April 17, 2014
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The Smartwatch

The next big thing isn’t so big

The 45th Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas is host to up-and-coming technologies, gadgets, and gizmos. Each January, manufacturers and entrepreneurs gather to showcase everything as big as TVs to smartwatches, a new wave of strapping Bond technology that tethers our wrists to our phones.

i’m Watch, $349
Headlining innovation and a sleek, elegant design, the i’m Watch is the perfect supplement for iPhone users. Using Bluetooth technology, this Italian-made watch tethers directly to your phone, sending push notifications, text messages, important emails, and social media updates straight to the touch interface.

Weighing in at 95 grams, you can choose between seven vibrant colors and styles: aluminum, titanium, and the exclusive i’m Watch Jewel silver or gold.

The i’market allows users to download apps directly to their watch. With a built-in speaker and microphone for hands-free calling, the i’m Watch has all of the necessary applications.

Pebble, $150
A result of a $10,266,845 Kickstarter project, Pebble is an inventive and fresh take on the smartwatch. Using an easy-to-read E-paper display, the watch can last for a week with your choice of watch face. Connecting to both iPhone and Android phones, Pebble is a minimalist smartwatch with unyielding potential for app developers and the everyday user.

Much like the i’m Watch, the Pebble pushes texts, emails, and messages straight to your wrist with built-in vibration. Utilizing its versatility, the Pebble can track speed, distance, and pace data for cyclists, runners, and swimmers (and it’s waterproof). Imagine driving to work in the morning and, with nothing more than a quick touch of a button, your Pebble can change your Pandora track streamed to your car.

With its replaceable watchbands, the Pebble is a sure thing for a range of users. At $150, it is currently available on backorder.

Martian Watch, $249-$299
Style, technology, and function are blended together in the three Martian Watches. Keeping with the typical analog display, these watches connect to most Android smartphones, iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. With top of the line voice recognition and a speaker, the watch can display texts and email, read them out loud, then allow you to speak directly to Siri or other voice recognition programs to reply.

The $299 Passport Watch is as sleek as it gets. Other models include the $299 Victory and the $249 G2G.


The One That Got Away

Trident Seafood founder and CEO Chuck Bundrant has an impact here with a business thousands of miles away
Dr. David Smith, superintendent of the EVSC, left, stands with Chuck Bundrant, center, and Diane Bundrant.

Back in 1989, cod was king as far as the fish n’ chip market was concerned. And when John Tobe, CEO of Long John Silver’s, visited the Trident Seafoods plant on the Aleutian Island of Akutan that summer, all he wanted to look at was cod. Then he got hungry. That’s when Chuck Bundrant made one of the biggest business deals of his life: he sold him Alaska pollock instead.

Cod and pollock are both abundant whitefish in Alaskan waters. Yet for decades, pollock was considered a trash fish. Large restaurant chains like Long John Silver’s wouldn’t even put it on their menus. Since few restaurants served it and few chefs had even heard of it, they assumed their customers wouldn’t like the flavor. But Bundrant knew differently. He also knew that Alaska pollock was four times as abundant as Alaska cod, and he had a lot of it to sell. So when Tobe and his purchasing manager, Ron Cegnar, asked to tour the largest seafood production facility in North America, Bundrant saw his chance.

At first, things weren’t going so well. Every time Bundrant tried to show Tobe the pollock production line, Tobe wanted to go back and look at the cod being processed. But time was on Bundrant’s side, and eventually, food was on Tobe’s mind.

He had been traveling since 5 a.m. and eaten only one little Danish in Anchorage that morning before flying another 800 miles to Dutch Harbor. In Akutan, a short distance away, he and Bundrant had spent the whole day looking at the processing line. Finally, Tobe turned to Bundrant and said, “Son, don’t you ever eat around here?”

“At that point I brought Tobe into the mess hall, and he was pretty hungry. He was eating a lot of pollock and saying ‘Wow! This is great cod,’” Bundrant recalled. “I said, ‘No sir, that’s pollock.’”

Tobe was taken aback. His purchasing team had tried pollock before. Bundrant’s chefs had prepared it 19 different ways in Seattle, the corporate base for Trident Seafoods. In Lexington, Ky., — Long John Silver’s base at the time — they’d sampled the inexpensive fish five other times. Yet, they’d always refused to sell it in their restaurants.

On this trip, however, Tobe was personally motivated.

“Finally, the right guy was hungry,” Bundrant said. “Converting a company like Long John Silver’s opened the door— the volumes were huge, and having one large customer allowed us to sell a lot of pollock to everyone.”

Thanks to that sale, Trident Seafoods Corp. is more than just a business founded by a 1960 North High School graduate. It’s now a vertically integrated harvester, processor, and marketer of virtually all types of seafood from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and around the world. In addition to pollock, Trident Seafoods leads the Alaskan seafood industry in the production of crab, canned sockeye salmon, and frozen Bristol Bay sockeye. Trident pollock, salmon, crab and other seafood are regular items at a variety of large restaurant chains and retail stores. Here in Evansville, Schnucks sells the company’s PubHouse Oven Ready Battered Halibut, and Walmart sells Trident’s Louis Kemp imitation crab. Even students in the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. eat its fish sticks, and the school corporation also has served Trident salmon burgers.

But to Bundrant, who sits grinning from his chair in an Evansville hotel room, “the key was having a hungry customer that day.”

He’s here for the second Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. Hall of Fame dinner, which is to take place that evening, on March 20. He’s also speaking in a near-whisper, a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, as he sips water intermittently. Yet everyone at the table — his wife, Diane; his daughter, Jill; and his assistant, John van Amerongen—remains focused on the stories he loves to share.

