January 24, 2017
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Done Well and Well Done

Todd Tucker stands with Hank Petrig of Evansville at this year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Fourteen-year-old boys do not easily arise from their beds at 6:15 on a Sunday morning. “Let’s go, buddy” usually is followed by an inaudible noise and a groan. However, my son Jackson’s feet promptly hit the floor, and after checking his phone (of course), he headed to the bathroom. After a quick shower, which my water bill can attest is not the norm, he hurried downstairs proudly wearing last year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure volunteer shirt. That T-shirt makes more appearances throughout the year than most of his wardrobe.

We already had dropped off multiple cases of magazines on Saturday afternoon at Eastland Mall, which serves as the race headquarters. The mall parking lot was set up and beginning to look similar to a small city within a city — no small undertaking. On Sunday morning race day, it takes no time at all upon arrival to find immediate pleasure in becoming a small part of such a large event. The 7 a.m. crowd was already large and enjoying the festivities. The color pink was everywhere. There were men in pink tutus, pink dogs, pink glitter, pink clothes, and pink chalk. You get the idea.

No matter how many years you attend, if you don’t get a lump in your throat at some point then you might need to check your pulse. The Survivors’ Parade, in particular, combined with the emotion you feel coming from their supportive families, is a powerful thing. So as we packed up and left, Jackson said, “Dad, this is a really nice event where everything is done right. I can’t believe so many people in Evansville are here today.” In our community, we often are our own most vocal critics, but we need to stop and remember what we do well — even my 14-year-old gets that.

Evansville’s own Donut Bank Bakery & Coffee is certainly another thing in Evansville done well. In an era where there is a serious lack of customer service and understanding of what it involves, Donut Bank is an anomaly. After our feature story “Bank on Them” on page 22, I think I know why, too. Go to any of the nine locations and see for yourself. Great products, great service, and squeaky clean stores inside and out are a few reasons its customers are fiercely loyal.

I also would like to throw out some praise to anyone who had anything to do with the recent Lloyd Expressway and U.S. Highway 41 interchange. From my perspective, it was a total win for our city by removing two stoplights, adding a new pedestrian bridge, and creating a better traffic flow — all while being done on budget and on time. Well done, Ragle, Inc. of Newburgh, Indiana, and the Indiana Department of Transportation as well as city planners.

By the time you skip past my next publisher’s letter, we will have elected our next mayor of our fair city. If you don’t vote in the local election, then don’t write letters complaining about the Mayor, City Council, and community leaders. Period.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker


Closing its Doors

Former Keller-Crescent Co. employees look back on their experiences

Essentra, formerly known as Keller-Crescent Co. — a printing plant begun by a steamboat captain that evolved into a legendary advertising agency — announced its doors would close permanently in November.

The packaging manufacturer reached the decision in May that the E. Louisiana Street facility will close 130 years after it opened in Evansville, due to an unnecessary amount of Essentra plants in the region. Closing the plant will eliminate 150 full-time jobs. The company purchased the plant and 23 others from Clondalkin, a Dutch company, for $455 million in November 2014.

The facility’s rich history recently was featured in the story “Keeping Creative” in the December/January 2015 issue of Evansville Business.

Kay Koob, a key part of this rich history, says she is saddened by the news of the closing. Koob was the first female vice president at Keller-Crescent in the late 1970s and describes the atmosphere at the business in “her day” as extremely lively, busy, hectic, and wonderful.

“It was a very sad day for all of us who got our starts there,” says Koob of Newburgh, Indiana. “We were all a very solid part of the community. We were very much believers in community and activity and service. The Keller-Crescent that I knew has been gone for a long time but it’s still a very sad event for us — and the city, too.”

Evansville native Dave Painter started as an account executive trainee at Keller-Crescent in 1972 after he graduated from the University of Evansville. In just eight short years, he achieved the position of vice president account supervisor, the second youngest to hold the position.

Painter, now retired and working part-time at Napa Auto Parts in Newburgh, left Keller-Crescent in 1989, but still kept tabs on the company because of his positive experience working where he says he realized his dream.

