In her 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Deaconess Health System, Linda E. White never accomplished anything — at least on paper. Instead of taking credit for the success of a growing health system, White always issued press releases and internal memorandums from the perspective of the organization.
“That right there tells you how she operates,” says Deaconess Health System communication specialist Ashley Johnson. “Officially on paper, Linda herself has never done anything. She’s always a part of a greater ‘we.’”
That all changed Oct. 25, 2016, when White informed Deaconess employees, associates, and friends she would be retiring.
“At the annual Board of Directors meeting held yesterday, I submitted and the Board approved a plan for my retirement,” wrote White in an internal memo. “Following a 40-year history with the organization, I will step down from the role of President and CEO of Deaconess Health System effective June 30, 2017. I will, however, continue to be part of Deaconess for one year following retirement as CEO emerita.”
Shawn McCoy will assume the role of CEO while Dr. James Porter will become president on July 1, 2017.
Although she continues to lead with effectiveness and compassion, White’s retirement comes as no surprise for those who have witnessed her selflessness through the years.
“Linda has built a great team. She knew McCoy and Porter were ready to move up, and Linda selflessly made the decision to retire,” says Old National Bank Chairman and CEO Bob Jones, who has worked with White through her membership on the bank’s board. “It’s a huge loss, but the most important thing you do as a CEO is find your successor and make them ready, and they’re both ready.”
White’s upbringing greatly influenced who she is today. She is the eldest of three children born to John and Elizabeth White of Terre Haute, Indiana. Her father was a graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology who served in World War II. Upon his return from the war and a month before Linda was born, John’s father suddenly passed away; he took over the family’s engineering and design company as well as took care of his widowed mother.
“There was a lot of responsibility on this young man all at once,” says White. “We remember my dad as always being at work. He loved work. He never complained; he worked seven days a week. He made sure the customers were his primary focus.”
White recalls many summers spent filing papers and performing other tasks at the family business. She spent much time with her father, watching how he put the customers’ needs first, and even considered following in his engineer footsteps, but “in that time, it just didn’t fit,” she says.
Instead, White obtained an applied math degree in 1970 from Indiana State University in Terre Haute and became a computer programmer. After doing computer
work foraclinic, she became interested in nursing. She was prepared to attend St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences in Kansas City, Missouri, when her mother suggested visiting the Deaconess School of Nursing.
“We drove down and I think it was two weeks before school was to start here,” she says. “It was a Mr. Pence who said, ‘With your credentials, we will let you in.’ Otherwise
I would have been in Kansas City. And the rest is history.”
After White graduated, she was hired at Deaconess Hospital as a nurse analyst — what she describes as an industrial engineer on a nursing track. It was pretty much unheard of at the time, she says.
“Deaconess took a chance, and I’m forever grateful,” says White, who eventually obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Evansville. “I just held a variety of roles after that. I will admit I never applied for any of the jobs.
“I was asked to do this, I was asked to do that. As I learned from my dad, I accepted with a smile and said I will give it my best,” she adds.
Her best was enough to promote her to director of medical/surgical nursing, vice president of nursing, vice president of patient care, chief operating officer, president of Deaconess Hospital in 2002, and finally president and CEO of Deaconess Health System in 2004.
“I tried to combine those analytical skills from the math with the clinical skills and some management,” she says. “And yes, it’s an unusual track. But as people look back, I hope they can say, ‘She made a difference.’”
Anyone who knows White would tell you she has indeed made a difference — in individual lives, the health system, and the community.
University of Evansville assistant nursing professor Joan Fedor-Bassemier worked with White as the two were moving up the ranks at Deaconess Hospital. Fedor-Bassemier recalls White’s knack for remembering things — chief among them important dates and names of everyone she would meet.
“She would know dietary staff, security staff, the housekeeping staff, people’s kids, their dogs,” says Fedor-Basssemier. “Decades would pass, and she still would remember.”
Although White’s long days are packed with meetings, phone calls, and interviews, she goes out of her way to interact with people at all levels in the hospital system.
“She never takes the elevator,” says Johnson. “She always takes the stairs so she can interact with as many people as she can on the way to her next meeting.”
That includes patients who are friends or family members of White’s acquaintances and colleagues too. Jones says he always can count on White to visit anyone with a connection to an Old National Bank employee.
“There’s no fanfare. She just shows up,” says Jones. “She’ll make sure everything is okay. But she’s kind of like the stealth bomber — you turn around and all of a sudden she’s gone. In our situation, when Linda left, all the nurses said, ‘Oh you know Linda White?’ And I said, ‘Doesn’t everybody?’”
White is famous for her ability to go crazy for a cause. From dressing up in a pink wig for breast cancer awareness to donning a costume to get others excited at a staff meeting, White does whatever it takes to raise awareness for Deaconess and the community.