Overall, Bundrant tells a tale that many here, in Evansville, may not know: After graduating from North High School, he briefly attended college at Middle Tennessee State University before heading out to Alaska to earn money to pay for college. While he returned to Tennessee several times to visit his parents and grandmother, Bundrant ultimately abandoned the idea of obtaining his degree and instead made Alaska his home. That’s where he founded Trident Seafoods in 1973 with one crab boat and two partners. Since that time, his company has been responsible for multiple innovations in the fishing industry, one of which was to both catch and process crab on the same vessel. And Bundrant was no novice. He got to know the industry from the inside out, starting at the bottom until he reached the top, through hard work, the Lord’s blessing, and the help of mentors and friends, he says.

“If you weren’t Croatian or Norwegian, you just didn’t have a chance” at getting a job on a boat, Bundrant says. This was in the early 1960s, and by that time, he was on his second trip to the northwest to try to get his start in Alaska as a fisherman or a fur trapper. Through connections, he landed a job Alaskans know as “busting freezers.” That meant knocking metal pans to “bust” 15 pound blocks of frozen, shelled crab from their metal containers.

“You would have four of those in a box, and then you would take those into the lower hold of the boat, and you would do that until the boat was full,” Bundrant says. “I never made so much money in my life. I was pretty thrilled, working 18 hours a day, seven days a week; it totaled 126 hours a week. And then you had time and a half for anything over eight hours. And I had no place to spend that money.”

“That’s still the draw for a lot of people who go up to work for us,” Bundrant says. “It’s the ability to sock that money away that’s really the dream, and that dream still lives up there for our people.”

Bundrant moved on. In 1965, he bought his first crab fishing boat, the Addington, for $40,000. Two years later, he sold it for $75,000. He then put money down on a new boat, the Tugidak, named after an island in the Kodiak Archipelago, south of the mainland, where Bundrant had stumbled onto an enormous concentration of Dungeness crab during a storm. Tugidak Island had so much crab so close to the processing plant that Bundrant spent the rest of the summer there, loading his boat with crab. The money he earned that summer allowed him to pay off his boat. Bundrant also gives credit to the processors who agreed to take his crabs. Trident Seafoods abides by that philosophy even today. No worker escapes Bundrant’s gaze or his praise.

“We’ve promoted a lot of people who started at the bottom. That’s been the blessing of this company, to have people who started busting freezers, just like me,” Bundrant says.

Bundrant learned his work ethic early, shortly after his family moved to a house on Darmstadt Road in Evansville in 1956. He enrolled at Stringtown School in the middle of his eighth grade year before entering North High School as a freshman. He worked as a bagger and shelf stocker at Economy Foods, across from where North High School was located at the time. After school and on Saturdays, he could log 40 hours per week. During the summer, he worked 80 hours per week, guided, in many ways, by his manager and mentor, Luther Caine. Bundrant still communicates with him today.

“He taught me about team work, and also (about) respecting the customer,” he says. “I give my dad (Charles L. Bundrant) and Luther Caine a lot of credit for my success. Mr. Caine taught me a lot.”

Because Trident Seafoods has been so blessed, Bundrant has sought to give back — through earthquake relief in Japan and raising money for hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and through contributions to numerous cancer research foundations and other charitable causes. He and his partners built a church, gymnasium and community center on Akutan. He’s also had an impact right here in Evansville.

In 2010, Bundrant was named a member of the inaugural class of the EVSC Foundation Hall of Fame for his successes after high school. He’s also been a strong supporter of his alma mater. In fact, three structures on the campus are named in some way because of his support: Bundrant Stadium; the Charles L. and Algie M. Bundrant Media Center (named for his parents); and the Joe and Marie Schultheis Science Laboratory Classroom (named for his in-laws). Bundrant says he is very thankful for the opportunity to have met and worked with Dr. David Smith, Superintendent of EVSC.

And he’s still very proud of those fish sticks, made from Alaska pollock.

“That’s a great reward to have my product in the school district where I went to school,” Bundrant says. “That’s a full-circle victory and something I’m very proud of. But really, the Good Lord deserves all the credit.”

For more information on Trident Seafoods, visit www.tridentseafoods.com.


Linked to Success

Lieberman Technologies succeeds by tying together systems and people
Phil Lieberman, left, Pat Heck, right, and Stewart Klipsch, seated, are part of the leadership team at Lieberman Technologies.

Brian Ward steps up to address a group of 40 colleagues at his new employer, MainSource Bank in Greensburg, Ind. His goal is to convince his fellow bankers — many of whom he hasn’t had time to meet — that he knows a better way for MainSource to computerize its commercial lending process throughout 78 branches in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.

“When I was in Evansville, at Integra, these guys made me look good,” Ward tells the room.

All eyes immediately focus on the two strangers — Pat Heck and Brad Kemp from Lieberman Technologies in Evansville. No one in Greensburg knew about Lieberman then, but they do now. For 36 years, the information technology company has been a steady performer, dating back to 1977, when one-time IBM programmer Phil Lieberman started Philip Lieberman & Associates. The last two years have been exceptionally good despite an economy still recovering from the Great Recession. Lieberman does not release specific dollar figures, but revenue increased 35 percent from 2010 through 2012 and is expected to go up another 20 percent this year, according to Stewart Klipsch, managing partner. More than 50 clients have been added in the last two years and, as a result, more employees are expected to be hired this year. In addition to Lieberman, Klipsch and Heck, the leadership team includes Jeff Brown and Rick Culiver.

