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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

In the News

Who's making things happen in local business and industry.

New Hires/Promotions

Ryan Scott has been announced as the new executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana. A native of Chrisney, Indiana, and resident of Henderson, Kentucky, Scott most recently was dean of students for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, and he’s a former assistant principal of Webster County High School in Dixon, Kentucky. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree from Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, and two master’s degrees from The University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Henderson, Kentucky-based Field & Main Bank has elected Margaret Hungate, Jim Coleman, and Jeff Anderson to its board of directors. Hungate is the CEO and President of Sentry Investments, a property management company, and the vice president of U.S. Industries Group, a construction management company. Her prior roles include chief financial officer with U.S. Industries Group and vice president of Commercial Lending with Bank of Evansville. Coleman’s 37-year career includes work with Oscar Mayer & Co., Pepsi Cola Company, Altria Corporation, and American Express. Anderson is president and CEO of Anderson Capital Partners with experience in managing and developing investment holdings.

Tri-State Orthopaedics has announced the addition of Braxton D. Facer to its practice. Facer earned his doctorate in Podiatric Medicine from Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, and completed his residency in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville Podiatry Residency. He will accept patients at both Tri-State Orthopaedics Evansville offices, at 5625 Pearl Drive and 225 Crosslake Drive, focusing on conservative and surgical care of the foot and ankle.

The University of Southern Indiana has announced several employment elevations. Shelly Blunt, dean of the Pott College of Science, now is interim provost, filling the role of Mohammed Khayum, who retired after four years as provost and 32 in total with the university. Blunt became dean of Pott College in June after having served as interim dean since January. William Elliott Jr., professor of geology and associate dean of Pott College, is serving as interim dean. USI named Paula Nurrenbern its director of corporate partnerships and customized training and Lesley Groves as assistant director of corporate partnerships and customized training. Nurrenbern has been with USI since 2009 as manager of customized solutions. Groves has been an annual giving and grants officer with the Deaconess Foundation, director of development at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, and served in fund development roles with Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana.

Business Spotlight

Changing of the Guard by John Martin

Tara Barney will retire in 2024 after nearly seven years with the organization now known as the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership.

Barney, E-REP’s CEO, was appointed in March 2018 as president and CEO of the Southwest Indiana Chamber. She led the process to combine the Chamber, Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, and the Economic Development Coalition into a unified organization in 2021.

“It has been an honor of a lifetime to lead the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership and work in an industry I love,” Barney says in a news release. “We have evolved E-REP into an essential community partner and are a key enabler in the region’s strategic growth.”

Barney has spent more than two decades as a chamber executive. During her years in Evansville, the Columbus, Ohio, native was among the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana’s 2023 Women of Distinction and honored with the Junior League of Evansville’s 2021 Woman of Empowerment Award.

She was president and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce in Davenport, Iowa, before coming to Evansville.

E-REP’s board has established a committee to conduct a nationwide search for Barney’s replacement.

Christine Keck and Lori Sutton have joined American Water in administrative roles. Keck, who was named vice president of national government and regulatory affairs, most recently worked for CenterPoint Energy as managing director of federal government affairs. Sutton’s position with American Water is as chief inclusion, diversity, and equity officer. Prior to that, she was global head of inclusion, diversity, and culture with Alcoa Corporation, and she led similar efforts with Berry Global. American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility in the U.S.

Ivy Tech Community College Evansville has named Debbie Dewey its executive director of Ivy+ Career Link, a department designed to provide career development services for students and alumni; talent connection opportunities and employee skills training for employers; and Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes. Dewey is a former president of the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (which later became part of Evansville Regional Economic Partnership).

Ports of Indiana have appointed Jason May as director of the Ohio River Port in Mount Vernon, Indiana. May, a Wadesville, Indiana, resident, has 25 years of experience in logistics, business development, and operations, including eight years managing the Mount Vernon port’s general cargo terminal with Consolidated Terminals & Logistics Company. May has served in an interim leadership role as an operations consultant with Ports of Indiana since February.

The University of Evansville has hired Charles “Toby” Ziglar as director of graduate enrollment, where he will help shape and guide UE’s graduate studies footprint regionally and nationally. Ziglar has two decades of higher education experience, including as Dean of the Graduate School and Director of Graduate and International Admissions at the University of West Georgia; Vice President for Enrollment Management and Bluefield College in Virginia; and Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. UE also has announced the hiring of five full-time employees to lead the Evansville Promise Neighborhood team. Derek McKillop, immediate past director of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation’s Community Learning Centers, will serve as director. Other leadership team members are Program Coordinator Lisa Allen, who was an employment specialist for Work One Evansville; Marketing Coordinator Irais Ibarra, a recent UE marketing graduate who was CEO of Embrace Marketing Agency, a student-run ChangeLab at UE; Data & Program Evaluation Manager Stephanie Doneske, a research scientist and chemical engineer as well as a former schoolteacher; and Grant Accountant Renee Heil, who was formerly finance and operations manager with Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana.