“When I heard the news, I felt sad for not only this community, but also the individuals who were employed there,” says Painter. “It’s hard to see what was once one of the greatest companies in Evansville come to this end.”

For more information about Essentra, visit essentra.com.


Made to Order

Jasper’s Smalley Coffee serves delicious drinks out of a renovated 1966 Airstream trailer
Jasper, Indiana, residents Josh Premuda and Wes Zipp operate Smalley Coffee.

In 1931, Wally Byam dreamed of creating a lightweight first-class trailer — the Airstream. Little did he know, the mobile home later would become the subject of countless HGTV shows, Pinterest boards, and a setting for small businesses around the world including Jasper, Indiana’s, Smalley Coffee.

Smalley Coffee, located at 2955 Newton St., serves handcrafted coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, chai, teas, smoothies, and baked goods out of a Craigslist-purchased 1966 Airstream trailer. The iconic travel vehicle always fascinated Jasper resident Josh Premuda and it was his dream to create a new type of coffee place with a walk-up window and a drive-thru.

He formerly lived in Washington, D.C., where he sampled a different coffee spot each weekend, and Denver during the time when food trucks exploded into the market. Premuda relocated to Jasper in 2010 where his wife and her family are from.

“I was up late one night on Craigslist and I found (the Airstream),” says Premuda, 36, who attended Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, and has a background in digital marketing. “It was a steal. My father-in-law and his brother towed it back for me in Owensboro (Kentucky). Ten to 12 years ago, I would sit and drink coffee and think about how to do this. My mom swears I talked about my plan in high school.”

After purchasing the Airstream, Premuda worked to gut the trailer and renovate it from a living space to a working café. “Everything was original,” he says. “It was pretty raw. It was old and all needed to be replaced.”

Two years elapsed before Smalley Coffee opened in the parking lot adjacent to the Smoke Shop and across from Yamato Steak House of Japan. The coffee shop, which has a small bar with stools and a table and chairs outside, is stationary and connected to city utilities. Smalley Coffee uses Rex Roasting, a roaster in Terre Haute, Indiana, which Premuda says may be one of the freshest coffees you can find. The company also sells Arnold Palmer flavored ice teas, coffee by the pound, T-shirts, mugs, and coffee cups.

“Everything we do is by hand from the coffee, to the art, to the restoration,” says Premuda who works with fellow Jasper resident Wes Zipp. “We just kind of roll our sleeves up and do it.”

For more information about Smalley Coffee, call 812-482-2442 or visit smalleycoffee.com.


The Alexander

A new hotel in Indianapolis’ CityWay beckons business travelers
The Alexander Hotel offers 157 boutique hotel rooms and 52 extended stay suites.

More than five years ago, executives at Eli Lilly and Company, the global pharmaceutical manufacturer headquartered in Indianapolis since 1876, expressed to Mayor Greg Ballard that to continue to grow and recruit talent, the company needed more connectivity to the urban core — more livability in their part of town in the shadows of Lucas Oil Stadium. The mayor instructed Lilly executives, essentially, to make it happen. The result is CityWay, a $155-million, mixed-use retail and residential development arising from 14 acres of land, owned by Lilly and used for years as a parking lot that separated the company’s corporate campus in southeast Indianapolis from Monument Circle, the core of downtown. 

Anchoring the neighborhood is The Alexander at 333 S. Delaware St., a $44-million, 209-room, 161,000-square-foot, four-star hotel that is attracting attention not only for providing great food and drink options in the neighborhood, but for hosting corporate events, and even weddings.

Jason Hoffman of Evansville, who works as operations manager at Tin Man Brewing Co., recently stayed at The Alexander with his wife Jessica, an account executive at Tucker Publishing Group, for a wedding.

“The Alexander was a fantastic place to stay and to attend an event,” says Jason Hoffman. “Being a part of the wedding party gave me a chance to see how well the events coordinator managed everything from flower arrangements to handling a group of raucous groomsmen. Having Plat 99 (the stylish mixology bar) to settle the nerves was great, too. They had a great selection of craft beer and have an amazing selection of cocktails, also.”

