12 Under 40 2023

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A special publication of the Tribune-Star Advertising Department.

12 Under 40 is an award that recognizes a dozen young professionals for their contributions to the Terre Haute community.

The strength of any community relies on it’s citizens to give back, be it through work, volunteering or charity. This group of individuals exemplifies all three of those attributes. After pouring through many nominations, the difficult choices were made to present to you these deserving 2023 12 Under 40 recipients.

D2 Tribune-STar • Friday, March 31, 2023


For Nichelle Campbell-Miller, a social worker and coach at Sarah Scott Middle School, her inspiration comes from her students.

“I love them like they are my children,” said Campbell-Miller, one of this year’s 12 under 40 award recipients. She makes it her job to know every single student in the school.

She knows every student’s name and greets them by name, she said.

“That’s my passion. I love to get to know my kids and build relationships and try to make a lasting impact,” said the 30-year-old, who is from Evanston, Illinois, but settled in Terre Haute after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in social work from Indiana State University.

She later obtained her master’s degree at ISU.

While attending college, she also met her future wife, Julie, and they decided that Terre Haute “is a pretty good place to live and build and grow as individuals and as a family,” Campbell-Miller said.

As the school social worker, Campbell-Miller works with students who have social-emotional needs and implements daily social-emotional learning checks for all students.




■ Social worker at Sarah Scott Middle School.

■ Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Indiana State University.

■ Past president of the Pride Center of Terre Haute, an organization she helped found. She continues to volunteer.


Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D3 12 Under 40
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Nichelle Campbell-Miller, center, a social worker at Sarah Scott Middle School, loves working with kids like her basketball players here in her office on Feb. 27.


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She also runs a school food pantry program that provides food boxes to families at both Sarah Scott and its feeder elementary schools.

She also oversees a school incentive program that rewards student positive behavior.

And if that’s not enough to keep her busy, she coaches five Sarah Scott athletic teams including varsity volleyball, sixth-grade boys and girls basketball and seventh- and eighthgrade girls track.

Campbell-Miller is also past president of the Pride Center of Terre Haute, an organization she helped found. She continues to


Lucy Chew helps run two businesses, teaches at Indiana State University and gives back to the Terre Haute community in many ways.

When asked what motivates her, the 39-year-old responded, “I think more than anything, my daughter.”

Chew, one of this year’s 12 Under 40 honorees, is co-owner of Studio 12 with her husband Eric Handlin; co-owner of Montessori Academy of Terre Haute; and a senior instructor at ISU.

Chew wants to help make Terre Haute a place where people want to live, including her 6-year-old daughter, Early Handlin.

“I hear a lot of people just kind of talk down Terre Haute” and talk about wanting to leave, she said. “I think it’s important for us to instill in our young people that this is a

volunteer there.

Her efforts, and commitment to children, don’t go unnoticed.

“She builds intentional relationships with all students and makes them feel worthy, valued and a part of the Sarah Scott family,” said Rachel Cox, a Sarah Scott instructional coach who wrote a nominating letter. “She works with at-risk youth every day to make a difference in their academics, activities and


cool place … I get emotional thinking about my little girl.”

She wants her daughter to have pride in her community.

“If we instill that really early on in our young people, they will have a love for their community and they will want to give back,” Chew said.

She sets an example by investing in long-term endeavors, including Studio 12 and the Montessori Academy, that give back to the community and show it’s a valuable community.

Studio 12, located in 12 Points, includes an art gallery and Eric’s Humble Pies; her husband is the pie baker. Studio 12 displays art from all local artists and sells it for the artists without taking a commission.

Nominations for 12 under 40 acknowledge Chew’s efforts to improve her community.

Turn to CHEW, D5


Cox also writes, “Campbell-Miller sets the standard as an exemplary social worker.”

Tiffany Baker praised Campbell-Miller for her leadership at the Pride Center and her efforts to help grow the organization “into the integral part of our community that it is today.”

Campbell-Miller is a strong activist within the Black and LGBTQ+ communities and

consistently advocates for inclusive policies, Baker wrote in a nominating letter.

At Sarah Scott, “Nichelle has become the go-to person for her students, particularly when they need a support person through a crisis, a trusted adult to discuss complex issues or a mentor to encourage their dreams,” Baker stated.

Campbell-Miller said her goal is to treat people, and students, with kindness and empathy and “meet everybody where they are at … If I can do that, then we can do anything.”

As to future goals, she hopes one day to be a building principal and to implement therapeutic interventions for students.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-2314235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue

D4 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
“ I love to get to know my kids and build relationships and try to make a lasting impact.”
people want to live,
Early Handlin,
here with Chew
Feb. 24 at Montessori
of Terre Haute.
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza 12 Under 40 honoree Lucy Chew wants to help make Terre
a place where
including her
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“Lucy must never sleep. Not only does she teach full-time and help run two businesses in Terre Haute, but also her charitable work and work for community engagement is incredibly commendable,” wrote Robin Voll.

Through Studio 12, Chew and her husband have organized community events such as the 12 Points July 4 Celebration; given out free Thanksgiving meals for the community; and thrown a holiday party for the community at Garfield Towers.

The holiday party included a distribution of winter wear and toys collected by the Daisy Girl Scout troop Chew leads and also donated by patrons of Studio 12.

“Lucy is one of the most tirelessly compassionate people I’ve ever met. Her work has always been about helping others and setting a good example,” Voll said.

According to Chew, “I believe what you put into the world comes back to you. The more that you are patient, empathetic and understanding and give back to the community, then that’s what you receive from people as well.”

