On the Clock
You’re minutes in, and already the sweat is starting to pour. Yet this really isn’t as hot as it could be, Roxanne Bailey points out, in her jeans and long-sleeved blouse — it’s September, after all. You should see it in the middle of the summer, the production control manager at Flair Molded Plastics Inc. adds, as large fans blow air every which way. She’s taking time out of her busy day to give you a tour of the place she considers a second home, the company that gave her a job when she was just 17. Yet you’ve never been in a plastics factory before. You never knew how loud the factory floor could be, or how the smell of melted plastic hangs in the air. You open your eyes wide and take a long look around while Bailey is in the background, talking to a smiling employee. And now you could be thinking: This is the inside of a part of Evansville I never get to see. Or, even more to the point: I never knew anything about this.
Welcome to Evansville Business magazine’s version of “Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work,” a book by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Now a correspondent for GQ, Laskas is an investigative journalist and the director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. “I didn’t just want to do a blue collar book,” she says of her collection, which also includes stories about air traffic controllers, a gun store, and the Cincinnati Bengals Ben-Gals cheerleaders. “That wasn’t the point. I was trying to find industries that were essential. Every single one of these, I had no idea. No idea.”
Laskas will be the featured speaker at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s One Book One Community of Southwestern Indiana presentation at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29. The free, grassroots event founded by the library will be at the Victory Theatre. Now in its 12th year, the program seeks to develop a community built around the shared experience of local residents reading and talking about the same book.
“For me doing these stories, it brought me into the community in a way that I never had been before,” Laskas says. “It feels like my life is richer now that I know that this stuff goes on.”
In this issue of Evansville Business magazine, we bring you some of the Tri-State’s own hidden jobs, nine in all. From a river barge employee, to a windshield repairman, to a cafeteria manager, to a factory worker, consider this a window into worlds many local people never get to see.
Ed Roby, Siemers Glass Co. Inc.
Ed Roby wasn’t intending to run the YMCA’s Evansville Half Marathon on no sleep at all. But that’s what happened when his company’s answering service sent him to repair the glass window at a liquor store at 1 a.m. “When I got done, it was in the morning, and it was about time to do the race,” he laughs, adding that he had done that job with another employee. “I had the fastest time I had ever run.”
Not every story the assistant manager at Siemers Glass Co. Inc. tells ends with him reaching a personal best. But there is a lot to tell about his company, which fixes or replaces all automotive glass, some residential and commercial glass, door motors, regulators, and side mirrors and offers 24-hour emergency service. That’s what had Roby, 56, out past his bedtime that night before the race. It’s also the reason he drove out to Burnt Prairie, Ill., on a Sunday afternoon to replace a windshield that was smashed by a turkey.
“That was a unique one,” he chuckles, describing how a semi-tractor trailer struck the bird. “The turkey was in the semi, on the passenger side floor board, so for a time it was the passenger of the truck. The driver stopped the truck, came over to the passenger door, opened the door, and the turkey rushed out.”
Roby, of Evansville, was able to handle that emergency windshield replacement call on his own. But some windshield replacement jobs — like on a motor home — may take four to five men, largely because of the weight and size of the glass. For comparison, he says, the windshield on a Honda Accord weighs 65 to 75 pounds.
“I was told in eighth grade that I would never go to college but I will always work with my hands because I’m good with my hands,” Roby says. “I am always good with people. That’s what I’ve been told by several different customers and that’s something that always makes me feel really good.” — by Victoria Grabner
Gary Wire, Alexander Funeral Homes
“I’ve cried at funerals, even for people I don’t know.”
Don’t be fooled by the dark suit; Gary Wire is a jovial man. But like many of us, he has seen hardship. Almost 20 years as a volunteer firefighter means he knows the rasp of a labored breath. As an EMT, he cared for injured patients, not knowing if they would live or die. These days, the 54-year-old works to comfort those who suffer, but in a different way. As the community outreach director for Alexander Funeral Homes, Wire has spent the past 24 years as part of a team helping the families of the deceased pay respect to their loved ones. And he’s learned that funerals have changed a great deal over that time.
“A lot of the services today are services of celebration,” the West Sider says, referring to the funerals of baby boomers. “Funerals years ago were full of prayers and sermons. Now, it’s more about what the person did, their hobbies. It’s more personalized.”
Wire says it’s always up to the family to decide how to handle a funeral, and there are many options. “Every day, we are trying to meet the needs of the family,” he says. A funeral doesn’t always have to involve a casket. There are traditional services, cremation, ground burials, or entombments in a mausoleum. And the tone of the service depends on the circumstances. “That knot in the throat, that squeaky voice,” he says. “When there is a family and they are grieving over the loss of their 7-year-old child, you can’t help but share in the moment.”
“One cemetery service, no one showed up,” Wire says, his voice growing quieter. “Even the guys who were on lawn mowers stopped what they were doing and came over. He was 70. We know that there must have been someone who smiled because of this gentleman.”