Photo of Randall Shepard by Evan Hale

Business Spotlight

Patron of Preservation by Jodi Keen

Before rising through the ranks to become chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Randall Shepard advocated for the state’s historic buildings on a local level. Now, the Evansville native’s five decades of preservation work is being honored by Indiana Landmarks through its 2023 Williamson Prize. Shepard will be recognized at Indiana Land- marks’ annual meeting Sept. 9 in Indianapolis.

“Randy championed preservation before it was common to consider the value of historic places,” Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis said in a statement. “We’ve been the fortunate beneficiaries of his experience and thoughtful leadership for more than 40 years, and we owe much of our success to his long involvement with our organization.”

Since the 1970s, Shepard’s efforts have helped staff Evansville’s first preservation commission, restore an 1868 Italianate manor house in the Riverside Historic District, and save the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse and the 1879 Post Office and Customs House. Shepard became a Vanderburgh Superior Court judge in 1980, and his impact widened after he was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in 1985 and chief justice in 1987, a role he held through 2012.

Shepard’s interest extended to serving on the boards of directors for National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks — where he remains chairman emeritus — and chairing the state’s Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission.

Boys & Girls Club of Evansville has named Andrew Backes its director of major gifts and strategic planning. A University of Southern Indiana graduate, Backes previously was executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana and chief operating officer at Leadership Everyone.

Carlisle Wishard has recently been hired by the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science as its new Director of Science Experiences. Wishard has lived in Indiana for the
past six years and recently completed her Ph.D. at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She has a background in astrophysics but has a passion for a broad range of scientific fields including genealogy, anthropology, and ecology.


Zita Dixon is retiring from Old National Bank after 38 years. She most recently was assistant retail center manager at the Old National Place Main Office, with prior roles in CIF input operations, credit card collections, credit card origination, consumer credit customer service, and consumer credit loan origination. She is a three-time recipient of ONB’s One Vision Award, and she volunteers as a Habitat for Humanity of Evansville budget partner.

Timothy Lilley is retiring from the Catholic Diocese of Evansville as director of communications and editor of the Message, effective Dec. 31. Lilley began working with the Diocese in 2013.

Five members of Oakland City University’s faculty have retired at the close of the 2022-23 academic year. Associate Professors of Education Randy Mills and Cathy Gonzales, Professor of New Testament Douglas Low, Professor of Christian Education and Religious Studies Thomas Leuze, and Professor of Library Services Denise Pinnick served the Gibson County, Indiana, university for a collective 146 years.


Linda White, who was with Deaconess Health System for more than 40 years including service as president and CEO, received an honorary degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on May 27 during the college’s spring commencement. White also received the 2022 Civic Award from the Rotary Club of Evansville in June.

Welborn Baptist Foundation has announced a $2.96 million investment in Christ-Centered Living Grant Partnerships. Thirty-two local organizations will receive grants for initiatives in six areas: place-based approaches, church engagement and mobilization, schools and youth, evangelism and discipleship, justice and cross-cultural, and social issues. Some of the recipients include Community One, Potter’s Wheel, Dream Center Evansville, YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, United Methodist Youth Home, For Evansville, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Evansville Rescue Mission, Isaiah 1:17 Project, Borrowed Hearts, and several area churches and ministries.

SABIC has donated $110,000 to the construction of Avery’s Place, which will be the first fully accessible playground in Posey County. Located near West Elementary School off Country Club Road in Mount Vernon, Indiana, Avery’s Place will allow children of all abilities to play together. SABIC’s donation will complete local matching funds required for Avery’s Place to receive grant funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The University of Southern Indiana has awarded the 2023 M. Edward Jones Engagement Award to Charmaine McDowell, director of corporate partnerships with the university’s office of Outreach and Engagement. McDowell joined USI in 1992 and has built successful workforce development partnerships between the university and businesses such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. She also helped form the Tri-State Industrial Safety Council in 2003 to facilitate a cost-effective, safe work environment for owner organizations and contract employees.

CenterPoint Energy Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to Foster Care In The U.S., an Evansville nonprofit, in support of its I Am Tomorrow Today House at 23 E. Columbia St. The IATT House is the nonprofit’s first permanent supportive housing home for Southwestern Indiana young adults ages 18-24 who are homeless, transitioning out of foster care, or at-risk. It offers seven beds and a private room for pregnant and parenting young adults.

The Southwest Indiana Internal Medicine Residency Program has celebrated the graduation of 26 physicians. The program is affiliated through the Indiana University School of Medicine, and residents train regionally at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville and Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana. Among the graduating class, eight are practicing in the Evansville region, including River City native Jacob Weinzapfel, who attended the IU School of Medicine’s Evansville campus.

