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Even in complete and utter darkness,

you can’t take your eyes off it.


Night — it’s the great equalizer. One car blends into the next. Which is why when we de-
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only demand your full attention, they are also the closest re-creation to daylight
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Luxury has progressed.

ODANIEL AUDI
5611 ILLINOIS RD
FORT WAYNE IN 46804
260-435-5350

WWW.ODANIELAUDI.COM

*Based on brightness comparison to the sun and 5,500 K burning temperature. †LED lights are more efficient than standard xenon lights based on light-
emitting diodes for all light functions. Full LED headlights are an optional upgrade. “Audi,” “A8,” the Audi Singleframe grille design, and the four rings and
Audi emblems are registered trademarks of AUDI AG. “Truth in Engineering” is a registered trademark of Audi of America, Inc. ©2010 Audi of America, Inc.
2011 40 Under 40
sponsors
Table of contents
Publisher’s letter 2 Chris Langschied 28

Daniel Blevins 3 Todd E. Larson 29

Aaron M. Brown 4 Dr. Kara Heine Laughlin 30

Tonia Brown 5 Wei Luo 32

Joe Caffee 6 40 Under 40 sponsors 34

Chris Ciocca 7 Tom Martin 35

Kristin Coppolino 8 Mike McCaffrey 36

Angie Dane 9 Aaron L. McDevitt 37

Angela Dippel 10 Thomas T. (Ted) Nitza Jr. 38

Michael T. Douglass 11 Amber Recker 39

Michael R. Earls 12 Darren Renier 40

Sarah Earls 13 Brian Schackow 42

Kevin Erb 14 Pat Scheiderer 44

Sam Graves 15 Daniel Swartz 46


© 2011 GREATER FORT WAYNE

Business Weekly
826 Ewing St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802 Stacy Hefty 16 Samuel Tippmann 48
(260) 426-2640; www.fwbusiness.com

Terry Housholder
Publisher John Henry III 18 Courtney Tritch 49
Lynn Sroufe
General Manager
Heather Herron 20 Nate Utesch 50
Barry Rochford
Editor

Janeen Pierr Andrew Hoffman 22 Kenneth Whaley 51


Graphic Designer

Sue Reeves
Photographer Amy Johnson 23 Misty Woltman 52
Lynette Donley
Sales Manager
Zachary Klutz 25 Ebony R. Conely-Young 53
Kit Anguiano, Sasha Boehme, Rebecca Boone,
Duke Currie, Ramona McGown, Maryann Ulmer
Account Executives
Erin LaCross 26 Drew Blair, emcee 55

Kyndra D. Landgraff 27 40 Under 40 Class of 2010 56


40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 1
Publisher’s letter

You’re never too young


to be a leader
H
ighly talented professionals in northeast Indiana make up and Nutter were members of the 40 Under
the list of outstanding honorees for the Greater Fort 40 Class of 2010.
Wayne Business Weekly’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2011. This year’s winners were recognized at a
Inside this publication are biographies of the winners. Each banquet held at YOLO Event Center in Fort
one is a top young business and/or civic leader in our 16-county Wayne on March 24. A special thanks goes
region. Each one is under the age of 40. Our honorees come to our sponsors for making the event
from a wide range of backgrounds and represent a variety of possible: O’Daniel Automotive Group,
professions. Each is a success story and has already made a Sweetwater Sound, Tower Bank and WANE-
significant contribution to his or her business or through TV.
community activities. They include owners of small businesses, Please join us in congratulating the 40
accomplished executives in area firms and those whose leader- Under 40 winners. At an early age, they are accomplished
ship shows their strong commitment to their communities. leaders who are helping make our communities better places in
A special thanks to this year’s judges: Michelle Merritt of the which to work and live.
Greater Fort Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce, Ron Turpin of
Lincoln National Corp., Linda Clevenger of Textrix, Mike Nutter of TERRY G. HOUSHOLDER
the Fort Wayne TinCaps and Barry Rochford, editor of the president of KPC Media Group Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly. Merritt, Turpin, Clevenger and publisher of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly
Page 2 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Daniel Blevins • 29
Yeager Funeral Home, Ligonier

Job title: director


Year you joined the company: at
the company’s inception in 2008
Community organizations in
which you have been involved
outside of work: Ligonier Rotary Club,
Future Ligonier Alliance, Noble County
United Way, Crossing Education,
Ligonier Chamber of Commerce, youth
pastor.

What was it that attracted you to


this career?
That is by far the No. 1 question I am
asked by others. The answer may seem
strange, but it is fairly simple. As I was
raised in a pastor’s home, I would often
tag along with my father and grandfather
when they would go to officiate a funeral.
By the age of 12 I was fascinated by the
funeral service profession and had
decided that I wanted to be a funeral
director when I grew up.

What kind of support did you


receive along the way to help you
advance in your career?
Nothing has had a greater impact on
my life than the personal investment of
individuals, both personally and profes-
sionally. Whether it was teaching me
through example or lesson, providing an What would you next like to in a slightly different way.
opportunity to succeed or fail, filling the accomplish in your career, and how
gap when I fell short or simply believing in would it benefit your company? How do you balance your career,
me. I have partnered with Ruthann family life and community involve-
Richards, owner of Yeager Funeral Home, ment?
What is the biggest accomplish- to open this summer in Noble County A supportive family, a very
ment thus far in your career? what will be the first of its kind in the state understanding wife and the grace of God.
Helping make the dream of the late of Indiana: a cremation and remembrance
Gordy Yeager a reality. Gordy was a center that will offer the public the option If you could try another profes-
good friend and colleague who had an of going directly to a cremation center sion, what would it be?
incredible passion for funeral service. without having to contact a funeral home A psychologist.
He had dreamt for some time of that then would traditionally utilize a third-
building a new funeral home. Unfortu- party crematory. The remembrance center What was the item you brought to
nately, he died unexpectedly just prior will offer a wide array of monuments, your photo shoot? What is its signif-
to his dream coming to fruition. But remembrance products and services not icance?
with Gordy’s family, an incredible staff traditionally found elsewhere. Both A wicker casket. It represents both the
and the support of the entire businesses will promote the services best business advice I’ve been given and
community, we have shared incredible offered by the other. my business philosophy: “If it isn’t illegal
success. To date, we have conducted or unethical the answer is always yes.” So
nearly 200 funerals, and in 2010 we What is the strangest thing you’ve whether the family requests a traditional
captured 85 percent of our respective submitted on an expense form? burial, home wake, cremation or a natural
market share. I don’t think you want to know … burial, the answer is always yes.

What lessons did you learn from Where did your first paycheck If someone were just starting out
it? come from? in your profession, what advice
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Burger King. would you give that person?
“There is no limit to what can be It’s not about you, your ideas or your
accomplished if it doesn’t matter who What was your job then? opinions. And it never will be. It’s about
gets the credit.” Same as now: serving the public. Just the families you are privileged to serve.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 3
Aaron M. Brown • 34
Coca-Cola Refreshments

Job title: area sales manager


Year you joined the company: 1998
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Big Brother Big Sisters, Learn United, Study
Connections, Habitat for Humanity

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I am very proud to work for an organization such as Coca-
Cola. Each day I get the opportunity to represent the world’s No.
1 trademark. In addition to working for a great organization, I am
very passionate about the opportunity to lead, coach and
develop people. My role as sales manager gives me the opportu-
nity to positively impact the lives of our team members daily.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
The greatest support has come from my wife. She has made
many sacrifices in her life in order for me to follow my dreams
and advance my career. We have moved our family three times
in the last eight years, which is not always easy. She has always
been there for me and provides reassurance during times of
change.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
I am very proud of the teams I have led during my tenure with
the organization. I have enjoyed watching the career advance-
ment of my employees. As a leader, it feels good to watch your
team learn, grow and develop into employees who can make a
difference. It has reconfirmed my beliefs about proper leadership
and employee engagement. It has also challenged me to
continue to develop as a leader to ensure that I can continue to
help my team achieve their personal and professional goals.

What would you next like to accomplish in your career,


and how would it benefit your company?
I want to help the organization reach its destination of being community involvement?
the best brand, sales and customer service company in North Balancing all aspects of my life can be very challenging. I
America. We will achieve our sales and financial targets in continually work to improve how I spend my time to ensure that
northern Indiana over the next few years while maintaining a I am investing the right amount of time in each area. I am an
focus on employee engagement, leadership development and extremely organized person who plans, prepares and manages
superior customer service. time to the best of my ability.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an If you could try another profession, what would it be?
expense form? I would say cartoonist or professional basketball player. I had
I submitted a receipt for Taco Bell. This may not seem like a offers to play professional basketball overseas after college, but
strange item, but to me it is. I do not eat at restaurants that do I decided to focus on family and a business career.
not serve Coca-Cola. Taco Bell serves our main competitor’s
products. While visiting a college campus, I ate at a Taco Bell What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
that served Coca-Cola. It may be the only one in the country. I What is its significance?
was not comfortable submitting the receipt because I did not The Coca-Cola bottle represents many things for me. It
want anyone to think that I drank the competitor’s product. represents my career, my family and the opportunity to inspire
moments of optimism and happiness.
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was
your job then? If someone were just starting out in your profession,
My first paycheck came from Job Shop Coating. It was a what advice would you give that person?
factory position in which I put a vinyl coat of paint on metal Focus on positively impacting others. Creating positive
goods. moments with co-workers, team members and customers leads
to sustainable relationships built on trust and respect.
How do you balance your career, family life and Successful leaders are surrounded by great people.
Page 4 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Tonia Brown • 35
American Red Cross

Job title: regional grant manager the job because it was primarily cold-
Year you joined the organization: calling, and I didn’t feel like I knew enough
2008 about the organization that I was
Community organizations in which representing. Plus getting hung up on a lot
you are involved outside of work: is never any fun. However, it did teach me a
Forest Park PTO, Turnstone Center for lot about how to approach people about
Children and Adults with Disabilities, the causes and how to truly engage people in a
Turnstone disABILITIES Expo, the Greater way that they want to be engaged.
Urban Minority Project Family Day and
Family Fest at the IPFW RiverFest How do you balance your career,
family life and community involve-
What was it that attracted you to ment?
this career? Being extraordinarily organized, having
I have always enjoyed being an activist an amazing support system (special thanks
for social causes that I feel strongly about. to my partner, Matt) and, whenever
The thought of working with such a well- possible, combining all three by
respected and reliable nonprofit organiza- volunteering as a family for things we
tion like the Red Cross — and in a capacity believe in and want to support.
in which I would get to act as an advocate
to bring in more resources for our clients If you could try another profession,
(who need them at such a vulnerable time in what would it be?
their lives) — was an opportunity that I did Feature writer, online social networking
not want to miss. marketer and multimedia artist.

What kind of support did you What were the items you brought
receive along the way to help you to your photo shoot? What are their
advance in your career? significance?
I have held an eclectic mix of jobs I nabbed a few toy cars from my son’s
throughout my life, everything from working collection. When my youngest son was 2,
for nonprofit organizations in the human he started sneaking toy cars into my
services and dispute resolution fields to briefcase for work. When he was old
being a special events planner to even networking sites. Nonprofits need to reach enough to explain, I asked him why he did it
serving as a federal investigator for a few out to a variety of different demographic and his response was, “In case you get
years. It seems like each one of these groups through the Internet to promote bored at work and want to play, Mama!” It
experiences has trained me for the next awareness of the community’s needs and was an endearing response that helped to
step in my career path in ways that most the services available to those who need ease the embarrassment I had experienced
people, including myself, could never have them. Online social networking and the first time I pulled a toy car out of my
imagined. The network of individuals and marketing isn’t the only way that we should briefcase in front of a client.
mentors that I have met along the way be reaching out to greater Fort Wayne, but Although I have since explained to him
couldn’t have been better. it is an important new tool that we should all that I am never bored with what I do, my son
be exploring. continues to put toy cars in my bag before
What is the biggest accomplish- work — but now his reasoning is that the
ment thus far in your career? What What is the strangest thing you’ve toys are for the little boys and little girls that
lessons did you learn from it? submitted on an expense form? I help.
I was extraordinarily honored to be Having primarily worked in the nonprofit
selected to be part of the class of Leader- field (where we’re always pretty modest If someone were just starting out in
ship Fort Wayne in 2010. The caliber of about what we expense), I can’t say that I your profession, what advice would
professionals and community leaders ever submitted anything odd. I did, you give that person?
involved was humbling, and the Leadership however, save a lot of money on my per No. 1: Get used to the answer “no.” It
Fort Wayne program provided me with diem while I was a federal investigator by doesn’t matter how successful you are in
extremely insightful information on the eating peanut butter sandwiches and fundraising, you’re going to get many “no”
challenges and opportunities that face us ramen noodles that I made in a hotel coffee answers from prospective donors and
here in our community. pot for a month while I was stationed in partners throughout your career; but …
Columbus, Ohio. No. 2: Never stop asking. I don’t mean
What would you next like to that you should badger the same person;
accomplish in your career, and how Where did your first paycheck come instead, you can’t let the “no” answers get
would it benefit your organization? from? What was your job then? you down. You just have to press on and
In my opinion, the next step in the I worked in direct marketing (aka continue to identify who it is that might want
evolution of fundraising is going to include telemarketing) for a nonprofit organization the opportunity to get involved with your
strong use of online venues and social for one summer when I was 16. I didn’t like cause.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 5
Joe Caffee • 35
First Bank of Berne

Job title: senior vice president-head paychecks on the farm came in the form
of lending of corn, not cash. I used the corn to feed
Year you joined the company: my 4-H project beef cattle. Any profit I
2002 realized from selling the cattle was then
Community organizations in mine to keep. Not only did this teach me
which you are involved outside of responsibility, entrepreneurship, business
work: First Missionary Church, Junior cycles and patience, but it financed a
Achievement, Adams County 4-H large portion of my college education at
Council, Jefferson Township Board, Purdue University.
Indiana Advisory Board for the Graduate
School of Banking, Indiana Farm Bureau How do you balance your career,
family life and community involve-
What was it that attracted you to ment?
this career? My wife, Cheryl, and I have been
First Bank of Berne was more attrac- blessed with three great children, Grace
tive to me as an employer than banking (8), Jessa (6) and Trey (2). It is not
initially was as a career. Following a three- unusual to see one or all of my kids in the
year career as a high school agriculture bank lobby or visiting my office.
teacher, Kent Liechty called and asked if I Fortunately, our organization values
had ever considered a career in banking. families, and my schedule is flexible
I admitted that I had not. However, the enough for me to go to the school and eat
respect I had for Kent and First Bank of lunch with the girls occasionally. As our
Berne caused me to consider his offer. children have gotten older and involved in
Having always enjoyed economics activities and sports, much of our
courses and learning about finances, it community involvement has transitioned
felt like a good fit. to organizations that allow our entire
community organizations we support family to be involved.
What kind of support did you depend on a profitable, well-managed
receive along the way to help you and philanthropic bank as well. If you could try another profes-
advance in your career? sion, what would it be?
Our recently retired CEO, Charles What would you next like to During my teaching days I moonlighted
Isch, provided a wonderful atmosphere in accomplish in your career, and how as a junior high basketball coach. While
which to work. His leadership style was to would it benefit your company? my career coaching record would not
surround himself with good people and In 2007, First Bank of Berne even yield a job interview, head coach of
trust them to do their jobs. His quick-to- implemented an employee stock the Purdue Boilermakers basketball team
praise and slow-to-criticize spirit ownership plan. Since then, we have would be right up there as a career
empowered employees to make worked hard to transition to an ownership alternative!
decisions on their own. Current CEO culture among our employees. I believe
Kent Liechty has continued this tradition this program coupled with other benefits What was the item you brought to
of supporting the decisions of our makes First Bank of Berne a great place your photo shoot? What is its signif-
employees while helping us to see the big to work. Satisfied employees who are icance?
picture in our organization. Other owners of the company are passionate Our bank logo is the blue cube that I
seasoned bankers within our organization, about their work, our brand and meeting am holding. Like a cube, First Bank of
like Michael Bauserman, Tim Tobias, Rod the needs of our customers. Berne is strong, safe and secure.
Lautzenheiser, Jack Shoaf, Tim Drayer
and Jim Rife, have been supportive role What is the strangest thing you’ve If someone were just starting out
models for me. submitted on an expense form? in your profession, what advice
A hotel room at Hamburger University would you give that person?
What is the biggest accomplish- on the McDonald’s corporate campus In the current environment I would
ment thus far in your career? What where I stayed during a McDonald’s encourage them to be sure they are going
lessons did you learn from it? lenders seminar. to work for a fiscally responsible bank
In July of 2010, I was appointed as a with plenty of capital and a strong
director of the bank’s holding company, Where did your first paycheck management team. Secondly, no matter
First Berne Financial. Serving in this come from? What was your job your chosen vocation, surround yourself
capacity has helped me appreciate how then? with seasoned people you respect and
vital a strong community bank is to the Like many farm kids, my first job was ask questions, ask questions, then some
communities it serves. Not only do our working on our family’s farm. Loading hay, more questions. Surround yourself with
120 employees rely on the bank and the feeding cattle and chickens, hauling grain strong, positive mentors and good books;
decisions of the directors for their collec- and walking bean fields to hoe weeds pay attention to each and the rest should
tive livelihood, but shareholders and the were some of my responsibilities. My take care of itself.
Page 6 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Chris Ciocca • 37
Ciocca Cleaning and Restoration

Job title: president/owner


Year you joined the company: started business in
1997
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Junior Achievement, local business
groups

What was it that attracted you to this career?


