July 26, 2017
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A Day in the Life

From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., see what life is like for the mayor of Evansville
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke looks out over Downtown Evansville.

7:12 a.m.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke strolls up to the front door of WEVV 44News along Carpenter Street, two boxes of Donut Bank doughnuts in his hands. 

“It’s my way of an apology,” he says with a laugh and a smile.

Each month on a Monday morning, Winnecke has a standing segment on the WEVV 44News This Morning program. He takes the short time to talk to viewers about upcoming city events and give updates on current projects. However, he unfortunately forgot his scheduled appearance on May 8 at the station. He hoped the doughnut-apology would once again put him in the good graces of the producers at WEVV.

The apology works — morning anchor Tommy Mason takes the doughnuts from the mayor with a big smile and a word of thanks.

“The producers are going to be really happy,” he says as he guides Winnecke into the studio.

▲ On Thursday, May 11, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke started his day at 7:15 a.m. by appearing on the WEVV 44News This Morning program with anchor Tommy Mason. 

A seasoned pro in front of a camera, Winnecke exchanges jokes and calls out “good morning” to the newsroom staff as he puts on his mic. He’s a tad late for the segment — the stop for doughnuts serving as the cause — but doesn’t seemed fazed in the slightest.

In fact, he’s very much in his element.

Five minutes later, he steps off the stage, hands over the mic, and waves goodbye as he makes his way out of the studio. It’s near 7:30 a.m., and his day won’t slow down at all.

“It’s not unusual to start this early,” says the 57-year-old Evansville native. “It’s fairly common.”

As he pulls into the parking lot at the Civic Center, there only are a few cars to greet him. This early in the morning, the city just is waking up. Walking through the entrance, Winnecke makes his way to the front staircase of the building.

“I always go up and down the front stairs because I want to make sure people see me and can talk to me,” he says, climbing the three flights to the Mayor’s Office. “I want people to know I’m accessible.”
The offices are quiet as Winnecke arrives. It’s a rare, quiet moment to prep himself for the upcoming day.

▲ Winnecke snaps a selfie from one of the upper floors of the new Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville campus being built Downtown. 

Most residents are familiar with Winnecke’s background. An Evansville native who attended Central High School and graduated from the University of Evansville, he’s no stranger to the political scene in his hometown. But the dream wasn’t always to be in the public eye via local government. A young Winnecke had his sight set a bit higher.

“I wanted to be the second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals,” he says without missing a beat. “When I was a kid, I practiced my autograph because I knew I was going to be a professional baseball player.”

Though his love for the Cardinals has not diminished, the aspiration of playing for them died out as he moved through his school years.

Instead, when Winnecke left the campus of UE, he took with him a degree in communications which led to a 17-year career in news broadcasting with eight of those years as a news director at WEHT-TV News 25. In 1998, he made a fairly large jump in his career — moving from television news to banking.

“It was curiosity more than anything,” explains Winnecke of the switch in professions. “I loved my career in television news. I really enjoyed that business. But I was thinking, ‘What else can I do?’”

The leap of faith wouldn’t be the last — after 13 years, he would leave his position as senior vice president and marketing director for Fifth Third Bank to dive into city government. Though his career path has seen him work in markets including Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky, Winnecke truly enjoys living and working in his hometown.

“It’s real exciting to be a part of its growth. It’s fun to talk and run into people I went to high school or college with,” he says. “There’s just a special sense of satisfaction probably few can appreciate.” 

8:40 a.m.

Winnecke sits across from Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer, feet propped up, as he recaps an event he attended the day before. Schaefer’s office — located through a small conference room and intern area from the mayor’s office — is what Winnecke dubs “The War Room.” 

The rapport between the two is strong, for obvious reasons, but both men generally are easy going and have just as many jokes to share as they do business topics. Their talking session lasts around 20 minutes before Winnecke is up out of his chair, heading to the next event. With talking points in hand, he drives toward the West Side, where he will give a few opening remarks before a Four Freedoms Veterans Parade announcement.

Cruising in his car, Winnecke listens to one of four selections — WIKY, ’70s on 7 satellite radio, sports news, or the Broadway Network.

“I love music, and I love theater,” he says. “And I love to sing.”

As Winnecke pulls up to park across the street from the West Branch Library, he takes a moment in the car to once again refresh his memory of his talking points. As his eyes skim over the words, “Razzle Dazzle” from “Chicago The Musical” softly plays in the background.