I stayed at The Alexander when I recently attended a board meeting in Indianapolis, and was impressed with the business amenities I saw. With its contemporary feel, adorned with local art, the hotel offers 16 flexible meetings spaces, a penthouse boardroom with a wraparound terrace, and a 2,400-square-foot outdoor plaza, perfect for weddings and nice-weather meetings.

For more information about The Alexander, visit the hotel’s website at thealexander.com.


The Daily Race

YMCA special events director uses to-do lists to get to the finish line
Heather Lejman poses with Derrick Stewart, CEO of YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, at Pancake Days.

Heather Lejman begins everyday with a list. She goes through her day crossing off what to do, whom to call, what to organize, and where to go.

In her position as special events director at the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, Lejman is involved with many of the activities the YMCA presents, but race season takes up most of her time as well as space on her to-do list. The YMCA of Southwestern Indiana hosts the Evansville Half Marathon, the Spirit, Mind and Body Triathlon/Dualthon, Kids’ Triathlon, and the Airport Run along with training clubs for each race. Lejman begins planning the Evansville Half Marathon a year in advance.

“I’m sending emails to volunteers, sponsors, and people we are purchasing from whether it be advertising or anything else,” says Lejman. “I’m constantly checking on the status of those things. I spend a lot of time at the computer contacting volunteers and coordinating that. Other days it could be hauling Gatorade and water for hours because we have to load trucks or unload the basement. I don’t have days that are ever the same, that’s why I love this job.”

The 2015 Evansville Half Marathon was the 12th annual. Since its inception, the event has raised close to $1 million for the organization, raising tens of thousands of dollars every year.

“It’s always rewarding when the gun goes off at a race and we know that we have done everything we can do and then we get to sit back and watch people finish,” says Lejman. “It’s fun to celebrate with them that victory because we’ve done everything we can do to ensure their safety and to ensure they have a great time at the race.”

In addition to the annual races, Lejman also directs Team 13, the training club that practices for the Evansville Half Marathon for 13 weeks, and leads the YMCA’s annual Pancake Days, which brings the community together for fellowship over food, fun, and entertainment in February.

The Newburgh, Indiana, native and Purdue University alumna worked at the YMCA part time helping with summer camps, life guarding, and at the front desk since she was 16 years old. She also contributed to the special events team while working fulltime at her family’s business.

“When we decided to close Schmitt Photo three years ago, I was 40-something and looking for a job,” she says.

Luckily, Lejman found a fulltime position working with the people and activities she always has enjoyed.

“I couldn’t see myself doing any job but this one at this point in my life,” she says. “I truly enjoy this.”

For more information about the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, visit ymcaswin.org.


Strong Foundation

Community One helps future homeowners while reducing blight
Matt Lothamer, Eric Cummings, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, Pastor Ken Idleman, and Bob Scales

Kellie is an Evansville resident and single working mother who was searching for a decent home for her and her son. A friend put her in contact with Eric Cummings, executive director of Community One, and the result was, in Kellie’s words, “phenomenal.”

A Christian nonprofit Community Development Corp. (CDC), Community One matched Kellie with a refurbished Evansville home, at a cost far below market value. The organization focuses on local housing restoration and community development. Restoration can range from weatherizing a home to total refurbishment, as in Kellie’s case. Community development, such as in the Jacobsville and Glenwood sections of Evansville, goes beyond housing and attempts to improve entire neighborhoods.

“We started Community One to mobilize resources to restore housing and restore neighborhoods to be thriving, sustainable neighborhoods,” says Cummings, a pastor at Crossroads Christian Church before creating Community One in 2013. “When we looked at the landscape of Evansville, we saw a great need to help homeowners stay in their homes and reduce blight.”

Community One depends on contributions from individuals, home supply companies, and corporations such as Old National Bank and Vectren. At the heart of the effort are volunteers, especially those with building, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical skills. Because of them, Community One recently purchased a house for $100, refurbished it so that it appraised for $97,000, and then sold it to a family in need.

“It’s really lifted me to see the people we’ve been able to help,” says Bob Scales, a volunteer core crew leader. “There’s a lot of interaction with people in these neighborhoods.”