It’s a service industry, has a low startup cost and gave me
the opportunity to serve customers.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
My dad has always been a great mentor to me and has
helped me a lot over the years. Various family members,
friends and business mentors have also helped tremen-
dously along the way, including plenty of support from my
wife of 10 years, Maureen, and children, Sabrina, Alyssa,
Rocco, Louie and Gino.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in


your career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Making a successful acquisition of similar company,
GMP, that is now fully consolidated into Ciocca Cleaning
and Restoration. It was difficult to streamline and consoli-
date both companies’ operations and brand our name to one
company.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
I would like to expand into other markets throughout
Indiana. It will add customer base and reduce our manage-
ment infrastructure cost.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What


was your job then?
Scott’s Grocery, produce clerk.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
I’ve always followed the path: God, family, work.

If you could try another profession, what would it


be?
Commercial real estate.

What were the items you brought to your photo


shoot? What are their significance?
Our mission statement. It hangs on the lobby wall at our
office for employees, customers and staff. It’s my personal
belief that everyone we encounter or serve should be
treated that way. Also, a vacuum. I started with one vacuum
and now we use 150-plus to vacuum more than a million
square feet per night.

If someone were just starting out in your profes-


sion, what advice would you give that person?
Have a hard-work ethic, the customer is always right and
have a passion for what you do.

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 7


Kristin Coppolino • 28
Liddell Investments / Canterbury Media

Job title: business manager / CFO business here in Fort Wayne. I have had
Year you joined the company: 2001 this idea for quiet some time now, and I’m
starting to work on a business plan in my
What was it attracted you this free time.
career?
I first started working at Piere’s at the Where did your first paycheck
age of 18 as a photographer. Photography come from? What was your job then?
has always been a passion of mine. Over My first paycheck came from a
a period of 10 years working for the same company called Answer Call Inc. I worked
company I filled countless positions — first as an operator for an answering service all
working on the marketing team, respon- through high school.
sible for marketing photos and graphic
and Web design for Piere’s, Trolley Steaks How do you balance your career,
& Seafood, Flashbacks, Early Bird’s, family life and community involve-
YOLO’s and Allure Limousine and Trolley. ment?
Once I turned 21, while I continued to Family is very important to me, so it’s
work on the marketing team I started to important that I take time out to hang out
work as a bartender for a little extra with them as much as possible. Being
income, giving me an opportunity to see single and having no children of my own
and learn the nightlife of the entertainment gives me time to hang out with and spoil
center. About two years ago, my boss and my nephews in my free time. I make sure I
CEO of Piere’s, Todd Smith, took on a talk to my mom on a daily basis. As a
project of his own, opening an upscale family, we all stay involved as much as we
nightclub and event center known as Early can in each others lives.
Bird’s and YOLO’s. I was responsible for
all of the marketing from the logo design to If you could try another profession,
radio spots to help promote this new hot what would it be?
spot. I have always thought it would be cool
Thankfully, my boss had the patience to be a veterinarian. I even volunteered
and saw the passion I had to learn and and worked at East State Vet Clinic after
helped me along the way. Shortly after the high school. I have always loved animals.
businesses opened, he saw I was up for Growing up, I had all sorts of critters. I had
the challenge and he offered me the So far my biggest accomplishment is lizards, turtles, snakes and frogs, and I was
management position. Then last August, acquiring the position that I am in today. I always bringing home strays. My poor
he offered me the chief financial officer’s have only been working as the chief mom. She never had the heart to tell me
position with Liddell Investments, leaving financial officer for a few months and I feel no.
me responsible for all of the finances for I have already made quite an impact on the
companies owned by Todd Smith and companies as a whole by making changes What was the item brought to your
Stan Liddell. in the way we operate and being attentive photo shoot? What is its signifi-
to everything we do on a daily basis. cance?
What kind of support did you What I have learned from these I brought a camera as my prop. It’s
receive along the way to help you accomplishments? Change, change, been hard to set aside time lately to go out
advance in your career? change! It’s important to not get stuck in a and shoot. I look forward to taking time out
I owe a lot of my success and my routine where you operate things on a to be able to get back into photography as
achievements to my mother. A single consistent level of expectation. Keep a hobby. It’s so relaxing to me and it’s so
parent, she raised both my sister and me. looking for the best in things and new rewarding displaying your own artwork in
She was the hardest working and most ways to improve, and you’ll always exceed your home for others to see. Every picture
independent women I have ever known. expectations. you take has a meaning and a memory. I
She always pushed me to do what made have some up in my house now that I took
me happy and taught me to never ever What would you next like to a few years ago. Every time I look at them
give up. To this day I confide in my mother accomplish in your career, and how it takes me right back to that moment and
on everything, and she‘s always behind would it benefit your company? it always makes me smile.
me 100 percent. For all that my mother I am working hard at making the
has taught me over the years, I love this changes necessary to make all of the If someone were just starting out
quote from Abraham Lincoln: “All that I am, companies in this organization as in your profession, what advice would
or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” successful as they can be. There’s no you give that person?
reason why we shouldn’t strive to reach I would have to say that patience,
What is the biggest accomplish- the highest potential possible in anything attentiveness, organization and being
ment thus far in your career? What we do in life, whether it’s work or personal. open minded are the keys to this profes-
lessons did you learn from it? I also have a dream of opening my own sion.
Page 8 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Angie Dane • 34
YWCA Northeast Indiana

Job title: human resources director


Year you joined the organization: 2000
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Birthday Blessings of Northeast Indiana

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I was attracted to human resources because of the opportu-
nity to work directly with people from a business perspective.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
I had support from my family as well as my supervisors. My
supervisors have been open to internal promotions, which has
given me several opportunities for advancement.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest accomplishment has been coming into an organi-
zation at the ground level and working my way up to a leadership
level.

What would you next like to accomplish in your career,


and how would it benefit your organization?
I would like to be able to primarily focus on the employee
relations sector of human resources. I believe that strengthening
your people strengthens your organization.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
I have submitted peanut butter, jelly and bread on an expense
report.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
Rogers Supermarket. I was a cashier there during high
school.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
I leave work at the door of the workplace as much as possible.
It is important for me to be home in the evenings with my family
and to be present at the majority of their activities. It is important
for me to stay connected with community organizations through
donating or serving on a committee or board because that allows
me to be a resource for others in the community.

If you could try another profession, what would it be?


I would attempt to be an employment law attorney because I
am intrigued by the legal side of human resources.

What were the items you brought to your photo


shoot? What are their significance?
I chose to have my rolling pin and oven mitt with me because
I enjoy baking. Baking is a great way for me to relieve stress and
it is an activity that my kids enjoy doing with me.

If someone were just starting out in your profession,


what advice would you give that person?
I would tell him/her that it is extremely important to have the
ability to be neutral and objective in all situations.

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 9


Angela Dippel • 39
Fort Wayne Chocolate Fountain

Job title: owner


Year you joined the company:
2007
Community organizations in
which you are involved outside of
work: New Haven United Methodist
Church, Arlington Elementary; business is
in-kind donor to several organizations
including SPCA, National Kidney Founda-
tion, March of Dimes, Active 20-30 Club,
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fort Wayne
Women’s Bureau and Fort Wayne
Children’s Choir

What was it that attracted you to


this career?
The idea of owning my own business
has always been enticing to me. The
opportunity came along and it took nearly
a year for me to grab it, but after I decided
it was time, I have never looked back.

What kind of support did you


receive along the way to help you
advance in your career?
I have an amazing family. Both of my
parents and my husband are deeply
involved in the company, and I could not
do it without them.

What is the biggest accomplish-


ment thus far in your career? What
lessons did you learn from it?
I was voted Fort Wayne’s Best
Caterer by Fort Wayne Newspapers in
2010. I was completely surprised to have
been named to such an honor. Through
that, I learned that hard work and sheer
tenacity do pay off. I had also considered
myself a little under the radar in terms of Pizza Hut in New Haven. I was 16 to your photo shoot? What are their
competition. From that day forward, I years old and I bused tables. significance?
realized Fort Wayne Chocolate Fountain I brought fabric and charger plates.
was a true competitor in the marketplace, How do you balance your career, Before I started Fort Wayne Chocolate
and “under the radar” was no longer an family life and community involve- Fountain, I loathed the fabric store and
option. ment? knew very little about decorating. Now I
A lot of prayer, 5 1/2 hours of sleep a could live at Joann Fabrics and can churn
What would you next like to night and amazing family support. out the most beautiful 8-foot table you
accomplish in your career, and how
have ever seen!
would it benefit your company? If you could try another profes-
I’d like to grow the reach of the sion, what would it be?
business regionally. We’ve done If someone were just starting out
I’ve already had a chance at my
weddings in Muncie, Anderson, Ohio and second career. However, my first career in your profession, what advice
Michigan. We have a tremendous started with a wonderful 14-year run as a would you give that person?
opportunity to spread the word about Fort social worker that I loved and would not A reception hall owner once asked if
Wayne Chocolate Fountain through have traded for anything in the world. I anyone has ever said “no” to me. And
marketing efforts, including our website. believe that whole experience not only before I could answer, one of my dear
shaped me into a better person, but it also friends who was helping said, “Well, they
Where did your first paycheck molded me as a business owner. try, but she really doesn’t listen.” So I
come from? What was your job guess my piece of advice is to never quit
then? What were the items you brought knocking at doors until they open.
Page 10 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Michael T. Douglass • 33
Douglass Law Firm LLC

Job title: attorney


Year you joined the company: started Douglass Law
Firm LLC in 2009
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Indiana Bar Association, Colorado Bar
Association, Allen County Bar Association, Benjamin Harrison
Inns of Court, Harrison College Advisory Board and
Croninger Elementary PTA

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I was attracted to the practice of law because of the ability
to help people on a very personal level, and the way that the
law is such an integral part of our daily lives and how it’s
woven into the fabric of our society.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
I have been extremely lucky to have the full support of my
wife and family as well as a few mentors in my professional life
who have helped shape the attorney I have become and
aspire to be.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
The biggest accomplishment thus far in my career has
been the opening and initial success of my law firm. The
lessons I have learned from opening a small business are too
lengthy for this article, but the major points are: budgeting,
time management, creating/implementing your business
systems and attracting new clients.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
I would like to continue to hone my skills and knowledge
of my practice areas (family and criminal law) in order to
provide the highest level of representation I can for my
clients.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
My first paycheck came from Mike’s Carwash located at
Glenbrook Square Mall. My job was drying the cars off with
hand towels after they rolled out of the car wash.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
The balance of my career, family life and community
involvement is a tight-rope walk and is constantly being re- What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
evaluated. However, I never allow my time with my wife and What is its significance?
two children to suffer due to my career or other commitments. My wife, Lesley Douglass, accompanied me to the photo
This is why I believe that time management is so crucial and shoot and I felt this was appropriate due to the fact that she
must be followed strictly so I can achieve my daily work goals, has been my partner and teammate down the path of our life,
attend any scheduled community involvements and still be family and my career.
home in time to participate in my children’s activities and
spend quality time with my family. If someone were just starting out in your profession,
what advice would you give that person?
If you could try another profession, what would it My advice to someone who is just starting out as an
be? attorney would be: No. 1, do the best job you can do for each
This is the only profession that I have ever really wanted to and every client; and No. 2, treat every client and other
do. attorneys the same way that you wish to treated.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 11
Michael R. Earls • 31
BKD LLP

Job title: manager


Year you joined the company: 2004
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana

What was it that attracted you to this career?


Since high school, accounting has been an interest of
mine. While attending Indiana University-Purdue University
Fort Wayne, I was introduced to public accounting. The
challenges of being in public accounting combined with the
rewards of working with multiple clients on a variety of
aspects (most of which are more than just numbers)
throughout the year sold me on this career path.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
I had mentors (professors) at IPFW who coached me into
going into public accounting, and within BKD the partners
have been there from Day 1. Of course, family is the primary
support system. My parents have always been very supportive
and encouraging of my goals of being a partner here. My wife,
Sarah, came from public accounting, so she understands the
challenges and rewards of being in this career.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Passing the CPA exam the first time around. If I can do
that, I can do anything.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
A goal is to help create an endowment fund at IPFW for
the international business program. I was fortunate enough to
participate in this program while at IPFW, and traveled abroad
to a country where a local business was interested in entering
the market. We had to write a business plan for entering this
market, and this provided me with a real-life example of the
business world. Students that participate in this program are
great candidates for BKD (we have had many who came here
straight out of college).

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was to bake, so this would definitely be a home run.
your job then?
Richards Restaurant. I started working there when I was 14 What were the items you brought to your photo
as a busboy. shoot? What are their significance?
I brought two items. One item was from a class I taught
How do you balance your career, family life and recently with Junior Achievement. Helping the next generation
community involvement? with financial literacy and an understanding of the world
This is always a work in progress. You have to find a economy is critical if we want them to succeed. The other item
balance, which to me may not be a daily balance, but more of was a pair of tongs, which I use quite frequently in the summer
a weekly balance. Keeping a schedule of where I will be in the (and occasionally in the winter) on the grill.
coming weeks is critical. Keeping appointments of events
(both personal and business) helps ensure I don’t schedule a If someone were just starting out in your profession,
meeting out of town on a certain day. Being flexible in your what advice would you give that person?
schedule is key. The most important thing to do in public accounting is to
pass the CPA exam. Getting this out of the way early in your
If you could try another profession, what would it career opens doors faster. Work hard and ask questions. No
be? two businesses do their accounting the same, so gaining an
I would open my own catering business. I have always had understanding of how businesses operate and making them
a passion for cooking, primarily on the grill, and my wife loves successful is key to success.
Page 12 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Sarah Earls • 28
Tower Bank & Trust Co.

Job title: vice president, controller


Year you joined the company: 2007
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Aging and In-Home Services, Tri Kappa,
United Way

What was it that attracted you to this career?


Numbers, numbers and more numbers. I knew in eighth
grade that I wanted to be an accountant, which was before I
even took an accounting class.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
I had a great family support system. My parents always
pushed me to do the best I could do and to be whatever I
wanted to be.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Passing the CPA exam the first time has been one of my
biggest accomplishments. I learned that you can do anything
that you set your mind to, if you are willing to work at it.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
As I always have my sights set on the next level, I believe
that would include being a key player in helping my company
grow, whether that is organically or through a
merger/acquisition scenario. While this might be a few years
off, it would be a great opportunity for me, personally, and for
my company.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
I’m the controller, so I don’t have anything strange — but I
do have some great stories of what others have tried to get
reimbursed.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
Kmart in Huntington, and I was a cashier.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
My husband and I are a great team. We both understand
each other’s busy schedules and we work to accommodate
them while still spending time as a family with our son. Life
has changed over the last year, but it is so rewarding to be
able to have a family, hobbies and a career.

If you could try another profession, what would it


be?
Catering or a bakery — I love to bake!