“I don’t take life for granted,” Wire adds. Every day that he leaves his house, he tells his wife he loves her. “God gives us 24 hours in a day. In my 24 hours, part of my day is being here at the funeral home to make that family as comfortable as possible.” — by Victoria Grabner
Lori Steinhart, Breck Logistics
Out on the highway, driving 75 miles per hour, you’ll likely notice the semi-tractor trailer that’s on its way to deliver a load to Nebraska, or St. Louis, or New York. But most people don’t know about people like Lori Steinhart. From her cubicle at Breck Logistics, she’s juggling phone calls, trying to find the most convenient and efficient route for truckers to take when transporting loads across the country.
“It’s kind of a gamble,” the 42-year-old says, her desk filled with transportation orders. Behind her computer screen are maps of the United States that detail its transportation zones. “We try to get carriers to take loads as a backhaul.” This means finding a trucker to carry a load to make a drive back toward his or her home. And that’s easier now. Years ago, she would receive compiled lists of available trucks that usually would be faxed to her office in the mornings. Today, computer and online systems give her live status updates on trucks as they move across the country.
Steinhart receives 15 to 20 requests from shippers looking to move loads every day, and she’s on the phone a lot. She’s trying to meet the needs of each company she works with, but at the core, she’s building relationships. “That’s a big part of the business,” she says. Since she started her job as a transportation broker for Breck Logistics in 1994, Steinhart has worked with more than 3,000 carriers, at least 200 of which are located within 100 miles of Evansville. Many of the people she’s often talking to on the phone are people she considers to be close friends.
“I don’t think people realize how important carriers are to the community,” Steinhart says. “These carriers are what allow plastic from Berry Plastics to be made into our McDonald’s cups or metal from Audubon Metals to be transported to Honda to be used for our vehicles.” — by Theresa Scheller
Zac Savage, Henderson Chevrolet Buick GMC
“Everybody’s idea of a mechanic is of a greasy, dirty guy,” Zac Savage, an automotive service technician at Henderson Chevrolet Buick GMC, says. “I don’t like to get dirty, and people tell me I’m in the wrong field for that.”
He’s not. Progressive, technological troubleshooting has not only reshaped but also revamped the way the modern garage is run today, Savage says.
“You almost have to be an IT guy to work on cars anymore,” he says. “It used to be, you’d just need a hammer and a wrench.”
Savage graduated from F.J. Reitz High School and Ivy Tech Community College. Before he was hired in Henderson, Ky., he worked in Wal-Mart’s tire and lube department, Kelley’s Northside Chevy (now Bennett Motors), and Kenny Kent Chevrolet. He also was asked to return to Ivy Tech as an instructor. That means he’s been teaching automotive students for three or four years
“What I try to get the kids to understand is that you don’t have to get dirty,” Savage says. “You don’t have to just replace parts. It’s a lot more sophisticated than people think it is. There is a very specific strategy-based diagnosis we have to follow.”
He says vehicles that used to have three basic computers within them now have 30 or more, requiring automotive technicians to be some of the most educated individuals on the market.
Savage has more than 650 hours of training and complete mastery of GM and Automotive Service Excellence exams.
“Every day, I’ve got a new challenge,” he says. “Every car that rolls in … I’ve got a new problem to fix.” — by Jon Haslam
Doug Gray, Evansville Marine Service Inc.
If there’s one thing Doug Gray knows very well, it’s the river. He’s been working on it or near it for almost 40 years, now as the vice president of operations for Evansville Marine Service Inc. Owned by Bob and Angie Aldrich, EMS is located right on the Ohio River less than 10 minutes from Downtown Evansville. And if you weren’t looking for it, you likely wouldn’t even know it was there.
This is where Gray has worked for a little over 15 years, after time spent at a towing company in St. Louis and, later, at Owensboro Harbor Service before it was purchased by EMS. The Cloverport, Ky., resident has had multiple jobs in the river towing business, including working as a deckhand, a lead man, a mate, and a pilot. He has a license as a Master of Towing Vessels on the Western Rivers, which he has to renew every five years. Yet he knows what it’s like to carry a flashlight all night as a deckhand working 12-hour shifts for six days straight before having three days off. That’s where “you had one hand to work with and one hand to save yourself with,” he laughs.
EMS offers a variety of services, including fleeting, shipping, cleaning, and repairs, and it services local docks in the area. The harvest months of October through March are the busiest times of the year for EMS, but not every barge tow is the same. “The wind and current make our job a lot harder,” Gray says, especially when the barges are empty. Some covered barges are also hard for the pilots to see over.
GPS navigation is key on the river, but with just two crewmembers on harbor boats, so is communication. “Part of the deckhand’s duty is to talk to the pilot and give him distances, like you are 100 feet from where we are going, or 10 feet off the side of the barge,” Gray says. “When he’s out on the head of the tow, the deckhand is the pilot’s eyes and ears.”