“Give ‘em the ol’ razzle dazzle. Razzle dazzle ‘em,” Winnecke softly sings under his breath as he finally folds the speech notes and lays them on the car’s console.

▲ The Commission on Homelessness is one of several committees and boards Winnecke continues to be a part of. Above, it is not unusual for Winnecke to give opening speeches at events, as he did at a Four Freedoms Veterans Parade announcement.

After 30 minutes, it’s back to the Civic Center, prepping for a 10 a.m. meeting with the Commission on Homelessness. There are no speeches here for Winnecke to prepare. He sits at the head of the conference room table, surrounded by a room full of county, city, and other organization leaders as they discuss homelessness in the community.

Winnecke intently listens, leaned back in the chair, and after each speaker, he follows up with questions to lead more discussion. One hour passes quickly; it seems a bit difficult to believe it is just after 11 a.m., with so much ground already covered that morning. It’s an aspect of the job Winnecke was aware of when elected, but didn’t fully understand until he was in the position.

“It’s hard to describe the demands of time. We’re probably our own worst enemy in that we agree to do too much,” he says. “It’s also part of the exhilaration of it.”

11:52 a.m.

Winnecke rushes out of his office, umbrella in hand. The luncheon for the Evansville Retired Teachers Association begins at noon at the American Baptist East Church on the East Side of town. 

In light traffic, the drive from the Civic Center to the church is 12 minutes. Winnecke has only eight.

Miraculously, he walks through the door of the church’s gym just before noon. The retired Evansville Vanderburgh County School Corporation teachers milling about are none the wiser.

Only a few steps into the building, he is stopped by many former teachers with laughs and warm hugs. They all clearly are proud of Winnecke and are quick to sing his praises.

“I saw him one day cutting bushes down in a creek and thought, ‘That’s a nice political thing to do.’ Then the next day, he’s on Covert Avenue staring at a sinkhole, and I’m thinking, ‘OK, Superman, you don’t have to do it all,’” says Terry Becker, the incoming president of ERTA and Winnecke’s former music teacher, with a laugh and shake of his head.

Ed Cole pushes his way up to the mayor for his own enthusiastic greeting. Cole was Winnecke’s high school journalism teacher, and one the mayor seems very fond of.

“He’s the most visible mayor I’ve ever known,” says Cole with a firm nod of his head. “I’m telling you, he’s everywhere.”

▲ Some events are more relaxed than others, such as the Evansville Retired Teachers Association luncheon Winnecke attended. Not only did he joke and tell stories with teachers he knew, like his former journalism teacher Ed Cole (seen below), he also took questions and gave an update on city projects.

After lunch, it’s time for Winnecke to assume the role of storyteller. Instead of standing behind the podium, he simply takes the mic and begins to stroll through the tables. He shares stories, former teachers call out their own anecdotes, and they all laugh together. It’s a situation Winnecke clearly enjoys being in.

“I am who I am today because of the teachers of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation,” he tells them with sincerity. “Plain and simple.”

The plan was to speak and head back to his office no later than 1:30 p.m., but after regaling the crowd with tales of Ed Cole’s hall passes (Cole later jots down a “hall pass” on a sheet of notebook paper and hands it to Winnecke, which garners a laugh from the mayor — it reads, “Lloyd Winnecke, Hall Pass, Good forever!”), Winnecke stays to talk.

He listens to their concerns and shares as much information as he can. Each person who speaks with him has a smile and, more often than not, there is a lot of laughter.

Winnecke and his wife Carol McClintock have been married for 28 years. Winnecke has one daughter Danielle, who lives in Arizona with her husband Steve and their two children, Holden 9, and Oliver, 5.

Looking about Winnecke’s office, it’s not hard to see his family means a great deal to him. He admits without hesitation he’s the world’s sappiest grandfather.

“A lot of things motivate me, but on a real personal level, all of my personal relationships and friendships motivate me,” says Winnecke. “I’m motivated by my wife and her drive and energy, not just by her profession but what she wants to do for the city. She most definitely is my partner in this effort.”

“We enjoy talking through the business of the day,” says McClintock. “We share ideas of how Evansville can continue to be improved.”

The citizens motivate the mayor as well, bringing to light the needs of the city to his office. While the big development projects throughout the community grab the headlines, some of the most important work is not so glamorous.

“One thing that first impressed me about him was he said he was a mayor for everyone,” says Marianne Hill, Winnecke’s executive assistant. “He truly believes he can make change happen.”

“Lloyd’s greatest asset is his true caring spirit,” adds McClintock. “His ability to relate to people in all walks of life on a personal level is a rare trait.”