What were the items you brought to your photo If someone were just starting out in your profession,
shoot? What are their significance? what advice would you give that person?
I brought two things since I couldn’t decide. I brought my Work ethic is key, especially in the accounting profession.
whisk and mixing bowl for my love of baking, and I brought my You may need to put in long hours up front, but you will be
son, who turns 1 in March for my love of family. rewarded for your hard work.

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 13


Kevin Erb • 32
Asher Agency

Job title: account supervisor working towards and earning something.


Year you joined the company: 2010 How do you balance your career,
Community organizations in which family life and community involve-
you are involved outside of work: Big ment?
Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Buddy There are many days I feel like I have no
program, Blue Jacket Inc., Fort Wayne balance at all. We have two young children
Museum of Art (both under 4) at home, so it is a daily
challenge to balance work, home and
What was it that attracted you to community involvement — especially
this career? because I love and get so much reward out
As a writer at heart and by trade, my of all three parts of my life. Generally the
career is built around the ability to best way for me to balance is to keep
communicate effectively. I love that it things separate, meaning I try to leave work
allows me to be creative, work collabora- at the office when I head home to be with
tively with other talented people and build my family and so on.
and maintain relationships with clients. As
someone who’s inherently curious, it also If you could try another profession,
allows me to learn and work with a variety what would it be?
of companies and organizations in a variety There’s a part of me that’s always
of industries. wanted to work in politics, not as an actual
politician, of course, but as someone
What kind of support did you behind the scenes helping lead a
receive along the way to help you campaign, devise strategy, develop
advance in your career? communications, all that fun stuff. If that
I’ve been fortunate to receive a tremen- didn’t work out, I’d settle for being general
dous amount of support as I’ve advanced in manager of the Chicago Cubs.
my career. Indeed, I consider myself to have
gone to grad school twice since earning my What was the item you brought to
degree. Working at Business People your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
magazine for three years gave me an cance?
intensive, firsthand education in the world of I brought my Barnes & Noble Nook
magazines and publishing. Since then, I’ve What would you next like to Color. I consider myself to be a naturally
spent the past five-plus years learning the accomplish in your career, and how curious person, so I read. A lot. The Nook
world of advertising, marketing, public would it benefit your company? lets me read any number of books,
relations and social media. I’ve worked with There’s no one single accomplishment magazines, websites, blogs, Twitter feeds,
incredibly experienced and talented people etc., almost instantaneously. I can also use
that comes to mind. Instead, my goal is to
who’ve been immensely helpful for my it to capture thoughts and ideas that pop
continue to grow and develop as an
learning process along the way. up as I’m reading. Plus, it comes in very
employee and a leader, as well as a
handy when I have to travel for work. Sure
husband and a father. It’s my hope and my
What is the biggest accomplish- beats a suitcase full of books.
ment thus far in your career? What expectation that this commitment to daily
lessons did you learn from it? growth and development benefits my If someone were just starting out in
This past spring, we were chosen to organization through making it better your profession, what advice would you
partner with WorkOne in northeast Indiana overall. give that person?
on a major youth initiative. Earning the Do two simple things every day: read
business itself was a major accomplish- What is the strangest thing you’ve and write. Because our industry is one
ment, but it’s how we approached the submitted on an expense form? based on communication and storytelling,
campaign and its resulting success that I’m Dinner at the Tilted Kilt in Scottsdale, there are thousands of amazing, talented
particularly proud of. Aimed at area Ariz., a few years back. It’s where the client people sharing their thoughts and ideas via
disadvantaged youths ages 16-21, its goal wanted to eat. I couldn’t say no to a client, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.,
was to educate them about the help could I? every day. Because this industry is so
available for skills development and life malleable and changes so quickly, It’s
advancement via WorkOne. Where did your first paycheck important to read those out in front of it all
The campaign raised awareness of, come from? What was your job then? — the taste makers and trend spotters — as
interest in and youth involvement with the From my parents. They own a small much as you can as often as you can.
program almost immediately, and indeed, printing company here in Fort Wayne, Write as much as you can, too. It
the campaign was so successful the Perdue Printed Products, and I began doesn’t have to be something profound or
program reached capacity in terms of the working for them summers during high provocative every time — or ever, for that
youths it could assist at one time just five school. It taught me a lot about taking matter. What matters is that you learn to
months after it launched. nothing for granted and the value of make writing a part of your daily routine.
Page 14 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Sam Graves • 29
Strahm, a division of SGI Inc.

Job title: project manager, estimator, shareholder


Year you joined the company: 1997
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana,
Learn United’s Real Men Read, Fellowship Missionary
Church

What was it that attracted you to this career?


My grandfather, my father, several uncles and my two
brothers all made this their career and so I have a good
understanding of what this career entails. Also having been
around Strahm my entire life, I was exposed to the business, the
opportunity and the people who had made this their profession.
From the project foreman to the estimator, everyone involved
with the company appeared to be proud to be part of Strahm,
and seemed to enjoy a good balance of independence and
camaraderie.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
As previously mentioned, I have family professionally
involved, and they have played a key role in understanding what
it takes to be successful in this career. But just as important, I
have worked alongside other tradesmen, project managers and
estimators who take great pride in what they do and have been
willing to share their experience in order to make us a stronger
company.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
A huge accomplishment and milestone was successfully
completing a complex project for a husband and wife for their
business. All of their previous experiences with contractors at
both their home and business had been extremely unpleasant.
Completing their project and exceeding their expectations
marked the moment in my career that I realized that by utilizing
my expertise professionally I could make lasting personal
connections. to anything beyond what I can effectively participate in.

What would you next like to accomplish in your If you could try another profession, what would it be?
career, and how would it benefit your company? I could see the enjoyment of a being a coordinator for major
Strahm has encouraged company growth through individ- events and conferences. It would be similar to being a project
uals within the company taking an interest and a passion for manager for a contracting company, but for a completely
new directions and opportunities. We are continuously growing different industry and would involve traveling. I like the
our company through individuals seeking new ways in which we challenge of taking different pieces and working them to come
can provide one more service to our customers. My next goal is together at just the right moment.
to add a service to our company that works well with our
current services and ultimately adds value to Strahm for our What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
customers. What is its significance?
I brought a book representing my lifelong interest in reading.
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was I like the fact that you can read and actually improve yourself
your job then? professionally, personally and spiritually. Although I often read
My first paycheck came from Strahm when I was 16 years books for educational reasons or insight, my true interest is in
old. I worked on the delivery trucks moving materials on to reading purely for enjoyment.
projects.
If someone were just starting out in your profession,
How do you balance your career, family life and what advice would you give that person?
community involvement? I would tell them to find someone in their profession who has
I generally live by my schedule and whatever I am focusing integrity and loves his/her job and recommend that they learn as
on receives my full attention. It is always my intent to not commit much as they can from that person.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 15
Stacy Hefty • 34
Hefty Wealth Partners Inc.

Job title: president


Year you joined the company: How do you balance your career,
2000 family life and community involve-
Community organizations in ment?
which you are involved outside of You need to be organized and function
work: DeKalb Memorial Hospital, without a lot of sleep. I’ve realized that my
Auburn Kiwanis Club, Immaculate career makes me a better person for both
Conception Church, DeKalb Central my family and community, and I know that
School District Strategic Planning my children and husband make me a
Committee, DeKalb County Extension better mother and wife. By showing my
Board, DeKalb Central Junior Achieve- children how important community
ment involvement is in their lives early on, I
know I’m preparing them to be successful
What was it that attracted you to and congenial members of society. Each
this career? week, I organize what needs to be done
My husband, David Hefty, and I always for the kids, company and myself in terms
wanted to start our own business of volunteer opportunities, and then I
together. We knew we wanted to help budget time to make sure each gets done.
people, and we both enjoy financial Sometimes, however, I know that as much
planning and estate planning. At the end as I organize and coordinate schedules,
of the day, working with our team to help my plans have to be flexible, and that is
people realize their financial goals is very certainly true whenever my kids need
satisfying. something. They are my No. 1 priority!

What kind of support did you If you could try another profes-
receive along the way to help you sion, what would it be?
advance in your career? I would choose to run a nonprofit. I
My husband has been my rock really enjoy helping and working with
throughout life, both professionally and nonprofits in various areas including
personally. He is a great source of strategic planning, fundraising and doing
support as we grow our business and whatever is required of me to make a
family. In addition, our clients have been positive difference in the community.
instrumental in shaping our business and
a source of inspiration as we work with What was the item you brought to
them to tackle their financial challenges your photo shoot? What is its signif-
to achieve their dreams. icance?
My camera. Although I am not a
What is the biggest accomplish- professional photographer, I truly enjoy
ment thus far in your career? What taking photos of my family during events
lessons did you learn from it? or vacations and looking at old photos. My
My biggest accomplishment to date plan is to create a scrapbook full of these
has been growing our company past photographic memories and present it to
$100 million in assets under manage- my children in the future so we can look
ment. This achievement has allowed us to back at the fun times we have had
teaching children about sound financial
register directly with the Securities and together.
habits will improve lives.
Exchange Commission as a registered
investment adviser and has solidified our If someone were just starting out
independence from Wall Street Where did your first paycheck in your profession, what advice
brokerage firms and our commitment to a come from? What was your job would you give that person?
fiduciary responsibility for our clients. then? I frequently am asked to speak to
Unofficially, I baby-sat and picked up college students and young women about
What would you next like to rocks in fields for farmers during many their career paths. My advice is always to
accomplish in your career, and how summers in my hometown of Wolcott. work hard and earn good grades, take a
would it benefit your company? However, my first official paycheck came leadership role in a club and serve your
When all of my children are in school, from a local grocery store in my local community. In our industry it is
the goal is to start a nonprofit sponsored hometown. I was a cashier at the store important to understand customer service
by our company and family. The purpose and was required to manually type in the and to have the ability to anticipate
of the nonprofit would be to meet the price and department for each grocery clients’ needs. I tell aspiring financial
needs of underprivileged children in the item. It was the start of learning the value planners to prepare themselves by
communities we serve. Educating and of offering personal service to people. working in unrelated service jobs first.
Page 16 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
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40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 17


John Henry III • 32
JH Specialty Inc.

Job title: CEO


Year you joined the company: founded company in 1998
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Junior Achievement, the Carriage House,
Shriner’s Hospital for Children

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I started the company as a sophomore in college. Upon
graduation I had the choice to either move to Chicago and work
for one of the big consulting firms, or take JH Specialty to the
next level. I decided to head back to Fort Wayne and see what I
could do. The rest is history. I enjoy the job from day to day
because every day is different: new challenges, new successes.
I get to work with a talented team and great customers.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
I received a tremendous amount of support from my family
and friends throughout the years. These people and clients that
put their trust in our products and services have allowed the
business to continue to grow and prosper.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
JH Specialty is at its highest employee count and it continues
to see double-digit growth from year to year. I have learned the
old saying about surrounding yourself with people who are more
talented than you, and collectively great things will happen. I
have learned that JH Specialty is only as good as its team and
trusting clientele.

What would you next like to accomplish in your career,


and how would it benefit your company?
Now that we have the space we need in the new building, I
am focusing on adding new members to the team. We are
looking to fill key roles, and promoting people from within into
key roles. It will be another growing year, and continuing to hire
people with specific talents makes us stronger as a whole.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
Willie’s Family Restaurant. I started there as a busboy, and
throughout my high school years I was everything from cook,
dishwasher, host, to weekend manager. It was a great learning
experience.

How do you balance your career, family life and What were the items you brought to your photo
community involvement? shoot? What are their significance?
This is something that I have to continue to take a step back I brought: a picture to represent my family; an iPad to
and analyze. I think it is essential to have a good balance of these represent technology, which is a core competency at JH
three elements in your life. It is easy for me to be a workaholic. Specialty; and a driver to represent my passion for golf.
The nice thing is that my schedule is flexible. I can work
whenever and wherever I want to with today’s technology. Work If someone were just starting out in your profession,
is a necessity to provide for my family. My family is the ultimate what advice would you give that person?
source of happiness in my life, and I think we all need to support There is no such thing as easy money. To be successful it
the community and nonprofits. takes hard work, dedication and surrounding yourself with the
right people. If you work hard enough at anything I think you can
If you could try another profession, what would it be? be successful. Understand when you need to expand your
I really don’t know. My current profession and role is pretty resources, and realize the importance of finding the right people
rewarding. in the right roles.
Page 18 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
CONGRATULATIONS JOHN HENRY

r 40
d e
un
40
John Henry III, CEO at JH Specialty, Inc.

The JH Specialty Team Congratulates John Henry III


on being a Forty under 40 Recipient.

J ohn enjoys working closely with his clients, and receives great pleasure in seeing each
client grow and meet their business goals. Community involvement is also important
to John, as he remains active with the Junior Achievement program in Fort Wayne.
JH Specialty was voted in the top 30 in Best Places to Work by Counselor Magazine in 2008,
2009, and 2010 and added as a member of Indiana Companies to Watch in 2010.
Since its inception, JH Specialty has experienced steady growth and with the recent
expansion into a new facility and the addition of new employees, the company continues
to be successful, even in a turbulent economy.
We are proud of you and your achievements John. Thanks for making JH Specialty a great
place to work.

6032 Huguenard Road • Fort Wayne, IN 46818 • (260) 485-5264 • www.JHSpecialty.com

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 19


Heather Herron • 38
WANE-TV (owned by LIN Media)

Job title: news anchor work force was when I was 16. I worked at
Year you joined the company: hired a small radio station in Marion one
by LIN in 1995 and worked for station in summer, filling in for the receptionist while
Grand Rapids, Mich.; moved to Fort she was on maternity leave. Every chance
Wayne in 2001 I got, I went into the recording studios and
Community organizations in which radio booths, and soaked it all in.
you are involved outside of work: Girl
Scouts, Parent/Teacher Club, Family & How do you balance your career,
Children’s Services; donated time to the family life and community involve-
Muscular Dystrophy Association, National ment?
Kidney Foundation and American Heart It’s a constant juggling act, for sure! I
Association have an incredible, wonderfully supportive
husband who is not only my biggest fan
What was it that attracted you to but a great parenting partner. I couldn’t do
this career? it without him. I’m also hyper-organized
I wanted to get into broadcasting for as (ask anyone around me), which helps keep
long as I can remember. When I was 10 or things running smoothly both at home and
12, I would write news stories and tape at work.
record myself reading them. As a Additionally, my managers are very
teenager, I would sit at the kitchen table understanding when it comes to my
while my mom made dinner and read the family obligations. They know that I give
newspaper out loud to her, pretending to 110 percent when I’m at work and so
be a news anchor. they can be flexible when they need to
I was initially attracted to this career be. I’m very fortunate that I’ve never felt
because I love to write and tell stories. that I have to choose between my career
Once I got into the broadcasting aspect of and my family.
it — first radio, then television — I was
hooked! If you could try another profession,
what would it be?
What kind of support did you I think I would enjoy teaching — and I
receive along the way to help you would love to write a best-selling novel
advance in your career? one day.
My parents have always been incred-
ibly supportive in terms of helping me What were the items you brought
believe that I could do whatever I wanted to your photo shoot? What are their
as long as I worked hard. Outside of significance?
family, I found several mentors who helped remote village in Thailand where they I had trouble deciding between two
me hone my skills and encouraged me to performed dozens of operations. Not only items: a NewsChannel 15 microphone
keep improving. One news director in was it a once-in-a-lifetime career opportu- and a box of Girl Scout cookies.
particular really took a chance on me when nity, it was very life changing on a personal Obviously, the microphone represents my
I was just 22 and hired me to work in level, too. career at WANE-TV. I also brought along
what’s considered a “big” television the cookies because Girl Scouting is a
market (Grand Rapids, Mich.) I worked What would you next like to huge part of who I am. I was a Girl Scout
extra hard to prove to him, my colleagues accomplish in your career, and how for 12 years as a child (my mom was my
and myself that I deserved to be there. It would it benefit your company? leader) and learned many valuable life
made me that much better a reporter and I have never been one to worry about lessons. I have continued that tradition
anchor. winning awards or getting accolades, so I with my own daughters.
guess my goals are to continue to work
What is the biggest accomplish- hard to make this community a wonderful If someone were just starting out
ment thus far in your career? What place for everyone. Some people in in your profession, what advice would
lessons did you learn from it? broadcasting have aspirations of going to you give that person?
A trip to Thailand wasn’t necessarily my the network level or bigger cities, but I truly Our industry has changed dramatically
biggest accomplishment, but it was love the small-town feel of Fort Wayne and in past five to 10 years. The best advice I
certainly my biggest challenge and best have no plans to leave. could give is to not only learn all you can
professional experience I’ve ever had. A about the technology, but to embrace it.
videographer and I produced a documen- Where did your first paycheck The way we gather news — and deliver it —
tary on Operation Smile, an organization come from? What was your job then? is completely different than it was when I
that helps treat children with cleft lips, cleft I was a baby-sitter extraordinaire during started in this business 17 years ago. I can
palates and facial deformities. We my teenage years, so that was by first only imagine what it’s going to be like in
followed a team of plastic surgeons to a paying job. My first “real” experience in the another decade or so.
Page 20 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
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40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 21


Andrew Hoffman • 29
NeighborLink Fort Wayne and NeighborLink Network

Job title: executive director


Year you joined the organization: 2008
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: The Intentionals, 10Campaign.org-The Reclama-
tion Project, NextGen Fort Wayne, Young Leaders of Northeast
Indiana Get on Board initiative, Youth For Christ Urban Task Force,
Fellowship Missionary Church Missions Council

What was it that attracted you to this career?