Jones recalls White as a backup dancer for a rendition of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Rolling on the River” at the annual Really Big Show fundraiser for Arc of Evansville.
“She was as off rhythm as any human being I’ve ever seen, but it didn’t matter,” says Jones. “Her right arm would be going up, everyone else’s left arm would be going up. She laughed at herself and she was doing it for the cause. It was just Linda at her best. She’s all about giving to others and helping others.”
White also dons over-the-top costumes at the annual Deaconess Party of the Year.
“We knew she was going to dress outrageously. We knew she was going to be joking around and having fun that night,” recalls Deaconess board chairman and retired Vectren Corporation executive Jerry Benkert. “It simply loosened the crowd up. You might be dressed in a tux, but you knew this wasn’t going to be a stuffy event.”
White’s ability to promote a cause at the expense of her own image is what makes her a great leader, says Jones.
“She knows in order to lead, she has to break the wall down between being an executive and just being one of the people,” says Jones. “Linda is a consummate ‘one of the people.’ It’s who she is. She has zero ego, and I think this is her way of making herself more relatable, but it’s real. It’s not put on. It’s just who she is.”
As former chairman of the Deaconess Health System board, Koch Enterprises vice chairman Jim Muehlbauer was part of the board that selected White as president and CEO. He says he always has been impressed by White’s management style, which is more focused on people than the bottom line, in the boardroom and beyond.
“Linda would stop us and say, ‘How will this affect the patients?’ She always brings it back to ground zero. She was a nurse and she knows what it takes to provide great patient care. She also knows what it takes to get people to want to work for you and go above and beyond,” says Muehlbauer, who now serves on Deaconess’s quality committee. “Linda is a leader who gets people to want to follow her. She succeeded and does that so well at Deaconess because she knows the business. “
Fedor-Bassemier says White remained approachable and grounded no matter the situation or title in front of her name. Through constant change in health care — dress codes, computer systems, methods of care, and leadership, among others — White remained steady.
“We went through a lot together. You always had to deal with change, and change was not easy,” says Fedor-Bassemier. “Lots of people have come to Deaconess, and lots of people have left, but Linda has been there the entire span. The continuity helped make her the face of Deaconess to the community. There’s a person behind that title. And she’s always been approachable.”
Muehlbauer says it is White’s friendly demeanor that makes her a legend outside the hospital world as well.
“I don’t think you can find anyone in Evansville who can say anything bad about Linda White,” he says. “In my view, she’s one of the most respected people in Evansville. There’s only a few people in Evansville I’d put in that category.”
Although White soon will step down as CEO and president, Jones says her legacy will live on.
“Her spirit is going to be there. The CEO’s role really is to create a culture and then hope whoever takes over, that culture sustains,” says Jones. “The culture Linda has created is going to last a long, long time. It’s got great legacy-staying power.”
For more information about Deaconess Health System, visit deaconess.com.
“You mean talk — just to each other?”
One of my favorite quotes is not by the French philosopher Voltaire but by renowned sage Homer Simpson, who once said, “Rock stars. Is there anything they don’t know?”
As the father of two freshman boys (high school and college), I continually am made well aware of my obviously many shortcomings as they are brought up with some regularity. But after last weekend’s road trip to a state swim meet with four boneheads in a car, I am a bit concerned about America’s next generation. I will take some allowances with Homer’s quote: “Teenage boys. Is there anything they don’t know?” No, there seemingly isn’t.
If you recently haven’t spent some “quality time” with teenage boys, it’s a shame you just haven’t been afforded this incredible opportunity. Some things don’t vary much at all from my youth. The sights, sounds, and smells don’t seem to have changed much. What is entirely different is the way they interact with their peers. The “conversation” is not limited merely to the confines of the car. There were group texts flying among swim team boys going to Indianapolis, teammates not going, members of the girl’s state swim team competing in Indy, and every conceivable type of connectivity imaginable, perhaps even with other galaxies.
I once thought my neighbor Gale Kroeger cool as he had a new CB and he and his buddies could talk over the air.
Snapchat, Instagram, and the constant texting — it occurs at a furious rate, and conversation between the boys then consists of discussing what someone just sent or more likely holding the screen up in the car for their group viewing, as I am sure I either “wouldn’t get it” or I likely am too lame for them to bother. Pulling back into Evansville, I realized I should be thanking them for the time spent in the rarified air of these teenage boys and to have absorbed some of their greatness and knowledge, even if by osmosis.
And on those rare occasions when I threw caution to the wind and actually entered (or attempted) to join the conversation? Better have those facts straight, old man, because they will fact-check you lickety split (look it up, boys) and be quick to tell you if you were off in your facts by a degree or decimal point. Just like your last test, son. Back at you.