He knows the bend in the Ohio River is the most popular place in Evansville for pleasure boating. Yet he’s not sure many people understand that bigger boats like barges can’t immediately stop. “When you are pushing 25,000 tons of cargo on the Ohio River, and you let off the throttle, it can take up to a mile to stop,” he says. “Boaters should stay as far away from a barge as possible.” — by Victoria Grabner
Donna McConnell, German American Bank
Donna McConnell is the administrative assistant to German American Bancorp. South Region President John Lamb. That’s her official title, at least, and it means she processes invoices for payment; handles purchasing of all office supplies and equipment; is the liaison for property management; and coordinates events for summer outings, holiday open houses, and lunches and meetings throughout the year.
Yet when strangers wander into the large bank headquarters on Vogel Road and are welcomed by a large corner desk on the left, McConnell’s is the first warm smile they see. She’s often the point of information for the other businesses that are located within the German American Bank building, too. “It just brings joy to my day and hopefully any assistance I can provide makes their day a little easier,” she says.
McConnell is comfortable in a bank environment. She worked as the secretary to the president of Security Bank and Trust Co. in Mount Carmel, Ill., before becoming a commercial lending secretary at Citizens Bank (now Fifth Third Bank) in Evansville for eight years. After six years in the Clearwater, Fla., area, McConnell returned to Evansville in October 2000 to work as an executive assistant for the organizing office of The Bank of Evansville, which opened for business on July 2001. She continued to serve as executive assistant until the Bank of Evansville merged into German American on Jan. 1, 2011. At that time, McConnell became an administrative assistant.
While the bank transition was a challenge, she says, the staff worked cohesively and achieved what needed to be done. “It’s a great group of people to work with and for,” she says.“The fact that Bank of Evansville was founded by a group of community leaders is the neatest part.” Today, German American is a $2 billion holding company that serves 12 counties in Southern Indiana.
And how is it to work with Lamb, who oversees Vanderburgh and Warrick counties? For one thing, he’s always accessible. “While John maintains a sense of urgency, he exhibits a calm style of leadership, which is reflected in those working close with him,” McConnell adds. — by Theresa Scheller
Debbie Lehman, Cedar Hall Community School
Debbie Lehman is used to rules. Working in a kitchen surrounded by food, where measurements mean everything, you’d have to be. Yet some rules are tougher than others. As the cafeteria manager at Cedar Hall Community School, she’s not just trying to make a tasty breakfast and lunch. She’s trying to make a tasty breakfast and lunch that also meets a complicated set of federal meal pattern and nutritional requirements. She’s preparing those meals for a customer base — students — whose numbers can shift by several dozens every day. She also has to find a way to make the small amounts of food the students didn’t eat on one day something they will definitely eat the very next.
And then there’s her other job, the one that makes her part artist and part food educator. “When you first take something new out, they kind of look at it funny,” Lehman says. “So I’ll take an apple and an orange and cut them in half — one serving has half an apple and half an orange — and they just love that. I put carrots and broccoli and maybe a cucumber slice on it, or a cherry tomato. Sometimes I think my little kids, they will pick it up because it looks nice.”
Getting students interested in eating healthy is a big part of her job. But Lehman, 45, knows not everyone comprehends or agrees with the federal requirements. “I have this menu, and this is what I have to go by,” she says. Schools are required to meet federal requirements in order to be reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Still, Lehman likes her job. She likes working with children. And she likes that, when her own three children were growing up, she was able to spend time with them on spring and summer breaks. “It’s a really good family job,” Lehman says, of the work schedule that is built around the school year. “And we even get sick days and personal days. If your kid was home sick, you got to stay home and be with your sick child.” — Victoria Grabner
Robert Shetler, Shetler Moving Co.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 102 degrees in August or pouring rain in April. The weather is just something the movers at Shetler Moving Co. have to deal with. And some days are more intense than others, says Kris Conner, moving consultant. “Reitz Hill is a great example,” she says. “Some of the houses in that area have many steep steps, so for a mover, it is a trip up and down for each piece of furniture or stack of boxes.”
Then there are the driveways and alleyways that can’t accommodate a large moving van. “This creates long carries, or sometimes we have to do shuttles, which is loading items on a small truck and taking the small truck to the moving van, off-loading the smaller one and reloading onto the moving van,” Conner adds.
Each move is different, but in each case, the movers are more than just muscle men. They must assess inventory and decide, as they are carrying items into the van, where the item will remain secure and how it will best fit into the vehicle. For more fragile items, like glass tabletops, they have to take the time to wrap the glass in blankets so the glass isn’t damaged during the move. Communication is key. When carrying a heavy couch through a narrow doorway, the mover who is walking backwards must listen closely to the mover who is facing forwards, just so nothing is damaged in the process.