You could say that they found me. I volunteered for NeighborLink
for three years prior to taking the executive director position. I stay
because I have a deep burden to orient my life around our neighbors
who are suffering and to fight the injustices that cause that suffering.
I didn’t know much about the nonprofit sector prior to NeighborLink
but have grown to love it.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
There are a few key mentors in my life that I owe a lot to. Without
them believing in me, challenging me along the way and inviting me
into their networks, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have an
extremely supportive wife who is a lot smarter and more compas-
sionate than I am as well, and who keeps me headed in the right
direction.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
The accomplishment that I’m most excited about is the growth of
NeighborLink in Fort Wayne over the past three years. In that time
we’ve gone from approximately 400 to 900 posted projects as well
as from completing around 200 projects a year to 500 in 2010. golf course snack bar. My first “real” job after college was working
It’s a privilege to be the director of NeighborLink, and I owe the at a local publishing company selling direct-mail advertising to
tangible success to the hundreds of volunteers who are motivated motorcycle dealers around the county.
by their faith in God to love their neighbors. I learn every day what it
takes to go beyond self for the sake of others. I am also reminded How do you balance your career, family life and
daily that this is not a natural or easy thing to do. community involvement?
I stopped trying to segment them. I’m in a fortunate place profes-
What would you next like to accomplish in your career, sionally at NeighborLink that allows me to integrate it all together. My
and how would it benefit your organization? wife and I integrate service into our family, I can integrate community
I am eager to see the NeighborLink model expand around the involvement into my career and I can leverage a pretty flexible
country. The board of directors at NeighborLink formed the schedule to find balance when needed.
NeighborLink Network, which handles the reproduction of our
model in other communities, which I also run. Since 2008, we’ve If you could try another profession, what would it be?
reproduced our model in four other cities and licensed our Web I can’t choose just one. I’d be a wilderness tour guide; I’d go back
platform to an existing organization. I see my career taking me in the to working in an advertising agency; I’d be a disaster relief worker in
direction of expanding on an already great thing we have going in a place like the Democratic Republic of Congo; and so many more.
NeighborLink. As long as the Lord provides for NeighborLink, I’ll be
right in the middle of it all. What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
What is its significance?
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an I brought our mission sign, which is a testimony to what
expense form? NeighborLink is all about. I also brought it to honor the nearly 1,000
I have a lot of strange things that end up on my expense report. volunteers who served last year.
They typically concern home maintenance materials like roofing felt,
wax toilet rings, gutters, hot water heaters, etc. I recently submitted If someone were just starting out in your profession,
a receipt for setting up a gas line with NIPSCO for one of our recipi- what advice would you give that person?
ents. Let your passion and sense of purpose drive you over anything
else. Build your network immediately. Learn how to be generous.
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was Give more than you receive. You’ll never make it in the nonprofit
your job then? and/or human services sector if you don’t believe what you’re doing
My first real paycheck came when I was 14 or 15 working in a is changing lives.
Page 22 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Amy Johnson • 28
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network-Fort Wayne

Job title: director of selection Where did your first paycheck come
Year you joined the company: 2005 from? What was your job then?
Community organizations in which My high school job was at Burger King
you are involved outside of work: Young on Bluffton Road, and I loved it. I learned
Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Leadership how to perform all roles that didn’t fall under
Institute, Junior League of Fort Wayne management, but loved the drive-through for
the fast pace, chance to talk to people and
What was it that attracted you to because it was the busiest area.
this career?
When I was considering options upon How do you balance your career,
graduation, I was initially attracted to the family life and community involve-
company and the people in the Fort Wayne ment?
office. The NMFN values and client focus How do I balance? Not as well as I could.
made it a company for which I could feel I love the things I’m involved in and am
good about working. Because I received so passionate about each one of them,
much support as a 21-year-old intern, I whether it’s my job, YLNI or Junior League.
wanted to be part of that kind of environ- Luckily, I get to see many of the people I care
ment. about at YLNI/JLFW events and a small
In looking at the recruiting role itself, I group from church. I get to see my family
was excited for three reasons: First, I had pretty regularly either for dinner or at church.
ideas on how to improve an already fantastic This year, I’m doing a better job planning for
internship. Second, I feel that financial one night a week of whatever I want to do:
advisers truly have an impact on people’s time for myself, with the boyfriend, my
lives, and subsequently I would make a nephew or whatever hits me.
difference by meeting people who should
be in that role. The company believes in If you could try another profession,
taking steps to find the right people and what would it be?
giving them the necessary training/support, I could see myself editing books or
and I would be proud to be part of that. magazines. I might also enjoy a career that
Third, I enjoy learning about people: what allows me to administer various assess-
matters most to them, what makes them ments and help people use the information
tick. I get to help people learn about they learn about themselves. Counseling is
themselves and determine a career path, another profession I think I would enjoy.
even if it isn’t ours. have close to 10 each year. Beyond
increasing the class size, we’ve had several What was the item you brought to
What kind of support did you Fort Wayne students experience success your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
receive along the way to help you on a national level and join us full time. In cance?
advance in your career? addition, I enjoy hearing what a great experi- I brought running shoes, for a couple
I’ve received so much support from many ence each student had and how much they reasons. I’m by no means a serious runner,
sources: family, co-workers and friends. My learned about themselves. I keep in touch but I love to be outside and jog when I can.
parents have always been my biggest with many of them and am excited to hear My cross-country days are long gone, but
cheerleaders, which most definitely impacts about their success and what kind of impact running is my favorite form of exercise. Even
my career success. When I began my job we had on their path. more fitting is that I’m always running from
after graduation, my mom initially pointed me one thing to the next: work, gym, YLNI,
to YLNI, and that has been key for both my What would you next like to Junior League, small group, meeting friends
career and personal fulfillment. My dad gives accomplish in your career, and how or family. My house stays pretty clean
great advice when I need it and will tell me would it benefit your company? because I’m never in it.
the tough things I don’t always want to hear. I am taking exams to pass my chartered
My NMFN career wouldn’t be what it is life underwriter exam. I’m beginning to help If someone were just starting out
without the support of my boss and co- in the development of new representatives, in your profession, what advice
workers, and multiple friends have given me and this designation will not only expand my would you give that person?
solid coaching along the way. knowledge but add to my credibility. Be genuine, honest and excited about
what you do. Your passion and enthusiasm
What is the biggest accomplish- What is the strangest thing you’ve shows, and if you aren’t excited about the
ment thus far in your career? What submitted on an expense form? company/position, why should the
lessons did you learn from it? Most random things on my expense form candidate be? Don’t be afraid to give honest
My biggest accomplishment would be are purchased for our internship program. feedback, even if it’s tough to deliver. You’ll
the growth of our internship program locally. We hold cookouts and lake days, so I’ve help candidates learn about themselves and
When I interned, the biggest class the office purchased aprons for grilling, a water volley- shape the paths they explore if your career
had was four students, and now we typically ball net, floaties, sunscreen. opportunity isn’t the right fit.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 23
Barrett & McNagny LLP congratulates
Zachary E. Klutz for being a 40 Under 40 award recipient.

Zach, an associate with Barrett & McNagny LLP,


concentrates his practice in the areas of Corporate
and Business Law and Municipal Finance.

215 E. Berry St. l Fort Wayne, IN 46802 l 260.423.9551 l www.barrettlaw.com


Serving the business community since 1876 ~ Proud of our more than 130 years of commitment to Fort Wayne

Northwestern Mutual-Fort Wayne is proud


and honored to recognize Amy Johnson as
a 40 under 40 recipient for 2011!

Northwestern Mutual - Indiana


110 W Berry St Ste 1600
Fort Wayne
(260) 423 - 3691 x202
rapp-agency.com

05-2652 © 2011 The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, Northwestern Mutual - Indiana. Jeffrey J Rapp is a District Agent of Northwestern Mutual (life
and disability insurance, annuities), a Representative of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, Milwaukee, WI, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual and limited
purpose federal savings bank, and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (securities), a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, broker-
dealer and member FINRA and SIPC.

Page 24 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc


Zachary Klutz • 33
Barrett & McNagny LLP

Job title: attorney


Year you joined the company: 2005
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Allen County Election Board, McMillen
Center for Health Education, Mike Downs Center for Indiana
Politics

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I’ve always had an interest in government and politics as
well as the business world. Practicing law, especially
corporate law, allows me to be an active participant in each of
my interests.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
A great benefit of practicing law in a larger firm is the vast
amount of resources you have in terms of having immediate
access to a number of attorneys who practice in many diverse
areas of law. Using the experience and legal expertise of the
partners and my fellow associates at Barrett & McNagny has
been the key to my legal practice.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Looking back, I am not sure any particular event or
accomplishment stands out. My hope is that my best
accomplishments are yet to come. It is always rewarding to
work on a successful political campaign in which the
candidate that wasn’t supposed to win does. I also have been
fortunate to provide legal services for clients as they engage
in mergers or acquisitions in order to grow and expand their
business.
My two daughters are great. I like to think I had something
to do with that.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
My goal is to continue and grow my practice of law with How do you balance your career, family life and
Barrett & McNagny as well as assist with political campaigns community involvement?
for those candidates who share my political views. Maintaining a work-life balance is probably my biggest
challenge. My wife has a full-time career as well, and I would
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an say the key is maintaining good communications with respect
expense form? to my work and board schedules.
I must live a pretty boring life because nothing stands out.
I did miss the early hotel registration rate for a conference I If you could try another profession, what would it
attended in Miami. I’m too embarrassed to disclose the full be?
per-night rate I submitted for reimbursement. I will say that I’d probably try to start and run my own business. Unfortu-
Shaquille O’Neal was standing in the hotel lobby when I nately, I’m fairly risk averse, so my current occupation suits me
walked in; it was an expensive place. pretty well.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was What were the items you brought to your photo
your job then? shoot? What are their significance?
My first “paycheck” came when I was 14 years old and was A statute of Lady Justice representing my practice of law
in the form of $15 cash working each Friday and Saturday and a “vote here” sign representing my service on the Allen
night at a local tavern (the name of which will not be County Election Board and passion for politics, generally.
disclosed). My job was to wash dishes and fill the beer cooler.
My first legitimate job was working at Scott’s Grocery Store If someone were just starting out in your profession,
during my freshman year of high school. I have great what advice would you give that person?
memories from each of those jobs. Work hard and good things will happen.

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 25


Erin LaCross • 32
Parkview Health

Job title: nursing services manager of lists, I like to wear my Tina “Turner” wig to
the inpatient surgical unit at Parkview make everyone laugh and bring more
Hospital attention to what we are doing. Laughter
Year you joined the organization: breaks up monotony.
2003
Community organizations in which Where did your first paycheck come
you are involved outside of work: from? What was your job then?
American Organization of Nurse My first paycheck was from KPC. I
Executives, Northeast Indiana Organization worked in the mail room for the News Sun,
of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau stuffing ads in the Saturday morning paper.
International Nursing Honor Society and I would go in to work at midnight on Friday
the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses nights and we’d work for about six hours,
getting the Saturday morning paper ready
What was it that attracted you to to go out. We definitely relied on our humor
this career? to keep us awake and motivated. That was
Nursing is a second career for me. I actually a lot of fun.
studied psychology and criminal justice at
Tri-State (now Trine) University and worked How do you balance your career,
in mental health after graduation in 2001. I family life and community involve-
was not settled in my first career choice. I ment?
began looking into nursing in early 2003. I have two small children at home. My
My sister, Heather, is a Parkview nurse, and husband, Chad, is the basketball coach at
there was no other hospital on my radar. I the University of Saint Francis. It is definitely
got my foot in the door in a patient care a juggling act for us. I will not lie and say I
position on the inpatient surgical unit at have a clean house and that my laundry is
Parkview and applied to nursing school. neatly folded and put away. For me, I
When I graduated in 2005, I never suppose balance is knowing when to be
imagined I would eventually be managing 100 percent in “mommy mode” or when it’s
our team of nurses. OK to multitask.

What kind of support did you If you could try another profession,
receive along the way to help you people. I have learned that not everyone what would it be?
advance in your career? considers thinking outside the box exciting I would be a writer for “Saturday Night
My family has been a huge support all and fun. And I have learned that people feel Live.” I always said I’d love to be on that
along. They never questioned my career very strongly about change in general. show, but I wouldn’t want to be on stage.
change, at least not outwardly. And Behind the scenes would probably better
Parkview has been an amazing home for What would you next like to suit me, but I definitely thrive on humor.
me. I have learned so much from everyone I accomplish in your career, and how
have worked alongside. would it benefit your organization? What was the item you brought to
Our patients deserve to receive the best your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
What is the biggest accomplish- clinical care and customer service while cance?
ment thus far in your career? What they are with us. We plan to achieve top 10 I brought a nurse’s cap with me,
lessons did you learn from it? percent in the nation in safety and quality, although I have never worn one. The nurse’s
Being involved in the planning of the and in patient experience. We want our cap symbolizes the profession of nursing.
Parkview Regional Medical Center and patients to rest assured that when they Today’s nurse may not wear the symbolic
seeing our ideas and our vision become choose Parkview, they recover quickly and white cap, but each one of us took on a very
reality. As a new nurse working at the without complication, and that they are important responsibility upon becoming a
bedside, I was invited to work on one of the treated like family. nurse. We need to always remember that
early planning teams, and I have continued we are representing a very sacred and
to be involved from a leadership perspec- What is the strangest thing you’ve trusted profession that others hold in high
tive ever since. My children and I drive by submitted on an expense form? regard.
the medical center on our way home every I did not turn in an expense form to be
evening, and my daughter is so proud of reimbursed for this, but I recently If someone were just starting out
“mommy’s work.” She asks me every day, purchased a Tina Turner wig to wear at in your profession, what advice
“Mommy, is your work done yet?” work. Right now, one of the big things we would you give that person?
I have learned that sometimes you have are focusing on is making sure that we are Never, ever lose sight of the reason you
to be assertive in order to get someone to turning our patients in bed every two hours became a nurse. Keep the patient at the
listen to you. I have learned that leadership to prevent post-operative complications. heart of what you do and you’ll do the right
is not about experience, but about Each day, we identify which patients are our things. Dream big, speak up and laugh
communication and connecting with “turners,” so when I check our daily turn every day.
Page 26 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Kyndra D. Landgraff • 34
State Farm Insurance

Job title: insurance agent


Year you joined the company: 2009
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Kendallville Chamber of Commerce, South
Milford Lions Club, Therapeutic Riding Center of Steuben County

What was it that attracted you to this career?