I suppose I can say the best part of the trip is I soared with people who literally know everything, even if for me it was just a weekend.
We have received many favorable comments about the December/January feature “Downtown Uprising.” I know while our staff compiled the Downtown projects either proposed, under construction, or completed, we were surprised by the sheer volume of current Downtown development.
It now seems a common occurrence — with ever-increasing frequency — for a major new building or development to open or be announced. The DoubleTree by Hilton is the latest “game changer” to Evansville’s Downtown. It literally ties together the Old National Events Plaza, The Ford Center, and the hotel. Combine that with our beautiful library on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard, and we have four sleek and architecturally pleasing buildings on one major gateway into Downtown.
I have had the opportunity to speak to many local developers and commercial Realtors over the last few months. It is refreshing to see how bullish everyone is on our community as a whole — a great way for a community to feel about opportunities. Oh, and I almost failed to mention a $25-million dollar, glass-infused renovation to the 18-story 420 building (the former Old National Bank building) just announced. Drawings show a building in the heart of our Downtown not looking like anything else that exists today. It should continue to be interesting (and fun) to watch all of this come together and let us celebrate these projects for what they are — each a victory for our community.
I would ask everyone take a moment and think about the incredible perseverance, grace, and courage that defined the life of Nancy Sieben Koehler. We profiled Nancy in the January/February Evansville Living issue in the story “Fight to the Finish.” If anyone could read the beautifully written obituary penned by Nancy prior to her passing on Feb. 3 without emotion or seeing life from her beautiful point of view without a heavy heart, please check your pulse. I believe we all need a “perspective check” from time to time, and Nancy certainly provided that. She will be missed by many.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Todd A. Tucker
Location, location, location. For one local real estate company, it is more than an industry catchphrase; it is a way of doing business.
ERA First Advantage Realty, Inc. expanded to an office at 109 State St. in Historic Downtown Newburgh, Indiana. The location not only provided much-needed overflow for ERA’s main office at 8711 W. Highway 66 in Newburgh, but also the opportunity to be part of a thriving, active community.
After purchasing the property in spring 2016, ERA transformed the space by knocking down walls and putting up others to create a reception area, conference room, three offices, and a kitchenette. Previously home to a human resources consulting company, the space was transformed by Halloween 2016 to house nine ERA agents — The Miller Team, The Platinum Service Team, The Dunn Team, Jill Lucy, and Melanie Quates.
“We like to see ourselves as the Newburgh welcome center,” says agent Liz Miller.Located just steps from the Ohio River, the building has large windows that allow agents to display active listings, but also experience the neighborhood’s activity. From runners and dog walkers to shoppers and vehicles traveling up and down the street, the agents at ERA have a front seat to all the action.
Step into the lobby and be greeted by the smiling agents who are ready to help you find the perfect home or business property. The space features walls painted with neutral colors and decorated with soothing aqua accents and dark wood furniture throughout. The warm glow of chandeliers sets the tone for a personalized experience.
“We really wanted it to be a boutique office, a little more intimate,” says Miller. “We wanted it to be inviting.”
ERA regularly opens the office and welcomes walk-ins during weekends and community events, such as the Historic Newburgh Farmers Market and holiday celebrations.
“We are just trying to promote the hometown community feel here,” says agent Jill Lucy.
The space is conveniently located to allow passersby to come in and ask any questions about a specific home, the buying process, or the local real estate market. One agent believes homebuyers are finding more information on real estate apps and websites, but still want the personal attention.
“Buyers are more savvy. They’re almost as educated as us real estate agents,” says agent Johnna Dunn-Cameron. “They want to have more of a role in the buying and selling process.”
For more information about ERA First Advantage Realty, Inc., visit erafirst.com.
On the Write Track
Amy Bolek may be hidden in the background behind community organizations — even her office is inconspicuously located in the co-working space of Innovation Point — but her contributions to Evansville are far from unnoticeable. Bolek Grant Writing and Consulting Services has worked with several organizations that make contributions to the community from saving marriages to saving lives.
As a grant writer, Bolek helps nonprofit organizations write proposals for grant-funding pursuits. Bolek views her work as a team effort and emphasizes a “zero-ego” approach.
“I really don’t like it when people refer to me as an expert,” says Bolek, a University of Evansville graduate. “I like to think of myself as more of an extended member of somebody’s team, a partner in helping people achieve their grant-funding goals.”
Grant writing can be grueling and complex but is a style that fits her, says Bolek.
“It’s kind of like piecing together a big puzzle,” she adds.