“Everybody — and I don’t care who it is — everybody has at least one or two items that are very important to them,” says Robert Shetler, the company’s owner. “It might be grandpa’s rocking chair, a cookie jar, or whatever. It could be anything.”
“There will always be people involved in handling of household goods,” he adds. “It’s always going to be a hands-on business.” — by Jon Haslam
Roxanne Bailey, Flair Molded Plastics Inc.
Roxanne Bailey has three priorities in life: God, family, and work. She’s found each at Flair Molded Plastics Inc. “They care about people, and that’s what’s kept me here,” the 57-year-old says. This month, the mother of three will celebrate 40 years at the injection molding company that, in its early years, molded office product components for IBM typewriters. These days, the company on Lynch Road produces items like balance rings for washing machines and shelves for refrigeration products.
Bailey, who lives in Wadesville, Ind., started working at Flair as a young mother doing office work in 1973, when she was 17, before she became an operator on the factory floor at age 18. One year later, she was promoted to finishing supervisor. Since that time, she’s been production control scheduler and plant manager. She has done pretty much every job outside of maintenance and tooling.
“You have to be detail-oriented,” she says, of the 60 full-time and 20 part-time Flair employees who work three, eight-hour shifts. Those employees spend a lot of time on their feet, monitoring presses, driving forklifts, repairing and maintaining presses and other tools, and more.
“I’ve been able to grow from where I was to where I am now,” Bailey says. “They’ve always been there for me when I had to focus on family. Our environment has been created because of the people we know we have. It’s much more than plastics. There are people that you meet here, they are feeling like they are lost in life. We give them confidence and help them see in themselves. A lot of it has been encouraged from managing owners Jim Peters and Bert Brougham both.” — by Victoria Grabner
Fresh Air of Civility
As I write this it is the beginning of October, and as we move into our typical fall climate, I seem to be getting a whiff of civility in the air. I’m pretty sure that I have not encountered that rather refreshing smell here for quite some time. Has anyone else noticed that things have gotten a little nicer and more civil since Sept. 24, the day the Evansville Courier & Press began requiring a subscription to read the newspaper online and to comment?
Let me kick off this discussion by firmly stating that a community, in order to grow and thrive, needs a strong daily newspaper. Prior to the Evansville Press ceasing to publish in 1998, my wife and I subscribed to both papers and I still am, and will continue to be, a subscriber to the Evansville Courier & Press. But I am rather adamant, as are many others, that the “dark cloud,” as it was referred to by many in the community, and the incivility that was occurring in our community, were a direct reflection of people being afforded the opportunity to make any type of anonymous comment, and often under a variety of different usernames. This might seem, at the outset, to be a rather strong position for a magazine publisher to take, but I have had this conversation with people actively involved in the community as well as political leaders, and so I know I am not alone in my thought process — in fact, the people who have discussed this with me all agree.
My opinion is that we have allowed ourselves to be governed and our community mindset to be undermined by what anonymous commenters are writing — without having any idea who they are. Many of these commenters, I have come to learn, have obvious vendettas, are competitors, are on opposite sides of the political spectrum during election time, etc. Many leaders in the community, including myself, have found themselves being insulted and ridiculed over a variety of things that may or may not have an ounce of truth. In recent memory, Evansville Living constructed and marketed the Downtown Idea Home on Washington Avenue that ended up winning a national award. As soon as it was written about in the paper, the first two comments were very nice and complimentary, but by the third, we were already under attack. My point is this: If it were reported that someone just cured cancer, someone lying in anonymous wait would point out that they didn’t like the research conducted to cure it.
In a recent study published online in February in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Americans read a fake blog post on nano-technology and were asked in survey questions how they felt about a subject. They either read insult-laden comments or civil comments. After reviewing the study, a September op-ed in the New York Times said this:
“Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself. In the civil group, those who initially did or did not support the technology — whom we identified with preliminary survey questions — continued to feel the same way after reading the comments. Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology. Simply reading an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.”
The op-ed concluded that even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, and that when trolls overwhelm the comments, it diminishes our ability to have lively intellectual debate. Isn’t that the whole gist of a comments section?
Simply put, I fail to understand the rationale that allows people to anonymously, and often erroneously, libel people and organizations. My experience has taught me that people are mighty brave when they don’t have to put their name behind posts. And for those commenters with multiple screen names and thousands of posts, I tend to doubt their intent is to make this community a better place.
I know not everyone will agree with this opinion piece, but I can guarantee you this: if you want to write a letter to this publisher, you will sign your name to it. If you felt strong enough to write thousands of posts, asserting your opinion on literally everything in the newspaper, every single day, surely your thoughts are worth roughly $10 per month (what the newspaper is currently charging for a digital subscription). But for right now, the air sure smells better over our fair city.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you; just be willing to sign your name, please.