■ Co-owner of Studio 12 with her husband Eric Handlin; co-owner of Montessori Academy of Terre Haute; and a senior instructor at ISU.

■ Graduated West Vigo High School in 2002 and has a bachelor’s from ISU and a master’s in literature from Indiana University.

■ Through Studio 12, Chew and her husband have organized community events such as the 12 Points July 4 Celebration; given out free Thanksgiving meals for the community; and thrown a holiday party for the community at Garfield Towers.

She’s faced hardships and losses in her life, but overcomes obstacles by staying focused on longterm goals and family. Everything is pretty much temporary, she said. When things get too hard, she focuses on the “right there and now.”

Among those hardships, her family was homeless for awhile when she was very young. Throughout her childhood, her family was impoverished.

In the past decade, she has lost both her mother and brother, and their memory also keeps her going.

“If my brother were here, he would be so proud. I know he’d be in there [Studio 12] drinking coffee all the time,” she said. “I just kind of picture him there with me, running the shop.”

Her mom’s dream was to open a Montessori


preschool, and while she didn’t get to, Chew and her sister have fulfilled that dream.

Her mom and brother are also her motivators. “I picture them around us, supporting us. I know how proud they’d be,” she said.

Looking forward, Chew hopes one day to build a Montessori school on property she owns where children can go out and enjoy nature; she also wants to grow enrollment and expand the ages served.

The program, in its second year, serves children ages 3 to 6.

While her accomplishments are many, “I couldn’t do any of this without my husband,” Chew said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue

Tribune-Star/Joseph C.

Vermillion County commissioner RJ Dunavan’s goals are “to do good things and represent the people in a way they can be proud of.” Here, Dunavan poses for a photo in front of the Vermillion County courthouse in Newport on March 15.

RJ Dunavan is quite accomplished for someone who just turned 27. He was elected to the North Vermillion School Board at age 21 and served two years, from 2016-18. He served on the Vermillion County Council for two years, from 2018-20. He is currently in his third year as Vermillion County commissioner.

■ In his third year as Vermillion County commissioner. Previously served on the Vermillion County Council and North Vermillion School Board.

■ Manager of Angie’s Country Kitchen, a family-owned business, and owns Improvement Properties, a real estate business.

■ First elected to North Vermillion School Board at age 21.

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D5 12 Under 40
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“ I believe what you put into the world comes back to you. The more that you are patient, empathetic and understanding and give back to the community, then that’s what you receive from people as well.”
Turn to DUNAVAN, D6


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He’s also been manager of Angie’s Country Kitchen, a family-owned business, since 2016 and he owns Improvement Properties, a real estate business.

And if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he also has been an IHSAA licensed basketball official since 2014 and he serves on various boards.

The Vermillion County native, who lives in Cayuga, said one of his goals is to “always strive to leave a place better than I found it.”

He attended North Vermillion School Corp., but left after his freshman year and went to work in the family restaurant business. He graduated high school through an online program.


In terms of the political realm, his goals are “to do good things and represent the people in a way they can be proud of.”

Some of the keys to his success, Dunavan said, include “always standing up for what’s right and always following my gut instincts, whatever that may be at the time.”

While a registered Republican, he also says, “I hate the titles that label us. I have always had the mindset that I represent the ‘people,’ regardless of which political party I represent. My goal has been and will continue to be, to do what’s right, even if that means standing alone at times.”

Dunavan said he’s always tried to be proactive rather than reactive. “I think you’ve always got to be looking to the future,” he said. “You always have to have goals in life.”

He added, “I can’t be complacent. If you don’t have goals, you end up getting complacent at some point.”


After graduating from high school in his hometown of Ferdinand in southern Indiana, Jason Ernest came to Terre Haute, graduating in 2005 from Indiana State University with a degree in finance.

“I started working at First Financial Bank and worked there in banking for 14 years until February 2020,” making a switch to The Hometown

Turn to ERNST, D7

■ Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at The Hometown Savings Bank.

■ 2005 graduate, Indiana State University bachelor’s degree in finance.

■ Treasurer of ISU Sycamore Construction Management Advisory Board; served as treasurer for eight years for board of directors of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

around you, you can pretty much do anything you want in life. I’m blessed to have that,” Dunavan said.

Among the accomplishments he is most proud of include speaking up for changes at the Indiana 63 and Indiana 234 intersection and then seeing it happen.

When he was on the North Vermillion School Board, he and other members advocated to start an FFA program.

The 27-year-old credits his success to his family, and parents in particular, who “have set so many goals and examples growing up.” They instilled in him that he could do whatever he set his mind to.

“When you have a great family base

In terms of how he overcomes obstacles and challenges, he takes the view, “This, too, shall pass.” Also, “I’m surrounded by great people. I always surround myself with people smarter than me, and that always helps me overcome obstacles.”

His future goals include serving as a state legislator.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-2314235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue

12 Under 40 awardee Jason Ernst, a vice president and commercial loan officer at The Hometown Savings Bank, enjoys being a component in the success of local small businesses. Here, Ernst poses for a photo at the bank’s main branch on Feb. 21.

Tribune-Star/ Joseph C. Garza

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When you have a great family base around you, you can pretty much do anything you want in life. I’m blessed to have that.”


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Savings Bank just as the global COVID-19 pandemic took a foothold.

“COVID had hit and the federal government had rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program and local community banks where charged with rolling out that program,” Ernst said.