Bolek formalized Bolek Grant Writing in 2013 after years of freelancing. She says the move away from freelancing changed the way she viewed her business and gave her hope for future growth.
“My goal is to continue building my business, but also to provide the personal service people are used to getting from me,” says Bolek. “That’s super, super important to me.”
While Bolek loves sharing the feeling of accomplishment with the organizations that are awarded grants, she often sees staggering statistics. Bolek says though the data may steal her focus, it also strengthens her resolve.
“It’s the research,” says Bolek. “It’s knowing what I know about the need that keeps me moving and keeps me realizing we’ve got to finish this project. It’s got to be the very best proposal we can get out the door because our community needs this.”
For more information about Bolek Grant Writing and Consulting Services, visit bolekgrantwriting.com.
Mark Schroeder has spent a lifetime at German American Bancorp. Though it seems straightforward, he says it is a bit of an unusual story.
“I like to say I’ve been fortunate to have four different careers in banking, all within the same company,” he says.
In May, Schroeder marks his 45th year with the Jasper-based company. Now the chief executive officer and chairman of German American, he started as an entry-level vault teller when he was 18 years old. Fresh out of high school, his plans for college fell through, which led him to banking.
“I quickly found out it was a good fit; I enjoyed it very much,” says Schroeder.
He later would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in financial management from the University of Evansville through German American’s continuing education program, as well as complete many banking-specific American Bankers Association schools.
Under the leadership of Schroeder, German American has expanded its footprint to 50 offices in 19 counties in Indiana and one office in an adjacent Kentucky county, with more than 600 employees throughout Southern and Central Indiana.
“What I’ve gotten the most satisfaction from in the last 45 years has been helping communities grow, and seeing our customers achieve their financial goals and aspirations,” he says of his career.
Though the organization specializes in typical services such as banking, insurance, and investments, Schroeder says it’s German American’s relationship-based approach with customers that makes the company stand out. And it’s that practice which gained the attention of American Banker Magazine. In December 2016, the magazine named Schroeder one of three Community Bankers of the Year for his commitment to maintaining an effective community-banking model focused on customers.
To Schroeder, however, the honor goes to his employees.
“We have a tremendous team at German American with a lot of very hard-working people who are dedicated to the company and their communities,” he says. “There is nothing special or unique about the products we offer; it is how we deliver them.”
For more information about German American, visit germanamerican.com.
Tower of Strength
The 420 Main Building has been the home of Chapman Injury Lawyers since 2008 when Neil Chapman opened the firm. When Chapman started filming commercials from the building’s rooftops, he often would get the same question: “Where did you shoot that commercial?”
“This building was like a well-kept secret,” says Chapman, who has occupied offices on the ninth, 17th, and now 12th floor. “In some ways, the building was hiding in plain sight.”
Soon, the building will be difficult to miss.
The city’s tallest building at 420 Main St. has a new name and new owners, F.C. Tucker Commercial announced in early February. Renamed City Tower at 420 Main, the building will receive a makeover, including roof, elevator, and HVAC improvements this year. Major construction to transform floors 12 through 18 into luxury condominiums will take place in 2018, while floors one through 11 will be mixed use and restaurants, says F.C. Tucker Commercial President Ken Newcomb. The project is expected to cost $25 million.
Newcomb says the building’s concrete fins will be removed.
“Those date the building,” he says. “Completely encasing it in glass will give it a brand-new-building look. For all practical purposes, it will be a brand-new building.”
The building was Old National Bank’s headquarters from 1970 until 2004. The private Petroleum Club occupied the building’s 17th and 18th floors from 1970 until it disbanded in 2006. Attorney Alan Shovers of Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn was chairman of the Petroleum Club’s board and recalls the finest dining — first-class chefs, multiple-course meals followed by flaming desserts, and maître d’ service — and vast views of the city from the top two floors.
“Many special occasions took place there, so the building has a history of some of the best events of Evansville for a 30- or 40-year period,” says Shovers. “Those condominiums will have the most breathtaking views in our city, and there’s a certain specialness that will go with those views. Many people had highlights of their life take place there.”
Newcomb believes the tower’s renovations are a symbol of Evansville’s momentum.
“In years to come when they drive down the Lloyd Expressway and see the new glass and the new LED lighting on the building, people in Evansville will be proud of their skyline,” says Newcomb, adding other cities are known for iconic and recognizable skylines. “We’re going to have that. I think everybody will be proud of not just this building, but all the activity happening Downtown.”
For more information about City Tower at 420 Main, call 812-473-6677 or visit fctuckercommercial.com.
In the last few months, it’s been difficult for Evansville residents to turn on the local news or scroll through social media without seeing an announcement on a new business project or renovation in the city.