Not only do I get to own my own business, but I get to advise
clients on all aspects of their lives, from the basics like protecting
their cars and homes to the much more emotional items like life
insurance and planning for retirement. As the mother of two
children with disabilities, I am passionate about planning for a
family’s future and really enjoy sharing what I know with my clients.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible companies, co-
workers and clients who have all made an investment in my career.
My biggest supporter has always been my husband, Andy, and
never more so than when I started with State Farm. The internship
to become a State Farm Agent required several months of travel.
During that time, Andy took all the responsibility for the care of our
children, at the time aged 4 and 2, with little help. He had to
manage his own career, which was also a new venture, and juggle
school and therapy schedules for our children while I was in Illinois
training.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Achieving the dream of owning my own business, which has
given me the flexibility I need for my children, has been my greatest
career accomplishment. I’ve learned that you never know where
the next opportunity might come from, so approach every situation
with an open mind. Each step in my career was a building block to act is even more difficult. I ask myself two questions each night,
where I am now. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s all become “What did I do really well for them today?” and, “What can I do
obvious now. better tomorrow?”
I realize that I can’t do everything right every day, but I can strive
What would you next like to accomplish in your career, to do everything a bit better each day. If my children go to bed
and how would it benefit your company? each night safe, happy, healthy and loved, then I’m a success
I want to become a mentor for new State Farm agents. As I every day, regardless of what happened at the office. My family is
grow in my career, I want my office to be a place agent candidates my first priority and the first measure of my success each day.
can spend time learning the business before launching their own
offices. I would love to be known for that role within my company. If you could try another profession, what would it be?
I would love to work construction for a while! I believe the skill
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an set that I would learn would be invaluable in my personal and
expense form? professional life.
The receipt for a flat tire and roadside service call after running
over something on the highway on a business trip. What were the items you brought to your photo shoot?
What are their significance?
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was I brought pictures of my family to the photo shoot. They are the
your job then? reason behind every decision I make in life. Every decision is
Real Estate Sails, the Lake Property Specialists. I was 13 years meant to better their lives in some way and to serve as an example
old and worked as a Saturday receptionist. I worked 3.5 hours per for them in the future.
week and made $5 per hour.
If someone were just starting out in your profession,
How do you balance your career, family life and what advice would you give that person?
community involvement? Approach each day with two principles in mind: honor and
This is the most difficult aspect of being a parent, spouse and integrity. You are working for your clients to help secure their
professional. It is something I struggle with on a daily basis. future. Make sure nothing clouds your judgment. Your job is a
Because my children have special circumstances, the balancing huge responsibility!
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 27
Chris Langschied • 34
The Green ABC’s for Kids / Retail Outsource

Job title: president, the Green ABC’s for Kids / senior


team leader of the Retail Outsource
Year you joined the company: 2008 / 2010
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Northeast Indiana Sustainable Business
Council and Waynedale Green Alliance

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I am always looking towards the future and the best ways to
maximize our resources for optimum use. Being involved in the
sustainability movement along with the wireless industry gives
me the opportunity to be exposed to both.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
Getting involved with the Northeast Indiana Innovation
Center opened many doors for the Green ABC’s and helped
us develop our products in order to advance our mission. My
career was given a boost in the right direction by this
alignment along with the opportunity to network with area
movers and shakers.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Last year, the Green ABC’s won three awards, an
entrepreneurial award from the Northeast Indiana Innovation
Center, a Green Innovator Award from the Northeast Indiana
Green Builders Coalition and the Innovation Award in the
retail category from the Greater Fort Wayne Business
Weekly. I believe all of these have been great accomplish-
ments along with my prior accomplishments in the military,
where I served for 13 years, and my management
background for companies like Chico’s and Sony. Biggest
lesson? Be persistent!

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
I believe the next best accomplishment would be the
development of a good team behind me. This would benefit
both of the organizations I am aligned with.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
A wig.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
It was for a restaurant where I worked as a dishwasher
when I was 15. I have forgotten the name of the place, but it
was located in Waynedale.

How do you balance your career, family life and What is its significance?
community involvement? I brought my Green ABC’s flash card set. It is significant
Keep involved with many friends and play lots of poker! because it was the first product we developed using the Green
ABC’s authored by my mother, April Brewster Smythe, as a
If you could try another profession, what would it be? template.
I would probably like to be a teacher. I did a lot of training in
the military and enjoyed it quite a bit. If someone were just starting out in your profession,
what advice would you give that person?
What was the item you brought to your photo shoot? Enjoy what you do, and don’t settle.
Page 28 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Todd E. Larson • 38
Ameriprise Financial

Job title: financial adviser/certified financial planner


Year you joined the company: 1997
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: YMCA Central Branch, Blackhawk
Ministries, Fort Wayne Christian Businessman’s Roundtable,
Upward Sports and Mustard Seed Furniture Bank

What was it that attracted you to this career?


The challenge. The ability to help people. The never-
ending learning curve.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
The biggest support came from two people: my wife, Jill,
who has never wavered in her support and belief in me; and
my mentor, Jim Wyrostek. Jim has made a huge impact on me
as a husband, father, financial adviser and business owner. I
have two excellent people that I work with in the office: Dawn
Thomas, office manager; and Matt Reynolds, financial
adviser. Without them, I would fail.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Most of the clients I started with are still with me today. I
consider the long-term relationships my most satisfying
accomplishment. I know that people put a lot of trust in me,
and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
I am now teaching classes for other advisers on how to
give advice and not to just be asset managers/planners. I
teach them how to work with clients to help them achieve
their goals and make the best decisions at every step in the
journey. I am working to help change the way financial profes-
sionals do business.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
When I am on the road teaching classes, I eat at the
extreme of prices for meals. One meal might be a $1.50
granola bar from a gas station for lunch followed by a $200
dinner. If you could try another profession, what would it
be?
Where did your first paycheck come from? What I would like to pick the soundtracks for movies. I have a
was your job then? huge music library, and since they canceled “Name that
My first job was washing dishes at age 12. I remember Tune,” this knowledge is fairly useless.
how hard I worked and how little I got paid.
What was the item you brought to your photo
How do you balance your career, family life and shoot? What is its significance?
community involvement? I brought my ID. I don’t think most people would think that
I try to keep my priorities straight. As a Christian, I try to I am under 40 years old.
keep my God first, wife second and my three kids third
(Lauren, 10; Gabe, 7; and Audrey, 4). After that, a mix of If someone were just starting out in your profes-
work, community involvement and spending time with friends. sion, what advice would you give that person?
I used to sleep at least eight hours a night. I now sleep It is going to be harder than you think. This field requires
around six hours a night. This has freed up a lot of time for the utmost integrity. Have more concern for your clients’ well-
things that are important to me. I couldn’t sleep eight hours being than your own. Attain the certified financial planner
now if I tried. designation.

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 29


Dr. Kara Heine Laughlin • 30
Northeast Ophthalmology

Job title: optometrist from? What was your job then?


Year you joined the company: 2009 My first real paycheck was from
Community organizations in which lifeguarding at the New Haven Park Depart-
you are involved outside of work: ment. I did that for 12 years all through high
Adams Township Advisory Board, New school, undergrad and optometry school.
Haven Citizens for Better Education, New Most summers I still wish I could go back to
Haven Republican Central Committee, that. But I also grew up on our family farm,
New Haven High School Alumni Associa- so as you can imagine, I had many jobs
tion, Beta Sigma Kappa Optometry Honor around there as a kid — mostly unpaid, of
Society, Northeast Indiana Optometric course!
Society
How do you balance your career,
What was it that attracted you to family life and community involve-
this career? ment?
I would have to say that growing up, my This is something I am constantly asking
science classes were always some of my myself. There are so many interests that I
favorites, and I think I always kind of knew I have and so many more things I wish I
would go into something medical. I have could say yes to. I am fortunate in my career
always been a really social person as well, that when my last patient is gone for the day
liking to meet and talk with new people and I am pretty much done. There isn’t much
find our commonalities. So the idea of that can keep me after hours. And having
having those patient interactions two toddlers at home keeps everything in
throughout the day was appealing. Even check for me now. They are at such fun
little conversations give me insight into a ages, and I just don’t want to miss anything.
patient’s lifestyle that makes me better at That’s what makes me think twice about
prescribing the exact right eyewear, and overcommitting to other things. Spending
helping someone see what they couldn’t weekends at the lake is my way of
before is really rewarding. The schedule recharging. To be able to unplug and have
optometry can afford me on top of that downtime with my husband and family
combining the social and science aspects that’s only an hour’s car trip away is truly
just makes it perfect for me. awesome.

What kind of support did you If you could try another profession,
receive along the way to help you could be licensed to practice. The biggest what would it be?
advance in your career? thing I learned is that hard work pays off Definitely something with more of a
Initially, support and encouragement and to look at the big picture instead of the creative outlet, like a florist or hair stylist, but
came from my childhood optometrist before current challenge. There were times in probably a photographer. I already dabble
I even applied to optometry school, then, of school where everything seemed in photography a bit as a hobby and actually
course, my family. Earning that doctorate overwhelmingly stressful and hard. Now I took a class at Indiana University-Purdue
was a stressful, long haul, and my husband look back and wonder why I got so worried University Fort Wayne last year.
especially kept me focused on the light at and worked up. I guess a few more years
the end of the tunnel. We went from dating, behind me gives me better perspective. What were the items you brought
to engaged, to married during those same to your photo shoot? What are their
four years. However, since he was three What would you next like to significance?
hours away from Indiana University accomplish in your career, and how A small eye chart and eyeglasses.
Bloomington, it was my friends in optometry would it benefit your company? Making sure each patient is seeing his or
school that I should credit, too; we helped The next accomplishment is going to be her best is just what I do every day. Visual
each other pull through. Now since gradua- helping to complete the transition from acuity, measured by how small of letters you
tion it’s all about networking with my paper charts to electronic medical records can read, is such a simple test, but gives me
colleagues and learning from their experi- in our practice. Doing anything like this that as an eye doctor so much information.
ences so we call all advance together and changes the clinical atmosphere so drasti-
make sure patients are getting the best cally is challenging. There are a lot of things If someone were just starting out in
care. changing in health care in general, and your profession, what advice would
keeping up with all of the government you give that person?
What is the biggest accomplish- mandates that are in the pipeline is going to If you have survived getting your
ment thus far in your career? What require a lot of work. Bringing up the doctorate and passing your boards, the
lessons did you learn from it? electronic records is one of the first and career part seems easy. My advice would
So far it really has been completing my largest hurdles I hope to help get us across. be to enjoy the patient interactions, don’t
doctorate, graduating with honors and doubt your knowledge, and make sure you
passing all of my board exams so that I Where did your first paycheck come never stop learning.
Page 30 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
The NEO Team congratulates Dr. Laughlin for the well
deserved recognition from Forty Under Forty. We salute your
achievements, hard work and dedication to the Northeast
Ophthalmology mission of high quality individualized eye care.

Kara Heine Laughlin, O.D. Barbara M. Schroeder, M.D. Natalka Fedoriw, M.D.

NEW PATIENTS WELCOME


To schedule an appointment, call
(260) 422-EYES (3937)
3301 Lake Avenue (just east of Hobson)

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 31


Wei Luo • 37
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Job title: assistant professor of communication


Year you joined the organization: 2008
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: developed service learning projects for
students so that they can engage in community work with
different nonprofit organizations

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I am attracted to an academic career mostly because I love
teaching and research. My career allows me to apply what I
learned in the graduate school to enrich students’ learning
process. I enjoy engaging in intellectual discussions with my
students and colleagues. Being a teacher, I have the opportu-
nity to continue to scale intellectual heights.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
Above all, I have received emotional support from my family
members, who always encourage me to try my best to
advance my career, which is an important part of my life. In my
workplace, my colleagues give me suggestions on how to
improve my research and teaching skills. My Faculty
Assistance Committee has given me generous guidance on
preparing promotion and tenure documents.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest accomplishment thus far in my career is that I
have developed pedagogical strengths, fine-tuned the craft of
instruction and enhanced student learning within and beyond
our classroom. More specifically, I have been successful
developing service learning projects for my students in an
intercultural communication course that I teach.
My students of the past year participated in community
work with nonprofit organizations such as Reclamation
Project Inc., There Is Hope Inc. and Catholic Charities, to
name a few. They helped children from less advantageous
families with their homework and joined efforts with
community agents to help Burmese immigrants and refugees
adapt to Fort Wayne culture. I now continue to initiate and that. In reality, I try to focus on each task and be efficient in
facilitate my students’ community engagement. what I do so that I can find time to enjoy family and community
activities.
What would you next like to accomplish in your
career, and how would it benefit your organization? If you could try another profession, what would it
I would like to make greater efforts for promotion and be?
tenure in a few years so that I can continue to contribute my If I could try another profession, I would want to be a
knowledge and expertise to the academic community. photographer, a gourmet chef or a world traveler.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
your job then? What is its significance?
I earned my first paycheck from Shaoguan Educational I didn’t bring something important to my photo shoot. If I
Institute (now part of Shaoguan University) located in could, I would bring my desktop computer because I rely on it
Shaoguan City in South China. I was a college teacher and every day (I don’t like the laptop as much). Or I would want to
my students were would-be elementary school or high school bring my dog, Bucks. But she stays in China with my parents.
teachers.
If someone were just starting out in your profession,
How do you balance your career, family life and what advice would you give that person?
community involvement? I would say to that person, “Make friends with people
I guess I have a schedule in my mind, which helps me set around you and enjoy every step and every day of your profes-
aside time for each part of my life. Well, I wish I could have sion without feeling too worried about instant success.”
Page 32 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 33
A special
Thank You
to the
“40 Under 40”
Sponsors

Page 34 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc


Tom Martin • 30
Larson Financial Group, the Physician’s Specialist

Job title: managing director, Great Lakes Region


Year you joined the company: 2007
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Matthew 25, the Chapel, Youth for Christ,
True Life Choices

What was it that attracted you to this career?


Having the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in
physicians’ lives in areas way beyond just the realm of their
financial health.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
My success is a product of many local mentors taking me
under their wings: Rick Hawks (my father-in-law and pastor),
Gary Woolman, Rick Phillips, David Norton, Tom Dougherty
and many others.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Being a catalyst in taking our company nationwide. Our
Fort Wayne office paved the way as a model for all of our
other offices around the country outside of our company
headquarters in St. Louis.
Put the client first and everything else will fall into place.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
See a successful launch of our upcoming podcast and
Kindle book, both titled “Doc’s Eyes Only” (March 2011).
These two tools help us to bring physician-specific education
to the marketplace on an ongoing basis.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
Two broken windshields from the same vehicle in the same
week.

Where did your first paycheck come from?


Pizza Hut, but unfortunately it wasn’t a Freeland Pizza Hut
so the training wasn’t up to the same standards.

What was your job then?


Everything except pizza delivery.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
Stephen Covey says to “begin with the end in mind.” I know
where I want to be with my wife and kids 50 years from now, What is its significance?
and that drives the intentional decisions I make today. I want A model of the human brain. I specialize in working with
to look back and never have to admit that I sacrificed an neurosurgeons in my practice and am studying a new exciting
amazing relationship with my wife and kids in order to grow financial field called neuro-economics, which studies the
our company. To help, I rotate one-on-one dates with my kids impact that our financial decisions produce on brain
every week and get away with my wife as often as possible. chemicals and function. Exciting stuff for a nerd like me.

If you could try another profession, what would it If someone were just starting out in your profession,
be? what advice would you give that person?
Author. I love to write! Choose your mentors wisely because you’ll never make it
without them. Keep the communication flowing with those
What was the item you brought to your photo shoot? mentors no matter how hard it gets.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 35
Mike McCaffrey • 33
University of Saint Francis

Job title: assistant athletic director, My first paycheck came from Easley-
marketing/promotions Smith Sports Ventures LLC. It was the
Year you joined the organization: operating company for the Norfolk
2008 Nighthawks arena football team in Norfolk,
Community organizations in which Va., owned by former NFL-ers Kenny Easley
you are involved outside of work: Fort and Bruce Smith. My position was director
Wayne Sports Corp., Big Brothers Big of community relations and public affairs,
Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, American which meant I was basically a glorified
Red Cross, Leadership Fort Wayne intern who did whatever they told me to do.