“Timing wise it was a good opportunity for me to be able to step in and head up that program, which targeted small businesses to help them navigate through the pandemic. It helped employers continue to pay their employees.

“That program was a big help for a lot of local small businesses and the reality is without that program there would have been a lot of businesses go under,” said Ernst, vice president and commercial loan officer at THSB.

Terri Conley, senior vice president at THSB, nominated Ernest, 39, (who turned 40 on March 22 after receiving the award) for 12 Under 40.

“Jason is a true team member within the organization. His servant style leadership has earned the admiration and respect of his co-workers, in addition to his kind demeanor and remarkable knowledge of banking,” Conley said.

Yet Conley said she thinks Ernst’s professional life is a reflection of the dedication to his family.

“As a single parent, Jason understands the importance of being a role model,” Conley said, adding he is a volunteer for Camp Navigate in the Wabash Valley.

“Jason’s a family-oriented person and his number one priority is his kids. He selflessly puts everything into his children so that they become the best community members, family members, friends, classmates and teammates,” Conley said. “Whether it is playing disc golf at Deming Park, fishing at Maple Avenue Nature Park, or attending an [Indiana State University] parade, you will find Jason and his kids at many community events. Jason is his kids’ number one fan.”

Ernest, who said he is amicably

divorced, has two children, son Jayden, 11, and daughter Harper, 8.

“I am the type of individual who thinks our kids are the future,” Ernst said. “In my mind it is worth it as a parent to take extra time investing in them. I am a big believer that if you teach them right at a young age, guide them through life, develop good morals and ethics practices, that is how you get good performing society members. Plus, outside of that, I love them and I enjoy spending time with them,” Ernst said. “They keep me on my toes and I would not have it any other way.

They are a big component of my life,” he said of his children. In addition to family, Ernst also has served in several community capacities, such as eight years as treasurer of the board of directors of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center; being involved with Riley Elementary’s career fair days for the students; helping to paint and restore a home as part of THSB’s 2022 sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity’s Home for the Holidays event; serving on an advisory board member with the Indiana Banking Association, Future Lead-

ership Division, for five years; and is treasurer of ISU Sycamore Construction Management Advisory Board, serving in that role for the past three years.

While on the CANDLES board as treasurer, Ernst was able to take a trip to Auschwitz, Poland, with museum founder Eva Kor in 2019.

“Unfortunately, three or four days after I got back to the United States, Eva had passed away [in Poland],” Ernst said. “That trip hits home for me … because it was Eva’s last trip, so I consider myself very fortunate,” he said.

Ernst said he joys his work in banking and enjoys Terre Haute.

“From a professional standpoint, from commercial lending, it is truly getting joy out of helping small business owners succeed,” he said. “That is one of the big rewards, to be a small component of helping businesses succeed. I have enjoyed my time living in Terre Haute, also enjoying that with my kids … it is a very good atmosphere and the community continues to grow and expand with new activities.”

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D7 12 Under 40
I am the type of individual who thinks our kids are the future. In my mind, it is worth it as a part to take extra time investing in them. …Plus, outside of that, I love them and I enjoy spending time with them.”



While Lindsay Hull, and her identical twin sister Lauren, were born in Belleville, Illinois, and raised in the Hoosier city of Peru, she had family connections to Terre Haute.

“My parents [Steve and Debra (Stultz) Hull] were born and raised in Terre Haute and went to [Indiana State University],” Hull said. Her mother graduated in the last class from the former Garfield High School in 1971 and her dad was among the first graduating classes from Terre Haute South Vigo High School.

Hull’s mother graduated from ISU, while her father transferred from ISU, graduating from Indiana University South Bend. Her parents still live in northern Indiana, along with a brother, Wes. Her sister lives in Wisconsin, but Hull still has other relatives living in Terre Haute.

“I came to Terre Haute for a job and I didn’t know how long I would be here, but it has been almost 10 years now,” Hull, 37, said. “Terre Haute is a great and very welcoming community where you can be involved and get to know so many people and be welcomed in. The folks in Terre Haute are so warm and welcoming and are excited to have people be a part of the community,” Hull said.

Part of that community participation for Hull is serving as a volunteer operations director for Care Communities at Maryland Community Church.

“My parents were foster parents before I was born, so my two oldest brothers [Scott and Steve] are adopted out of foster care,” Hull said. “I grew up thinking that was normal, that everybody had brothers who were in foster care first. That is my connection to fostering.”

A Care Community is a team of five to eight people who help and support a foster family.

“When a family has a foster child, there are all the normal things you expect from having a biological child, but

Turn to HULL, D9

■ Human Resource data analyst at Union Hospital.

■ 2016 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with master’s degree in leadership development with an emphasis in organization leadership; 2008 graduate of Evangel University with bachelor’s degree in mathematics education.

■ Volunteers as the Care Communities Operations Director for Maryland Community Church.

D8 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza 12 Under 40 honoree Lindsay Hull is a Human Resource data analyst at Union Hospital and also serves as a volunteer operations director for Care Communities at Maryland Community Church. Here she poses in The Hope House on Feb. 25.


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there are a lot of extra things, with certain appointments and visits and court mandates, so I think we all know that having a child is a lot, but having a foster child is even more on top of that,” she said.

“The care community helps bring meals, helps with transportation to and from visits or appointments, helps with child care and mentoring and tutoring,” Hull said.

In 2008, Hull graduated from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. While there, she lettered on the women’s golf team and was elected as a student senator. After college, she taught math at Center Grove High School in Greenwood for five years.