Ward’s demonstration to the staff at MainSource took place in the summer of 2011, but Heck still breaks out a big smile when he thinks about it.

“It was pretty cool to hear Brian say that,” says Heck, a former computer science professor at the University of Evansville and general manager for Norlight Inc. He joined Lieberman in 2011. “My chest went out a little further when I heard what he said. I never realized just how important he viewed our work.

“There’s nothing like having someone call you because they were really happy with the job you did when they were somewhere else. We had been serving Integra Bank for a number of years, so that was hard when Integra went away. (Integra Bank closed on July 29, 2011, and was acquired by Old National Bancorp.) For us, the Phoenix rising out of the ashes was people from Integra landing at a bank in Greensburg, Ind.”

Housed on the third floor of the General Cigar Building in downtown Evansville, you would never know that Lieberman’s 23 employees serve 400 clients from North Dakota to Tennessee to New York, including the banker in Greensburg who now calls Lieberman “the best vendor I’ve ever worked with in my career.”

Considering how brisk business has been, Ward is not the lone admirer. From large organizations such as Atlas Van Lines and DSM to smaller ones including Spudz-N-Stuff, Reitz Memorial High School, and Bob’s Gym (and don’t forget Hector International Airport in Fargo, N.D.), Lieberman has carved out more of a swath than a niche. Instead of focusing on narrow areas of technology, it has managed to become a Jack-of-many-trades in providing computer programming, database development, website development, e-commerce applications, computer and network security, cloud computing, and smart phone apps.

“We’re not a one-stop IT shop, but we’re a lot closer than many other companies,” Heck says. “What Lieberman has always done well is tie systems together. Let’s say a company has existing computer systems, but they need to extend their system to the web or a smart phone. We’re good at tying those pieces together. I remember Phil saying to me, ‘If we can use technology to make a business better, make a little bit of money, and have fun doing it, we’re probably going to do it.’ That’s how we look at it. We know how to use technology to improve things. We don’t use technology for the sake of technology; we use it to make businesses better.”

MainSource is just one example of work that began in Evansville and spread from there. At the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office more than a decade ago, stacks of paper were outgrowing the department’s efforts to track, monitor, and collect tax debts for the Indiana Department of Revenue. Lieberman came along, created its Automated Tax Warrant System, and it worked so well in Evansville that 57 Indiana counties now use the technology.

“In personnel costs alone, we’ve already made up several times the cost of the project,” according to Sheriff Eric Williams.

At age 67, Phil Lieberman splits time now between Evansville and Martha’s Vineyard, where he and his wife, Mary, have a second home. Lieberman still bounds along the third floor hallways like a youngster as he checks out the company’s new office space. Business is thriving, but the challenge is to find room for additional employees. It’s a good problem to have.

“Thirty-five years ago, it was just me,” Lieberman says. “Now we have 23 people, and I never envisioned that this company would be as successful as it’s become. It’s not just that we have kept up with technology. The real reason for our success is the people we have in our company, and their links to other people in the community. People generally don’t look in the phone book or on the Internet to find a company to provide services. They look to their friends to provide references. That’s been our real key to success. Our staff is involved in the community. That is where most of our opportunities have come from, and that’s where our future will be.”

For more information on Lieberman Technologies, call 812-434-6600 or visit www.ltnow.com.


The Sky’s the Limit

Entrepreneur Kent Parker predicts networking through cloud communications will define business in 2033
Entrepreneur Kent Parker spoke at the Rotary Club of Evansville about what the world will be like in 2033.

Luke White didn’t actually lug an entire piano onto the New York City subway. There was no bona fide drum in Tobias Smith’s hands. And guitarists Eric Espiritu and Philip Galitzine weren’t even close to real, tangible strings. Yet the rock band Atomic Tom didn’t need instruments to launch itself to stardom. Instead, it reached its key demographic with four iPhones, a battery-powered speaker, and a YouTube video.

This is why connected technologies are changing the world, says entrepreneur Kent Parker. Because even if you’ve never heard of Atomic Tom, it’s likely that you do know about smart phones, YouTube, and the cloud that connects the two. These technologies are what allowed White to use two, and what sometimes looked like three, fingers to play the keys of a simulated piano on a tiny iPhone on the B line in New York City. They are why Smith was able to use another iPhone to drum the beats to that same song, “Take Me Out,” which now has more than 5.4 million views on YouTube. These connected technologies are why the band landed a spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live! the same month it uploaded that video. And these technologies are a significant reason why the world will be very different 20 years from now.

“The reality is that business leaders must endeavor to understand (connected technology) … before it is too late for them and their employees and investors,” Parker says. “At the very least, understanding how to operate more effectively and efficiently in this new connected world is crucial (in) hiring, managing people talent, marketing, sales management, supply chain management, financial management, and more.”

Parker has a unique vantage point. A Gibson County, Ind., native, he grew up on a farm. He has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Evansville and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He’s worked in business commerce and software; in coffee; in strategic sourcing and procurement; as an engineer; and in sales. Parker is also an avid lover of the arts and history, and he’s involved in numerous economic development ventures as well.

But the 51-year-old is probably best known for his recent retirement from Ariba Inc., a leading provider of business commerce network, software, and services solutions based in Sunnyvale, Calif., after the company was purchased by SAP AG. From that experience and others, Parker is intimately aware of what’s happening in Silicon Valley, how insiders there view the intersection of technology and innovation, and how business leaders and employees here in the Tri-State area can use that information to their benefit.