The stars correctly were aligned when Winnecke decided to make the jump from banking to mayor of Evansville. His story may have been different if former mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel had decided to run for a third term.

“I have so much respect for him,” says Winnecke. “What we’re able to do today is because of a lot of things he did. I truly believe that.”

But as fate would have it, Weinzapfel did not run, and in July 2011, Winnecke began his campaign for mayor of the city. He already had served in local government since 2000, when he filled a vacated county council seat under then-mayor Russ Lloyd Jr. He also had been elected to the county commission in 2009.

It was a decision that worked in his favor; he was elected into his first term in 2011 and his second in 2015.
“Lloyd diligently has worked to be an effective partner to me as a federal representative,” says Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-8). Bucshon and Winnecke have known one another for more than a decade.

“Over the years, we’ve become good friends and I’ve gained a great deal of respect for him,” says Bucshon. “So much so that when I decided to run for Congress, Lloyd was one of the first people I contacted.”

In early 2017, Winnecke formally announced he would seek a third term as mayor of the city, which — were he to win — would begin in 2020 and end in 2024.

“I would be 63, and I would hope I’d have some energy left to do something fun,” he says with a smile.

Until then, another election cycle looms on the horizon, but it is not a daunting prospect, which is why Winnecke decided to seek the seat once again.

“It’s still the best job I’ve ever had, and I immensely enjoy it,” he says. “And there are things I want to see done, started, completed, whatever the case may be, and two terms won’t be enough.”

Many have suggested to Winnecke he should consider running for a higher political office at a state level. It’s a flattering thought, he says, but when he mulls over the possibility, it’s not one he’s likely to pursue.

“I think Lloyd will continue to serve in local government,” says McClintock. “There still is much to do in Evansville. I think Lloyd wants to continue to make the city a place for everyone.”

“The fact of the matter is my heart really is here,” adds Winnecke. “My father is here; my wife’s business is here. And I really like this job.”

4:30 p.m.

It’s nearing 5 p.m. — while most of the Civic Center employees are getting ready to head home for the evening, Winnecke prepares for the final part of his day. He is set to make an appearance at a fundraising event for the Dan Scism Scholarship Foundation at Old National Bank.

As he walks into the lobby and is escorted to the elevators by Tina Wells of the scholarship foundation selection committee, Winnecke asks if he’s expected to say anything to those attending.

“You are speaking; you’re giving opening remarks,” she informs him.

Winnecke nods and asks what he is expected to touch on. The two exchange a few topic points as the elevator opens. He steps in, and she keys him up to the eighth floor. As the elevator doors close, Winnecke smiles.

“It’s OK, I’ll come up with something,” he says.

As promised, when it is time for Winnecke to give the opening remarks, he makes an address that seems far from just-prepared. He stays a bit longer than he originally plans, shaking hands and conversing with friends.

Then, he’s on his way to the YWCA Tribute to Achievement dinner at the Evansville Country Club. It’s near 7 p.m. when he walks up the stairs to the event rooms, and it’s the first time all day he seems a bit tired.

Dinner already has begun but as is common in nearly all the events he attends, a line starts to form to greet him. After he snaps a selfie with 96-year-old Katie McLaughlin, who says she’s known him for many years, Winnecke is guided to his seat where his meal has been kept warm for him.

He quickly eats, just before the countdown clock has reached zero and the room erupts into a controlled chaos as dinner guests vie for pieces of cake. A tradition of the tribute dinner is to have donated cakes as centerpieces on each table, allowing those attending to circle the room and try as much cake as they like.

“I’m headed straight for that German chocolate cake,” Winnecke says as he grabs a plate and heads to the other side of the room.

The presentation honoring Nancy Gaunt begins shortly after, and the mayor is one of the last to speak. His voice is quiet and sincere as he reads from a proclamation declaring May 11, 2017, as Nancy Gaunt day in her honor.

The event ends around 8:45 p.m., and the room begins to clear. Winnecke stands with a smile on his face.

“So that’s a day. And I start all over tomorrow again at WIKY at 7 a.m.,” he says.

Though he clearly is tired, the prospect of starting early again the next day doesn’t seem to concern him. It is, after all, a typical day in the life of Evansville’s Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. 

▲ Winnecke and his wife Carol McClintock have been married for 28 years and reside in Downtown Evansville. Photo by Jerry Butts. Further above, Winnecke stands with 2017 YWCA Tribute to Achievement honoree Nancy Gaunt. The dinner at the Evansville Country Club was his final event on May 11. Photo by Zach Heronemus.



