay informed about what is going on in and around the county so that we can represent the business community with these groups. We will continue to plan and offer the two annual community events that the Chamber has offered for the past several years. This year will be the 10th year for the Downtown We will Christmas Walk and it has become a tradition for many young families continue to to come out and enjoy this family foster strong friendly event in our downtown. relationships We will continue to grow the annual Memorial Day Festival with city following the parade. These are and county events that we offer simply for the enjoyment of the community government, in an effort to set the example in the EDC and improving quality of life. Both the visitor’s events have grown each year with the support of our members and bureau in an our committed event planning effort to stay committee. And finally, we plan to breathe informed. new life into one of our longest running events, the Chamber Business Expo & Taste of Henry County. We believe this event is due for a rebranding and we hope that you will appreciate the outcome in early November. Stay tuned for more details on that. I look forward to serving as your 2017 Chamber Board President and I encourage you to contact me if you have questions or suggestions. David Nantz is president of the Board of Directors for the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.


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“The truth is, failing to plan, simply means planning to fail. It is difficult to name any successful individual, organization, corporation or community that doesn’t plan for the future.” Ed McMahon, Senior Resident Fellow, Urban Land Institute. Henry County is creating a new EDC DIRECTOR comprehensive plan. Your input and time are needed. The success of a community depends on the presence of an active and civically engaged business community. I believe Henry County has both. The planning process represents another opportunity for the business community along with residents to help guide the future direction of Henry County. Your involvement as a Corey Murphy business owner or manager is in your best interest. A thriving and growing community is good for business. It addresses the triple bottom line: People, Profit and Sustainability. Let’s be real for a moment. Take the rose-colored glasses off. Henry County (and much of Indiana) is struggling. Look at the data. Population growth is stagnant (or declining) and we’re older than the state. Generational poverty has hit our community hard. The Indiana Youth Institute reports 20.6% of Henry County children live in poverty. Hamilton County has the lowest rate at 5.2% and our northern neighbor Delaware County is the highest with 31.2% children living in poverty. Our reality suggests there is little room for status-quo thinking. Our reality A comprehensive plan builds suggests on the community assets, confirms there is little community values, establishes a clear vision for the future and room for creates a living document to help status-quo facilitate desirable outcomes. Topics included in a plan are: land use, thinking. housing/neighborhood revitalization, economic development, education and workforce development, community services and transportation. The plan is a strategic guide for private development projects along with public projects. It is a method for all members of the community to be engaged in creating a roadmap for the future that meets the unique needs and values of the local community. In short, it is Henry County’s business plan. Every plan needs a vision. In 2013, the New Castle Henry County Chamber convened community stakeholders to create a community vision: “Henry County is becoming East Central Indiana’s premier community for education, commerce, agriculture, and family opportunities. Come home to an engaged and invested community where unified leadership encourages innovation to sustain an excellent quality of life.” Are you invested? Are you engaged? Henry County needs you. Change is inevitable; the direction is not. This planning process and subsequent execution is critically important for the future of our community. For more information, please visit: www.henrycountycompplan.com or call the Planning Commission at 529-7408. Corey Murphy is President and CEO of the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp.

8 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017


love.art.murphey.

T

STORY BY MARTHA STRAUSS

|

PHOTOS BY KURT HOSTETLER

he sculptures spell out words in the iconic style of Robert Indiana. But the underlying message they convey is community pride for a new arts and cultural district in New Castle and for the native artist who inspired it.

The first LOVE sculpture was installed at the corner of 15th Street and Grand Avenue in January.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


WHAT’S NEW IN 2017 FOR THE ARTS DISTRICT FROM PAGE 9

ARCH

SIGNS

CELEBRATION

• A gateway arch that spans 15th Street near Broad Street will be installed to identify the district.

• Signage along 15th Street will go up that directs people to cultural points of interest like the library, historical society, art association and arts park.

• A celebration in Murphey Park for Robert Indiana’s 89th birthday is tentatively planned. The artist, who currently lives in Vinalhaven, Maine, was born in New Castle on Sept. 13, 1928 as Robert Clark.