The University of Evansville has been named to the 2023 Transfer Honor Roll by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for its support of transfer students as they enroll and work to complete their education. Of 800 colleges and universities across the nation that were considered, UE was one of just 208 that made the list. Metrics used in the evaluation include college expenses, financial aid availability, a transfer-friendly campus environment, admission procedures, and successful bachelor’s degree attainment.

ECHO Housing Corporation was one of 159 organizations nationwide to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Labor Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program. The $773,000 ECHO Housing will receive over three years is renewal funding for a program operated locally since 2012 that assists veterans in 11 Southwest Indiana counties with job searching and training, social service referrals, transportation assistance, vocational counseling, and more. The program is operated at the historic James Bethel Gresham home, named for the Evansville native who was the first American casualty of World War I.

The University of Southern Indiana Foundation board of directors has named Joey Barnett the 2023 recipient of the Suzanne A. Nicholson Leadership Award, named for the longtime foundation board member and past president and COO who died in 2008. Barnett, a USI alumnus, is an Evansville native and professor emeritus of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Barnett established USI’s Medical Professions Scholarship Endowment to financially assist EVSC Medical Professions Academy graduates who attend the university.

Boston IVF’s fertility center at The Women’s Hospital in Newburgh, Indiana, has been named to Newsweek’s report of America’s best fertility clinics. Facilities are recommended by fertility physicians and analyzed for key performance indicator metrics in areas including clinic accreditations, patient reviews, and more.

Seven area high school graduates have received $1,000 college scholarships from Diamond Valley Federal Credit Union. The recipients are Ahren Block of New Tech Institute, who will attend Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana; Carly Gist of Bosse High School, who is headed to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois; Hope Kamali of North High School, who will start Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, in the fall; Marisa Venson of Reitz High School, who is admitted to the University of Evansville; Michael Beaven of Central High School, who will attend University of Southern Indiana; Thomas Fox of Central High School, who also plans to attend the University of Evansville; and Whitley Price of Reitz High School, who is headed to the University of Southern Indiana.

Kenny Garrett, director of Emergency Management for Henderson County, Kentucky, has received the Exceptional Response Award from Juvare, a worldwide leader in emergency preparedness and critical incident management and response technology. Garrett, a U.S. Navy veteran, is a Henderson native who has worked in public safety since 1995, first as a volunteer firefighter and then an emergency medical technician. He was appointed deputy director of Emergency Management for Henderson County in 2016 and director soon after.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. has ranked No. 1 in the employee advisor segment of the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction StudySM with a score of 777 out of 1,000. Stifel also took top marks in categories involving leadership and culture, products and marketing, operational support, and compensation. The firm ranked No. 2 in professional development.

Evansville Wartime Museum has received a $50,000 Heritage Support Grant from the Indiana Historical Society through the Lilly Endowment. The grant will be used to purchase and install a modular room with dedicated temperature and humidity controls on the museum hangar’s second-floor mezzanine. It will provide a collection area for some of the museum’s most delicate items.


An $18.5-million renovation of the University of Southern Indiana Health Professions Center is underway. The 29-year-old home of the College of Nursing and Health Professions will receive state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. One change includes transforming the Mitchell Auditorium lecture hall into a radiology suite, with new imaging machines and a large classroom. The next phase of renovations, to start in 2024 and cost an additional $49 million, includes adding a 250-seat auditorium.

MAC Industrial Services, headquartered in Mount Vernon, Indiana, is opening a branch in Evansville at 6107 N. Fares Ave., near Evansville Regional Airport. The addition will create about 100 jobs, according to the company. MAC Industrial Services provides hydro-blasting, vac truck services, and industrial coatings such as painting and epoxy flooring to the plastics industry.

The University of Evansville has added an on-campus program for collegiate esports. The electronic sports initiative involves organized competitive video gaming, typically played in a multi-player setting as part of a league or tournament. UE views the program as a promising avenue to attract new students, integrate future academic offerings, and enhance student engagement on campus. UE’s Esports Center will be in a two-story lounge inside Schroeder Residence Hall renovated to include areas for team practice, competitive play, and open gameplay. Team competitions are slated for the fall semester. UE hired Samuel Henderson to serve as the Esports Coordinator and Head Coach. The Moline, Illinois, native spent the past year as a coach at St. Ambrose University in Iowa. He brings prior experience as a success coach, academic advisor, and coordinator of youth programs.

Henderson, Kentucky, residents John and Tammy James have opened a StretchLab studio in Evansville at 6432 E. Florida St., Ste. 103. The Xponential Fitness franchise offers assisted stretching services to clients to increase their flexibility and mobility.

Business Closings/Reductions

The Mews in New Harmony, Indiana, has closed due to its owner’s retirement.

EverQuote Inc. of Evansville is laying off 98 employees, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice filed June 30 with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. EverQuote is an online-based provider of auto insurance.

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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