Anyone can go to the Community1.org website and request help, donate, or sign up as a volunteer.

“When the house was finished, walking through, it still had not sunk in that this was the house I was buying,” says Kellie. “It’s beautiful. I mean it was just phenomenal. I can’t thank anybody enough. I can’t bake enough cookies to say thank you for this.”

For more information about Community One, visit community1.org.


Where Do You Want to Eat?

New app simplifies choices and provides discounts to local restaurants

Some may say the hardest decision to make each day is where to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The creators of Dough Deals hope their app, which was launched Sept. 28, simplifies the answer to that question.

Dough Deals is an app started by three Evansville residents intended to not only provide the community with discounts at their favorite local food spots, but also to supply free advertising for local restaurant owners.

“Our goal is to make an app that people want to download and that will spread very quickly,” says Bradley Davis, the marketing director for Dough Deals and a University of Southern Indiana graduate. “We made a decision half way in that we’re going to make it free.”

“Our goal is to help the community, help local restaurants, and create something people want to use,” says Cole Raven, who is the business director for Dough Deals and a graduate of Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Indiana.

After downloading the free app onto an iPhone or Android mobile device, users are greeted with three options of breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A swipe to the left on one of the categories shows the coupons from the restaurants.

“We wanted something that was more dynamic rather than just saying things,” says Mark Smith, the app’s technology director and a University of Evansville graduate.

Opening a coupon provides users a detailed description of the offer, contact information, menus, websites, reviews, and a map of the location. If users share the coupon on social media sites, they receive an additional discount.

Current restaurants offering coupons include Acropolis, Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Lic’s Deli & Ice Cream, and others. The three — along with developers Trent Brown, a Vincennes, Indiana, native attending Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Jon Staff, a Jasper, Indiana native who works for Disney ABC in Burbank, California — hope to start speaking to investors in six months and then expand Dough Deals to other cities such as Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky, and St. Louis.

For more information about Dough Deals, call 812-641-5567, visit dough.deals, or email help@dough.deals.


On the Road

Superior Van & Mobility offers customers new freedom
Superior Van & Mobility Consultant Tim Schultz and General Manager Jan Jordan

At Superior Van & Mobility, General Manager Jan Jordan says the most rewarding aspect of the business is providing mobility to those with limited access and seeing the joy on customers’ faces when they receive their new converted vehicle.

“People would not get out of the house without the ability to take their power chair or scooter with them,” says Jordan. “There’s nothing like seeing someone go places they’ve not been able to go before.”

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Dan Cook founded the company in 1976. Today, Superior Van & Mobility has nine locations throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Since the 1980s, the mobility industry has made large, significant changes and Superior Van & Mobility has been one of the leaders of the pack, introducing varied options to customers from stylish conversion mini vans to trucks and even trike motorcycles.

Jordan, an Evansville native, has been the general manager of the Tri-State location, 3414 Interstate Drive, for 10 years, and was one of the first employees hired for the Evansville store. The local store has won many awards for customer service, including ranking No. 1 in Braun Corp.’s Customer Satisfaction Index. A former mechanic for two different car dealerships in Evansville, Jordan has a long background in automobiles.

“There’s a lot of different adaptions that we do,” he says. “Not just for drivers, but for passengers as well. In our industry, we see a lot of people who need the service, but it’s not 100 percent the person who’s handicap, it’s the caregiver (too).”

The company also does work with Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center, vocational rehabs, and Veterans Affairs. Superior also supports local Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) groups.

“It’s (rewarding) when the customer has a smile on their face,” says Tim Schultz, a mobility consultant at the Evansville office. “It’s when they are actually able to get out of the house and do the simple things that we take for granted every day.”

Superior Van & Mobility can outfit a conversion vehicle with zero-effort steering, computer operations near the console, a joystick or smaller steering wheel for driving, and many different lift options. Most of the vehicles in Superior’s inventory come from two companies that build conversion vehicles; Braun Corp. and Vantage Mobility International. These companies convert vehicles from Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, and Dodge.

Superior’s owner Sam Cook also is the president of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, which was formed to make sure qualified mechanics and builders are working on conversion vehicles.