When Thank You Is Not Enough

Flags lowered along Newburgh’s riverfront in honor of William F. Tucker Jr.

I was attending a business meeting in Houston, Texas, May 21, and went to my room for a moment prior to a lunch meeting. My cell phone rang and my sister was telling me our father William Franklin Tucker Jr. had just passed away.

Although gravely ill, I had been encouraged by everyone in my family to attend this very important group of meetings. I now realize nothing in life can prepare you for this moment. Calling my father’s wife later that day, I informed her I was cutting my meetings short and had already changed flights. “Your dad would have a fit if you left your meetings now,” she said.

So, knowing it was still Sunday afternoon with no arrangements until Thursday due to the arrival of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, I decided to stay. It seemed rather surreal for everyone to go about his or her business in Houston, but I started to engage myself in the meetings.

My father, who stood by me as my best man in my wedding and throughout my life, has now been celebrated and buried next to his beloved parents.

To the hundreds and hundreds of people who sent cards, flowers, attended visitation, services, and burial, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The kindness shown makes me wonder where there could possibly be a better and more caring group of people than in our community. Many visitors drove great distances to pay tribute to a very funny man of great character and wisdom. That’s right, Dad; I was forced to say that in print and publicly.

The town of Newburgh paid an incredible tribute by lowering the town flags to half-staff for five days beginning with my father’s visitation. He loved his town and made many contributions in the past. Thank you, Newburgh.

And when the visitation was over Thursday night I turned to my cousin Katie and said, “Can you even believe that many people came through here tonight?” “Yes, I can believe it,” she said. Thanks for everything, Dad. I am missing you already. I know, I’m surprised too. No doubt we still will have many great conversations. 

Our feature story on Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, “A Day in the Life,” captures who the mayor is and what it takes to run the city. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office and the mayor himself for allowing Managing Editor Trista Lutgring unfiltered access for a “typical” day.

In my opinion, regardless of any political leanings, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is the mayor of Evansville for all the right reasons. Namely, he loves and cares about our community and citizens from all walks of life. Last Friday, at 3:55 p.m. with a visitation at my father’s funeral beginning at 4 p.m., the first two people to pay their respects were Lloyd and his wife Carol. So whether you agree politically or not, Lloyd Winnecke wants to move Evansville forward. Those of you who wish to criticize the mayor, often regarding things you know nothing about? Get out of the way or get involved. When Lloyd was senior vice president of marketing for Fifth Third Bank prior to being elected mayor, we often did business together. During one long conversation — er, business meeting — he told me about possible mayoral ambitions and the changes that would bring to his life.

“Why would you want to subject yourself to that and everything that comes with it, Lloyd?” I asked. “Because I truly feel I can make Evansville a better place,” he replied. Thanks for stepping up and taking the office of mayor head on.

 As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker


Main Drag

Evansville’s iconic street brings businesses together
Shoppers in the 1960s walk along Main Street between Fourth and Sixth streets.

Shoppers, walkers, and visitors can stroll down Main Street and still see signs of the past present today — literally. A trolley stop sign still stands on the walkway as a reminder of the days when trolleys ran up and down the street in the early 19th century and again in the 1980s when the road was widened to allow gas-powered trolley buses.

The walkway along Main Street was completed soon after in 1986 after closing the two-way, four-lane thoroughfare to traffic in 1971. It wasn’t until 2002 that one lane of traffic going south was allowed to return. With the opening of the Ford Center in 2011, traffic was reversed and cars now drive north.

“We have had two-way traffic, and now the traffic heads from the river to the Ford Center,” says Jan Howell, owner of Emge’s Deli and Ice Cream.

Main Street, which has been covered in various stories for both Evansville Business and Evansville Living, has become synonymous with the growing Downtown district. Businesses, restaurants, and boutique shops all have flourished along Main in the last few years and have grown into a community all their own.

“I do think getting to meet and know this diversified group of people is exciting and educational,” says Joseph Mulroy, owner of Decades of Design. “It’s almost like its own little separate community.”

This feeling of community has drawn new businesses to the iconic Downtown street, like Tracy Klemczewski’s Outside the Gift Box which opened last June. She says her family always loved Main Street and walking along the riverfront. When Klemczewski decided to open her own business, she knew it had to be on Main.

“I’ve met a lot of people who own shops, and they all are so accepting and friendly,” she says. “It feels like home.”