She moved to Terre Haute in 2013, working at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for nine years as associate director for operations and education, overseeing AskRose, a free math and science tutoring service for Indiana students. While there, she obtained a master’s degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods


Since April, she has worked as a data analyst at Union Hospital.

“In all aspects of her life, Lindsay demonstrates excellent leadership skills; skills that are making our community stronger. In her current role at Union Health, Lindsay has stepped right into some projects that have yielded big results for the organization,” said Susan Turner, executive director of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, who nominated Hull for the 12 Under 40 Award.

In addition to Care Communities, Turner said Hull has “been involved with the Terre Haute Young Leaders, United Way of the Wabash Valley, Power of the Purse, Terre Haute Children’s Museum and the Wabash Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“Lindsay is exactly the type of talent we want to attract to our community,” Turner said. “We are fortunate she decided to invest in the Wabash Valley.” Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter @TribStarHoward.



Katie Lugar credits her mom, Robyn, with instilling in her the social work values that guide her life and work — how to treat people with dignity, be an advocate and create change when change is necessary.

Lugar, recognized with a 12 under 40 award, has been both a strong advocate and a changemaker in her many endeavors, both at Indiana State University where she works and in the community.

Currently, the 29-year-old is ISU’s director of multicultural services and programs, where she works with specific student populations including international, Hispanic-Latino, LGBTQ+ and women.

Off campus, she was a founding board member of the Pride Center of Terre Haute, later became its vice president for strategic initiatives and partnerships and now serves as interim co-president.

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D9 12 Under 40
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Katie Lugar, director of multicultural services and programs at Indiana State University, poses for a photo in the Hulman Memorial Student Union on Feb. 23. Turn to LUGAR, D10
Union Health salutes your leadership and volunteerism in the workplace and across the Wabash Valley. Your dedicated involvement makes our community a better place to live, work and thrive. Congratulations on being honored for your valuable work and mentorship in the
12 Under 40 Class of 2023!
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The folks in Terre Haute are so warm and welcoming and are excited to have people be part of the community.”


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Prior to its formation, “There was a very deep gap in Terre Haute. There wasn’t anything that provided specific services to the LGBTQ+ community in the Wabash Valley,” she said.

Working with others to create the Pride Center “has been meaningful and deeply personal,” she said.

She also dedicated several years to help ISU transition to a tobacco-free campus, first as the founding president of Tobacco Free Blue to advocate for health policy change, and more recently as the Tobacco Free Campus implementation chair.

She credits others in the community, and at ISU, who have helped make such initiatives successful.

■ ISU’s director of multicultural services and programs.

■ Bachelor’s and master’s in social work and a doctorate in health sciences, all from ISU.

■ Founding board member of the Pride Center of Terre Haute and currently interim co-president.

“The special part of our community is if you have an idea or see there’s an issue, you can run with it and do something about it. There are so many folks who will come alongside you to help and offer their strengths and resources,” she said. “I think that is something special

about our community. You’ve always got someone to lean on.”

She has a bachelor’s and master’s in social work and a doctorate in health sciences, all from ISU. An ISU Honors alum, she also served as the Honors College assistant director of student programming and leadership. She has taught courses in the Department of Social Work.

ISU has been part of Lugar’s life “since I was born,” she said. Her mom, who teaches at ISU and was formerly the social work department chair, took her to the ISU early childhood education center when she was an infant.

“I love ISU with my whole spirit and being,” Lugar said.

She has gained much from her experiences at ISU, and now she has the opportunity to give back to current

students. “To be able to give that back to students is really special. It’s definitely like a full-circle moment,” she said.

Greg Bierly, dean of ISU’s Honors College, and Rex Kendall, chief of staff to the ISU president, had high praise for Lugar’s accomplishments in a letter of nomination.

Lugar “is the embodiment of the very best of the Terre Haute community and Indiana State University — a professional that exemplifies and lives the qualities of service to community and intellectual advancement,” Bierly and Kendall wrote.

In her current role at ISU, she oversees the office dedicated to serving and advocating for the diverse array of student cultures and identities at the university.

“Katie has always infused her academic pursuits with service and mentoring, along

with apparently boundless energy and passion. She is an extraordinary person,” Bierly and Kendall wrote.

Looking to the future, Lugar hopes to continue serving in a leadership capacity. She also wants to continue advocating for historically marginalized communities.

“I’ve seen so much harm

inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and immigrants … that is where my passion is,” she said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com

Follow Sue on Twitter @ TribStarSue


D10 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
are so proud of you! Thank you for your contributions and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Your leadership and advocacy are so greatly appreciated. Congratulations on your 12 Under 40 recognition!
“ The special part of our community is if you have an idea or see there’s an issue, you can run with it and do something about it. … You’ve always got someone to lean on.”



When Jessica Murphy was in college, she studied geology. Her dissertation examined how lead in soil affected children’s health.

“I was working with a lot of underserved communities,” she recalled, “and I remember just having this really strong feeling of, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, not cooped up in a lab somewhere.”

And so, Murphy transitioned from geology to community service, taking the role of development manager at Catholic Charities Terre Haute in December of 2018 after a stint at Chances And Services for Youth.

“One of the guys in the warehouse said something to me the other day that has ran through my ears,” Murphy shared. “It was, ‘You may not always have your boots on the ground, but you give us what we need so that we can have our boots on the ground.’”

“During the COVID pandemic she organized all of the emergency food distribution,” wrote Julie Manson, who nominated Murphy to be honored as one of 2023’s 12 Under 40. “Her passion for her career and community is evident in everything she does. She is an outstanding role model and leader in the Wabash Valley.”