“We are one of the top four or five businesses in the country doing what we do,” says Jordan.

For more information about Superior Van & Mobility, call 812-402-8267 or visit superiorvan.com.


A Time to Be Heard

Holly’s House forensic interviewer gathers information from child sex abuse victims
Molly Elfreich has worked as a forensic interviewer at Holly’s House since 2012.

When Forensic Interviewer Molly Elfreich leaves the interview room after speaking with a child sexual abuse victim at Holly’s House, she often has to return to the same space just minutes later to speak with another. In order to effectively do her job of speaking with children ages 2 to 17, she says she has only a couple minutes to decompress before she must move on to the next.

“I don’t just speak with just a child a week,” says Elfreich, who also serves as the associate director at Holly’s House, a nonresidential child and adult victim advocacy center located at 750 N. Park Drive. “I do multiple interviews a day and they need me to be 100 percent each time. Not to say that there won’t be cases that won’t be forever a piece of my heart and to this day I can think back and I know their faces.”

In over three years at Holly’s House, she has interviewed 1,200 children who have possibly been abused. Nationally, one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

Elfreich, an Evansville native, recently attained the Diplomate Child Forensic Interviewer (DCFI) certification, which is the highest level of credentialing from the National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewers (NACCFI) Credentialing Board. She is the only person in Indiana and one in 54 in the U.S., to hold this advanced certification.

“It helps a lot in a court setting,” says Elfreich. “I didn’t have to have that certification, I didn’t have to take that test. I didn’t have to put in the man-hours to do it. I chose to do it so that the child is getting the best person across the seat from them so they can get justice. I follow the child-first principle in everything. It always is in the back of my mind that if it helps me in court, it helps them in court. I did it for that and for Holly’s House. Any time that there can be recognition about what we are doing inside our building, there is a potential to bring community awareness.”

The 32-year-old graduated from Indiana University where she majored in criminal justice and psychology. After leaving college, she became a deputy sheriff in Florida, where she worked for nearly two years before returning home to Evansville to work as a confinement officer at the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. She decided to attend the University of Southern Indiana to obtain her master’s degree in health administration and later discovered she and her husband were expecting a child. She briefly stopped working as she finished her degree and after her daughter’s birth. Soon after, she learned of an opening at Holly’s House for a backup forensic interviewer, which would also help as a service coordinator and receptionist.

“Forensic interviewing is fairly new in the sense of careers,” she says. “It’s only been around about 30 years so it’s ever-evolving. It’s always being tweaked. That’s why I’m constantly going to trainings. I try to go to at least two to three in-depth trainings a year as well as participate in peer reviews.”

Since accepting the position at Holly’s House in early 2012, Elfreich has been promoted to the fulltime forensic interviewer and assistant director.

“There are not a lot of us,” she says of forensic interviewers. “You don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it until your very first kid is sitting across from you and you are doing it. You either have it in you to disassociate and move on or you don’t. I have lots of respect for people who have tried this and said they can’t do it and moved on. It is a complete disservice if you can’t emotionally handle it. As of right now I do a very good job of turning it off because I want to be good for every kid that comes in.”

When a child enters the interviewing room with Elfreich, she instructs him or her to sit in a specific chair and she sits in a chair across from them. She does this because of the video cameras built into the wall, which allow law enforcement in the space next door to watch the entire interview. Elfreich, who can’t speak to a child unless a report has been filed through the Department of Child Services and/or law enforcement, wears an earpiece allowing her to never leave the room so those viewing can speak to her.

“I don’t want them to get some false idea that this is some secret between me and them,” she explains. “I make them aware that those people are watching because this is for a purpose. There is a lot of shame and guilt. Someone has groomed them or lured them into this situation and they have made the child think they are an active participant when they are not.”

Elfreich works to learn where the child is developmentally through a narrative practice, which is non-traumatic. If a child loves gymnastics, she will ask him or her to describe a competition episodically using as much detail as possible.

“I am figuring out developmentally where they are at and what kind of details they can give me,” she says. “When we get to the abuse, I’m not confusing them when I ask them to tell me all about it.”