While some may think this breeds a competitive market, each business fits in to the larger Main Street puzzle. Howell says she knows if a customer is looking for fries, she can send them to Peephole. If someone at Peephole is looking for a ham sandwich, they will send them to Emge’s.

“What I have found in 43 years of business is we’re not competing with each other,” says Howell. “We’re each doing our own thing. People like a variety of businesses, shopping, and eateries. People like choices, and the Main Street businesses have something for everyone. It’s a good city feel.”


Secure Future

Paragon Sight Sound Security designs technological, integrated homes
Matt Deters, Ryan Cain, and Jon Deters have grown their business Paragon Sight Sound Security since 2005.

Ryan Cain’s obsession with audio equipment began in his car. In college, this interest led him to a sales job with ADT. Today, Cain owns the video, security, and audio equipment store Paragon Sight Sound Security, located at 133 W. Lincoln Ave. in Chandler, Indiana.

Cain and his business partner Matt Deters began Paragon in 2005, previously having worked for security and audiovisual companies in Indianapolis and Nashville, Tennessee.

The business provides everything from high-end visual devices and professional sound equipment to elite security gear, all of which can be integrated into one platform controlled through a tablet or an app downloaded onto a smart phone.

“It started off if you wanted an integrated home, it was so expensive,” says Matt. “Today, you can get so much more for the same price as you could 10 years ago.”

While Cain was working in Indianapolis, the company he worked for had a 50-inch TV for $15,000. With the price of electronics dropping each year, though, people are becoming more interested in having high-quality, professional home theater equipment in their homes.

“The rooms we’re doing are nice rooms,” says Cain. “They’re not just cheap projectors and your average sound equipment. We now are doing systems that don’t even have Blu-Ray. When I started, we were doing VCR.”

Paragon, however, is not a retail outlet. They strictly do custom designs and are experts in creating integrated systems for residential clients. Their installation is clean and seamless, giving customers the highest quality sound and audio without having the distraction of visible speakers, boxes, cables, and multiple remotes.

Some of their security systems feature cameras allowing homeowners to see who is at their front door or to even secure and unsecure their home from any location across the world. Matt says he uses the system to remotely let workers into his house, like pest control or pet sitters, without the security issues of giving out a key or garage code.

“The worst thing is when you have a house and have 12 remotes to operate everything,” says Jon Deters, Paragon’s system designer. “We just have one — on a touch screen.”

With technology constantly changing and innovating, they try to keep their eyes on the future. Their biggest piece of advice to clients is to plan and wire their homes for whatever they think they might want in the future, even if they don’t want anything put in at the moment.

“We’re limited to two things — the pocketbook and the imagination,” says Cain.

For more information about Paragon Sight Sound Security, call 812-306-5544 or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/evansvillehometheater.


Shared Blessings

Evansville couple has passion for giving back
Rita and Larry Meeks stand in the Carson Center’s Meeks Family Court, soon to be called the Meeks Family Fieldhouse.

For Rita and Larry Meeks, giving back is second nature. The owners of Gibco Motor Express, though quite humble, are known by many in the city for their generous spirits.

“We figure God blesses us so much, we just are more than happy to pass that on,” says Rita, who also runs R4 Boutique in French Lick, Indiana, and plans to open a store in Carmel, Indiana, soon. “I feel like that’s what it’s all about.”

Students of the University of Evansville who practice in the Carson Center’s Meeks Family Court enjoy the results of the couple’s contributions. The court was dedicated in 2011 and, according to university Athletic Director Mark Spencer, is set to undergo renovations soon. The new space will be called the Meeks Family Fieldhouse.

The couple also has been instrumental in the growth of the university’s Sixth Man Club (an organization that supports the men’s basketball program), as well as being active with Youth First, Inc.

“Youth First is such a good organization,” says Rita. “I have made so many wonderful friends; those people are the most giving and loving people.”

Evansville Christian Life Center, Potter’s Wheel, Ronald McDonald House, and more round out the list of organizations the Meeks have or continue to work with. They also proudly look back on donation efforts from the Tri-State during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The couple helped collect items and hauled them to areas affected by the storms using Gibco trucks.

“We took 18 loads in 53-foot tractor trailers,” says Larry. “We hauled everything from water to toys. It was well worth it.”

Larry, a native of Terre Haute, Indiana, and Rita, who always has called Evansville home, say their faith drives their passion for giving back to the community.

“I feel like we should all do our part,” says Rita. “I think community is the way to create a better society.” 