“One of our biggest food distributions ever took place during COVID,” Murphy said. She credited that successful effort to the building of Catholic Charities’ food warehouse, which opened in April 2019, a year before the pandemic struck. “We never would have been able to meet the needs of the community without this new food bank, for sure,” she said.

Moreover, she said, “We saw a lot of donors come on during COVID. It’s amazing to see how giving our city is, both financially and of their time. So many of our programs couldn’t operate if we didn’t have volunteers.

Turn to MURPHY, D12

■ Title: Development Manager, Catholic Charities

■ Education: B.S. Indiana State University 2006 (Geology); M.S. Indiana State University 2010 (Geology); Ph.D. ABD IUPUI (Applied Earth Sciences) 2015.

■ Community Service: Development Manager, Catholic Charities; previously, Community Outreach Coordinator, Chances And Services for Youth (CASY).

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D11 12 Under 40
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza As development manager for Catholic Charities, Jessica Murphy has seen how giving the community is financially and of its time. Murphy took the position during the pandemic and has coordinated many food distributions. Here, Murphy poses for a photo at a distribution at Ben Franklin Elementary on Feb. 18.

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It’s something about giving that makes people feel good. We take pride that our donors are able to see a very concrete result of what their money is going to.”

COVID also encouraged Murphy to reflect on how close many of us are to needing Catholic Charities’ service.

“We were serving people in our food distributions who very much could have been my husband and I — a two-income household, a couple of children, they owned their home and two vehicles, but they went to a one- or no-income household almost overnight and having to

ask for help for the first time,” Murphy said.

“That was a big eye-opening experience for a lot our community to realize that people are one unexpected expense away,” she added. “We’re very close to that edge of needing that help and should grant others that grace.”

Last year, Catholic Charities distributed about 3.9 million pounds of food, servicing about 95 different soup kitchens. About 36,000 people were the recipients of the nonprofit’s largess.

Helping so many people, Murphy said, is “very gratifying and you almost feel selfish about that feeling.”

David Kronke can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at david.kronke@tribstar.com.

The 12 Under 40 program recognizes a dozen professionals, 40 or younger who are making valuable contributions at work and/or through volunteerism in the community.

This year we have some extraordinary people to honor. As with years past, this group features some familiar faces and others making great strides in their careers and in the community, that maybe haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve.

Nominations for this year’s awards were accepted via an online form at 12under40.com. To be eligible, winners should not turn 40 on or before Jan. 1, 2023. They must live or work in West Central Indiana.

The 12 Under 40 selection committee consists of one representative each from the Chamber of Commerce and Tribune-Star, one past 12 Under 40 recipient and one community business leader.

D12 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023
12 Under 40
It’s an honor to have you as part of our team! Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Timothy 4:12
“ It’s amazing to see how giving our city is, both financially and of their time.”
Jessica Murphy!


While Emily Murray was working at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation she was involved in fundraising for a plethora of nonprofits in Vigo, Clay and Sullivan counties.

One of those was the Council on Domestic Abuse, also known as CODA.

“Their mission drew me in — empowering people, not just women but men too,” Murray said. “The mission always spoke to me.”

She took the position of executive director at CODA a little less than three years ago, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People were, ‘Why did you take a job in the middle of a pandemic?’” Murray recalled. “I didn’t think about it being a residential facility. I just thought this is a good opportunity for me to grow into a new leadership position.”

CODA provides emergency housing at its shelter for victims of domestic abuse. The number of residents varies, depending on whether those fleeing violence have children accompanying them — each room has bunk beds. In February, about 30 people were staying at the shelter, so it was maxed out. Some people stay a day, others stay a year.

“Since joining CODA, Emily has made a measurable impact not only as its executive director but as a passionate advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” wrote Alaina Burton in her letter nominating Murray to be honored by being named to the 12 Under 40 list.

Murray admits that running a shelter that protects victims of abuse can be a daunting proposition.

Turn to MURRAY, D14

■ Title: Executive Director, Council on Domestic Abuse, Inc

■ Education: B.A. in History from Indiana State University, M.A. in Anthropology from Ball State.

■ Community Service: Putting new tennis shoes on youngsters on the Terre Haute Women’s Club’s Shoe Bus. Fundraising for CODA and FSA, volunteering with Team of Mercy, serving on a United Way committee.

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D13 12 Under 40
“ I love being of service to the community and learning what those needs are.”
Tribune-Star/Joseph C.
Garza CODA Executive Director Emily Murray poses for a photo in the shelter’s kitchen on Feb. 17.


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“I didn’t know how daunting it would be,” she said. “CODA was not in a great financial position at the time. Running a residential facility in the middle of a pandemic was challenging. But I like a challenge. It was also really exciting and an opportunity to rebuild this organization from the ground up, a lot of different challenges.”

Predominantly, CODA serves low- to no-income people. “If you have resources, you don’t really need the emergency shelter,” Murray said.

Murray says she never feels herself to be in danger on the job.

“I fear more for our clients’ safety,” she said. “I feel safe working here. There is an element of potentially exposing yourself to dangerous abusers, but an abuser is trying to get to the person they’re connected with.”

Often, however, abusers are invited to the shelter for a peaceful


“If someone’s seeking shelter, it doesn’t mean they’ve cut off their relationship,” Murray said. “It’s a very hard thing for people to do. They don’t necessarily want the relationship to end, they want the abuse to end.” Cameras take in everything that occurs throughout the shelter.