That’s what he did when he spoke at the Rotary Club of Evansville on March 5 to give his speech, “The World in 2033.”

One of Parker’s key points is that people are more connected by technology and mobile devices than ever before. At the heart of this connectedness is cloud computing, in which computing resources (hardware and software) are delivered as a service over a network, typically the Internet. Rather than being dependent on hardware and software installed in a particular location or on users’ own equipment, users of cloud computing services are able to connect and access computing resources and information remotely, often from a variety of devices and locations. And savvy upstarts like Atomic Tom are using the cloud and technologies that share information through the cloud to circumvent established business models. What’s even more important is that it’s working, because radio and record companies aren’t nearly as powerful as they once were. “The record industry is really in a state of disarray,” Parker says. “Artists and musicians can disintermediate radio and record labels to find each other.”

That’s what Generation Z has done by making YouTube — and not the radio — its main source for new music. Rock bands like Atomic Tom that are looking to succeed know this. They are getting their product directly to their customers at all times and almost anywhere their customers go. The cloud makes that possible.

The cloud is impacting other industries, too, Parker says. Beyond the notion of cloud computing, Parker defines a broader concept he calls the cloud community effect: the realization of a “community” consisting of the hardware, software, information, knowledge, capabilities, and human participants, all connected by the Internet. Under this notion of a cloud community, the access to and impact of technology is becoming embedded in our lives in a ubiquitous way, and it’s actually changing the way we live our lives. And these cloud communities can be very powerful. Take Maker’s Mark. It took less than a week for the company to reverse its decision in mid-February to lower the proof of its whiskey from 90 to 84. The reason? The public hated the idea. It flooded the company with emails and phone calls. “This is the cloud community telling (Maker’s Mark), ‘Bad idea,’” Parker says. “They changed … very quickly.”

Companies that want to be successful in the future are going to have to be comfortable using the cloud and in managing their cloud communities, Parker says. They can’t stick their heads in the sand. Instead, they will have to be experts at managing their cloud community experiences in at least three areas: with customers; with employees and management; and in their relationships with their commerce partners, investors, and others who are involved in those businesses but who are not employees.

In other words, the cloud has created a community of people who are constantly sharing data. In the future, companies that are able to analyze that data and use it to help their businesses have a greater chance of success. Additionally, data culled from the cloud could be used to solve problems that have never been solved before, Parker says.

“When you get this community that’s driven by these cloud communications … all of a sudden we can start to make sense of behavioral or social or economic activity in a way that we couldn’t before,” he says.

In the future, people will have much shorter memories. The old adage of “people never forget” will disappear, Parker says. Instead, that will be replaced with some form of “What have you done for me today?

“Here is one of the new rules: There are no secrets,” he says. “In the era of the cloud, there is no hiding from the crowd. You are going to have to understand the communities that dictate how your customers make decisions, and you are going to have to listen and be responsive to those decisions.”

That’s happening now, and it will continue to happen in the future — largely because of Generation Z, which is very comfortable with technology, connectedness, and the ability to multitask.

“Their expectation of honesty and straightforwardness is going to be very high,” Parker says. “It’s going to redefine how we as business leaders, or business leaders in that era, are going to have to relate to them. Cloud technologies are at the root of this.”

Entrepreneur Kent Parker may be reached at www.linkedin.com/pub/kent-parker/0/9bb/778/.


Industrial Strength

Ivy Tech’s educational partnerships with local companies are training the area workforce
Chancellor Dan Schenk stands on steps on the Ivy Tech Community College - Southwest campus.

Joann Wallace isn’t your typical college student. Great-grandmothers rarely are. Yet that’s not an issue at Ivy Tech Community College - Southwest. At this North Side campus, life experience isn’t just the norm — it’s an asset. And men and women like Wallace are counting on it.

“I think Ivy Tech is a great school for the nontraditional student such as myself,” the 48-year-old says. “The staff is great, (and) the teachers are great. I was nervous and a little stressed out about being out of school for that long, but they made it comfortable for me.”

Wallace, of Evansville, isn’t the only one who thinks so. She’s going to the First Avenue campus to obtain an associate’s degree in certified medical assisting and will graduate in May. Yet there are just as many others who are enrolled at Ivy Tech studying automotive technology, culinary arts, graphic design, computer information technology, early childhood education, engineering technology, and more — all on the same campus.

There are a number of different types of students on the Ivy Tech campus, as well. Wallace was laid off from Whirlpool in 2010, but other students have recently graduated from high school. Some, like Gerald Smith, have worked numerous jobs but are looking for a career.

“I was a bumbler through life,” the now-Evansville resident says of his previous employment in a warehouse, assisting in a municipal election in Michigan, as a host at a Denny’s Restaurant, and in sales and customer service. “My father was in the military. He was a Marine, and we bumped heads. I rebelled and didn’t go directly to college. I didn’t go into the military. I was working feverishly. It was unpleasant, until I came to the realization that I needed some formal education.”

He moved to Evansville in 2008 to care for his aunt, who is in her 70s. The next year, he started at Ivy Tech. It took him some time to decide on a major, but now he’s set to receive his associate’s degree in business administration in spring 2014. Once he graduates, Smith hopes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance before ultimately earning his MBA.

When he’s not taking care of his aunt, Smith does clerical work at the college while completing his studies, and he is a chess enthusiast. He’s also had the opportunity to represent the Southwest campus at an annual Ivy Tech Foundation meeting in French Lick, Ind.

“It’s been wonderful,” he says. “For me, it was a life saver.”

And for Walt Davis, it was a life changer.