Todd A. Tucker
Dressed for Success
It wasn’t a uniform, but it could have been. When Paul and Ruby Eickhoff started the business that eventually became Paul’s Menswear more than 50 years ago, most men wanted to buy black, charcoal, navy, or brown pants; white, blue, or cream shirts; work jeans; and suits.
Yet a lot has changed in men’s fashion since 1963. Paul’s Menswear offers a wide selection of seasonal men’s clothing from head to toe, and these days, some younger men are interested in bold bow ties and trim-styled suits with side vents. Wicking shirts in bright and neutral colors are offered at Paul’s. Those who like a more regular, relaxed, or loose fit can find those styles, too, at the store located at 2225 W. Franklin St.
Opened as Abel’s Menswear in the 1930s, Paul’s Menswear was first located in the 2100 block of W. Franklin St. Paul Eickhoff had worked for Art Abel before purchasing the business in 1963. Since then, the store has moved three times to accommodate a larger inventory. The family also wanted its own building. It’s now owned by Paul’s children Steve Eickhoff, John Eickhoff, Carol Stocker, and Joan Bauer. Steve is the president of the company, John is the vice president, Steve’s wife, Shawn, is the treasurer, and Brian Eickhoff (son of Steve and Shawn) is very involved in the business.
“He wanted to do it,” Shawn says of her husband’s decision to go into the family business in the early 1980s. Steve had worked in the store when he was in high school. “He loved working with people,” she says. “Brian works with us now, and that’s what he wanted to do when he came back from college.” Even when Brian was in college, he intended to work in the store.
“We are mostly family,” Shawn says. “Right now we have the third generation in, and we’re not sure about the fourth generation, but he’s already asking customers, ‘Can I help you?” Laughing, she’s talking about Brian’s 3-year-old son, Auggie.
The family appreciates the business’ Franklin Street legacy. “It’s a neat place to be,” Shawn says, referring to the vibrancy of the historic location. “And, it’s neat to have the activity.”
“We have a lot of loyal customers,” Shawn says. “But we are always picking up new ones.”
The Evansville Design Group was founded to create a community for Evansville-based design professionals. With more than 70 active members including print designers, industrial designers, interior designers, interactive designers, motion designers, and photographers, the EDG possesses exceptional talent. Now, the members of the not-for-profit and networking organization are giving back.
The EDG created Design for Good as a way to donate design services to local nonprofits, according to Rachel Wambach, the Design for Good chairwoman. This was the Design for Good program’s first official year. “Ten not-for-profits applied this year,” she says. “Generally, we only do one, but everyone was so excited about the projects, so we picked two.”
The first presentation, held Sept. 24 at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana on Main Street, displayed work donated to Aurora Inc. and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ohio Valley.
Aurora is a homeless prevention center in Evansville. “Aurora’s main need was explaining what they offer to the general public,” Wambach says. “The scale of the project was great. We focused on infographics, brochures, website redesign, and a logo cleanup.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring program for children. It wanted to attract more male mentors and sought a banner and brochures from the design grant. “They have a lack of male mentors called Bigs, and that was the goal they wanted to accomplish,” Wambach says.
The Design for Good campaign will remain an annual event. Wambach says it does more than allow designers to help the community. It also enables a collective group of designers to work together on a common project to improve their craft. “We had about 11 people work on the Aurora project, and five work with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Wambach says.
EDG’s continued outreach doesn’t stop at the Design for Good campaign, either. The group will be providing typography workshops at the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville, and it is in the midst of organizing outreach with local universities to provide design students with professional assistance from EDG members.
“Anybody who wants to get involved can go to our website,” Wambach says. “We have monthly events, usually the last Tuesday of the month at the Arts Council. We have fun doing it and in giving back to the community.”
For more information on Evansville Design Group and Design for Good, visit evansvilledesign.org.
Whose Site Is It?
Headquartered in Evansville, Vectren Corp., through its subsidiary, Vectren Energy Delivery, provides energy delivery services to more than 1 million natural gas and/or electric customers throughout central Indiana, Southern Indiana, and west central Ohio.
Vectren’s new and improved website at vectren.com was recently redesigned with touch-screen tablets in mind, featuring less text and more icons. The primary function of the website is to provide self-service functionality and information for its gas and electric customers. Because of the update, it is now easier than ever for customers to manage their energy bill online, and users can even report power outages from a PC or mobile device.
On the home page, the login access is easily visible at the top right of the page. The site also features links for viewers to connect with Vectren’s Twitter and YouTube accounts. The site is concise, sleek, and appealing, with numerous resources for users. It has more than 6 million visits per year, averaging 24,000 per week day, according to Chase Kelley, vice president of corporate communications. A total of 365,000 customers have a registered account with Vectren.com. The site averages 110,000 bill payments a month.
Check out the innovative online chat feature, which allows users to communicate online with a Vectren customer service representative. This addition is compatible with computers, tablets, and mobile devices.
Site Developed and Maintained By:
Vectren’s in-house eBusiness team.