Residents can receive free counseling services to help ween them off abusive relationships and seek out healthy ones.

“Some people have never been in a healthy relationship,” Murray

said. “If you haven’t seen a healthy relationship, you don’t know what one looks like.”

Though the success level of getting people out of an abusive climate is not high, seeing one occur is extremely pleasant.

“When we get those clients who go out and get housing and find a way out of their abusive relationship, it is very gratifying,” Murray said. “Seeing those success stories is really inspirational. Most of our clients end up back in those abusive relationships. We see a lot of repeat clients and always want to


Nikki O’Laughlin is a native of Iowa, born in Osceloa. It’s the same state where she graduated from college and met her husband, Cheyne. Now the couple is synonymous with well-known Terre Haute restaurants Charlie’s Pub & Grub and The Terminal Public House.

“We bought Charlie’s in 2014, but we lived in Brownsburg [Indiana] a couple of years before moving to Terre Haute,” O’Laughlin, 37, said. “My husband’s uncle [Kevin O’Laughlin] owned Charlie’s before, so we bought it from him.”

The couple lives in Clinton and has four children, ranging in age from 7 to 21. Three of the children still live at home. O’Laughlin said she and her husband, while living in Vermillion County, have invested in the future of Terre Haute.

“I feel like it is growing,” she said. “The downtown area especially. It is nice to see people put effort into the space. I feel like I hear and see more people moving back to Terre Haute that maybe were originally born and raised here who

Turn to O’LAUGHLIN, D15

■ Co-owner Charile’s Pub & Grub and The Terminal Public House.

■ 2006 graduate Upper Iowa University with bachelor’s degree in business.

■ Supporter of CASY and Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club.

be there for those people and don’t judge them.

“When someone does break the cycle, it does feel really good,” she added. “It helps us move forward some days because it can be a really taxing job — mentally, emotionally, there’s a lot of secondary trauma involved in hearing people’s stories of abuse. Those wins are really rewarding.”

David Kronke can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at david.kronke@ tribstar.com.

Nikki O’Laughlin, a 2023 12

Under 40 honoree, is the co-owner of Charile’s Pub & Grub and The Terminal Public House, has enjoyed seeing her family’s efforts pay off in the restaurant business and giving back to the community. Here, O’Lauhglin poses for a photo inside The Terminal Public House on Feb.22.

Tribune-Star/ Joseph C. Garza

D14 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“ There’s nothing more fulfilling than watching your ideas and hard work come to life. Putting in the hard work is worth the payoff.”


are in a similar age group that I am in. That’s kinda cool to see them come back and try to make a difference here,” she said.

“We obviously hope to create a similar thing for our kids,” O’Laughlin said. “While we don’t live in Terre Haute and our kids don’t go to school in Terre Haute, I would say a majority of our time is spent in Terre Haute and doing things in Terre Haute.

“I hope we can get to a point where our downtown is similar, not necessarily to Bloomington, but you get the picture, where we are creating more of a space for kids while attending Indiana State University or when families are visiting.”

When not working at both restaurants or attending her children’s school events, travel is something Nikki enjoys.

“Traveling is our hobby. We like to travel with our kids,” she said. “We like to go all over, but out of the country as much as we can.”

Past family trips include Paris, London, Ireland and Scotland.

“We want them to see there is literally a whole other world out there and what other places look like,” she said.

While Nikki and Cheyne each worked in the restaurant industry as teenagers, they had different experiences prior to moving to Terre Haute. Cheyne worked in warehousing, while Nikki worked

11 years in human resources.

The couple met while working at Expo Logistics in Iowa.

O’Laughlin said working in the restaurant industry “has been interesting and good to us,” she said. Her advice to anyone seeking to do that is “there’s nothing more fulfilling than watching your ideas and hard work come to life. Putting in the hard work is worth the payoff.”

Tiffany Baker of 3 Sisters Investments nominated O’Laughlin for the 12 Under 40 award.

“Nikki is very passionate about giving back to our community, especially Chances and Services for Youth and the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club. Nikki danced in Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars to support CASY in 2021,” Baker said.

Baker points to the couple’s move to reopen a downtown landmark — now called the Terminal Public House.

“Nikki and Cheyne have been an integral part of revitalizing this Terre Haute landmark. I’m so thankful to Nikki and her family for their continued investments in our hometown. They are so hard-working and determined to prove what a beautiful community we have in Terre Haute,” Baker said.

“Nikki can be found every single night at either Charlie’s, the Terminal, or ‘in some gym at a kids event.’ She is a perfect example of the great impact a hard-working momma can have on a town,” Baker said.


DJ Shouse’s business, Beast Training, which helps kids from third grade to college to bring out the best in their basketball skills, got its name when a videographer recorded a session with Shouse training 30 kids. The videographer told him, “You got these kids out here looking like a beast.”

“That stuck to me and I went with Beast Training,” he said. “That’s what I tried to channel when I was on the court. I tell the kids, ‘Find an alter ego that’s a beast and turn into that when you’re playing. You can be a nice, straight-A kid outside the court, but when you’re on the court, you got to channel something else.”

It’s a successful approach.

“This year, I’ve got five kids that I’ve been dealing with since they were in third grade and they’re all freshmen on their varsity teams at different schools now,” Shouse said.

DJ Shouse enjoys working with kids on and off the basketball court as CEO and founder of Beast Training LLC and outreach mentor with the Hamilton Center. Here, Shouse poses for a photo in the Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club on Feb. 14.