Willkommen in Evansville

Delegates visit from German Sister City of Osnabrück
Lord Mayor Wolfgang Griesert stands in Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s office during a visit from a delegation of Osnabrück, Germany.

River City residents recently had to brush up on their “hallos” and “auf wiedersehens” to welcome a delegation from Evansville’s sister city Osnabrück, Germany.

The delegation of 18 people included the city’s Lord Mayor Wolfgang Griesert, the region’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Marco Graf, and the Twinning Office Manager Jens Koopman.

“There are cultural, educational, and economic interests that universally are shared,” says Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “And to the extent we can learn more about a city similar in our size halfway across the world, I think we’re a better community for it.”

Evansville, one of Osnabrück’s 11 sister cities, has had a relationship with the German city for 26 years and mainly is tied by educational exchanges, says Winnecke.

“It’s not a contact between the mayors,” adds Griesert. “It’s a contact between people. It’s a unique thing of Osnabrück that they have ambassadors they exchange with five other city schools.”

In addition to education, the two cities were able to learn and share about local economies and business. The group toured Berry Global and was impressed by the scope of the company in a city the size of Evansville.

“There is no company in Osnabrück which is this size,” says Graf. “In Germany, we have the word of the ‘mittelstand.’ This is a family-owned, medium-sized business, so Berry is not mittelstand. First of all, it is not family-owned, and it’s not small or medium. It’s big.”

Though there are some differences between the two cities, this trip has shown there are many more similarities.

“Both mittelstands and companies such as Berry compete for skilled labor,” says Graf. “This was interesting for me to find out. You are an economically successful region, such as we are, and so we face the same challenges particularly on the labor market.”

Another parallel between Osnabrück and Evansville is that both cities are the third largest in their state. Lower Saxony has a population of about 8 million people with the population of Indiana being a little more than 6 million people.

“Everyone is very friendly and open, and that’s a similarity,” says Griesert.
These resemblances should come as no surprise to Evansville residents with their German heritage permeating many aspects of community life.

“Your ancestors immigrated,” says Graf. “Our ancestors stayed.”

Through all of the educational and economic learning happening with this partnership, one of the most valuable parts of having a sister city is being able to understand how foreign cities and cultures may not be so foreign after all.

“We talk about how we have far more in common than we don’t,” says Winnecke. “Guess what? Every community shares the same kinds of problems whether you’re in Evansville, Indiana, or Osnabrück, Germany.”

For more information about the City of Osnabrück, visit osnabrueck.de.


Ready For Take Off

Local innovator looks to change air marshaling with gloves
The lights used in the gloves are LED, which will last many years.

“Inventor” is not exactly how Josh Hazelwood describes himself.

“I’m just a guy with a lot of ideas,” says the University of Sothern Indiana graduate and Indianapolis native.

At the Evansville Startup Weekend 5.0, held in February 2016, Hazelwood took second place with his developed idea of lighted marshaling gloves for aircraft marshalers. Marshalers are individuals on tarmacs directing in airplanes with hand or wand signals. A former Navy air marshaler on the flight decks of the U.S.S. Nassau and the U.S.S. Wasp, Hazelwood — now owner of Hazelwood LLC — knows firsthand the troubles that can occur on a tarmac or flight deck.

“During the daytime, we would use our hands with gloves to communicate with pilots and other personal. Then at nighttime, we modify those hand signals with the use of wands,” he says. “The problem with the wands is we would drop and break them all the time. When they break, there’s about 10 pieces inside that scatter around. Operations have to be stopped in order to find all those pieces.”

The FOD, or foreign object debris, can be sucked into a jet intake, damaging an aircraft, explains Hazelwood. Aside from those issues, wands are cumbersome to hold and require marshalers and pilots to know a different set of hand signals at night. In short, the wands can create problems.
“The gloves just make sense. It’s a product that just makes sense,” says Hazelwood. “I didn’t really plan on pursuing the idea until I was at USI and in some of the entrepreneurial classes there.”

He credits his wife Shannon for choosing the gloves as the idea to present at Startup Weekend. “She made a good choice because they have gained a lot of traction since then,” he says.

From a Naval Conference in San Diego to a major airport headquartered in Dallas, many are anxious for Hazelwood’s prototype to become a reality. He currently is raising capital for manufacturing and has met with different companies — some in Evansville and Indianapolis — who are interested in working with him to produce the gloves. Once he nails down manufacturing, the lighted marshaling gloves could start to appear in Naval fleets and civilian airports around the world.