The Office of Business Leadership
Ten years ago, we hauled a desk and the trappings of an office to Dress Plaza to stage the October/November 2003 issue of Evansville Business — The Office of Business Leadership: Evansville Division. The gatefold cover and story featured nine leaders who shared their ideologies. Ten years down the road, let’s look at where these leaders are today.
1. Lloyd Winnecke was a County Councilman and bank vice president and marketing director who envisioned an Evansville with a can-do attitude. “We need more people involved in government who want to roll up their sleeves and figure out how projects can be accomplished,” Winnecke told us. Today, Winnecke is mayor of Evansville; he is in the second year of his four-year term.
2. Cheryl Musgrave was Vanderburgh County Assessor who brought the records of the office to the Internet. “The focus is to help Evansville and Vanderburgh Country grow,” she told us. Musgrave left Evansville for 18 months in 2007 to serve as commissioner of Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, where she worked with Gov. Mitch Daniels on the state’s property tax restructuring. Today, Musgrave is back in Evansville running her own tax consulting firm.
3. Mike Hinton was President and Chief Operating Officer of Old National Bancorp when he told us, “It would be wonderful to see ... more private and public investment so that Evansville’s central business district could realize its potential ….” Hinton resigned his position at Old National Bank in 2006 and today serves as President at Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates Inc., a full-service survey, planning, engineering, and environmental firm.
4. William C. Bussing III, a lawyer and chairman and owner (with family) of the Evansville Otters, is doing the same work as he was 10 years ago and in 1995, when he and his family established the Frontier League franchise to play at historic Bosse Field. “It’s like hosting a party for up to 5,000 guests, 45 times a year,” Bussing told us.
5. Dan Schenk, Chancellor at Ivy Tech State College, continues in the role for which we profiled him. In 2003, he told us long-term goals included completing the campus expansion of Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest. Schenk was featured on the cover of Evansville Business in the April/May 2013 issue.
6. Marjorie Soyuenc, Executive Director of the Welborn Foundation Inc., spoke to us about the foundation’s work to partner with community organizations to impact Evansville’s education, health care, and social environment. Soyugenc died Nov. 28, 2012. Under her stewardship, the Welborn Foundation awarded more than 400 grants totaling more than $24 million to primarily nonprofit organizations connected to health care.
7. Adrian Brooks, Pastor, Memorial Baptist Church, continues today to serve the large church near Downtown. He also serves as president of the Evansville Police Department Police Merit Commission. Brooks was a staunch opponent of city-county reorganization (which failed at the ballot in 2012) and recently he spoke out regarding a controversial traffic stop involving an Evansville firefighter and a member of his church.
8. Marilee Fowler, Executive Director of the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau, resigned her post in March 2010 amid controversy she was being forced out by CVB commissioners for talking to the media about the sports complex she hoped to see built at Wesselman Park. Today, she continues to put heads in beds as President and CEO of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
9. Jack Schriber, Supervisor of Fine Arts, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., retired in 2007, though he’s not slowed down. In 2010, he and his wife, Sue, were awarded Rotary’s Civic Award. Together, they have put their imprint on nearly every arts endeavor in the community. “I try to lead by example,” Schriber told us.
Meat and Greet
Nestled away in Haubstadt, Ind., sits one of the most impressive meat markets in the country. Dewig Meats (pronounced Day-Wig) has been serving customers the finest products and quality in the industry for almost 100 years.
“People think of us as a little butcher shop out here, but we sell a lot of meat — thousands and thousands of pounds every day,” says plant manager Dean Dewig.
The facility sits on a 10-acre plot, surrounded by roughly 50 acres of family farmland at 100 Maple St. The original Dewig meat market in Haubstadt was about a block and one-half away from the current complex, Dewig explains while leaning back in a small, wood-paneled office.
“We have probably the biggest meat market anywhere in the country,” he says. “I don’t know of any place where you can see more cuts than right here.”
Established in 1916, Dewig Meats was originally founded by John Dewig and his two brothers, Tony and Joe. In 1962, John’s sons, Tom and Bill, purchased the business. Now, it is run by Tom and his children, Dean and Darla.
For the Dewigs, the work is a family affair. “My mom (Janet) and dad (Tom) are still here. My sister (Darla) and brother-in-law (Aaron) are here. My wife (Karen) and I … There is a lot of family here,” says Dean Dewig.
It’s hard to tell when work stops and vacation begins for the family. “When we go on vacation, we’ve been known to go and just visit meat plants,” says Darla Dewig Kiesel, the office coordinator. “My husband and I went to a competition, and on the way back we went to seven different plants. Some might see it as work, but it’s very enjoyable.”
The success of Dewig Meats is evident from the six class awards, more than any other packer in the nation, it received at the 2013 American Cured Meat Championships in Charleston, S.C.