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D15 12 Under 40 Congratulations NIKKI O’LAUGHLIN and all of the Honorees!
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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza
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“The results are showing. Parents were happy. Kids continued to come back and felt they were getting better.”

Basketball has been part of Shouse’s life since he was 3 years old, though he admits his father would have preferred he had pursued playing golf rather than hoops.

“I loved it so much as a kid I wanted to play in the NBA,” he said. He played in college but after that, he said, “it was a little going nowhere and I noticed that.” So, realizing that starting a business represented a more viable opportunity than trying to continue playing, he began training others.

“DJ dedicates his time to working with the kids in our community,” wrote Donna Fullhart in her letter recommending Shouse for the 12 Under 40 list. “He builds them up so they will be successful and confident. He put months into fundraising, planning and executing a free youth sports camp last year [called Blacktop Camp] that not only gave our kids a safe and educational way to spend a week but also taught them about giving back to their neighborhood.”

Shouse also works as an outreach mentor for Hamil-

■ Title: CEO and founder of Beast Training LLC, Outreach Mentor with Hamilton Center

■ Education: Lincoln Trail College (graduated 2011), Oakland City University (graduated with bachelor’s 2020)

■ Community service: Participated in Christmas, book bag and backpack giveaways, organized and participated in free sports camps for children and teens, after school tutoring program with fifth graders.

ton Center, working with 50 children. He motivates them to do better in school and in sports, helping them find a tutor, getting them food and clothes and just paying a little extra attention to them that their life at home may not be providing.

“When I moved back to Terre Haute, I wanted to

have an impact in a positive way,” he said. “Basketball is something I’ve turned into a tool that I use to reach the youth in the community, not just as a sport but life in general.”

Indeed, Shouse says that basketball has the capacity to teach a lot of important life lessons.

“When you talk about strategic plans and critical thinking and things you need in your own life, basketball helps with all that,” he said. “There’s so many life lessons that go on in basketball. When I was 16 years old, one of my coaches said, ‘You don’t realize how hard you’re working, but you’re really building character. You don’t know it yet.’”

He added, “One of my goals with the kids I’m training nowadays is to understand that [character-building aspect] at 16, at 17, at 18. If they understand those life lessons at that early an age, they’re definitely on their way.”


Many who are honored by being named to the 12

Under 40 list have had their eyes squarely on their prize for years. Obstacles along the way are usually minor road bumps to success.

Tyler Spivey’s path to his accomplishments was much thornier, however.

“My recovery brought me here,” said the sixyear Terre Haute resident. “I am a person in long-term recovery from opioid use.” Spivey went through the Next Step sober-living program — which he now oversees — in 2017.

In the winter of 2000, Spivey survived a near-fatal car accident.

“When I tell my story, I say that, ‘You can pretty much figure out the rest of the narrative,’” he said wryly. “I became physically dependent upon pain pills, and it progressed and progressed

D16 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
“ Basketball is something I’ve turned into a tool that I use to reach the youth in the community, not just as a sport, but life in general.”
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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Tyler Spivey, director of operations at the Next Step Foundation, poses for a photo in front of the expansion on Feb. 15. Turn to SPIVEY, D17


Continued from D16

and eventually, I wound up with a really intense heroin addiction. I’ve had three confirmed overdoses. Narcan was used each time to save my life.”

After graduating from Next Step, Spivey was invited to be a Peer Recovery Coach.

“I wrestled with it, there was something tugging at me — I had never worked with people before; I worked with machines,” said the former factory worker. “But I was good at it and quickly picked up on the culture around here, which led to me being promoted in 2020.”

Next Step serves an average of 45 clients at a given time. In addition to running Next Step’s facilities — which includes the Recovery Cafe, which serves about 120 people on a weekly basis — Spivey also oversees the development of a new building adjacent to the Washington Avenue sober-living house and is planning an expansion to Sullivan County.

Michael Rentfro, who nominated Spivey for the 12 Under 40 honor, wrote that of those who work with addicts, “For those of us that fight this fight against addiction every day, Tyler is the first name on that list.”

Spivey said that addicts need to

■ Title: Director of Operations, Next Step Foundation

■ Education: High school diploma from Seeger Memorial in West Lebanon, Ind. Got a high-paying factory job while in high school, “so college kind of went out the window.”

■ Community service: Next Step “was the first big one,” Spivey said. He’s also taught Supervised Peer Recovery Coaching.

understand that people care and want to support them, an idea he had to wrap his own head around.

“Medications do help people, but people have to be plugged into other people, as well,” he said. “I had medications to get me through, but I also isolated myself. There was no one to help me get plugged into support groups.”

His own effort to beat addiction was a desperate last-ditch strategy, Spivey said.

“I had to lose enough to throw up the white flag,” he recalled. “I was driving myself to an early grave, so I surrendered to this idea that there’s a power greater than me, whether it’s God or a group of people around me. That’s why I’m here.”

It’s important not to cast judgment on

addicts, or allow them to do so.

“Most of the time, folks come through here and say my problem is drugs or alcohol — we tell them, ‘In reality, that was your solution,’” Spivey said. “We tell folks, all your best efforts got you here. There were much deeper problems, like trauma, and that’s what we try to chip away at here at Next Step, it’s what’s underneath all that.”

Next Step follows the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s approach detailing four pillars of recovery: Home, Health, Community and Purpose.

Spivey admitted that empathizing with fellow addicts can toy with the counselor’s own emotions.