“I would like to get the gloves to market first, and then other products can follow,” says Hazelwood of his future ideas. “I’ve gained so much traction with the gloves I feel like I have to follow through.”

For more information about Josh Hazelwood’s gloves, call 317-289-9662 or email jrhazelwood@gmail.com.


Homegrown Scholar

Evansville native stays grounded in career as political science expert
Evansville native and Amherst, Massachusetts, resident Paul Musgrave

Paul Musgrave became interested in news as a 4 year old, watching PBS in his home near Haynie’s Corner. Today, he is an expert in foreign policy, teaching political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and writing for notable publications like Slate and The Washington Post.

Though he found an interest in news and politics from a young age, his journey to the professoriate was not a straight path.

A graduate of F.J. Reitz High School, his career began with the speech and debate team where he participated in foreign extemporaneous speaking and realized anyone can participate in political conversations even if they are from a small city like Evansville.

From high school, Musgrave went on to complete his bachelor’s degrees in political science and history at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, and his master’s degree in politics at the University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. During this time, he briefly wrote for Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines as a contributor and editorial extern.

He eventually went on to Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where he earned his doctoral degree in government. While Musgrave says he never pictured his career heading towards academia, it was no surprise for his mother Cheryl Musgrave.

“He took an active interest early on in world affairs,” she says. “We were peculiar parents and weren’t big fans of TV then or now, but we allowed ourselves to have a tiny black and white TV. We watched PBS until [Paul] got so freaked out as a 4 year old by environmental news, because he thought the world was dying. So we had to cut out the news.”

Musgrave says it still is hard to wrap his mind around being an expert in foreign affairs and political science.

“It’s a very bizarre sensation to have people asking you to analyze President Donald Trump’s foreign policy plans, and I’ve found the easiest way to do that is to constantly be checking your own work,” he says.

It is his Evansville upbringing, however, that keeps the Amherst, Massachusetts, resident grounded. He says it’s easy for east coasters to feel they are important because of where they are.

Though some people in New York or Washington, D.C., have influential jobs — some more than the highest positions in Evansville — he notes it doesn’t mean everyone in those cities has an important job.

“One of the things about being in Evansville is you can quite consciously cultivate an understanding that just because something seems important to some people doesn’t mean it’s actually important,” he says. “You really can have a better sense of proportion.”


Lock and Key

Store-N-Lock provides customers with personal space
Store-N-Lock has been providing customers in the Evansville area with storage facilities since 2011.

Storage units have become a common setting in popular culture. From storing Walter White’s drug money stash in the hit show “Breaking Bad” to housing dead bodies in Netflix’s new zombie comedy “Santa Clarita Diet,” people are fascinated by how renters use storage facilities and what they put inside them.

A&E has capitalized on this curiosity with a show called “Storage Wars” set in California featuring auctions of storage units’ contents after owners have defaulted on their payments. The buyers’ goal is to turn a profit on the items they find.

Indiana has similar laws according to LeeAnne Maxwell, property manager for Store-N-Lock. Although, she notes Evansville’s storage unit scene isn’t quite Hollywood ready.

“There’s a big difference between California units and Indiana units,” says Maxwell. “I found a front-load washer and dryer with the tags still on it. I thought that was really cool. Usually it’s household items.”

This doesn’t mean storage unit customers aren’t finding creative ways to use their rented space. Maxwell says a big trend at Store-N-Lock is for local entrepreneurs to use the space as a front for their business.
“That allows them to be out running their business,” says Maxwell.

Store-N-Lock, which started with their Lincoln and N. Green River Road locations in the spring of 2011, now has five locally owned and operated facilities.

“Our owners are not in another city, not in another state,” says Maxwell. “They are right here and actively involved in our local community.”

Along with their traditional storage units, Store-N-Lock also provides parking for vehicles like cars, campers, and RVs. They also donated a space for the Special Olympics’ food truck and other community impact projects.

Maxwell says what they really pride themselves on, however, is the consideration for their customers’ needs. All of their facilities are open 24 hours with access to drop boxes at each location.

“We have a large manufacturing community that can’t come from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so I think that’s important,” says Maxwell. “Our customers are our family.”

For more information about Store-N-Lock, call 812-473-0504 or visit store-n-lock.net.


The Next Generation

Evansville’s Dunn Hospitality Group expands with two millennial-style hotels
Dunn Hospitality Group is celebrating 40 years of business this year, president and COO David Dunn and chairman and CEO John

Dunn Hospitality Group may be celebrating 40 years of business in 2017, but they are keeping their mindset young. The Evansville-based, third-generation, family-run hotel company is catering to the region’s millennial population with two new modern hotels on the city’s East Side.