“That’s for our German bologna, we know that is the best in the world,” owner Tom Dewig states, showcasing a sleek glass trophy in the office. Additionally, in 2011, the company was recognized by the American Association of Meat Processors for its gourmet boneless ham, jumbo wiener, and dried beef.
In all, Dewig Meats carries a large line of sausages, hams, pork chops, bologna, turkey, and ribs.
“I know of nobody — and I know this is a bold statement — that has better quality than we do,” Dean Dewig says. “I don’t know of anybody that produces a better product than we produce.”
“There is not a product out there that I’m not 100 percent happy with,” Darla agrees.
For more information about Dewig Meats, call 812-768-6208 or visit dewigmeats.com.
A Call to Action
Hearing that your child has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition is something a parent hopes never to hear. But for parents who do hear such words, Steve Church offers personal advice: work hard to uncover the positives within a world of negatives. Molly Church was diagnosed with Type I diabetes nine years ago at the age of 4 ½. Since then, Steve has worked to create a world of positive change in the hope of raising awareness and funds for diabetes.
Church recently received the President’s Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, also known as JDRF, for his contributions to the leading global organization focused on Type 1 diabetes research. “I am a board member for the Indiana State Chapter of JDRF and I helped establish the Annual Walk to Cure Diabetes held each year at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., which has become an extremely successful and important fundraiser for the Indiana State Chapter of JDRF,” he explains. Church, along with his wife and two other families who have been similarly affected by Type 1 diabetes, established the annual walk at Holiday World eight years ago.
The walk, which focuses on the search for a cure for Type 1 diabetes, has raised more than $2 million dollars since it was established. “Every parent with a child who is living with Type 1 diabetes wants nothing more than to find a cure for their child,” Church says. “If you ask my daughter Molly what one wish she would want granted more than anything else in the world, she would say without hesitation, ‘a cure for diabetes!’”
Church is the president of Gibbs Die Casting in Henderson, Ky. He and his wife, Stacey, have four daughters, Claire, Ellen, Molly, and Sarah. In addition to his accomplishments with the JDRF, Church currently serves or has previously served on the Deaconess Health System Board, the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board, and the Christ the King Parish Council. “It’s always nice to be recognized for doing good work,” Church says. “However, the best feeling comes from knowing that my efforts, and the efforts of many others like me, are bringing greater awareness about Type 1 diabetes, helping families who live with Type 1 diabetes, and raising money to fund research to find a cure.”.
For more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, call 800-533-CURE or visit jdrf.org.
Information is Power
Think of all the ways businesses attempt to catch your eye.
They advertise, promote, and cross-promote. They use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Name recognition means everything. And then there’s the antithesis — the Medical Information Bureau. If there’s a marketing department at MIB, it must be less busy than the Maytag repairman.
MIB is a privately run corporation established in 1902 by, and for the benefit of, insurance companies. MIB quietly goes about its job of collecting data on us — credit history, medical history, even our eating, smoking, and recreational habits, and our driving records. The information becomes available to insurance companies when we apply for life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance. This is not necessarily bad; MIB contends its primary purpose is to “alert underwriters to errors, omissions, or misrepresentations made on insurance applications,” thus keeping our rates lower than they would be otherwise. But does MIB really need to know that you’re a 5’5”, 137-pound, 48-year-old female who rides a Harley, quit smoking in 2008, has $17,000 in credit card debt, and had your appendix removed in 2010? If you have applied for life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance in the past seven years, that kind of information is likely in their hands.
“Let’s face it, people are not always truthful when completing insurance applications, and the MIB allows for a checking mechanism,” says Steven B. Theising, CLU, ChFC, a partner at Insurance & Business Planning Inc. in Evansville. “I have heard once or twice from other agents that information they received back from the MIB was incorrect, but in my 33 years in the business, the information has been remarkably accurate. The MIB does serve a purpose: to make sure people don’t make misstatements on their insurance applications to acquire coverage and then file claims based on those false statements.”
You are the only one who can be sure that MIB’s file on you is correct. If the female Harley enthusiast described above sold her bike last year and now drives a Ford Fusion, her insurance premiums might drop considerably. Is she positive that MIB is aware? Fortunately, the government requires MIB to provide all consumers with a free annual report, but only if we ask. You can get yours by calling MIB at 866-692-6901 or going to the organization’s website at mib.com. If for no other reason, it’s good to find out just how much the insurance world knows about you.
An Engaging Experience
It’s not just about the sparkle. When The Diamond Galleria by Rogers has its grand opening at the corner of Vogel and Burkhardt roads on Nov. 7, the building that managing partners Tyna Wheat and Sharon Sartore envisioned about two years ago will be full of substance, too.
There will be the Sylvie Collection, one of the few ring lines designed by a woman for a woman. There also will be the Le Vian® line, famous for its exclusive Chocolate Diamonds®. Rounding out the bridal section at the new, 6,500-square-foot structure will be popular brands like AJaffe, True Romance, Romance Collection, Love Story, The Promise Collection, and Harout R., among others. The store also will include jewelry by fashion-forward companies like Doves, Alex & Ani, Honora Pearls, Hershey’s Kiss, Juno Lucina, Sirena, and Chamilia.