While Downtown bustles with activity, Jacobsville to the north is seeing the progress of street projects. The East Side along North Burkhardt Road and the Interstate 69 interchange continues to see development, as well as the West Side along the Lloyd Expressway.
However, all of these projects are just the beginning.
Plans that are a part of the Regional Cities Initiative are to kick off in 2017, setting off a new wave of development in Evansville and the Tri-State. Leading the charge are the planned terminal renovations to the Evansville Regional Airport (EVV).
Evansville Regional will receive $5 million from the $42 million the Regional Cities Initiative has awarded the Southwest Indiana region. The complete renovation project will total around $12.36 million, says Nate Hahn, director of operations and maintenance at Evansville Regional, with the rest of the funding coming from a combination of sources.
“The $5 million allows us to make sure we are making good financial decisions for the community, which then keeps our rates and charges low for the airlines and makes them happy,” he adds. “A happy airline is an airline that increases service.”
From start to finish, the project will change the overall look of the Evansville Regional Airport, giving in-bound and out-bound passengers an enhanced experience they would expect from bigger airports.
Outside, passengers will see new pavement on roads and parking lots, as well as new landscaping and better walkways. Hahn says the stairs in front of the terminal will be removed for easier access from the parking lot. Covered walkways also will be installed from the building to the parking and rental car lots.
But the biggest changes are going to be inside, says Hahn. New flooring, skylights, and seating, as well as upgrades to ticket counters and the addition of more charging and work stations are planned. The greatest change will come in the form of a centralized security checkpoint. Currently the airport has two separate security checks, with only one open at a time. Plans are to pull them into one, allowing a continuous security operation.
“It allows us to get the most up-to-date security equipment, including the stand-up body imagers,” says Hahn. “It also allows us to have two lanes, with one of those lanes dedicated to travelers who are registered with TSA Pre-Check.”
The central-security point also means repositioning the airport’s restaurant to offer a post-security option, allowing passengers to purchase food and drinks they can then take on the aircraft. Other renovations include restrooms, a mother’s room, and a service animal relief area.
A call for bids on the project is expected in April with construction beginning in the summer.
“The general public is going to see a refurbishment,” says Hahn. “Everything is going to look cleaner, nicer.”
This is not the first round of changes for the airport. Built in 1989, EVV installed jet bridges from the terminal to aircrafts in 2012 and completed work on its primary runway in 2014 to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. “This new project with Regional Cities is all about the passengers,” says Hahn. “This is the opportunity to come back inside the building.”
“We consider the airport an integral part of economic development in the Tri-State,” adds Doug Joest, executive director of the airport.
Airport officials already were planning renovations to the terminal before Regional Cities was announced, says Hahn. After the 2012 jet bridges additions, officials realized updates would need to be made to the interior. When Joest became part of the conversation about Regional Cities, it made sense to consider including the airport.
“The airport is one of the ‘front doors’ or gateways to our region,” says Joest. “It’s important we have a modern, passenger-friendly facility to welcome visitors here and help our residents get where they want and need to go.”
In December 2015, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Review Committee announced the distribution of funds from the Regional Cities Initiative to three recipient regions. One of those was the Southwest Region, which encompasses the Evansville metropolitan area. In the April/May 2016 story “On the Move,” Evansville Business detailed the proposed projects of the “Great Life, Great Community, Great Environment, Great People” plan, which would split the $42 million from Regional Cities among 12 projects.
Spearheaded by the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana (EDCSI), projects fall under two different categories — city center and gateway. These developments and renovations are expected to invest more than $926 million in public and private funding into the area.
“Lots of communities do plans. In many cases, like it or not, a lot of really great ideas and plans sit on someone’s shelf,” Greg Wathen, president and CEO of EDCSI, told Evansville Business last year. “This will not and we will do it in less than five years.”
Joest was a member of the committee that worked on the proposal submitted to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The team met on several occasions, he says, to prepare for the presentation in Indianapolis in 2015.
“It was rewarding in the sense we all got to work together as a team on a project that will have a great impact on our region,” he says. “We were all pulling for a common goal and ultimately achieved it.”
Currently, Evansville Regional Airport offers flights with all three remaining legacy carriers — American, Delta, and United. These airlines fly to five top-rated hubs — Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; and Detroit — which offer opportunities for passengers to go anywhere in the world. The recently added Allegiant service that flies non-stop to Orlando-Sanford has performed well, says Leslie Fella, director of marketing and air service development.
“According to Allegiant, we’re performing as a mature market, instead of as the start-up market that we are,” says Fella. “Most of the time in the industry, airlines don’t see that as soon as they get started.”
The success of the airport also recently prompted American Airlines to upgrade its Dallas service with the larger CRJ-900 aircraft, which offers nine first-class seats and 76 total seats.