This rural Warrick County, Ind., resident began his studies at Ivy Tech in 1985, focusing on automotive service technology. At that point, he’d already been working at Alcoa for five years. Some 28 years and three associate’s degrees later, he is now a rolling mill reliability professional. Davis also earns more money and has better health benefits than when he first began working at the Newburgh aluminum plant. That’s important to the 56-year-old because he has a health condition that has caused him great pain. Now that he is a technical advisor, he says he’s not required to do many labor-intensive duties.

“It was a godsend,” Davis says. “No question in my mind. If I had not had the professional training from Ivy Tech, the formal training, I probably would not have been considered for the job I have today.”

For Alcoa, it’s very much a symbiotic relationship.

Jim Beck, communications and public affairs manager at Alcoa Warrick Operations, says Alcoa entered into a formal relationship with Ivy Tech in 1986. That’s when the company built an on-site training facility and hired Ivy Tech to provide instruction at the facility. Since 1986, more than 200 apprentices have graduated from the program.

Davis is one of those graduates. He says an Ivy Tech instructor visited the site about two to three times per week to teach classes outside of Davis’ full-time work schedule. At the same time, Davis also worked with journeyman electricians to receive hands-on training tied to what he was learning in class.

Beck says the on-site training facility currently offers three-year electrical and mechanical apprenticeship programs that require at least 6,000 hours of academic instruction and on-the-job training and skills.

But Ivy Tech’s instructors work at Alcoa’s on-site training facility to help in other ways, too. Beck says the instructors teach skills in electricity, electronics, hydraulics, welding, millwork, pipe fitting, and steam systems. Ivy Tech also has offered problem-solving skills through instruction in algebra, trigonometry, andphysics.

Since 2002, more than 400 employees have attended various training courses offered on site by Ivy Tech, and some of them, like Davis, attended formal apprenticeship programs.

Ivy Tech has also been instrumental in preparing students for careers in power generation, Beck says. Alcoa Warrick Operations has an on-site, coal-fired power plant that provides electricity for the entire facility, which includes aluminum smelting, casting, rolling, and fabricating.

In fact, Alcoa’s Warrick Power Plant partnered with Ivy Tech a few years ago to create a degree program in Power Plant Operations. Additionally, representatives from Alcoa, Vectren, American Electric Power, and Ivy Tech participate in an Energy Consortium to present a “Get Into Energy” program. This program is designed to provide students with information about the Ivy Tech program and how it can open up opportunities within those three organizations.

“Ivy Tech Community College has been an important educational asset for Alcoa Warrick Operations and the entire southwestern Indiana region,” says Ed Hemmersbach, vice president of Alcoa Global Packaging.

The college has been key to SABIC employees in Mount Vernon, Ind., as well.

“SABIC started our partnership with Ivy Tech a decade ago to find ways we could make it easier for our employees to gain the necessary knowledge for career advancement,” says Joe Castrale, the SABIC Mt. Vernon Site Plant Manager.

Ivy Tech is a willing collaborator that listens to industry needs and helps develop solutions that make businesses better. It is a true asset to the community, Castrale says.

Additionally, Ivy Tech’s multiple locations and variety of class times make the school a convenient choice for traditional and nontraditional students, as well as for employers who send their employees to Ivy Tech for continuing education.

Ivy Tech’s Corporate College, which is specifically focused on business, recognizes that industry is yet another stakeholder with different needs and goals, and it’s willing to work with businesses to meet those needs.

“Because of (its) ability to provide options, Ivy Tech is an important part of our growing … region,” Castrale says.

Students see that, too, and many choose to participate in more than just homework. Evon Haag, for instance, will earn an applied associate’s degree in building construction management in May. But the Wadesville, Ind., resident is also the student government president. Up until this past semester, she was also the campus activity board president. That meant she helped plan events for the college, like holiday parties. And Haag, 56, is proud of her college’s community involvement, too.

“Our students are very enthusiastic about doing different things for the community,” she says. “Every year, we have students volunteer to do the Salvation Army bell ringing at Schnucks on First Avenue, and we have clubs that do things for Holly’s House.”

But Haag is primarily there because of her studies. She decided to enroll at Ivy Tech based on its solid reputation, and she says she hasn’t been disappointed. She has worked 21 years in the construction industry, most recently as a document control manager. But she would like to get a job with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and she says her Ivy Tech training will be very beneficial.

“I can honestly say that our chancellor wants to put our students first,” Haag says. “He wants to make sure our students have what they need, and he plans for the future. And the same goes for the faculty and staff … they want their students to succeed.”

Along those lines, Ivy Tech initiated a feasibility study involving more than 50 interviews with business leaders who said advancing Ivy Tech’s mission would answer some near-term needs.

According to Ivy Tech, community partners are facing a critical shortage in their pipeline to hire skilled professionals. SABIC, for instance, is working with Ivy Tech and other Tri-State organizations to address regional manufacturing needs. This includes filling openings with highly skilled individuals as a result of increasing retirement rates in the next five to eight years.

“Ivy Tech has been a facilitator in discussing this issue with industry partners like SABIC, helping develop key actions in building a workforce pipeline that will filter new workers into industry with a specific set of skills that they began developing at the high school level,” Castrale adds.

This effort began as the Industry Advisory Task Force. SABIC sits on the steering committee of that task force, which will be rolled up under the Brainpower committee as a part of the EVV-Crane I-69 Innovation Corridor Consortium. The consortium is made up of southwest Indiana leaders in government, business, healthcare, education, and economic development. It seeks to capitalize on the construction of I-69 from Evansville to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division as a corridor of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity in the region.