Between January and April of this year, four new sculptures were installed in the Robert Indiana Arts & Cultural District that runs along 15th Street from Broad Street to A Avenue. They include two pieces that say LOVE, one that says ART and another spelling out MURPHEY for Murphey Park. All are eight feet tall except for the MURPHEY letters which are two feet tall and will be whimsically displayed at various heights. Carrie Barrett, executive director of New Castle Main Street, has been in charge of coordinating the development of the district, which also will include curb improvements, rain gardens and landscaping this spring. “It’s just really been an overall community effort,” she said. The production and installation of the sculptures was a multi-step process that began at Metal Art in Middletown, a sheet metal fabrication company that cut out the pieces needed for each sculpture. The metal pieces were then sent to New Castle Career Center where high school students welded them into three-dimensional letters. The next step was to have the letters thoroughly cleaned at Randy’s Sandblasting near Middletown, followed by powder coating at Carrara Industries in Anderson. Colors were applied using powder coating rather than paint so that the sculptures would be resistant to scratching and outdoor elements. After all that, careful placement of the finished artwork on either concrete pads or pedestals could take place with the help of community volunteers. Barrett says she is grateful for all the people who have helped bring the sculptures to life. “Big kudos to Jeff Smiley -- he formerly owned an auto body shop here and recommended the sandblaster and powder coater to me,” she said, adding he was even able to transport the LOVE sculptures on an icy day to Middletown and Anderson. She also was excited to have the New Castle Career Center students work on the project under the direction of their teacher, Steve Vitatoe. “Steve was really eager to have the kids help, and I couldn’t be happier with their work,” she said.

For the students, it was a chance to use their skills for a high-profile real-world project, said Vitatoe. The New Castle Career Center has the only welding early-college program in Indiana. Students who complete the program can earn technical certificates through Ivy Tech. “What I liked about this project is that we’re doing something that helps the community, helps the students learn and has a lasting impact,” said Vitatoe. All 36 of Vitatoe’s first and second year students worked on assembling all four of the sculptures which consist of approximately eight metal pieces per letter. During part of the spring and fall semesters of 2016, they spent many hours in metal preparation, welding, grinding and polishing. The size of the pieces, some up to eight feet tall, presented special challenges for the students. “We’ve never built anything that large before in here, so we had to do a lifting and rigging class and teach them how to use a forklift to flip the pieces over safely,” said Vitatoe. During the summer of 2016, the welding lab was updated with new industrial standard equipment which made it possible for the students to complete everything by last November. For the final assembly of the LOVE sculptures, Vitatoe said it was two of his female welding students who figured out how to stack the L and O on top of the V and E. “They basically suggested we make it into a giant Lego,” he said. Tubing and pipes were welded into the letters so that they could fit snugly together. Since the first LOVE sculpture was installed in January at 15th & Grand, the community reaction has been positive, with one couple even using it as the site of their wedding proposal. “I really have to give Jeff Ray and Aaron Dicken the credit for starting all this,” said Barrett. Ray is a board member of New Castle Main Street and Dicken is the former director of the Henry County Art Association. “It’s their plan and vision. I’m just the one making sure that it’s implemented,” she said. ■

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Wilbur Wright Museum Board of Directors: front row, Sylvia Ward, Tanya Thompson and Sheila Grismore; back row, Jack Shank and Chuck Jarboe.

WILBUR WRIGHT’S LIFE THROUGH THE YEARS 1878 1881 1884 1867 Born in Millville, Indiana.

Milton Wright buys his Family moves to children, Wilbur and Orville, Richmond, Indiana, a toy helicopter based from Dayton, Ohio. on an invention by French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Pénaud. When the fragile mechanical contraption breaks, Orville and Wilbur build their own version.

Family moves back to Dayton, Ohio before Wilbur’s graduation. Although he has enough credits for a certificate, he never receives a diploma.

1889 1892 1896 1899 Wilbur and Orville form a business partnership and opened a printing shop in Dayton, Ohio.

The brothers open a cycle repair and sales shop in Dayton, Ohio.

Wright Cycle Company begins manufacturing its own bicycles.

Wilbur begins designing an aircraft.


Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum

Museum marks 150th anniversary of famous aviator’s birth in Millville STORY BY DOUG GRUSE

N

|

PHOTOS BY KURT HOSTETLER

orth Carolina may be “First in Flight,” but the state owes some of the credit for its nickname to Indiana. Orville and Wilbur Wright made their groundbreaking 1903 piloted airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but Wilbur actually got his start in the Hoosier state. The Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum will mark the 150th anniversary of Wilbur’s birth near Millville by encouraging the public to visit the site where one of history’s greatest inventors got his start. Born April 16, 1867, Wilbur, the elder of the aviation pioneering siblings, was the third of Milton and Susan Wright’s seven children. Wilbur’s father was a minister in the United Brethren Church and a theologian. He met his wife while they were both studying at Hartville College. Educated in literature, science and mathematics, Wilbur’s mother was known for being skilled with hand tools — and she often built household appliances and toys for her family. “His mother was really a mechanical person, and she handed those skills down to Orville and Wilbur,” said Charles Fields, a board member and volunteer who has been Hand-drawn airplane design contributing to the museum since 2003. housed in the museum. The family lived on the property that now serves as a museum through the 1860s, and tour guides give visitors a glimpse into what 19th-century rural life would have been like for the Wrights. “The house has everything that would have been there when the Wrights lived there. It’s just a place of awe when you come out. It’s so quiet. It’s like traveling back in time,” said Sylvia Ward, museum chairman. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

1903

1904 1905

1906 1908 1909 1910

Wright brothers succeed in making the first free, controlled flights of a power-driven airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. (Wilbur flew the plane for 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet.)

Wright brothers build Flyer II and begin testing it near Dayton.

Brothers receive U.S. Patent 821393[13] for “new and useful Improvements in Flying Machines.”

Brothers build Flyer III.

Wilbur begins public flights of an updated flyer in France, demonstrating his skill as a pilot.

Brothers awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after returning home from a successful tour of Europe.

Orville pilots a six-minute flight with Wilbur as his passenger near Dayton. It’s the only time the Wright brothers ever fly together.

1921 Wilbur dies in Dayton of typhoid fever.


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14 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017

The Wright Birthplace also branches out into other chapters of the brothers’ story, including their time as owners of a printing company in Dayton and the three years spent in North Carolina experimenting with aeronautical models before taking that historic first flight. Ward first began working at the museum gift shop in 2002, and the historic site’s connection to the community has kept her involved ever since. “I was raised near here, and I still only live five miles away,” she said. “”I remember going to Millville when I was in the seventh grade to mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight.” Ward heads a team of local volunteers who strive to keep the site, which sees around 5,000 people pass through the doors each year, open for future generations. “We are eight miles off the interstate. We are totally out in the country. You have to want to go find it,” Fields said. An airplane pilot since 1987, Fields feels connected to the Wrights because of their contribution to air travel, but his time volunteering at the museum has given him a richer understanding of their legacy. “The most rewarding part is being able to teach. We constantly have school groups go through, and most people are surprised to learn that only two of the Wright children were born in Ohio. All of the others were born in Indiana,” Fields said. Although Ward believes most people in the area are familiar with the region’s Wilbur Wright connection, she doesn’t think they know exactly what the birthplace site has to offer. “When people visit, they don’t realize what we have until they walk in. We get more support from people just traveling through the area than people who live around here,” she said. The museum presents visitors with a chance to experience history in person. A full-size replica of the First Flyer is one of its most popular attractions. “People are overwhelmed when they see it. You walk onto the balcony overlooking it, and you are impressed with the size — it’s 40 feet wide. It’s so simple in design, yet it’s very complicated,” Fields said. A row of storefronts modeled after downtown Dayton in the early 1900s includes replicas of the Wrights’ printing operation, a dress boutique, their bicycle shop, a general store and a school. “One of my favorite things to do is to walk down the main street and check out all of the shops. It’s a slice of life that most people don’t get to see. You can pick up a glass and see that it would have been priced at 7 cents. It seems like just about everything was 2 or 3 cents at the general store,” Ward said. To guarantee the museum’s future, Ward expects that the facility will have to change its current operating structure. “I would like to see a director hired to run the place full time,” she said. “We’re a nonprofit and we get all our own money, but we need someone who knows how to get grants and a large company to back us. I would like to make it possible for all of the school children in the area to come for free.” ■


IF YOU GO The Wilbur Wright Birthplace is at 1525 N. 750 E. in Hagerstown. The museum holds an annual June festival featuring a barbecue, car show, free tours, demonstrations, vendors and entertainment. For more information, go to www.wwbirthplace.com or call (765) 332-2495.

