The feature story about entrepreneurship in this issue of Evansville Business made me think about a few things. Among them is the opportunity to establish our own company culture is one of the many parts I enjoy about running a business. I truly value the ability to put certain procedures and protocols in place that align with how we feel a small company could and should be run. Many of the human resources-related decisions I make boil down to me asking myself, “If I were an employee here, what would my expectation be?” Let’s assume, then, that we are not very corporate at Tucker Publishing Group. In a fast-paced, highly creative environment, no one wants it to be.
We employ identical twin sisters, Jessica Campbell Hoffman and Jennifer Campbell Rhoades, as Senior Account Executives. Jessica started as an intern 22 years ago, and we “rescued” her sister from a converted closet office space one year later. It has been a delight observing them and, especially, their girls grow up. Jennifer’s daughter, Hayden (15), is a student at Signature School, and a figure skater. Jessica’s daughter, Helena (8), is in second grade, and an excellent student. It is not at all unusual to find Hayden or Helena hanging out at our office on a snow day or before or after an appointment. It has been tremendous fun making them sell me Girl Scout cookies and watching long-term employees and their kids grow and experience life. There exists a terrific friendship between us: Hayden and Helena have never not known me.
I like to say I get along best with kids and animals, so when we started this company 24 years ago, I never would have envisioned how much I would enjoy seeing Jessica and Jennifer get married and have children — and how much I’d revel in causing trouble with their girls. Over the years, there has been a lot of running around, yelling, and stupidity with them in our halls, but that’s just the way I like it. The work somehow still gets done. I get custom artwork. And HR doesn’t care.
I didn’t know Ashton Pryor — as a sports fan, I had only heard her name — but her death affected me all the same. Her passing in a Feb. 17 car wreck truly rocked the entire community. A standout softball player at Boonville High School, she had committed to playing for Indiana State University. By all accounts, she was a terrific young lady who was full of love. It is sadly ironic that her best friend and teammate Kate Bruggenschmidt also died tragically in a 2015 ATV accident. Contributions can be made to the Ashton Lee Pryor Memorial Fund at Peoples Bank in Boonville, Indiana. I hope her family is finding peace.
Why, you may ask, is a red 1998 Klein Stage bicycle pictured here? The bike has had an interesting life. I purchased it new from Gilles Schwinn Cyclery in Evansville, and it was state of the art in the late ‘90s. Made from aircraft aluminum, it’s very light. I did my first big race on it before moving on to a triathlon bike; this is a more traditional road bike. Years ago, I sold it to one of my oldest friends, Dr. Chris Gilkey of Newburgh, Indiana. Chris now has sold and repurchased it three times, and the bike is still in terrific shape. Chris texted me while I was on vacation last month and asked if I knew anyone who might want to buy it. “I will,” I answered. My son Jackson is starting to ride and needs a bike. Twenty-five years later, this was meant to be. Thanks for taking good care of it, Chris.
As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.
Todd A. Tucker, President