What was it that attracted you to How do you balance your career,
this career? family life and community involve-
Like most young men, sports have ment?
always been a part of my life. After college I I am the luckiest man on the planet. I
spent nine years in professional sports front have a job I love going to every day, and I
offices, mostly in the arena football league, have the love and support of my family. My
but also in minor league baseball and fiancée, Angie, keeps me grounded and
hockey. College sports is totally different makes me a better man every day. With her
and, for me, a lot more exciting. Instead of help, we are able to take everything on
working for one team that plays one sport, I together and make sure that our boys get
get to be a part of 16 athletic programs and as much of our attention as possible.
watch our student athletes grow and
mature during their time here. The chance If you could try another profession,
to learn from those who know a lot more what would it be?
than me, like Kevin Donley and Mark Pope, Until recently, I didn’t think I could
gives me great hope for my future in college possibly have an answer to this question. I
athletics and here at USF. have tried not working in athletics at
different times during my career, and it just
What kind of support did you hasn’t worked for me. Since arriving in Fort
receive along the way to help you Wayne, though, and getting involved with
advance in your career? different groups and causes, I am finding
I have been very fortunate throughout my myself drawn to the areas of economic
life to have worked with some great people your life and you work toward it without development and politics. Given that I do
who taught me what it takes to be trepidation, than you will get where you not plan on leaving Fort Wayne any time
successful. Support has come in many want to be. soon, I want to make sure that our two boys,
forms, and rarely was it financial. The Joel and Baylen, grow up in the best Fort
greatest support I received was in my first What would you next like to Wayne possible and have all of the
job when our owner, former Seattle accomplish in your career, and how opportunities that they can.
Seahawk great Ken Easley, promoted me would it benefit your organization?
from an intern to a vice president of the The next thing I would like to accomplish What were the items you brought
team within two years. Here at USF, Mark at USF is to have a standing-room-only to your photo shoot? What are their
Pope promoted me to be his assistant home basketball game. Fort Wayne’s first- significance?
athletic director a year after I arrived. Those ever national champions play right here at I brought two small items with me. The
two moves gave me the confidence to USF, and more people should come and first is a picture of my family, Angie, Joel (7),
pursue those particular fields even further. enjoy the action. Baylen (9 months) and me. The other is my
A little more long-term would be that I championship ring from our USF men’s
What is the biggest accomplish- would like to become the next director of basketball team 2010 NAIA national
ment thus far in your career? What athletics here at USF, but in due time. championship.
lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest career accomplishment thus What is the strangest thing you’ve If someone were just starting out in
far was being named the general manager submitted on an expense form? your profession, what advice would
of the Fort Wayne Fusion arena football My job here at USF is the first time I have you give that person?
team when I was only 29 years old. The first had an expense report, but I seldom use it. Intern, intern and after you do an intern-
goal I ever set for myself when I was in If I had to pick a strange one, probably zip ship … intern again! I did three internships
college was to be a GM of a professional ties, which are used to hang all of my signs while I was still in college. One was paid,
football team before I turned 30. Of course, around the football stadium and gymnasium but the other two were not. I truly feel that
I was envisioning the NFL at the time, but here at USF. the internships and volunteer experience I
life works in mysterious ways. did before graduating college are the
The main lesson from that is that if you Where did your first paycheck come reason I have been very fortunate to never
have a goal, if you see that goal every day of from? What was your job then? have had to look for a job.
Page 36 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Aaron L. McDevitt • 37
Faztek LLC

Job title: chief operating officer


Year you joined the company: 2001
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Whitley County 4-H Inc. and Columbia City
High School FFA Alumni and Supporters Group

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I viewed the start of my career at Faztek as a way to get in
the ground floor of a new startup company that I could help
grow and develop into an industry leader in its market.

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
The biggest support I got was advice from my dad on how
to handle tough situations, but the entire ownership group at
Faztek also has shown great support and given great advice
as we have grown the company.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
The biggest accomplishment thus far has been continuing
to grow through rough economic years. When most analysts
think industry has been shrinking, we have added seven new
employees to our team. I have learned you can never forget
the basics of business and never forget where you came from.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
Simply stated, I would like to help show continued growth
and market share in our industry. I would like to do that by
helping to develop new and innovative products that set us
apart from the competition.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
The first time I got paid was baling hay was I was about 12
years old. My first paycheck came from Frank’s Greenhouse in
Columbia City. I was a dirt handler there, which is a fancy way
to say I shoveled a lot of dirt into flower pots.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement?
Balancing these things requires a lot of patience and just
taking it one step at a time — and an incredible lack of sleep.

If you could try another profession, what would it


be?
I have always been interested in politics and would
probably pursue that were I not in the position I am now.

What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?


What is its significance?
The sample I have in my photo is of a demo guard unit that
we use to demonstrate our product at Faztek LLC. The signif-
icance of this is that we have developed our niche in the
marketplace of T-slotted aluminum by being the safety Anyone starting in my profession would need first to learn
guarding experts. to adapt his/her own personality to be able to interact
positively with those around them. The next step would be
If someone were just starting out in your profession, learn as much as possible as quickly as you can — but never
what advice would you give that person? take shortcuts.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 37
Thomas T. (Ted) Nitza Jr. • 40*
The Secant Group Inc.

Job title: president from? What was your job then?


Year you joined the company: My first paying job was a paper route at
founded the Secant Group Inc. in 2003. age 10, but my first actual paycheck came
Community organizations in which from the old Charkey’s restaurant on
you are involved outside of work: Allen Hobson Road in Fort Wayne. I was a
County Regional Water and Sewer District, dishwasher and busboy until the Glenbrook
Young Professionals Group, St. Jude location of Mike’s Carwash hired me away
Catholic Church and Elementary School, from all the free pop that I could drink and
Engineers Week Future City Competition, the left-over hushpuppies at closing time.
Northeast Indiana Regional Science and
Engineering Fair How do you balance your career,
family life and community involve-
What was it that attracted you to ment?
this career? I have room for improvement, but I
I was attracted to my career by the generally work to patiently take things one
opportunities to be a part of and to help day at a time while continually remembering
build great things — and then be able to what the long-term goals are for each
point at them as I describe each in excruci- aspect.
ating detail to my kids and wife as we drive
by in the car. If you could try another profession,
what would it be?
What kind of support did you I would enjoy designing and building
receive along the way to help you bridges, but if I were starting from scratch
advance in your career? without an ability to do what I do now, I
I have been blessed with many opportu- might choose to be a homebuilder or a
nities from family, friends, managers and professional baseball player.
clients willing to provide me the trust,
freedom and support to turn challenges into accomplish in your career, and how What were the items you brought
accomplishments. would it benefit your company? to your photo shoot? What are their
Three things: I want to continue to be a significance?
What is the biggest accomplish- most valued asset to my clients, finish my I brought a simple hammer and canvas
ment thus far in your career? What MBA and bring a significant advancing tool belt. They represent basic tools of
lessons did you learn from it? technology (with its investments and helping others. When I was younger and
My biggest accomplishment so far was opportunities) to our community. someone was in need, you grab those tools
not necessarily in my career but because of first and arrive early, stay late and be ready
it. I was part of a small group that traveled What is the strangest thing you’ve for whatever is necessary. Nowadays, there
to a rural village in Honduras to install a safe submitted on an expense form? are more diverse methods of helping others
drinking water system for an elementary Early in my career, I successfully through community involvement, charitable
school. Previously, the young students expensed a massively oversized, fluores- giving, volunteer opportunities (and even
would drink and use water from a nearby cent orange hat from Kmart. I was pneumatic nail guns), but it all has the same
river or travel miles to the nearest safe inspecting a long-abandoned gravel pit core principle: Bring what you have in your
water. The resulting water-borne illnesses operation on behalf of an interested buyer, hands, heart and soul — and show up ready
or lost travel time was hampering the and I was dressed in a long, dark twill to work.
education of the students and their hopes trench coat. The sprawling complex of
for a better future. My company was broken-down buildings, reclaimed lakes, If someone were just starting out in
successful enough by then to provide me overgrown trees, prairies and ravines your profession, what advice would
the time and resources to financially covered more than 100 acres, and I was you give that person?
sponsor my involvement and assist two searching for signs of buried drums of My profession of civil engineering
other college students. My education, skill hazardous waste, old storage tanks and includes roads, bridges, towers, tunnels,
and sweat allowed me to intellectually and other hidden liabilities. buildings, dams and other public works of
physically contribute to the success of the As I tromped through the brush and all kinds. My specific career path in water
project. jumped over stream beds and downed resources is dominated by local, state and
My own family experiences, maturity and trees, an expertly camouflaged hunter federal ownership of these kinds of facili-
spirituality allowed me to more fully carrying a very large rifle popped out of ties. Because of this, I recommend that
appreciate how blessed we are in the nowhere and quietly explained to me that it recent graduates begin their careers
United States, just how fragile life is and was the first day of deer hunting season. He working in the public sector instead of the
reinforced the importance of giving back to recommended that I go get something often more lucrative consulting or other
those less fortunate. “non-deer-looking.” I did so immediately. private fields.

What would you next like to Where did your first paycheck come * Was 39 during the application process.
Page 38 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Amber Recker • 31
Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana

Job title: director of development and our community.


marketing
Year you joined the organization: Where did your first paycheck come
2010 from?
Community organizations in which My first paycheck came from my dad. He
you are involved outside of work: was an independent detasseling contractor
Anthony Wayne Rotary, Fort Wayne Derby when I was growing up, and I worked for
Girls, Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana him every summer for eight years, first as a
and Women United crew member and later as a crew leader.

What was it that attracted you to How do you balance your career,
this career? family life and community involve-
Volunteering put me in touch with ment?
Cancer Services for the first time in 2008 It is a constant struggle, and I’m just
and opened my eyes to the wonderful work beginning to get better at it. Recently, I’ve
it does with the people in our community. I learned to take a step back and reprioritize.
began volunteering by holding roles such I’ve had to learn to say no to some volunteer
as public relations consultant and a opportunities, and that has been difficult
member of the board of directors. When a because if I am able to help, I want to help,
full-time position became available, I but sometimes, it’s just too much.
couldn’t pass up a chance to work for an
organization that offers so much to people If you could try another profession,
in need. what would it be?
I graduated from college with a BA in I’d like to be an on-air radio personality.
English with every intention of becoming a Many of my friends work in radio, and I’ve
high school English teacher, but the been a guest on several local radio shows
universe had other plans for me. A year to promote events for various organizations
before I graduated, my husband was with which I am involved. I love music and I
transferred from Chicago to Fort Wayne. I like to talk; it seems like the perfect fit. Oh,
followed him here in 2002. My first career and don’t forget that I someday I want to be
was with Sirva as a project manager, and the mayor of Fort Wayne.
while working there, I obtained my MBA in
human resources and management from something new itself is an accomplishment, What was the item you brought to
Indiana Tech. however, I am most proud of the social your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
In 2006, I was offered the executive networking campaign we launched in cance?
editor position for Michiana Business 2010. Previously, Cancer Services was not I brought one of the art pieces from the
Publications and it was there that I really utilizing social media. Since April 2010, Bust A Move benefit in 2008. Bust A Move
began to cultivate a love for marketing, we’ve launched an e-newsletter, a blog and is a live auction that raises money for
public relations and networking. I fell in love we are now active on Facebook and Twitter. Cancer Services and allows breast cancer
with the community and wanted to give The results of our efforts can be measured survivors the opportunity to be celebrated
back where I could, and that’s how I came through the increase and new demographic and respected through art. Together, local
to volunteer with Cancer Services and of volunteers, along with the increased artists and women volunteer their talents
eventually join the team. number of new clients and donors that have and their bodies to create unique, inspiring
My long-term goal is to be the mayor of begun to share our experience. cast representations of the female bust and
Fort Wayne. I also learned that I am not as techno- the emotions associated with breast
logically savvy as I thought and that so cancer. Each cast is painted by a local artist
What kind of support did you much can be accomplished through and auctioned at the event. The art piece I
receive along the way to help you teamwork and determination. brought is actually my bust and was painted
advance in your career? by Terry Ratliff. It sold for $650.
My husband is amazingly supportive of What would you next like to
everything I do. He’s always believed in me, accomplish in your career, and how If someone were just starting out
and it is his belief in me that empowered me would it benefit your organization? in your profession, what advice
to make big moves, take on large projects Up next, I want to go after some large would you give that person?
and see them through to fruition. I could not national grants. Currently, Cancer Services Follow your passion. You will not find
do what I do without him by my side. is funded through individual donations, happiness and true fulfillment unless you
corporate giving, local foundations and the are doing what you love.
What is the biggest accomplish- United Way. I want to catch that big fish — Volunteering is a great way to hone your
ment thus far in your career? What the one that allows us to make a big move skills, gain valuable experience and
lessons did you learn from it? and take our organization to the next level in network. If you follow your passion, the
I think jumping in head first and taking on order to help more people with cancer in opportunities will come your way.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 39
Darren Renier • 33
Community Development Corp. of Fort Wayne (CDC)

Job title: finance specialist Where did your first paycheck come
Year you joined the organization: from? What was your job then?
2004 My first real paycheck came from
Community organizations in which Wildcat Baseball working at Jury Park in
you are involved outside of work: New New Haven at age 15 as a junior coach. I
Haven Chamber of Commerce, Risk was responsible for teaching kids the
Management Association, United Way’s fundamentals of baseball, but more
Real Men Read and St. Elizabeth Ann importantly, providing a positive role model
Seton Catholic Church to the boys and girls that participated in the
program. The job was very enjoyable, and I
What was it that attracted you to appreciate the six years that I worked at
this career? Wildcat.
After graduating with a marketing
degree from Indiana University’s Kelley How do you balance your career,
School of Business, I knew that I wanted to family life and community involve-
be in sales and marketing. At the time, I ment?
hadn’t really considered banking, but the I am able to balance my career, family life
more I learned about the profession, it was and community involvement only because
apparent that it consisted of a nice blend of of the tremendous amount of support from
sales and marketing as well as finance. my wife, Kelly. She is an assistant principal
Each day I get to spend time marketing at Huntington North High School, so we
CDC business loan programs to our both have busy schedules. With two young
referral partners — bankers, CPAs, daughters, Allison, aged 6, and Peyton,
economic development professionals, etc. aged 3, we have to support each other and
— while also analyzing business financial plan ahead to prepare for each week. Then
statements and structuring loans. It on the weekends I like to exercise, watch all
provides a good mix and lots of variety. different types of sports and socialize with
I was drawn to the CDC after family and friends.
volunteering on its finance committee while
working at Three Rivers Federal Credit If you could try another profession,
Union. I was able to see how beneficial what would it be?
CDC loans are to businesses that are If I could try another profession I would
ment thus far in your career? What
looking to finance a commercial building or like to be a high school business teacher. I
lessons did you learn from it?
piece of equipment because of the low would make sure that each student had a
It is hard to name just one accomplish-
down payment and low interest rate our strong foundation in personal finance
ment because all CDC projects help
loans offer. Moreover, CDC loans are before going to college or entering the work
companies complete projects that would
designed to help northeastern Indiana force. This is an area that I believe is not
not have been possible without our
businesses that are expanding and adding emphasized enough and affects people
assistance. CDC loans often aid
jobs to the community, so we play an throughout their lives.
companies that do not meet conventional
important role in economic development as
bank lending standards, so CDC enables
well. What was the item you brought to
the projects to be completed. This is a very
your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
rewarding feeling and is one of the main
What kind of support did you cance?
reasons I enjoy my job so much.
receive along the way to help you My No. 3 Notre Dame jersey. I am an
advance in your career? avid fan and enjoy going to a couple of
What would you next like to
I was lucky enough to be the first full- games each season. I used to think that
accomplish in your career, and how
time commercial loan officer at Three Rivers watching Notre Dame play was a stress
would it benefit your organization?
Federal Credit Union following the commer- reliever, but now I know that it adds more
I hope to continue to help businesses
cial underwriting training that I received stress to my life.
and entrepreneurs be successful and
while at BankOne (now Chase). The entire
realize their dreams by providing our loan
commercial lending department at Three If someone were just starting out in
programs. In order for CDC to do this, we
Rivers consisted of one person — me — your profession, what advice would
need to keep marketing our loan programs
which afforded me the opportunity to learn you give that person?
to our referral partners. I feel that CDC
several different functions including sales, Working in economic development
loans are one of the best economic
underwriting, document preparation, collat- involves communication among many
development tools available, but there are
eral monitoring and collections. This was a individuals and organizations. At times,
still financial institutions that haven’t used
great learning experience and helped me keeping all parties on the same page is
our programs to assist area businesses.
grow as a lender. difficult so frequent communication is
Making more loans will not only benefit
critical to the successful completion of a
CDC, but also the communities that we live
What is the biggest accomplish- project.
in.
Page 40 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
ɄȽȝɑǸɜɤȵǸɜȨɄȽɕѳ