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Downtown New Castle T

gets some much-needed LOVE STORY BY DOUG GRUSE

he future of New Castle can be found in its past.

|

PHOTOS BY KURT HOSTETLER

contemporary urban appeal. Although they quickly attracted a tenant, a change in Indiana law made the business unviable. Despite the setback, they recently signed a long-term contract A team of developers with investment company are breathing new life into Edward Jones. dilapidated downtown buildings According to Scott, the and giving entrepreneurs a building, which dates back to chance to write a new chapter in the 1880s, originally housed the city’s history. a buggy and carriage shop. Married couple Mike and “Now that it is renovated Patty Broyles, along with Mike’s and we have secured a lease, cousin Scott Frost, have teamed it will be better for the other up to refurbish several historic buildings around it. We hope structures, saving the properties that it will help the building from certain decay and eventual next door attract a tenant,” demolition. Scott said. Although the district has For a second project, seen a decline in prosperity, with the Broyles and Frost two banks vacating downtown Scott Frost, Patty Broyles and Mike Broyles. collaborated with two other branches and several businesses partners to renovate a large Main Street property that now migrating out to the more traveled Route 3, the Broyles and houses legal offices, a State Farm office and apartments. Frost believe that historic New Castle can have a thriving The building originally served as Stafford Hospital, but urban center again. also had been a furniture store, office supply business and “Although a lot of places have moved out and left psychiatrist’s office before being abandoned. our downtown empty, we decided we are going to pay it Funded with a development grant, the partners were forward,” Patty said. able to restore the building, which had become segmented The team has finished renovating two properties and is through the years, into a more cohesive design. finalizing extensive work on a third. The effort began in 2014 “It had some weird architecture that had been added, but with work on 1105 Broad St. it looks like one building again,” Mike said. ”We rebuilt the “It was an empty building when we bought it, and we had facade with wood paneling, and it looks very rich now.” to replace the deteriorating roof. It had been redone in the The developers credit local government with having 1970s, and the remodeled roof front did not match a normal the foresight to create funding opportunities for people downtown look. We wanted to take it back to the way it interested in revitalizing the region. looked in the early 1900s,” Mike said. “The New Castle Redevelopment Commission grants up The partners improved the facade to give it a to 50 percent on roof and facade repairs. If it wasn’t for that more traditional appearance and gutted the inside. funding, a lot of these buildings couldn’t be saved. Roofs They sandblasted the interior brick walls to add some

16 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017


Mike and Patty Broyles and Scott Frost refurbish historic structures.

are the major problem with downtown buildings,” Mike said. When Mike and Patty first thought about getting involved in revitalizing downtown, Scott took them to see a historic property on 14th Street. The building had holes in the roof, no electricity or plumbing and a small tree growing through the wood floor. “It was in pretty bad shape, but it needed way too much work,” Mike said. After successfully completing the projects on Broad and Main streets, the team reconsidered the first address they had seen. They made several failed attempts to purchase the building, a former bank, from its out-of-town owner. Eventually they were able to secure a deal through a local realtor. The building, now on the road to recovery, will likely be ready for occupancy by fall. A local event planner and cookie maker plans to open a shop in the space. Patty emphasizes that the rebirth of downtown is being driven by New Castle residents. ‘We’re not “The owners of the blighted buildings the first weren’t local, and people that is changing. working Having local people buy the property on things has really helped. downtown, The community and we’re has been talking to us, and people just a small really appreciate the part of it. changes,” she said. We hope The development trio is proud to other people be involved in the will continue rejuvenation of the the idea.’ area. “We’re not the first - Scott Frost people working on things downtown, and we’re just a small part of it. We hope other people will continue the idea,” Scott said. The continued work to bring new life to New Castle is paying off, as new business and restaurants talk about opening in the district. The creation of an arts and culture area in honor of New Castle native Robert Indiana, the pop artist best known for his iconic “LOVE” print, will enhance the revitalization effort. “I think downtown is on the upswing,” Patty said. “A lot of people are interested in what’s happening. We hope that momentum will continue.” ■

CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017 | 17


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CHAMBER BUSINESS OF THE YEAR New headquarters open for local business

T

he 2016 New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year just opened a new, spacious headquarters on the city’s south end, signaling another near century of commitment to the community. REMC, a long-held and locally influenced company, had outgrown its location of nearly 80 years and immediately started looking at how it could expand yet remain a vital member of the community. “We are enormously fortunate to have REMC in our community,” said Missy Modesitt, Executive Director for New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. “This is the kind of company that gets involved in its community. They nurture their employee relationships and build partners across the county. We’re proud of the work they do.” REMC received the award on the very day in March they moved into their new location. “These guys are the ones who make REMC look good,” said President and CEO Shannon Thom, pointing to his staff on stage. “We plan to be around another 80 years.” A 12-member board of directors elected by member owners governs REMC. These directors set rates, make policies and hire the general manager, as well as determine the strategic direction of the co-op. These directors are also friends and neighbors of fellow member owners. They serve Henry County and parts of Fayette, Rush, Hancock, Delaware, and Wayne Counties with more than 9,600 residential, commercial and industrial accounts while maintaining and improving over

1,000 miles of overhead and underground lines in a safe and cost effective manner. Thom worked on a five-year plan that culminates with this build-out. Known for their frugality over the years, in 2015 the board of directors and staff made the decision to invest in a new headquarters as an important step in planning for the future. Realizing their current location had become inadequate, they set about the task of creating a facility with a focus on safety, security and overall efficiency for employees and the membership as a whole. The resulting space, which opened in March, brought all staff and equipment under one roof in a beautifully designed space that even made room for members and community organizations to meet with state of the art technology available. Until the new facility opened, REMC was fulfilling material needs out of four different warehouses, requiring trucks to go from one warehouse to the other to the other to get equipment. The addition of employees has forced the repurposing of a boardroom into cubicles. The trucks needed to reach the taller poles used today won’t fit in the warehouse because the overhead doors aren’t tall enough. Technology upgrades in a building built in the 1930s presents challenges, as well. A couple of other significant problems impacted the five-year plan and decision to build. REMC purchased 22 acres between the Steve Alford Inn and Gillman Home Center, back to the corner point of Executive and Commerce Drives in Henry County. With roughly 17,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of warehouse space, the new location meets its growing needs, including an industrial park atmosphere accommodating to the larger REMC trucks and tractor/trailers, as well as the fact that REMC will be able to supply its own energy. The new place has a boardroom and a community room that seats 100-plus people for community events and member training. ■ ANNUAL DINNER PHOTOS: PAGE 22. CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017 | 19


treasure’ ‘He’s a CHAMBER CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Citizen of the Year: Dennis Hamilton.

Dennis Hamilton: A man of firsts

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or some, it takes a lifetime in a single place to have the impact that the 2016 New Castle Henry County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year has had on the local community in just the last decade.

“Dennis Hamilton has been a resident of Henry County for 10 years but you would think he’s been here all his life. He is a humble, quiet personality who consistently models amazing citizenship and deserves to be recognized for his daily walk,” wrote Beverly Hankenhoff, who nominated Dennis for the Chamber award. Hamilton was honored in March at the annual dinner meeting of New Castle Henry County Chamber of Commerce. “I am very blessed to have the opportunity to volunteer,” Dennis told the Chamber dinner crowd. “By volunteering you get so much more out of it than what you put into it.” In her nomination, Hankenoff said this about Hamilton: “One would never guess Dennis was not a native to Henry County. He is passionate about its well-being and puts his time, treasure and energy to that effort. Shortly after returning from Ohio to Indiana, he and his wife began a private effort to beautify their corner of Henry County. Choosing to build their residence in an area of town that too many still refer to as the bad area of town, they personally funded the purchase and take down of 10 north-end houses that went beyond eyesore.” Dennis is a man of firsts. While not a farmer, Dennis started a specialty farm in Henry County four years ago, growing primarily lavender and hosta. Today, he serves on a national 20 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017