These successes combined with the new renovations are expected to open new doors — and flights — for the airport and its passengers.
“This project is our attempt at giving back to our passengers and community and making this a world-class airport,” says Hahn. “You don’t have to be an international airport to be world-class.”
For more information about the Evansville Regional Airport, call 812-421-4401 or visit flyevv.com.
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
Job: Vice President and General Manager of Evansville Operations, SS&C Technologies
Resume: Senior Financial Analyst, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, 2008-2010; Assurance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2005-2008.
Family: Wife Kristin and daughters Kinsley, 4, and Tatum, 2. Kyle Fields is a big fan of hard work. An Evansville native and graduate of Reitz Memorial High School and the University of Southern Indiana, he has a favorite saying: “You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room; you just have to outwork the smartest person in the room.”
“If you can outwork the smartest person and outwork them consistently, you usually get ahead,” he adds. “That’s something I continue to live by.”
It’s a work ethic that has helped grow SS&C’s Evansville office from a handful of employees in a small space in Innovation Point to 220 staff members housed in the former Sterling Brewery building on Fulton Avenue.
“We have a very strong team that has gotten us to where we are now, and we are poised to continue to grow. An example is our first hire in Evansville, Nick Gilliam, who started back in April 2011 and now is a director and continues to take on more responsibility” he says.
What is the most exciting thing happening in Evansville right now?
I think the Indiana University School of Medicine campus coming Downtown coupled with the confidence level we’re seeing in Evansville natives is exciting. We’re seeing change and it’s the right change. We’re seeing growth and it’s the right growth.
We’re happy to be a part of it at SS&C and contribute as much as we can. One of the things we like about our space is the visibility from the Lloyd Expressway, but also the development buzz that’s going on at Franklin Street and Downtown.
How would you describe SS&C?
A global provider of financial software and services. We have two business units — technology and outsourcing solutions. SS&C owns its own accounting technology used by clients as well as our employees supporting hedge and private equity funds.
We have a presence for both business units in Evansville, with headquarters in Windsor, Connecticut, and other offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
What motivates you each day?
My daughters. My wife, family, and friends as well, but the girls are certainly motivators for me. They put things into perspective. Whether you have a long day or a short day, it doesn’t matter. You go home and they don’t know about it. They just come with open arms.
And they are the bosses, especially our oldest, Kinsley. I go home and I get bossed around.
Why do you think it’s important to have a company like SS&C in Evansville?
I think for Evansville to continue on the trajectory we are on — which is a great one — we have to recruit more companies that are going to hire and retain folks here, as opposed to our graduates going to Nashville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky, etc.
I think it’s key the city continues to recruit companies that may not necessarily have a large presence already in Evansville, like an SS&C, that brings a unique perspective. We bring a taste of Wall Street to Main Street. Our clients have hedge and private equity funds. They are Wall Street folks and Ivy League grads who we are servicing right here in Evansville. We have had some real success here and I’m sure there are other industries and businesses that can follow suit.
What is something you enjoy doing after work hours or on weekends?
Hanging out with the kids, that’s a big one. We go to Donut Bank almost every Saturday morning if we’re in town. When they wake up, that’s something they always look forward to.
The complaints of residents saying there is nothing to do and nowhere to go have all but gone away. The almost audible groans of business owners under the weight of former administrations’ development decisions are but a murmur. The sound of shoppers’ exodus out of Downtown is no more. Instead, if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of progress.
“Downtown is growing so quickly, you might be able to hear it,” says Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) Executive Director Kelley Coures, adding the area currently has about $380 million in renovations simultaneously occurring — an unprecedented amount even for modern times.
Evansville’s Downtown certainly is booming, with renovations and new construction happening nearly everywhere you look. Coures says 24 new businesses have opened in the heart of the city, bringing a momentum and leading the way for new ventures and entrepreneurs.
“We’ve got the beginning of a small business retail renaissance,” says Coures. “What you see is the rebirth of retail. Retail follows progress and rooftops.”
Coures’s boss Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says while the city has done its part to revive Downtown, he is most proud of the private investors getting involved.
“It tells me developers believe our Downtown is on the move, that they can make a return on their investment, which is a great sign of confidence in our city,” he says, adding that the growth Downtown is having an effect in other parts of Evansville. “When downtowns thrive, other parts of the city grow as well and become vibrant.
The City of Evansville, Architectural Renovators LLC, and Indiana Landmarks teamed up to take this building from rundown to revived. While the city issued a raze order on the 19th-century rowhouse built in 1882, the Winnecke administration and DMD pledged $100,000 toward Owen Block’s stabilization. With additional funds raised by Indiana Landmarks, Architectural Renovators transformed the building into 15 one-bedroom apartments. The community gathered Aug. 5, 2016, for the ribbon-cutting and tours of the property.