Additionally, Ivy Tech is extending its Accelerating Greatness strategic plan. Accelerating Greatness 2025 seeks to help increase the number of working adults in the United States who have associate degrees or higher from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2025. According to Ivy Tech’s website, it is the first school in Indiana to align its completion goals with the state of Indiana completion agenda in such a systemic way.

Ivy Tech also plans to seek $25 million to build an 85,000-square-foot facility that could be along the new I-69 corridor, says Chancellor Dan Schenk. He serves on the feasibility study team for the Indiana University School of Medicine - Evansville, which has plans to build a four-year medical school here. The location of that new facility will likely be revealed several months from now.

“It would make sense for us to link up our health program at the IU medical school facility,” Schenk says, adding that the 85,000-square-foot facility is intended for Ivy Tech’s use only. “Potentially, part of that square footage could be connected to the new IU medical school, and part of it could be available to take care of other Ivy Tech needs.”

Meanwhile, the Ivy Tech’s administrative offices would remain at the N. First Avenue location. That would also remain the main site for instructional delivery.

“Our relationship with business and industry in the Tri-State continues to be of the utmost importance,” says Schenk. “It is the communication and partnership with local business and industry leaders which guides us as we focus on diminishing the ‘skills gap’ in our community. The workforce needs of area employers continue to evolve and change, and it is Ivy Tech’s commitment to provide the customized solutions and educational tools to meet those needs.” 

For more information on Ivy Tech Community College - Southwest campus, contact the Evansville campus at 812-426-2865 or visit www.ivytech.edu/southwest. The college also has campuses in Tell City, Ind., and Princeton, Ind.


David Dial

Former president/general manager of WNIN Tri-State Public Media Inc.

JOB: Retiring as president/general manager of WNIN Tri-State Public Media Inc.

HOMETOWN: Orlando, Fla.

HIS RESUME: Dial graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from the University of South Florida in Tampa and immediately began work at the college’s radio station, becoming the first full-time employee. After receiving his master’s degree in communications, he accepted a management position with a public broadcast station in Rochester, N.Y. He then held another management position at a public broadcast station in West Palm Beach, Fla. In 1983, Dial was hired as director of broadcasting of Evansville’s WNIN. A year later, he was promoted to president/general manager. He and his wife, Barb, have four children and three grandchildren (four by mid-April).

HIS STORY: Three decades after being hired, Dial has transformed WNIN from a part-time television station with no children’s programming and a volunteer-run radio station into a valuable, 24-hour community resource.

HIS PERSPECTIVE: “I’m a teacher. That’s what I see my role as — as bringing the mission of what we do to this community and to the people we associate with it.”

On WNIN’s significance in the community:
This station is a product of the love that this community had for it (30 years ago) and still has for it now, and that is what keeps it going despite tremendous odds. The commercial stations do a great job, but what we produce is much deeper in terms of content. They (commercial stations) tell you what’s going on in little pieces every day, but we try to go into depth, provide potential solutions to those issues, and give you ideas of how problems can be solved. That’s what we do best.

On providing educational resources:
Parents trust us with their children. Ten hours a day, five days a week are devoted to the education of our children — that’s more than most stations in the country. We do it because this area needs it. Public television programming is the number one source of media material in the schools today.

On his accomplishments at WNIN:
If there’s anything that I’ve done, it’s that I’ve come in and brought stability to the place, I’ve built our physical plant (415 Carpenter St.), and I’ve educated both the community and the staff. First, you have to stabilize it and get it to the point that you can be professional in everything you do. We did that and we continue to do that.

On honesty:
People may not like what I tell them, but I tell them the truth, and I do what I say. That’s not unique to me. That’s a trait, I believe, of the best businesses in Evansville. I had it when I came here, I kept it, and I’ve seen it throughout my tenure here — throughout this community. Evansville is a wonderful and unique place in that regard.

Plans after retirement:
We’re going to do all the usual things — travel, visit our children, go to new places. It’s hard for me to make a lot of concrete plans when I’m still solidly rooted here. I’ve been working in media since I was 17 years old. I’ve never stopped. I’m always busy — always searching and considering new things. That’s why I’ve been well suited to this job. I will continue to listen and watch and enjoy the things that we have on our airways. What do I watch and listen to the most? Us. Is it because I have to? No. It’s because I genuinely enjoy it.

Words to his successor (to be named April 15):
Work hard, enjoy every minute of it, and keep your head down. But stand tall and be proud of what you’re doing. They (the people of Evansville) will respond to you. They will welcome you. 

For more information on WNIN, visit www.wnin.org.

Issue CoverEvansvill Business April / May 2013 Issue Cover

Far Sighted

University of Evansville president Dr. Tom Kazee’s vision for a bold future
UE president Dr. Tom Kazee

This is surely not the smartest time to be running an institution of higher learning. An economy still reeling from the 2008 recession means alumni must dig deeper to donate. Parents are contributing less than planned toward their children’s college expenses. Students are facing loan debts that have reached $1 trillion, surpassing our nation’s credit card bill. Parents and students alike are demanding that colleges produce more than a diploma on graduation day. They want jobs, and they want them now.

So why is Dr. Tom Kazee, surrounded every day by these challenges, still smiling? It’s because the University of Evansville president has a plan. Kazee is leading the charge to raise the money needed to bolster UE’s future – perhaps as much as $100 million if all of the initiatives are to be funded.

“We are still in the very early stages,” Kazee says, “but I really believe we can meet most of our goals within the foreseeable future.”