The group opened a Holiday Inn Express in January and a Home2 Suites by Hilton in mid-March amid the booming retail, restaurant, and business district off E. Lloyd Expressway and Cross Pointe Boulevard.

From the contemporary furniture and brightly colored accent décor to spacious communal dining and seating areas, as well as laundry, workout, pool, and patio areas, Home2 Suites has millennials’ priorities covered, says Dunn Hospitality chairman and CEO and Evansville native John Dunn. The 102-room hotel offers a range of accommodations for extended-stay guests: substantial, studio-apartment-like rooms boasting full kitchens outfitted with a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and dishes, and single or double queen beds and a sofa bed.

Dunn Hospitality’s new Holiday Inn Express also has a splash of millennial style with 92 modern king and queen rooms and amenities including a pool, gym, breakfast bar, and business center. Both buildings are walkable to restaurants and a leisure path surrounding nearby Eagle Lake.

The two new hotels often have been sold out since their openings, says Dunn Hospitality president and COO David Dunn.

“The community really has taken to our new hotels, and it has exceeded our expectations because we have been so well-received by the community,” he says. “It’s a positive sign we identified the right product for the right area.”

Dunn Hospitality understands their market, positioning Home2 Suites by Hilton to cater to their extended-stay guests like business travelers during the weekdays and families enjoying leisure time on the weekends from sports and concerts to weddings; while recognizing Holiday Inn Express sees more single-night stays.

The two new properties bring the total to four Dunn Hospitality hotels in Evansville. The company’s former East Side Holiday Inn Express has been remodeled into a Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, and it also continues to own and operate a Hampton Inn near the Evansville Regional Airport. Additionally, Dunn Hospitality has a Holiday Inn Express & Suites in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, with a Hilton Garden Inn set to open this summer on Louisville’s east side, at the mall of St. Matthews.

Around the year 2000, Dunn Hospitality had 30 hotels in its portfolio. The group, which continually works to stay ahead of the curve, strategically sold many of the properties in bundles through the years. The company has invested more than $100 million in Evansville hotels alone in its 40-year history, notes John. Dunn Hospitality’s current hotels mostly fall within three brands: Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

“With the quality of the product and the quality of the service, they are a good fit for us,” says David.

Dunn Hospitality has selected Springfield, Missouri-based architecture firm Butler, Rosenbury & Partners for its last 10 hotels, and Hospitality Contract Services of Memphis, Tennessee, has served as its designer for the past 30 years. While the exterior curb appeal of the brand-name hotels must match, Dunn Hospitality can — and does — redesign each interior to make its properties unique. It takes two years for Dunn Hospitality to complete a hotel, from identifying the right type of hotel for the right area to the zoning permits and the design-and-build process, says John.

The quality customer service at Dunn Hospitality hotels also sets them apart, he says.

“Our associates have a love for customer service,” says John, adding there are 250 associates across its hotels and the company currently is hiring. “We pride ourselves on a high level of service.”

About 50 percent of Dunn Hospitality hotel guests are repeat customers, and John credits that to the company’s service philosophy. “The brand may get them in the door the first time, but it’s the experience they have inside that makes them come back a second time,” he says.

Through the years, the Dunns say they have strived to give back to the community that has given so much to them. The business has donated more than $7 million to Evansville-area nonprofits, including United Way, religious organizations, and the region’s universities — University of Evansville and University of Southern Indiana, where David attended, and Oakland City University, John’s alma mater.

“The city has been so good to us, and we are most fortunate to be in a position to give back,” says John.

Christy Gillenwater, president and CEO of Southwest Indiana Chamber in Evansville, says it has been a collective effort to create an increased need for hospitality development, like Dunn’s hotels, across the city.

“It’s extremely exciting to see all the new development underway,” says Gillenwater. “These new hotels help to ensure we can meet current and new demands for hotel stays in the region.”

As for Dunn Hospitality’s future, the company also is reaching for a lofty development goal — planning to return to its peak of 30 hotels by 2020, with new properties coming in Texas and Florida, where it has branch offices. The business also is looking to place more hotels throughout the Midwest, including another property on Evansville’s East Side and more potential hotels in cities such as Indianapolis; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis, says David.

“We always are looking for opportunities,” he adds. 

For more information about Dunn Hospitality Group, call 812-471-9300 or visit dunnhospitalitygroup.com.