In the summer of 2015, Penny Nejad, owner of Café Arazu in Newburgh, Indiana, purchased the former The Jungle restaurant. Plans were to create a second location similar to the café in Newburgh, but with different menu options. Arazu on Main opened its doors to the public in November 2016. Both the exterior and interior of the historic building received extensive renovations, including a new neon sign outside the building, paying homage to The Jungle.
The iconic 1938 art moderne Greyhound Bus Station houses BRU Burger Bar & Grill, operated by Indianapolis-based restaurant developer The Cunningham Group. Architectural Renovators LLC restored the exterior of the former terminal, while Empire Contractors was the general contractor for the inside restoration. The building — owned by Indiana Landmarks — can seat 180 diners. The restaurant opened Nov. 21, 2016, and serves lunch and dinner options seven days a week.
After a few stumbling blocks, the $71.4- million DoubleTree Hilton Hotel — located adjacent to The Ford Center — broke ground in March 2014 with plans to open the structure by January 2017. The Downtown hotel features 241 guest rooms and a full-service restaurant and lounge, and is being built by lead contractor Hunt Construction. The DoubleTree also provides 12,000 square feet of event space to help attract convention-goers back to Evansville, which has been without a true convention hotel.
When YMCA of Southwestern Indiana received a $5-million share of the city’s Regional Cities Initiative award, it marked the beginning of big changes for the Downtown YMCA campus. The organization is planning construction of a new health and wellness facility on the parking lot facing Court Street. The former YMCA residential building is to be converted into one- and two-bedroom, income-based housing units. Private developer AP Development is to provide $15 million for the renovations, while the YMCA will raise another $5 million to be used with Regional Cities Initiative funds to create the new health and wellness facility.
A few years and many plans culminated with the demolition of the annex and skywalk of the former Riverhouse Hotel along Walnut Street. The order from the city came in June 2016 to have the structures razed, which was completed in late August. The fate of the main hotel building still remains in limbo. According to Coures, property owner George Yerolemou says he has a signed franchise agreement with a large hotel chain, but hasn’t yet disclosed specifics.
The building at 518-520 Main St. has seen more than a few restaurants occupy its space over the years. Now, it may be set to welcome a Korean eatery. Formerly the Uptown Event Restaurant, the property was sold in August 2016 to Joseph Kim, who previously was involved with Ninki’s Japanese Bistro in Newburgh, Indiana. Plans were to convert the space into Gangnam Korean Cuisine restaurant. He has not set an official opening date. Before Uptown Event operated in the building, Main Gate Bar and Grill called the space home.
In October 2016, work began on the Cambridge Arms apartment building, converting it into 32 new one-bedroom apartments and a penthouse suite, funded by private developers. The exterior of the structure features an art deco-style popular in the 1920s and 30s. Architectural Renovators LLC is working as the lead contractor on the project, beginning with the interior of the historic building. Construction is expected to wrap up fall 2017.
The Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Plaza makes up one-third of the city and county government campus Downtown. In 2015, Scott Danks and the group Professional Plaza LLC developed the property from a vacant school corporation building. The property contains two floors and a lower level, as well as its own parking lot. Currently Danks & Danks law office and a branch of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union have office spaces in the building. The rest of the units are available for tenants to build out.
This building was designed by architect W.E. Russ and completed in 1917, about the same time the McCurdy Hotel was finished. According to Coures, brothers Robert and Steve Barber plan to renovate the Cadick into six luxury apartments. Construction is currently underway with completion set for spring 2017.
Started by Lamasco Bar and Grill owner Amy Word-Smith, The Dapper Pig has resided in the historic Bromm Manor in the Haynie’s Corner Art District since fall 2015. The city purchased the property along with 5961 Adams Ave. in 2009 for $190,000; Word-Smith paid $15,000 for the home in April 2015.
When Skip Seaman and Dillip Patel looked at the former Daughters of Isabella building on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Vine Street, they saw a chance to bring an event-rental facility to Downtown. The 3,915-square-foot, completely remodeled space opened in late 2015 and can house up to 279 guests. It also includes a warming kitchen, taproom machine, and an outdoor patio.
Property at Locust Street between Fifth and Sixth streets
Set to be the new home of the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville program, the Evansville Multi-Institutional Academic Health Science Education and Research Campus will cover roughly 140,000 square feet of Downtown. Contractor Skanska USA Civil broke ground on the $61-million facility Oct. 23, 2015, with completion set for 2018. The building also will house programs from IU School of Dentistry, the University of Evansville, and the University of Southern Indiana.