Darren Renier

Fort Wayne Business Weekly 40 Under 40 Award

From the staff and board members of


the Community Development Corporation of Northeast Indiana

Community Development Corporation


One E. Main St., Room 840
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
260-427-1127 • www.cdcnein.org

40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 41


Brian Schackow • 34
Fort Wayne TinCaps

Job title: vice president, sales and finance


Year you joined the organization: 2003
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: Fort 4 Fitness, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch
Buddy program, RBI Baseball and Brookside Church

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I’ve always played and enjoyed sports. About midway through
college, I realized I could take the business classes I was in and
apply them to the sports field. I think once you’ve spent time on the
business side of sports and have seen what goes into executing
successful events, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
Starting out, my parents were extremely supportive of whatever
it was I thought I wanted to do at that moment. They always encour-
aged me to give it a shot if I thought it was going to make me happy.
As I’ve gotten married and had kids, that family support goes to
another level with all the sacrifices they have to make. We work
long hours during the summer, so some days my wife, LeAnn, and
the kids have to come to the ballpark if they want to see Dad.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
Opening Parkview Field probably has to top the short list. It is
obviously a very stressful task when your job is in the public eye,
especially as high profile as this project was. The fans have been
outstanding with their support of the TinCaps and Parkview Field. How do you balance your career, family life and
As we enter Year 3, we start to shift into fine tuning and continuing community involvement?
to find ways to enhance the fan experience every time they come I don’t think it’s easy for anyone, but that’s exactly what you have
to an event. to do, find a way to balance all of them. I think an important part of
We’re still learning every week, without question. I think what the puzzle is to find a career and volunteer endeavors that you
really struck me as we went through that first year was if you don’t enjoy. Spending time away from your family is much easier if it’s for
have good people around you, you will not be successful. We’ve things you believe in.
been very fortunate to get and retain a really outstanding front-
office staff over the years, which can be tough to do in minor- If you could try another profession, what would it be?
league baseball. Assuming I don’t have the ability to be a pitcher for the Cubs or
a golfer, I’d probably go with an investment planner of some type. I
What would you next like to accomplish in your career, always enjoy watching the markets, and it would be fun to help
and how would it benefit your organization? people plan for their future.
I’m currently taking classes in order to be able to take and earn
my CPA license. My hope is that we’ll be able to expand the way What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
we analyze and plan our operations from a financial standpoint. What is its significance?
I brought my bike, not necessarily because I love riding
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an (although I do). Part of keeping balance for me involves continuing
expense form? to have time to do things for myself, and that’s what the bike
Part of my job is to submit all of our expenses to the parent club represents. I enjoy doing triathlons and running road races, finally
for reimbursement. One of my former teams had a big-time completing my first marathon last year. My wife will tell you I golf too
prospect come in named Prince Fielder. He’d just signed a much as well. Those activities are great stress relievers for me and
contract for over $2 million, but, of course, I have to get his taxi cab help me lose a few pounds I gain eating hotdogs and peanuts at
fare reimbursed. It happens a couple of times a year with various the ballpark all summer.
players, but it always looks funny to write, “Prince Fielder, taxi, $12.”
If someone were just starting out in your profession,
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was what advice would you give that person?
your job then? You’ve got to be willing to do everything. Making yourself
Mike’s Express Carwash. It was a great first job. The valuable to any company involves getting your hands dirty and
emphasis Mike’s puts on customer service is something I’ve being a team player. There is a lot of competition for jobs in sports
used throughout my career. Plus, I can write just about anything and teams look for people with positive attitudes and a lot of self
on a window with a bar of soap. motivation.
Page 42 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 43
Pat Scheiderer • 36
Baker & Daniels LLP

Job title: partner yards and delivering newspapers.


Year you joined the company: However, I don’t think I received my first
2000 actual paycheck until high school when I
Community organizations in was a hired hand on a hog farm. Needless
which you are involved outside of to say, my parents made me change out
work: American Cancer Society of my work clothes in the garage.
DetermiNation Team, YMCA, Interna-
tional Council of Shopping Centers, A.G. How do you balance your career,
Bell Association, Indiana Hands & family life and community involve-
Voices, Purdue Alumni Association, John ment?
Purdue Club, Indiana Bar Association, I am very blessed to have an amazing
Allen County Bar Association and wife who successfully navigates through
Emmanuel Lutheran Church my often hectic and unpredictable
schedule and who does an unbelievable
What was it that attracted you to job taking the lead on raising our
this career? children. When I am home with my family,
As a freshman at Purdue, I was asked I make a conscious effort to direct all of
to lead the Student Legal Aid organiza- my attention away from work and toward
tion, which worked with local lawyers to the activity at hand, whether we are
provide free legal advice to students. This playing a game, reading a book or
gave me the opportunity to talk to many wrestling (my kids’ favorite).
practicing lawyers about the role that
they played in their clients’ businesses. If you could try another profes-
As a young business student, I knew I sion, what would it be?
wanted to be a part of the business If I had any meaningful skill or ability, I
world, but wasn’t quite sure which career would love to be a professional basket-
path to follow. I learned during this time ball player or golfer. More realistically,
that business lawyers often provide as though, I would probably try a career in
much business advice as they do legal finance or economics. Finance and
advice. With that in mind, I decided to economics were my favorite classes in
give law school a shot. college.

What kind of support did you What was the item you brought to
receive along the way to help you your photo shoot? What is its signif-
advance in your career? icance?
I attribute virtually all of my profes- Thinking back, I realized that I have been I brought a Purdue basketball jersey.
sional successes to the support of my very fortunate to work with and learn from While a student at Purdue, I not only
family. My parents always stressed the some of the best real estate lawyers at grew as a person, but met many of my
importance of education, and my wife the country’s most prestigious law firms. closest lifelong friends and began dating
and kids always support and encourage I am very thankful for all of those opportu- my future wife (we later got engaged
me in everything that I do. I have also had nities to learn and grow as a lawyer. under the Purdue Bell Tower). I remain a
the opportunity to learn what it means to huge Purdue sports fan and try to make it
be a lawyer from my mentors and What would you next like to to as many games as possible.
partners at Baker & Daniels LLP. accomplish in your career, and how
would it benefit your company? If someone were just starting out
What is the biggest accomplish- I would like to continue building a local in your profession, what advice
ment thus far in your career? What practice and become more involved with would you give that person?
lessons did you learn from it? local business initiatives. I really enjoy In the legal profession, I think it is
A large part of my practice is focused working directly with local clients and important to be diligent and responsive,
on helping clients buy and sell commer- helping local businesses grow. Many of to listen carefully to your clients so that
cial real estate. It’s hard to single out one my clients and the deals that I do are in you understand what results they truly
deal or transaction as being my biggest states other than Indiana, which means desire and to continue learning new
career accomplishment because they are that I don’t get to spend as much time things throughout your career. In any
all rewarding in one way or another. I was helping the local business community as profession and in life generally, you
recently asked, however, to compile a list I would like. should strive to always be honest,
of all of the transactions that I have trustworthy, respectful and fair. My high
closed and realized that I have served as Where did your first paycheck school calculus teacher once told me
the lead real estate lawyer for well over come from? What was your job that your integrity is evident by what you
$2 billion in commercial real estate then? do when no one is looking. That has
transactions over the past five years. I spent a lot of my childhood mowing always stuck with me.
Page 44 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
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40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 45


Daniel Swartz • 25
Downtown Improvement District

Job title: cultural district liaison University of Saint Francis’ summer art
Year you joined the organization: camp in 2005.
2009
Community organizations in How do you balance your career,
which you are involved outside of family life and community involve-
work: Arts United, Artlink, Cinema ment?
Center, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, I love this assumption that I do! I try
Wunderkammer Co., Young Leaders of as much as possible to integrate all
Northeast Indiana, Leadership Fort aspects of my life so that I am not forced
Wayne and Fort Wayne Urban to make too many decisions of one over
Gardening the other. This certainly isn’t a method
for everyone, but I guess I am lucky
What was it that attracted you to enough to enjoy my professional
this career? colleagues enough to hang out with
I enjoy the pursuit of finding beautiful them on free time, and I have the
solutions to human problems and the freedom in my profession to work with a
general concept of creating value out of number of friends on professional
an underutilized asset. Development projects. My integration of my family life
issues in general have been of interest comes mostly in the form of their
to me since a very early age because of patience with me. They understand how
my strong “nerdiness” in regards to passionate I am in seeing our city
history and economics. become something more and have been
incredibly supportive.
What kind of support did you
receive along the way to help you If you could try another profes-
advance in your career? sion, what would it be?
There are really too many people to Teaching. It bothers me to no end
mention who have supported me. Some that I will not be able to pursue this any
of the best advice I have received was time soon. I have had the pleasure of
from my parents: to not take myself too being taught by remarkable, inspira-
seriously, and to find humor in whatever tional and profound individuals. I would
I am working on. love the opportunity to pass that
knowledge along and give those
What is the biggest accomplish- younger than I a short cut to some of the
ment thus far in your career? What issues I have encountered.
lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest accomplishment in What were the items you brought
economic development so far has got to to your photo shoot? What are their
be the creation of the Fort Wayne significance?
Cultural District, which is a complex I brought two of my favorite things.
relationship among four organizations. I My orange old-man cardigan and the
have learned a great deal of patience, a book “The Great Gatsby.” I brought
better judgment of when to act to get these items because I am much more of
something accomplished and how to What is the strangest thing a cardigan person than a suit person,
navigate bureaucracy without losing you’ve submitted on an expense and because Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is
sight of your goal. form? a primer on human nature and American
Oddly enough, even though the nature and it has shaped the way I see
What would you next like to special events I have worked on include the world.
accomplish in your career, and how everything from aerial acrobats to inebri-
would it benefit your organization? ated artists to Coolio, I haven’t had to If someone were just starting out
I would like to help the city of Fort expense anything very exciting. Go in your profession, what advice
Wayne to move off its current downward figure. would you give that person?
trend economically, embrace its assets Be persistent. Be flexible. Insight into
and set itself up for a competitive future. Where did your first paycheck development issues is more than just
This will necessarily include the come from? What was your job understanding a concept. It is
Downtown Improvement District, as then? understanding the context of the
nearly every trend shows that a strong I was a very big fan of under-the-table concept in the real world and applying it
urban core stabilizes the entirety of a jobs in high school, so I believe that my in a way that is acceptable to the
metro area. I would like to play a part in first official paycheck didn’t come until I constituencies you are working with.
this process. was a teaching assistant during the And never take “no” as an answer.
Page 46 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 47
Samuel Tippmann • 35
Tippmann Engineering Inc. / Tippmann Design Build LLC

Job title: president


Year you joined the company: 2005
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: local Catholic schools, Community Harvest
Food Bank and the Franciscan Center

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I guess I almost didn’t have a choice in careers, as my entire
extended family has been associated with the food-processing
and refrigeration industry for more than 100 years. I grew up in a
large family as the 10th of 11 children, and the majority of my
siblings have followed our father’s footsteps into this industry.
What keeps me excited about this career is the ability to build
long-term relationships with our customers and help them to run
their businesses more efficiently.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
Obviously, I have had a ton of support from my entire family,
especially my wife, Misty; my father; my brother, Dan; and long-
term friends in the industry. My dad is a true refrigeration genius.
He’s semi-retired, but still comes into the office to help out with
projects. Dan is my partner in the business and is the inventor of
the family, with several pending patents in the works.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest accomplishment is continuing to grow the
company during the slower economy of the last two years. I felt a
ton of responsibility for my family and employees who depend on
me for their livelihood. I learned never to take the good times for
granted, that down cycles require lots of extra planning and that
having some cash reserves is critical.

What would you next like to accomplish in your career, community by not spending much time on other things. I mostly
and how would it benefit your company? read business and industry books and really don’t watch much TV.
I would like to continue to build Tippmann Engineering so that When I’m not on a job site, we try to have dinner as a family every
we become a major player in refrigerated facility construction, and night, even if it means putting down the work at dinnertime and
would like to take several cutting-edge inventions that we have to picking it back up after the kids are in bed.
market and significantly change the frozen food industry.
If you could try another profession, what would it be?
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an If I had to try another profession, it would certainly involve metal
expense form? fabrication. For some reason, that is part of the
One of the great things about being president of a small engineering/construction business that has always fascinated me.
company is not submitting an expense report. Over the years, I’ve
expensed plenty of strange things, as many of my customers have What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
become friends. If I had to pick one as the strangest, it would What is its significance?
probably be a meeting that I had with a customer while we were I brought an antique pressure gauge that my grandfather
four-wheeling on the sand dunes in Silver Lake, Mich. installed as part of a refrigeration project for Sutter’s Dairy in
1956. I recently acquired it and plan to have it refurbished and
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was displayed in our offices.
your job then?
My first job was sweeping the floors in my dad’s industrial If someone were just starting out in your profession,
refrigeration equipment business, although I’m not sure I ever got what advice would you give that person?
a paycheck from him! Always do the right thing for the customer, regardless of the
impact to you. It can sometimes be a tough choice to make, but
How do you balance your career, family life and will always pay for itself in the long run. Also, never hide from a
community involvement? problem. Every large project is going to have some bumps in the
That is always a tough balance, especially with two young kids road, but how you handle them is what will make or break your
and another on the way. I guess I mostly balance career, family and relationship with the customer.
Page 48 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Courtney Tritch • 33
Northeast Indiana Fund

Job title: Talent Initiative communica- submitted on an expense form?


tions manager I would probably say battery-operated
Year you joined the organization: socks from my days driving the Oscar
2010 Mayer Wienermobile. Traveling the country
Community organizations in which in a giant hotdog for a year was a lot of fun
you are involved outside of work: and a great experience — but well-built and
Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, 2020 heat-controlled it was not.
Vision and Fund Development, Vision
2020 Quality of Life Action Team and Olin Where did your first paycheck
B. and Desta Schwab Foundation come from? What was your job then?
My first paycheck came from Buffalo
What was it that attracted you to Wings & Ribs in southwest Fort Wayne.
this career? They were nice enough to hire me as a
I’ve always wanted to help people and hostess while I was in high school.
somehow make them happier in their
everyday lives. To me, economic develop- How do you balance your career,
ment seemed to be the perfect marriage of family life and community involve-
being able to use my communications skills ment?
while helping to lift a community up. I get to Um, keeping an impeccable calendar in
be creative and collaborate with Outlook and sleeping with my iPhone? But
community leaders I respect and admire all seriously, there is no magic answer here,
day long. What’s not to like? unfortunately. I think you just have to
remember that this is the path you chose,
What kind of support did you and if it isn’t working for you at any time,
receive along the way to help you you always have the power to change it.
advance in your career?
I knew I was hooked the first year I If you could try another profession,
worked for a nonprofit, a chamber of what would it be?
commerce in Chicago. They sent me to the I sometimes daydream about going
U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for back to owning my own pastry business
Organization Management at Notre Dame, but I’m not sure that I would ever really do
and through that program I witnessed it. Being a small business owner has to be
firsthand how amazingly well-connected one of the most challenging careers ever.
the nonprofit world is. I now have friends one likes to go outside and got thousands
who work for nonprofits across the country of people to attend. What was the item you brought to
who I can call on anytime for advice and All of these things taught me the your photo shoot? What is its signifi-
new ideas. importance of trusting my instincts and not cance?
And in my current position, I am very being afraid to speak up. No matter how I brought cupcakes because I used to
fortunate that the Northeast Indiana Fund successful a program was in the past, be a pastry chef in Chicago. While I don’t
and Northeast Indiana Regional Partner- there is always room for improvement. do it professionally anymore, I still love the
ship really value professional development Being able to adapt and move forward are zen of baking. My chefs in pastry school
and are very supportive of their employees the marks of a good leader and I am still used to talk about the “power of the
in this area and in general. learning those lessons today. cookie,” meaning you could win just about
anyone over simply by giving them a pastry.
What is the biggest accomplish- What would you next like to Well, not just any pastry. It has to be really,
ment thus far in your career? What accomplish in your career, and how really good!
lessons did you learn from it? would it benefit your organization?
I am very proud of the changes and I would like to use my skills to make a If someone were just starting out
advancements I made in events and significant impact on northeast Indiana in your profession, what advice would
marketing while with the Downtown through my organization’s Vision 2020 you give that person?
Improvement District. I formed some very initiative. My organization and the region as Be patient. One of the most challenging
strong community partnerships and wasn’t a whole are just beginning to form its vision aspects of working in the nonprofit world in
afraid to try something new just because for the future through the lens of Vision is how long it takes to get the wheels to
other people didn’t think it was a good 2020, and I hope through my role with the turn. We have the added task of building
idea. I made one event 21 and over only Talent Initiative and as a member of Vision’s consensus with the public before we make
because I knew that no matter how family- 2020’s Quality of Life Action Team I can any big decisions, and while that can be
friendly Fort Wayne is, the downtown create positive change and leave my mark frustrating, it is that much more rewarding
would never thrive if it didn’t support its on this community. when you see the number of people
young professional population. I also supporting a program or idea because of
started an art event in February when no What is the strangest thing you’ve your efforts. It truly does take a village.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 49
Nate Utesch • 29
One Lucky Guitar Inc. / Ferocious Quarterly / Metavari