The majority of her questions are open-ended and she never inserts responses for the child. She keeps an easel in the interview room allowing children to use drawings to recall situations or anatomical illustrations to help clarify body parts. Elfreich never shows emotion when the child is disclosing the abuse, and she also never touches the child.

“I tell them, ‘Whatever words you use, whatever language, whatever you say to me, you’ll never be in trouble with me,’” she says. “When we talk about body parts, once you get past that first time, and they hear me say it and I say it with no affect, no shock, they are like, ‘OK, she can hear this and listen.’”

Reliving the situation can be difficult and Elfreich says she always wants to make sure the child is in a state where they want to talk about it.

“They had no choice about what happened to them but they are absolutely going to have a choice in who they talk to and who they tell,” she says. “I always want that to be portrayed that the child had a choice. If they can’t do this part with me, then they are going to have a really hard time going through the criminal justice process.”

Elfreich says almost all disclosures are delayed, which can mean a child confesses six months to years after the abuse occurred. She says one example of how family members learn of the mistreatment is through accidental disclosure where the child told a friend who later told their mother and the parent reports it.

“The general public has this ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ effect where there is physical evidence and there is a black light used,” she says. “We don’t have evidence. There is no longer an injury if there ever was one.

“We have to convince a jury that this child’s statement is enough for this conviction. Part of my job on the stand is education on why kids have delayed disclosure, why kids sometime disclose and recant their statement.”

She explains that disclosures often are delayed because “stranger danger isn’t what children should be afraid of.”

“Out of 1,200 interviews, there were probably 15 to 20 that were strangers,” says Elfreich. “They are family members, people they knew, people they loved. You’re asking kids to send dads, grandpas to jail. They love these people even though they molested them. You are asking a lot emotionally of these kids to take on.”

Because of the personal relationships involved, Holly’s House offers a “Think First & Stay Safe” school program, which provides personal safety and child abuse prevention education at no charge to elementary schools in Gibson, Pike, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties. Nineteen thousand area children have received the instruction created by Child Lures Prevention.

For more information about Holly’s House, call 812-437-7233 or visit hollyshouse.org.


At the Poll

Get to know the three mayoral candidates before November’s election
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

As the race for mayor nears the general election on Nov. 3, Evansville citizens work to more closely examine the candidates for the position. Those on the ticket this year include Republican and Incumbent Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, Democrat Gail Riecken, and Independent Steve Wozniak. To help prepare voters before casting their ballots, the staff of Evansville Business Magazine asked each of the three mayoral contenders the same five questions.

Lloyd Winnecke

Party Registration: Republican // Education: University of Evansville
Current Job: Mayor, City of Evansville // Age: 55
Marital Status: Married to Carol McClintock, real estate agent at F.C. Tucker Emge Realtors
Children: Daughter, Danielle

What is the biggest problem facing Evansville that not enough people are talking about?
The city is facing unfunded federal mandates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade our water and sewer system. The current systems in place were constructed decades ago, and the city has kicked the can down the road for years when it comes to upgrading the outdated infrastructure. We’ve begun taking steps to make these improvements, while at the same time limiting the burden on ratepayers and holding the line on government spending.

What is Evansville’s greatest opportunity in the next four years?
Our greatest opportunity over the next four years lies on the same forward moving path we’re on today. Jobs are growing, our streets are cleaner and safer, and we’re experiencing revitalization all across Evansville. There’s no question we’re heading in the right direction, but with continued growth, and completion of the development and revitalization projects already in progress, I know the best is yet to come.

Describe, with specific examples, how you would improve the city’s economy?
We’ve partnered with local businesses, while advertising our city as a landing spot to companies looking to relocate. Our economic climate has been nationally recognized three times over the past year as a top 10 city for business.

I’m committed to staying on the current course, which has led to 2,400 new and retained jobs, millions in new investments, and the lowest unemployment rate in five years.

What is your vision for Downtown Evansville once the Indiana University medical school and research center has been built?
The medical center, along with our new convention hotel, will transform the look and feel of Downtown for decades. The hotel will generate thousands of new visitors and the medical school will create a new pipeline of healthcare professionals. Going forward, we need to leverage these two great assets to attract even more visitors and businesses to Downtown.