Odyssey Construction is making progress on the $12-million renovation of the former McCurdy Hotel building, owned by the Kunkel Group. Odyssey Construction has restored original ornamental features and brought the former hotel into the 21st century. While commercial spaces will occupy the ground floor, more than 100 modern one- and two-bedroom apartments — starting at $725 — should be available to rent in February 2017.
Danco Construction Inc. oversaw building of the Evansville Levee Authority’s newest facility, which houses the city’s 1,600 linear feet of floodwall and provides a location for maintenance of vehicles. The city sold its former storage building located on Riverside Drive to make way for Tropicana’s new land-based casino. The Levee Authority will retain its main building at 1300 Waterworks Road.
The former Siegel’s Department Store building was one of 17 properties statewide to receive a Historic Renovation Grant, a competitive program designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties to further incentivize cities’ downtown economic development. Warren Investment Group owns the property and plans to use the $73,100 award for retail space on the ground floor and apartments in upper floors.
Enjolé Interiors now calls this historic building its home. Known as the Ridgway Building, it was constructed in 1860 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Landmark Design & Engineering as well as JPM Contractors transformed the 16,000-square foot space of Berger & Berger’s former law office into Enjolé’s new retail space on the first two floors and storage on the third and fourth floors.
This building at the corner of Third and Main streets soon will be home to the Comfort by Cross-Eyed Cricket restaurant, a spinoff of the popular local eatery Cross-Eyed Cricket at 2101 W. Pennsylvania St. Historically known as the Washington House for the hotel originally built there, the site also was home to The Farmer’s Daughter restaurant and Evansville Commercial College.
Like the Siegel’s Department Store, the O’Donnell Building’s Historic Renovation Grant will be used to create retail space on the ground floor and apartments upstairs. The building’s owner Carl Arnheiter received $39,087 that can be used on renovations such as roof replacement, masonry restoration, repair and replacement of windows, façade renovation, painting, storefront upgrades, and rear-entry improvements.
This vacant parking lot is set to become a 139-room Hyatt Place hotel, with construction to begin in spring 2017 and completed spring 2018. Construction will cost $18 million — none of which will come from taxpayer funds. Across the street, the Scottish Rite at 203 Chestnut St. will be razed to become the hotel’s parking lot.
Tropicana Evansville was the first Hoosier casino to announce plans to move inland after Indiana legislators approved a bill in 2015 allowing casinos to be land-based. Properties between Le Merigot and Tropicana hotels were purchased to make way for the $50-million construction project, which began in July 2016. The 75,000-square foot casino will house restaurants, bars, lounges, and games; it is set to open late 2017 and will replace the riverboat casino.
The eclectic eatery Walton’s International Comfort Food has had much success since opening in January 2016. Renovations to the building were made possible with a $50,000 grant from the federal Community Development Block Grant Program. Recently, the upstairs space of Walton’s became Fidel’s Bourbon Bar and Cigar Lounge. The bar serves premium bourbon, Prohibition-era cocktails, and soon cigars at its location in the Haynie’s Corner Arts District.
The Montrose Apartments were built in 1923, while the Maybelle Apartments were built at the back of the Montrose in 1924. DMD purchased the long-vacant building in 2012 and signed a development agreement with local developer Michael Martin of Architectural Renovators LLC in 2014 to bring new life to the building. Martin renovated 12 units — six in each complex — and converted the Montrose’s basement into two additional units. Tenants were able to move in to the 14 units October 2015.
In August 2016 after announcing plans to renovate, Warren Investment Group opened the doors of the former No-Ruz Grotto to the public for a peek inside the historic building. Built in 1868 by attorney and Army general James Shackelford, it most recently was the gathering place of social club No-Ruz Grotto. The building has been vacant for many years. Exterior updates will take place first, while the inside will offer a variety of commercial spaces.
The Evansville Brewhouse nano pub opened for business July 2016 in the former McBride’s Master Cleaners & Tailors. Located next to the Alahambra Theater in the heart of the Haynie’s Corner Arts District, the small craft brewery serves its own recipe as well as other beers, hard ciders, bourbons, and wines. Public records reveal the property is owned by the city’s Brownfields Corp.
The former headquarters of Roger’s Jewelers soon will become home of anchor tenant, Jimmy John’s sandwich shop. A cellphone repair store and another tenant (yet to be confirmed) also will occupy the corner of Main and N.W. Fourth streets. Renovations began this spring, transforming the dated façade with fresh paint and walls of windows. Jimmy John’s is on course to open this winter.
The Old Post Office Event Center may cater some of Evansville’s finest parties and gatherings by night, but by day this facility holds hearings for Social Security’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). ODAR outgrew its space in the Federal Building, 101 N.W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and moved to its second- and third-floor spaces in 2015 — four years after renovations began.