“The first few years as a peer recovery coach were extremely difficult,” he said. “Our instructors would tell us there’s a high percentage of people in recovery that are considered highly sensitive people. I’m one of them. As a coach and mentoring young men, it was easy for me to let people’s pain affect me in a negative way, but now, I don’t.”

About being named to the 12 Under 40 list, he said, “I was humbled, flattered — everyone always enjoys the ‘attaboy,’ the pat on the back,” Spivey said. “It’s not why I do it but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I appreciated the recognition because I work hard and my recovery requires me to do the types of things I do which is give back selflessly.”

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D17 12 Under 40
Next Step is thankful for your contributions through your servant leadership as our Director of Operations. Your commitment to excellence and your compassion for others earned you our Employee of the Year Award. We are grateful that the Wabash Valley community also values you as one of the 12 Under 40 Honorees.
Congratulations Tyler
“ I work hard and my recovery requires me to do the types of things I do which is give back selflessly.”
We are proud to recognize these young professional’s accomplishments. eir actions speak louder than their words. ank you for everything you do for our community.


While previously serving as a finance manager, Kelsey Veatch’s past experience in human resources and as a business office manager has brought her a new title this year as Terre Haute Regional Airport’s Human Resources and Business Relations manager.

Working at the airport provides a unique work experience, said Veatch, 31.

“The airport has definitely become a part of me,” she said. “A lot of my interests now stem not only from my job but also the airport and aviation

industry. Never in my life did I think I would try to get a private pilot’s license. That is something I started a few months back.”

Veatch is learning to fly a lowwing Piper Warrior and completed her first solo flight in mid-February, which marked the mid-point of her pilot training.

“It was terrifying, but I did it,” Veatch said. “You are in there all by yourself … so if you have any questions there is nobody to ask, you just figure it out on your own, which is OK,” she said. “It was nerve-racking, but exciting,” she added.

Veatch started at the airport in

The Terre Haute Regional Airport congratulates Kelsey Veatch on this amazing achievement!

12 Under 40 honoree Kelsey Veatch is the HR and Business Relations Manager for Terre Haute Regional Airport and is working on her private pilot’s license.

Here, Veatch poses for a

at the airport on Feb. 24.

D18 TRIBUNE-STAR • Friday, March 31, 2023 12 Under 40
photo Tribune-Star/ Joseph C. Garza Turn to VEATCH, D19


Continued from D18

April 2019 after previously serving as business office manager for HEF Services Inc., an electrical contractor. Prior to that she worked as a human resource associate at Tilson, a professional employer organization in Greenwood, and worked in a similar position at Providence Health Care.

“Kelsey truly is a rising star in our community,” said Brandon Halleck, chief operating officer for Chances and Services for Youth, who nominated Veatch for the award.

“Not only does her role include developing the budget and finance reports for the airport, but numerous

■ HR and Business Relations Manager for Terre Haute Regional Airport.

■ 2014 Graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with bachelor’s degree in business administration.

■ Previously served as airport finance manager.

other duties like marketing, grants and human resources. Part of her role at the airport is to promote this resource [of the airport] — not only in our community but throughout the United States,” Halleck said.

Halleck owns his own plane, renting a hangar at

the airport, and said he “has witnessed [Veatch’s] interaction with tenants and staff, and I’ve watched her ‘grow’ into leadership,” he said.

“When I approached Kelsey [and the other airport leadership] about the possibility of a balloon festival, she jumped on the idea and was quick to take a leadership role in the planning process,” Halleck said. “From start to finish, Kelsey was instrumental in the success of the festival — that raised more than $120,000 [for CASY] — and witnessed more than 8,000 in attendance.

“Kelsey worked with CASY to ensure that airport staff provided assistance in the setup/take-down, FAA requirements on temporarily closing a runway, working with vendors [food and

merchandise] and helped to provide fundraising assistance. I’ve been involved and worked with many community stakeholders throughout the years and Kelsey ranks among some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of serving with on committees and in fundraising endeavors,” Halleck said.

Veatch graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, playing on the golf team.

“I was not part of the very first team, but was among the first few years when they opened women’s golf,” she said. “I don’t play as often as I would like to, but still play in scrambles and outings for the airport. Having golf is a good way to do networking and has helped quite a bit in creating relationships with

people, both in my personal life and in my professional career,” Veatch said.

Veatch and her husband, Ethan, have two children — daughter Parker, 6, and son, Paxton, 4. Her husband, a native of southern Illinois, is a graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and is a software engineer for Matrix Technologies.

“He likes computers. I married a nerd,” Veatch said

with a chuckle.

Up next, Veatch will be part of an airport team to recruit a new airport director, working to find a replacement for current director Jeff Hauser, who announced he would retire by the end of the year.

Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar. com. Follow on Twitter @ TribStarHoward.

Friday, March 31, 2023 • TRIBUNE-STAR D19 12 Under 40
Congratulations to the 2023
recipients Nichelle Campbell-Miller Lindsay Hull Nikki O’Laughlin Lucy Chew Katie Lugar DJ Shouse RJ Dunavan Jessica Murphy Tyler Spivey Jason Ernst Emily Murray Kelsey Veatch ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
“ The airport has definitely become a part of me. A lot of my interests now stem not only from my job but also the airport and aviation industry.
12 under 40


Indiana State University congratulates Lillien Chew, Senior Instructor of English, and Dr. Katie Lugar, Director of Multicultural Services and Programs, on their recognition as two of this year’s 12 Under 40 honorees. Here in west-central Indiana, across the state and beyond, Blue is changing the world for the better. Go Sycamores!