Just for fun, tell us what your favorite Evansville “hidden gem” is.
There are many hidden gems throughout Evansville. Some are nonprofit organizations which provide badly needed services; others are little known attractions that serve our community; and there are scores of restaurants that service taste buds all over the city. To pick just one ... I’d have to say the Wesselman Park Nature Center.

Gail Riecken

Party Registration: Democrat
Education: University of Indiana
Current Job: Indiana State Representative // Age: 69
Marital Status: Married to Ron Riecken, retired
Children: Two daughters, Julie and Katie

What is the biggest problem facing Evansville that not enough people are talking about?
Our city’s debt has grown to more than half a billion dollars. He (Mayor Lloyd Winnecke) spends money the city doesn’t have, tapping into the city’s reserve funds with no plan to increase revenue or reduce expenses. This debt eventually can have a negative effect on the city’s finances.

What is Evansville’s greatest opportunity in the next four years?
Economic development from the new Indiana University medical school and research center.

Describe, with specific examples, how you would improve the city’s economy?
I would do this with an Evansville First policy, which would help local small businesses compete for city contracts
by stressing contracting with local businesses for goods and services. I would work to attract new businesses to Evansville by offering tax incentives to businesses that want to locate to Evansville and incentives that are published and fairly applied without personal likes and dislikes.

What is your vision for Downtown Evansville once the Indiana University medical school and research center has been built?
I want to promote the new Indiana University medical school complex to businesses interested in medical research and device manufacturing, work to develop lodging for students and staff at the facility, and keep fighting in Indianapolis for the inclusion of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana in the next state budget.

Just for fun, tell us what your favorite Evansville “hidden gem” is.
Wesselman Park Nature Center

Steve Wozniak

Party Registration: Independent
Education: University of Southern Indiana
Current Job: Self-employed, owner of Wozfans
Age: 42 // Marital Status: Single
Children: Daughter, Halley Sun

What is the biggest problem facing Evansville that not enough people are talking about?
The City of Evansville has become stagnant and is not progressing with a comprehensive plan. There are many needs of the city that need to be addressed to solve problems that currently strangle our city, with no plan of action to resolve these issues. There is a concerted effort by surrounding cities to progress with new ideas and developments that provide opportunities to their residents and visitors that the City of Evansville is not addressing.

What is Evansville’s greatest opportunity in the next four years?
The implementation of a comprehensive Urban Renewal Initiative, URI, will give rise to our greatest opportunity. First, the building of a new port will open the entire bend in the riverfront for commercial and residential development. Second, a new civic center built with industrial agriculture will alleviate our blocked Main Street. This proactive movement will help to “woo” Google Fiber to choose Evansville as one of its next Google Fiber Cities.

Describe, with specific examples, how you would improve the city’s economy?
Updating the city’s communication infrastructure with FTTH, Fiber to the Home, would attract innovative businesses to start new ventures or expand existing businesses to meet the demands of technology. Case in point, proven industrial agriculture is a soon emerging economy and I, as the next Mayor of Evansville, will attract these innovative start-ups to suit the needs of processing raw materials into finished goods to create jobs for the people.

What is your vision for Downtown Evansville once the Indiana University medical school and research center has been built?
Through the implementation of the URI, Downtown Evansville will be a thriving urban setting that will complement the new urban campus to the City of Evansville. Indiana University School of Medicine is one piece of the puzzle that will be flanked by large-scale residential and commercial development, a new civic center, a new riverfront, and a gateway creating the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum into the icon of the City of Evansville.

Just for fun, tell us what your favorite Evansville “hidden gem” is.
The “hidden gem” of Evansville is the magnificent Bosse Field. Bosse Field is the third oldest baseball park in the U.S. and has the potential to be the catalyst that will prove to revitalize the neighborhood surrounding Garvin Park. This new development will come to be known as Bosseville. Bosseville, being very unique and well planned, is not to be mistaken with Wrigleyville, which surrounds the second oldest baseball park in the country.