It’s all part of a luxury-end, new business model for Rogers, which has been in business for 79 years.
“Making you happy is everything to us.”
That’s the business philosophy of Wheat and Sartore, who both were born, raised, and live here locally. After all, for many couples, buying an engagement ring isn’t an easy choice. It may take many visits to many stores, before a soon-to-be bride selects her ring.
With a collection of more than 10,000 loose stones, customers will be able to choose the shape, color, and clarity of their stone to create their perfect piece of jewelry. In the Custom Design Studio, customers can design personalized rings to mount their diamond into a wide selection of designer brands. Their selection is viewable on a computer screen that offers close-up views of the ring.
“No matter what they are looking for, we are going to have it, and they won’t have to wait to see it,” Wheat says.
Wheat and Sartore are friends who have worked on every detail of the store’s design, from the four islands containing display cases, to a circular perimeter of showcases with sit-down bridal cases and display units on the wall. “One of them is the Le Vian® Chocolate Boutique™, which no one else has,” says Sartore. There also will be freshly baked cookies and specialty drinks in another area of the store.
“It’s all about the customer experience,” Wheat says. “We’ve been planning this store for years. We want it to be a warm, inviting, relaxing environment.”
As the president of the Diamond Galleria by Rogers, Wheat specializes in the merchandising and marketing efforts of the business. Sartore, the CEO, manages the financial and operational aspects. Wheat and Sartore were invited, in 2008, to join the Leading Jewelers Guild, an alliance of independent jewelers. Wheat serves on the Buying Committee, which merchandises for the entire group of 45 jewelers across the nation and assists members with marketing ideas. Sartore has been asked to assist the Leading Jewelers membership by considering different financial companies to provide financing to customers.
In all, the new jewelry store will employ more than 25 people. Managing the store is Bethany Lutch, who has experience managing another jewelry store in Iowa. A jewelry repair center inside the facility will staff three full-time jewelers. A Sparkle Bar will offer cleaning and polishing services using the latest technology. Local resident Lance Embrey will be the Design Studio manager and master craftsman. He has worked with Rogers for more than 10 years and had worked in the jewelry industry in Indianapolis.
Sartore and Wheat want their clients to have a choice of jewelry that is stylish, cutting-edge, and very meticulously made and designed. And that’s what they will have with lines from companies like Sylvie and Le Vian®, for instance.
“(Wheat and Sartore) were introduced to us through another of our authorized retail partners, and I met them both in Las Vegas in June at the 2013 JCK,” Sylvie Levine says, referring to the leading jewelry event in North America that is open to all jewelry professionals. “It felt like we knew each other forever, and I could immediately tell that we had the same commitment and passion toward jewelry and our customers.”
Sylvie creates customizable engagement ring designs using conflict-free diamonds. “Every woman who wears a Sylvie ring is an individual, with her own personality and unique sense of style,” she says. “That is why the Sylvie Collection is known for flexibility, and every ring can be customized to fit her style and taste, allowing it to become a personal symbol of her passion.”
Meanwhile, a representative for Le Vian® says the Chocolate Boutique™ at the Diamond Galleria by Rogers will become the destination place for Chocolate Diamonds®. These natural diamonds are predominantly found in the Argyle Mine in Australia.
“It’s all about the emotional appeal because the Chocolate Boutique™ looks like real chocolate bars,” the representative says. “It’s all about infusing a taste and a flavor that appeals to many women.”
In the end, the new store that will have a soft opening on Oct. 13 wants to offer stunning jewelry for all precious moments.
“We don’t just want to sell people engagement rings,” Wheat says. “We want to be part of their life.”
“You don’t get that just anywhere,” Sartore adds.
The Diamond Galleria by Rogers grand opening on Nov. 7 will include vendors from New York and Los Angeles. The grand opening will benefit one local charity in some way, though the store intends to be very charitable overall.
In fact, Wheat and Sartore have created their own collection of merchandise called Journey of Hope, which is inspired by the cancer ribbon. “We had several employees who were recently diagnosed with cancer, and this inspired this collection,” Wheat says. “I worked with several designers in New York to create pieces that would allow us to help fight this disease. Proceeds from the sales of this product will go to cancer research.”
The Diamond Galleria by Rogers will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
The new store was designed by Artco Group of Miami, Fla. Carl Conner of Conner Architecture was the Architect of Record. Jennifer Scales-Stewart from Y Factor Studio was the interior designer.
“The great people that have worked with us and for us — and for a lot of them that’s been 10 years-plus — have just been invaluable in this whole process and contribute greatly to the success of this venture,” Sartore says.
For more information about the Diamond Galleria by Rogers, call 812-477-1388. The website is in the process of being created.