The plan now taking shape began several years ago with feedback about the future of the 159-year-old college from faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, trustees, and supporters. Some ideas may be dropped, others added, but here is the blueprint as outlined in the university’s 18-page Vision Statement. This document, essentially a rough draft, is being shared with friends of the university to gather feedback about funding priorities.

I. Transforming the Learning Environment ($35 to $45 million)
This portion relates to updating, expanding, and in one case completely changing the purpose of buildings on campus. At least $10 million would go toward renovating classrooms in Hyde Hall, to give the old building a look and feel similar to the Schroeder Family School of Business Administration Building, which received a total makeover and expansion six years ago. Another $3 to $5 million would renovate Graves Hall and give the Dunigan Movement Analysis Lab additional space by expanding the south side of Graves. Finally, portions of Bower-Suhrheinrich Library would be renovated — possibly including development of a new front entrance facing the Ridgway University Center — at a cost of $2 to $3 million. Another possible plan is to build a Performing Arts Center with seating for at least 1,000 theatre and music patrons. This is estimated to cost between $10 million and $20 million.

II. Enhancing Student and Campus Life ($32 to $38 million)
The big-ticket item here is $15 to $20 million for a new Wellness and Fitness Center, planned for where the tennis courts now sit, at the corner of Walnut and Frederick streets. Students and staff would get new fitness and recreational facilities, and space would also be set aside for academic activities relating to health and nutrition.

Approximately $10 million would go toward improving campus housing, including construction of townhouses north of Walnut Street and on Weinbach Avenue, along with renovation of Hughes Residence Hall, the oldest dorm on campus and the only one without air conditioning. About $4 million would support the intercollegiate athletics program, including initiatives aimed at student-athletes and renovation of facilities. Another $2 million would make Neu Chapel more flexible for use by various faiths, and $1-$2 million would go toward so-called “streetscapes” that would create a plaza which brings together the north and south sides of campus while still keeping Walnut Street open to traffic.

III. Curriculum Expansion ($9 to $15 million)
“If someone said to me, ‘Here is $10 million; what’s the most important thing you would do?’ I would create an endowment to support the faculty,” states Kazee. “Not that we don’t have facilities needs, but a great faculty is the center of the institution. We’re only as good as our faculty.”

UE’s Vision Statement identifies a goal of $10 million for a Faculty Endowment Fund. It doesn’t put a cost on Kazee’s desire to expand the number of international students from the present 200. The outline does address related areas, including $3-$5 million for the Center for Career Development. The plan includes $2 million for the creation of a Center for Intensive Experiential Educational that will give students more hands-on opportunities to work with faculty and professionals in various fields, $2 to $5 million for the expansion of the UExplore Undergraduate Research Program that provides summer research opportunities for students using faculty mentors, and $2 to $3 million for the creation of an Institute of Global Public Health. This institute would be designed to extend UE’s international reach and unite students in the fields of nursing, physical therapy, engineering, business, physical sciences, social sciences, and mathematics with faculty to solve public health issues.

The future may look good on paper, but Kazee knows the University has immediate concerns that cannot wait for substantial donations to roll in.

After watching undergraduate enrollment steadily increase for several years, UE saw it drop by about 70 students over the last two years to a current total of 2,432. At a private institution such as UE, those seemingly small decreases can be significant. At the same time, tuition was increasing by about $1,000 per year to $29,740 in 2012. While UE is priced competitively with other private schools, and financial aid can often cut the cost of tuition in half, there’s still a wide gulf between private and taxpayer-supported schools. In-state tuition at Indiana University in Bloomington is $8,750. It’s $6,500 at the University of Southern Indiana.

“After the ‘07-08 market decline, there was a sense of stock taking by families in this country,” Kazee says. “They were telling us, ‘Yes, I know the quality of the UE experience. I would really like to go there. I’m not sure I can afford it.’ We need to be more assertive, more affirmative in telling our story that UE is well worth the investment. Our retention rates continue to go up, so when families decide to choose UE, they tend to stay. They believe they are getting a good value on their tuition dollars. But if folks are frightened away by what appears to be too high of a sticker price, we have missed out.

“The vision statement and other steps we have already taken allow us to build on our existing strengths to create a university whose quality is so apparent to prospective students and their families that they will see us as a good investment,” he adds. “Americans in general have a very high opinion of the quality of higher education, especially a private education, but it must match with their sense of pricing that makes it accessible.”

UE’s most assertive move so far was the decision last year to institute the “Big Freeze,” which promises no tuition increases during the four years at UE for current students and those enrolling this year. Gaining less attention was a change at the helm in enrollment services, where Dr. Shane Davidson is the new vice president, and the hiring of Donald Jones in the newly created position of vice president for marketing and communications. Davidson, Jones and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jack Barner are three of Kazee’s key lieutenants in helping reverse the enrollment trend and raise the substantial dollars needed to achieve its goals.

“The challenge would be considerably greater if the university did not have an excellent reputation and did not have an impressive track record of generating the resource support that it needs,” Kazee said. “Not only do students look at the university and say, ‘Is that a good investment?’ Donors and supporters do the same thing. If I’m a donor and looking at the possibility of donating to a faculty endowment fund, I want to see the great faculty we can recruit. I want to see the good work those faculty can do because of the resources we made available. One of the really good things about a small university is that support coming to UE is much more immediate and obvious than if you made a $10 million donation to Harvard. It’s much easier for me to say to a donor, ‘You will make a difference, and that difference will happen right away.’”

