Interview Evansville

Scott Kinney

CEO-director Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

No matter the size or culture of a city, libraries are often at the heart of the community. Scott Kinney, the new Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library CEO-director, works to ensure EVPL remains at the epicenter of life in Evansville. Combining EVPL’s more than 100 years of service with his Midwest background, Kinney says Evansville feels like home and he wants many more people to experience the same. “The opportunity to lay down roots in a community that is not only beautiful but also feels alive with a sense of excitement for the future fills me with positivity for what is to come,” he says. “As CEO-director, I look forward to collaborating with our team to ensure EVPL is the place to go in the community to discover, explore, and connect.” Kinney says his team is a group of dedicated professionals who want all residents to have the opportunity to utilize EVPL’s variety of resources, programs, and services. But Kinney says the city’s inclusion and community are not limited to the programs of EVPL, as festivals, sporting events, and cultural celebrations are proof Evansville is striving to be a place for everyone.

The community’s commitment to being for everyone fuels my excitement of what is to come for EVPL,” he says. “I very much look forward to discovering what EVPL means to our community members and exploring how we can continue supporting our community as we grow and thrive.

Sean Coultis

Central High School head football coach 

While Evansville has strong hometown pride, many of the people who make the city great are not natives. Central High School physical education teacher and varsity head football coach Sean Coultis moved to Evansville with his wife Kimberly and two children less than a year ago, but he says he’s already fallen in love with the city. “I am extremely proud to be a teacher and head football coach at Evansville Central High School,” he says. “It is a job I do not take lightly. It is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the great city of Evansville.” Making a difference is exactly what the Naperville, Illinois, native does. Through his position at Central and passion for community service, he works to build up his current and future students. Coultis hosts free youth football camps for future Central Bears from first to eighth grades and a youth football night at a varsity game. Future Bears attend the game for free and play a part in pre-game introductions. Coultis’ work has an impact beyond the classroom — building up the future of the community he now calls home.

My teaching and coaching philosophy is based upon building relationships,” says Coultis. “One of my favorite quotes of all time is, ‘People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ I expect a lot from my students and athletes but always try to build a relationship first.

Yvette LaPlante

Partner at LaPlante, LLP 

“My memories of growing up in Evansville are of great people, who enjoyed hanging out on hot, crowded pool decks across southern Indiana,” says Yvette LaPlante, partner at LaPlante, LLP., located at 101 N.W. First St., Ste. 116. LaPlante swam for various USA Swimming teams growing up and graduated from Reitz Memorial High School before attending Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, and later law school at the IU McKinney School of Law. Now, LaPlante is an active and engaged member of the Evansville community, which she has watched develop with new business, entertainment, and housing options. LaPlante is a member of the Evansville Bar Association, which she says is the best in Indiana; involved in the YMCA Youth and Government program; the Vanderburgh County Law Library Foundation, one of the last two in Indiana; and USI Arts and Humanities, that hosts her favorite event, Toast to the Arts. LaPlante’s engagement in so many Evansville organizations is a combination of her strong roots in the city and her desire to make Evansville a better place for everyone who comes through it.

I hope I help make the legal system more accessible and less intimidating through my business and the organizations I support,” says LaPlante. “It’s a great community that is both rooted in tradition and growing in inventive ways.

Susan Caulfield

Evansville Philharmonic Guild
board member 

To many across the country, Evansville is an overlooked dot on a map, but to natives like Susan Caulfield, Evansville Philharmonic Guild board member, the city means so much more. “It’s home,” says Caulfield, a Newburgh, Indiana, native who grew up in Evansville. Caulfield’s River City roots began when her father renovated an old house on Southeast First Street to double as their home and his dentist office. She has witnessed the beginning of many iconic Evansville features, such as the University of Southern Indiana and the construction of the Ford Center. “I think it’s wonderful they are revitalizing Downtown,” she says. “Anything happening Downtown I think is an asset.” The retired teacher now spends her time giving back to the community she loves. As a board member of the Evansville Philharmonic Guild, Caulfield became the co-chairman of Chefs of Note, the Guild’s largest fundraiser. Now in its third year, the event is expected to sell out and raise at least $20,000 for the orchestra and its youth programs.

I have the opportunity to meet dedicated people who are all about giving back, and that’s my motivation now, giving back to the community — especially children,” says Caulfield. “It’s just one little thing I do to help the city grow. It’s very rewarding at this point in my life, and I have the time for it now.

Jonathan Lamar

Architect and owner of
 Lamar Architecture and Design 

A city is only as great as its foundations, and Evansville is not stopping its structural development any time soon. Architect and owner of Lamar Architecture and Design, 10400 Highway 662 W., Newburgh, IN, Jonathan Lamar has had the honor of completing some of the city’s most ambitious projects in recent years. Currently working on three major projects in the Haynie’s Corner Arts District and designing updates to some of Evansville’s major thoroughfares, including main gateways into Downtown, Lamar says he is passionate about the city’s growth and his part in it. “I love seeing improvements to the Evansville area,” he says. “It’s exciting to say we are playing a part in shaping the growth of Downtown when it comes to architecture.” After moving to Evansville from Atlanta in 2008, Lamar, a Vincennes, Indiana, native with a degree in architecture from Ball State University, says the family-friendly and progressive design attitudes of the city drew him in. Now, about 12 years later, he has worked on several iconic Evansville projects including Comfort by the Cross-Eyed Cricket, the renovated Nabisco Co. building, Bosse Field renovations, the Tin Fish in Newburgh, Indiana, and various structures on Main Street.

LA+D continues to generate designs with clients in and around the Downtown area,” says Lamar. “We are always open to new business, especially new projects which are aimed at enhancing Downtown.

Xavia Harrington-Chate

Assistant professor of
 teacher education at USI 

“E vansville to me is your quintessential Midwestern town,” says Xavia Harrington-Chate, assistant professor of teacher education at the University of Southern Indiana. Harrington-Chate — who moved to Evansville from her native South Carolina in 2013 to pursue her doctorate at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky — says the city is more than a place to work. In the last seven years, it’s become her home. After discovering the strong sense of community that bridges across Evansville, Harrington-Chate couldn’t wait to get involved and start giving back, specifically to youth. She holds several prominent positions, including second vice-president of the Evansville Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission and is a board member for the Evansville African American Museum’s youth program. While Evansville was originally a stop on the map for Harrington-Chate, she now says the opportunities for involvement and chance to gain new perspectives about the world from the city’s youth have led to her decision to stay once she’s finished her doctorate program.

I can benefit this city and use everything I’ve learned during my seven years here and not have to move,” she says. “There’s a lot of ways to give back and a sense of community that has helped me to make Evansville my home and make it a place I want to stay.

Previous article
Next article

Related Articles

Latest Articles