Job title: Art director / publisher / musician


Year you joined the company or organization: 2006 /
2010 / 2007

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I was born of a psychologist and a commercial artist, raised
amid overthinking, insecurity and expression. My parents are the
most attractive folks I know, and just about everything I do is some
little shard that broke off of them and got stuck in me.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
Overwhelming. We are so fortunate to live in a small city full of
folks who are eager to embrace the arts. I am blessed to be born
into a follow-your-dreams kind of family, raised in a city full of
friends who have like-minded ambitions and have a career at an
advertising agency where the angle approached for a corporate
client is the same for that of a punk rock club. My co-workers are
as supportive to my band as my bandmates are to my career. It’s
a beautiful thing.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
This is all relative to my small, skewed, unbalanced perspective,
of course. For One Lucky Guitar, we were featured in the
acclaimed Print magazine a couple years in a row. Owner Matt
Kelley was interviewed in its 2008 design annual, and we were a
featured agency in the 2009 regional design annual.
Since launching Ferocious Quarterly, we’ve been featured and How do you balance your career, family life and
interviewed in a number of print and online publications all over the community involvement?
world. The response has been tremendous to say the least, and Horribly. I’ve got the most giving and supportive gal in the
we haven’t even hit our one-year anniversary. world, though. She puts up with quite a bit. Someday I may just
2010 was a stellar year for Metavari. I’d say it’s a three-way tie: have to marry her so she knows this was all worth it. Another 2011
releasing an album in Japan, selling out our first show in Montreal goal.
and getting asked to showcase at South by Southwest in Austin.
As exciting as all these things are for me, they really are mostly If you could try another profession, what would it be?
only cool to me and my co-workers, partners and bandmates. In In this life, I would’ve loved to pursue a career that would’ve put
the age of social media and friends and followers, it’s really easy me in outer space. In another life (and probably another body) I’d
to want the whole world to be as excited as you are about the would’ve loved to be a professional English footballer.
things you care about. In the end, I’ve been completely filled and
energized by simply being proud of the things my co-workers, What were the items you brought to your photo shoot?
partners and bandmates and I are a part of. And sometimes that’s What are their significance?
as far as it ever needs go. I brought a poorly constructed rocket ship and protective upper
body gear made out of cardboard. I often feel like the careers I’m
What would you next like to accomplish in your career, involved in have kept me from having to fully grow up. In their
and how would it benefit your company or organization? simplest forms, I get to draw and play music for a living. I can be
There are a lot of little things on my list of pursuits for 2011. vaguely organized, forget to shower, pause often to talk about
Most immediately, I’d like to be able to contribute editorial illustra- bicycles and I actually enjoy the one-on-one company of every
tions for a publication like Wired, Good magazine or Time. Little single one of my co-workers. It’s ridiculous. I am a child. And I am
opportunities to get One Lucky Guitar’s name out in front of making a living doing it. But when I was little I thought I was going
people nationally are exciting. This wouldn’t be wildly beneficial, to be an astronaut. So somewhere between those ideas, a poorly
but it’d make me proud. constructed rocket ship felt appropriate.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was If someone were just starting out in your profession,
your job then? what advice would you give that person?
The first check I ever received was from the Grabill printing You live in an age where your work can be seen overnight by
press, Courier Printing. There were a couple summers in late more people than you’ll meet in a lifetime. No matter how much
middle school that I stuffed newspapers for them for like $10 or contrast there is between your passion and your work week, don’t
something. Funny enough, Courier Printing is now exclusively the stop expressing yourself by doing what you love. It’ll make the
printing press I use for Ferocious Quarterly. work week worth it. Put it out there. All of it.
Page 50 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Kenneth Whaley • 31
MainStay Solutions

Job title: CEO


Year you joined the company: founded company in 2005
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: The Salvation Army, Kate’s Kart, Travel
Baseball, Concordia Lutheran School, Fort Wayne Parks and
Recreation, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Ivy Tech
Community College

What was it that attracted you to this career?


I saw how technology was becoming an integral part of
people’s and businesses’ everyday life. I noticed I had a knack
for electronics and wanted to be a part of that booming
industry. Starting my own business came out of necessity.
Places I had worked and people I had worked with didn’t have
the same vision for a business as I do, and so I decided to do
it myself.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
I wouldn’t have been able to start this company and give the
level of commitment it requires without the constant support of
my wife. She has been my sounding board and my partner both
in life and in business.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest accomplishment has been owning and running
my own business for six years, and turning it into a successful
and growing business even in a difficult economy. I’ve learned
that being 100-percent honest and treating people how I would
want to be treated is always the best choice.

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your company?
I would like to expand MainStay into larger markets such as
Indianapolis. I would also like to explore different varieties of
clients and add to the ever expanding catalog of services we
provide. Constant growth will not only benefit MainStay, it will
benefit current or potential clients in providing them broader
resources and solutions for their ever changing technology
needs.

What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an


expense form?
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaretville margarita machine used during
MainStay company parties.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was I would like to do special effects for movies.
your job then?
My first paycheck came at the age of 10 and it was from a What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
paper route. What is its significance?
A picture of my family. Family is everything to me. It is what
How do you balance your career, family life and guides me, motivates me, and in the end it’s what I live for.
community involvement?
By setting aside time from my hectic schedule to unwind, If someone were just starting out in your profession,
usually through sports. I play football, softball and basketball what advice would you give that person?
regularly. This helps me juggle everything I have going on That it is OK to fail and make mistakes as long as you handle
without going insane in the process. the situation correctly and you learn from it. Be 100-percent
brutally honest with yourself and your clients. You can never go
If you could try another profession, what would it be? wrong with honesty.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 51
Misty Woltman • 38
Lutheran Social Services of Indiana

Job title: chief financial officer


Year you joined the organization: 2008
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: I have two children, aged 8 and 10, who keep
me extremely busy. Most of my community involvement revolves
around their activities.

What was it that attracted you to this career?


Both of my parents were always in the business arena, so I grew
up watching them work hard and going to their offices with them. I
took an accounting class in high school. I was immediately hooked
on the details and complexity of the rules and the challenges of
getting it all to balance. It was like a big puzzle that I had to put
together. The other reason I love it is because I get to work with a
variety of people and get involved at all levels.

What kind of support did you receive along the way to


help you advance in your career?
I have been extremely lucky and worked for and with people who
wanted to help me learn, not just dictate what I should do. They
were always patient when I asked question after question. I have
had a lot of people take a chance on me, hiring me to do something
I hadn’t done before. Most recently, Donna Elbrecht took a chance
by hiring a for-profit person to a not-for-profit and an executive role
all at once! It made me work harder, knowing the risk she took.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career? What lessons did you learn from it?
I have had several, but the most challenging was implementing
our new financial system my first two months on the job. I had to
learn the system at the same time I was learning the business. It
was a crazy time, but it helped me learn all the aspects of the Restaurant in Athens, Ga. I worked in the line, up front, serving
programs and organization really quickly. I think I talked to just drinks and taking orders. I was 15 and my dad had to drive me
about everyone in the agency my first month, asking tons of across town to work.
questions. By implementing and using the system, we learned
which programs were struggling financially and where those losses How do you balance your career, family life and
were coming from. community involvement?
My husband is great at helping out. He takes on a huge share
What would you next like to accomplish in your career, of our family responsibilities, and I know I couldn’t do it all without
and how would it benefit your organization? him supporting me. I probably don’t tell him that enough.
I love the not-for-profit sector and hope to stay in it for a while.
It is an amazing feeling to know that everything I do on a daily basis, If you could try another profession, what would it be?
in the long run, will benefit people who need help. I have helped I think I would like to be a meteorologist. I love watching the
increase efficiency, which translates into more people being Weather Channel! I am not very good at science, though.
served. I hope to help increase that every year.
What was the item you brought to your photo shoot?
What is the strangest thing you’ve submitted on an What is its significance?
expense form? I brought an abacus. It was gift from my president/CEO. It was
Most recently I got to go shopping for formula, diapers and a kind of joke, and she brought it to me the first day of our annual
healthy snacks for our teen parenting program from a grant we audit. She told the auditors that it was our financial system
received. My husband and kids went along and we ended up with upgrade. It was hilarious and fits my personality and hangs on the
two skids full of supplies. My children were amazed, and it wall in my office. I love crazy calculators and sometimes show up at
prompted lots of questions and interest from them as well as from meetings with them. It helps to lighten the mood.
the store personnel. It was fun explaining what it was for and how
it would be used. It ended up on my expense report, which was a If someone were just starting out in your profession,
big one. what advice would you give that person?
I would tell them to learn and try all areas of accounting and see
Where did your first paycheck come from? What was what fits best. I would also tell them to know what they’re good at
your job then? and surround themselves with people who can help them in their
My first paycheck (other than baby-sitting) came from Ryan’s weak areas.
Page 52 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Ebony R. Conely-Young • 34
YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne-Renaissance Pointe Branch

Job title: executive director


Year you joined the organization: 2000
Community organizations in which you are involved
outside of work: YMCA of the USA, National African
American Executive Forum, Women’s Steering Committee,
Strong Communities Committee, Emerging Leaders Network,
Activate America Committee, Executive Development
Institute, Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, Leading
Others, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Fort Wayne Dance
Collective, Arts United, Kachmann Foundation, A.C.T.I.O.N,
Martin Luther King Day Inc., Young Leaders of Northeast
Indiana, Next Gen, Towles/Bunch PTA, HANDS, YWCA,
United Way and Women’s United

What was it that attracted you to this career?


The ability for me to actively live out the core of who I am —
mind, body and spirit. My career embraces all that I believe in,
which makes it very easy for me to come to work every day.
Working over and beyond my job description is actually fun!

What kind of support did you receive along the way


to help you advance in your career?
The guidance and direction of God, staying prayerful and
listening to his will when leading others. I’ve also been
blessed with a variety of mentors who’ve assisted me in my
career development. Listening and applying their knowledge
has enhanced my career networks and allowed me to move
ahead much faster than doing it alone.

What is the biggest accomplishment thus far in your


career?
Assisting in the merger of two YMCAs.

What lessons did you learn from it?


Always keep an open mind and pray!

What would you next like to accomplish in your


career, and how would it benefit your organization?
I envision greatness and am moving toward the mark. I am
currently evaluating and evolving into those next steps and
wherever I am led will be the right place for me and a benefit
to the YMCA.

Where did your first paycheck come from? What was


your job then?
Rally’s Hamburgers. Cashier.

How do you balance your career, family life and


community involvement? shoot? What are their significance?
The best way for me to keep focused and balanced is to My Bible and a book that I am currently reading titled “The
always remember the appropriate order: God first, family Alchemist” given to me by a great friend. I love to read and
second, career third. Everyone benefits when the order is believe that reading is the foundation to always understanding
properly placed. that you have never tapped out or achieved greatness
because greatness can always be refined. And you are never
If you could try another profession, what would it too great to learn something new.
be?
Consulting. I enjoy dissecting problems and strategically If someone were just starting out in your profession,
evolving to dynamic solutions. what advice would you give that person?
James 1:19 — Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every
What were the items you brought to your photo man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 53
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Page 54 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc


Drew Blair • 40 Under 40 emcee
WANE-TV

Drew Blair anchors Fort Wayne’s only Drew graduated from Brebeuf Jesuit
weekend morning news on Saturdays and Preparatory School and went on to earn her
Sundays starting at 8 a.m. and is a degree in telecommunications from Indiana
NewsChannel 15 general assignment University in Bloomington. During college,
reporter. Drew interned at WISH-TV, NewsChannel
Drew joined the NewsChannel 15 staff 15’s sister station in Indianapolis.
in July 2006, and worked in the field as a Honored for both reporting and
photojournalist before moving inside full- producing, Drew’s work has won awards
time as producer of Fort Wayne’s No. 1 from the Society of Professional Journalists
“First at 5” broadcast. She began full-time and the Associated Press. Drew is most
reporting in June 2008. In March 2010, proud of being recognized by her
Drew took a seat behind the anchor desk colleagues. In January 2008, Drew was
when WANE-TV launched “First News named WANE-TV’s employee of the month.
Weekend.” Drew’s versatile experiences In 2009, her peers selected Drew as a LIN-
earned her a nickname as the “newsroom’s TV Circle of Excellence winner, the media
Swiss army knife.” corporation’s employee of the year recogni-
Drew says she enjoys the variety tion.
provided by the different stories she covers When she’s not providing “coverage
week to week, adding, “As a broadcaster, I you can count on,” Drew likes to spend time
am challenged to accept a unique opportu- with her husband, Matt, family, friends and
nity to go behind the scenes, dig deeper pets. She enjoys traveling, attending
and uncover knowledge that the viewer is concerts and doing anything outdoors
unable to gather on his or her own.” including wakeboarding, snow skiing,
Drew is a proud Hoosier through and camping, golfing, geocaching and even
through. Born and raised in Indianapolis, skydiving.

Congratulations
Misty Woltman
on being honored as one of
Fort Wayne’s 40 Under 40.

In 2010, Misty lent support and touched the lives of over 8000
individuals. We salute the compassion and dedication to en-
hancing the quality of life for those within her community.

www.lssin.org • 260.426.3347
40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc Page 55
40 Under 40
Class of 2010
Michael Barranda Tony Hudson Kelly J. Pautler
Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom Blue Jacket Inc. Carson Boxberger LLP

Karl Behrens Angela M. Hughes Jeff Potter


BND Commercial Franklin Electric Co. Inc. Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Jason Brooks Mike King Codie Ross


ChromaSource Aptera Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros

Abigail M. Butler Chris Lake Heather Schoegler


Baker & Daniels LLP Highmark Technologies Parkview Foundation

Jeremy Carnahan Jonathan Leman Katy Silliman


BKD LLP Leman Financial Advisors Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

Linda Clevenger Gina M. Leoni Ron Turpin


Tetrix Solutions DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a Johnson & Lincoln National Corp.
Johnson company
H. Joe Cohen Lisa Updike
Barrett & McNagny LLP Nathan Lowe Barnes & Thornburg LLP
West Noble High School
Amber Coughlin Craig Vanderwall II
Pro Fed Credit Union Melinda Martin General Petroleum Inc.
Catalyst Marketing Design
Jason Daenens Theresa E. Wagler
Commercial Filter Service Inc. Beth McLeish Steel Dynamics Inc.
New American Youth Ballet
Matt Getts Ricky J. Weber
Frick Services Inc. Michelle Merritt Indiana Army National Guard
Three Rivers Federal Credit Union
Kate Gribble Nicole Wilkins
Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce Brian D. More One Lucky Guitar
Micropulse Inc.
Zach Hayden Evan Wood
Hayden’s ATA Derek Myers Taylor University MBA
Neoti
David Hefty Michael Ziembo
Hefty Wealth Partners Mike Nutter Baden, Gage & Schroeder LLC
Fort Wayne TinCaps
Steve Hoffman
Community Action of Northeast Indiana
Page 56 40 Under 40 • March 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc
Congratulations to Sarah Earls, Vice President,
Controller, for being named one of this year’s
40 Under 40. Sarah is truly one of our region’s
best and brightest, and we are proud of her
leadership as an executive at Tower Bank. She’s
helping to shape the future through her
professional and community involvement.
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