Kazee has met with many potential donors, and he will continue to do so throughout 2013, often accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation entitled “A Vision for the University of Evansville.” It lays out the needs and goals, and reminds viewers that UE’s $60 million Widening the Circle capital campaign surpassed its goal in 2002, and the $80 million UEnvision campaign surpassed its goal in 2010. Tough times or not, he seems unfazed by the task ahead.

“I was speaking to a group of alums in Florida,” Kazee recalls, “and one said, ‘What do you feel best about as president of UE?’ And I said, ‘When I’m having these kind of conversations, and I’m trying to excite people about the University, I never feel like I have to exaggerate the virtues of the place. I know it is really high quality, so it makes my passion and energy very high. You sleep well at night when you know that’s what you are supporting.’” 


Malaki One

Scroll down to view the video beginning after Malaki threw the ball back out of bounds.

Like most of you reading this, I am not blessed with much in the way of “spare time.” So when I have a few moments when I am not booked either personally or professionally, I try hard to keep it that way. That doesn’t seem to be working out too well. “Busy” people are busy because they have many hobbies and professional and family life obligations. And for me, on top of everything else, there is coaching youth sports.

Between my little brother and two young sons, I am right at 20 years of summer evenings telling kids to “keep your eye on the ball” or “get your glove down” and many winter nights in a gym of “that wasn’t the shot we were looking for,” or, “roll after you set the screen.” I would not trade my long-lasting friendships with the kids for anything, and I get a lot of fulfillment from attempting to teach them valuable life lessons through the playing of sports.

However, over the last several years, I have at times questioned my involvement. I have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of sportsmanship, character, and even ethics in youth sports. The win-at-all costs mentality that I can place squarely on the shoulders of some of the coaches and parents is not and should not be considered acceptable by anyone. And so it was a welcome relief to see, if only for a moment, that some coaches, players, and families still “get it.”

On a recent Sunday, our fifth grade basketball team played in a tournament against perennial powerhouse Corpus Christi. Our Holy Rosary team had won only two regular season games all year. Then we started pool play in the tournament and won both games over the weekend. (Note to basketball fans … think of Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas teams “40 Minutes of Hell.”) Unfortunately, due to circumstances, three starters would be unavailable against Corpus Christi. That would prove to not be helpful.

Well, the predictable happened, and although our boys gave it what they had against the team that would go on to win the tournament, it was painful. With around a minute left and losing by 30, I had a conversation with Jerry Blanton, the Corpus Christi coach. Enter Malaki Peterson, a small-of-stature young man who always “enlivened” the practices and games for us this year. Malaki struggles to get the ball to the rim in practice but was always there and had incredible support from his teammates. Malaki had barely touched the ball in his appearances this year, and we were going to do something about that. With about 30 seconds left, we called a timeout. We huddled and made up a play called “Malaki One” under the basket. My son Jackson took the ball out and Malaki, who I told three times to “catch the ball, first” did just that and promptly threw it back to Jackson, who was still standing out of bounds. The officials called a “violation” on Corpus Christi, and we set it up again. The pass came in, he caught it and up it went and in the hoop – first attempt! The crowd from both sides was ecstatic, and several of our players and fans were a bit teary as well. So, for all of the tirades about declines in sportsmanship from players, coaches, and fans – just remember Malaki Peterson and the character and sportsmanship that we saw from Corpus Christi’s fifth grade basketball team. I know I will – that’s why I keep coaching. Malaki will remember, too, for the rest of his life.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker


Signed and Sealed

A look at how one family made its mark on Evansville
Casey Valiant, co-owner and creative director, is the third generation of the AmeriStamp Sign-A-Rama business.

In 1957, Arthur and Benita Valiant moved to Evansville, Ind., with bright eyes and a deep aspiration for entrepreneurship. At the time, no local business offered same-day service on rubber stamp orders. In fact, it generally took two weeks to fulfill a single order. Yet Arthur Valiant was confident he could speed up that process, and in a small office on Main Street, he and his wife began the rubber stamp manufacturing company Valiant Marking Products.

Several years later, after garnering the support and confidence of many customers, the Valiants changed the name of their business to Arben Stamp Company. The new name was a combination of the two founder’s names, Arthur and Benita. In the 1970s, customers started to ask for additional signage products.

“They stepped back, looked at their resources, and found a way to offer simple signage to their customers,” says Casey Valiant, co-owner and creative director.

In the mid-1980s, Arthur and Benita Valiant’s son, Walter Valiant, along with his wife, Debbie Valiant, took over the daily operations of Arben Stamp Company. Their goal was to begin to computerize their system, incorporating typesetting and engraving into their services. In a continuous effort to expand their services, Walter and Debbie Valiant cleared out their garage, getting down on hand and knee to learn the art of banner making. Through research and listening to their customers needs, the Valiants learned the best way to serve their customers and grow their company.

In 1993, Arben Stamp Company was nominated Heavy Weight Dealer of the Year by the Marking Device Institute, the industry’s leading trade organization, for its investment in timely, efficient customer service. Still passionate about improving its services, Arben Stamp Company changed its name again to AmeriStamp in an effort to promote a nationwide mindset. In 1997, AmeriStamp collaborated with Sign-A-Rama, the largest sign franchise in the world. AmeriStamp continues to be a part of that franchise today.

AmeriStamp Sign-A-Rama now offers full-range sign and graphic products including business cards, nameplates, vehicle wraps, and logo design, among other services. Once solely a rubber stamp company on Main Street, AmeriStamp Sign-A-Rama now prides itself on providing marking and marketing solutions to any business or organization from its location at 1300 N. Royal Ave.

Visit Sign-A-Rama to see what services they can offer.