committee for specialty farms. He’s been awarded the title “master gardener,” and has completed the Purdue Master Gardener Program. The farm has evolved into an outdoor education lab where children come to learn about the outdoors. In 2016, Dennis planted 80 hybrid tomato plants and gave the produce to area nursing homes and private citizens who did not have access. He has plowed plots of his farm for others to grow their own gardens. Last summer he launched into the world of festivals, hosting the Millstone Farm and Garden Festival on his own property. Proceeds from the festival were dispersed to a local nonprofit. “Dennis Hamilton exemplifies the kind of individual we like to honor,” explained Chamber Executive Director Missy Modesitt. At the age of 50, Dennis began running, first in short races and eventually moving to marathons. Within five years, he had run 10 marathons, including qualifying and competing in the Boston Marathon. Dennis and his wife, Cathy, have been married 44 years and have two adult children. The couple is caretaker to Cathy’s mother and to their daughter who was born with a clinical disability and lives with her parents. While unable to hold a traditional job, Sarah has been taught to be a good citizen and a giver. Dennis attends First United Methodist Church, where he serves on the board. He’s also on the Henry County Healthy Communities Board, Henry County Academy for Community Leadership Board and Friends of the Library Board for the NCHC Public Library. He is secretary to HOPE Initiative, serving on the housing committee and advocates for the safe and healthy housing for citizens and continues to lobby for the demolition of structures that are not safe. He’s served previously on the Henry County Visitors’ Board and Board of Aviation Commission. Dennis is not the only servant in the family. His wife, Cathy, was selected the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year in 2013. ■ ANNUAL DINNER PHOTOS: PAGE 22.


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CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017 | 21


hero Tom Allen.

HOMETOWN

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ne of New Castle’s homegrown heroes — Indiana University football head coach Tom Allen — delivered an inspired speech at the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in March.

“What I teach today, I learned here - from my family but also from my community,” Allen said. It was moments like seeing Steve Alford, a high school senior at the time, practicing free throws long after practice had ended that inspired his work ethic. “I was in the seventh grade but seeing that made an impression,” Allen said. Allen was the keynote speaker but other local heroes - the Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year - also were held up as examples of the best kind of community stewards. “There are few business and individuals who give of their time, talent and treasure to a community like our Citizen of the Year and our Business of the Year,” said Missy Modesitt, Executive Director for New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. “The competition is always stiff and selection is always difficult. That’s a testament to the kinds of companies and individuals we have in this community.” ■

Photos by Kurt Hostetler.

22 | CHAMBER MAGAZINE, Spring 2017

View our Annual Meeting gallery online:

nchcchamber.com


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Why Henry County?

Location, Location, Location Easy access to interstates and major airports make travel and business logistics a breeze. And residents have the best of both worlds: Easy, small-town living within about an hour’s drive to major shopping and entertainment destinations like Indianapolis, Dayton and Cincinnati.

Education

Henry County offers great schools and excellent career centers offering hands-on, real-world experience to students. About 30 colleges and universities lie within 50 miles of Henry County, including IU East, Ball State University, IVY TECH Community College, Purdue Polytecnic University, Earlham, Butler and IUPUI.

Health Care

Henry Community Health consistently garners top ratings for quality of care, and the area boasts a wide range of home-health options and excellent seniorliving communities.

Recreation With its ever-growing trail system, family-focused parks, the aquatic center, a new skate park, and a wide range of youth sports opportunities, Henry County is the perfect place for play. Natural resources abound with numerous community parks and Summit Lake State Park.

Basketball! The heart of basketball beats in Henry County: • New Castle Fieldhouse is the largest high school basketball gym in the United States

Vibrant Arts Community The recently established Robert Indiana Arts and Cultural District and the Arts Park and Pavilion in New Castle are visible examples of the community’s arts commitment.

• Knightstown’s Hoosier Gym was the filming location for the iconic movie “Hoosiers” •The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame resides in New Castle • Native basketball stars include Kent Benson and Steve Alford

NCHC Chamber Magazine, Spring 2017  

Published twice yearly, Chamber Magazine is the voice of the New Castle-Henry County (Indiana) Chamber of Commerce. The Spring 2017 issue hi...

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