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An Indianapolis Business Podcast: Off the Circle
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An Indianapolis Business Podcast: Off the Circle

Author: Douglas Karr

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Listen to Indy-based entrepreneurs and business-people, their experience and expertise. Have some laughs and learn along the way on this episode of Off the Circle. Your hosts are Douglas Karr and Ryan Grimes. We're sharing motivating stories, newly discovered businesses, exceptional leaders, and other topics associated with the great city of Indianapolis.
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On this episode, we interview Alison Barber Bell, Chancellor of WGU Indiana, and Jacob Brown, Graduate of WGU's Master's in Business Leadership and Vice President of Fifth Third Bank. We discuss WGU's unique non-profit, accredited online degree program... from WGU's new Indiana offices downtown.WGU Indiana is an online, competency-based university established to expand access to higher education for Indiana residents. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. Degrees are granted under the accreditation of WGU, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), College of Business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). WGU Indiana has helped 7,500 Hoosiers achieve their dream of completing a college degree. Another 5,900 students are currently enrolled. Facts about WGU Indiana:In 2010, Western Governors University was approached by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels about creating a state-based model for the university.Indiana became the very first state model and the first state-endorsed online university, creating positions for a local chancellor and local advisory board.WGU Indiana is a nonprofit, accredited, online university that serves students from all different backgroundsWGU Indiana is currently serving about 5,600 Hoosiers – a 166 percent increase in enrollment since 2011. WGU Indiana serves more than 520 active-duty military members, veterans or military family members.WGU Indiana has awarded degrees to more than 7,500 Indiana residents.WGU Indiana serves students who are not well-served by traditional colleges and universities; 72 percent are classified as underserved in one or more of four categories: ethnic minority, low income, rural residents, or first-generation college students.As of 2018, 86 percent of WGU Indiana’s students work full-time jobs while pursuing a degree.According to a recent Gallup-Purdue index, which provides insight into the relationship between the college experience and outcomes, WGU consistently scored higher than the national average when measuring school compatibility, mentorship, challenging curriculum, cost-worthiness and more.WGU Indiana’s tuition fees are nearly half the national average. Tuition is about $6,500 per 12-month year for most programs, and it is charged at a flat rate, which means students can complete as many courses as they are able in any term, at no additional cost. On average, WGU graduates increase their pre-enrollment income by $12,600 within two years of graduation and by $18,400 within four years. With an average cost of $16,500 for a bachelor's degree, most WGU graduates see a positive return on their investment within two to three years. Special Guests: Alison Barber Bell and Jacob Brown.
On this episode, we interview Keaton Hendricks, founder of Sky Outfitters. Sky Outfitters is an online e-commerce company headquartered in Indianapolis. Since inception in 2016, Sky Outfitters (formerly known as Sky Footwear) has partnered with over 30 different homeless shelters across the Midwest and donated over 30,000 socks as a component of its “buy-one-give-one” mission. With every piece of apparel sold, the company donates that item to its homeless shelter of the month – August’s shelter being Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Launched in 2016, Sky Outfitters tripled its revenue in its first year – and in 2018, the company saw $127K in gross revenue – a number that is expected to steadily increase throughout the rest of 2019.Expanding the company’s retail line, the company's rebranding coincides with the launch of two new apparel products found on homeless shelters’ most requested items list – premium beanies and scarves. Special Guests: Keaton Hendricks and Keeton Hendricks.
On this episode, we interview Chef Ben Hardy and Larry Dickerson on Indiana's Culinary Crossroads Initiative.Team Indiana is a talented and diverse group of Hoosier chefs and home cooks headed to Dallas, TX to compete in the World Food Championships (https://worldfoodchampionships.com) October 16-20. They are representing the State of Indiana as part of the Culinary Crossroads initiative, with backing from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, Indiana Grown, and other underwriters.Team Indiana is comprised of nine chefs from around the state, competing in seven different events at the 2019 World Food Championships. Among the team are several from Indianapolis, including: Ben Hardy (Indianapolis), co-owner and pastry chef of Gallery Pastry Shop Erin Gillum (Indianapolis), executive chef of Spoke & Steele Justin Miller (Carmel), executive chef of Anthony’s Chophouse Craig Baker (Indianapolis), restaurant consultant Cindy Hawkins (Indianapolis), owner of Circle City Sweets Roger Hawkins (Indianapolis), owner of Circle City Soups We discuss the cultural impact of culinary talent on the state's economy, Ben's history and his Pastry shop, as well as the upcoming World Food Championships. Special Guests: Ben Hardy and Larry Dickerson.
On this episode, we On this episode, we interview Sean Hendrix, the Director of Emerging Technology Partnerships for the Purdue Research Foundation and the managing director of the Indiana 5G Zone. We're discussing the latest public private initiatives to drive 5G implementation and innovation here in Indiana, the Indiana 5G Zone.The Indiana 5G Zone will occupy 3,000 square feet within the 24,000-square-foot downtown Indianapolis headquarters of the Eleven Fifty Academy, a non-profit educational entity that helps professionals upskill and launch careers in technology. Co-locating the Indiana 5G Zone here will integrate the 5G infrastructure and testing facilities within the academy’s immersive coding and cybersecurity training programs.The facility is being established by the Indiana 5G Forum, which has developed to include several notable stakeholders, including AT&T, Verizon, Purdue University, Eleven Fifty Academy, Indiana IoT Lab - Fishers, Battery Innovation Center, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN), Energy Systems Network, Indiana University, and the University of Notre Dame with the intent to add more partners from near and far. The Indiana 5G Zone is sponsored as part of a strategic initiative established in partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to leverage Indiana’s developing digital infrastructure to catalyze innovation and support rapidly-developing companies.The Indiana 5G Zone will offer businesses, universities, government, and research institutions the ability to book fee-for-service lab space at the facility, leveraging its unique 5G network infrastructure to develop and test new technologies, products or service applications, while also having access to shared spaces for programming and events. It will be the first node of what will become a statewide 5G-related resource network. Special Guest: Sean Hendrix.
On this episode, we interview Jeffrey Smith. Jeffrey researched and identified a franchise opportunity and landed on janitorial services and commercial cleaning. City Wide Maintenance continues to grow and retain clients at phenomenal success and Jeffrey shares his experience here.City Wide is a management company in the building maintenance industry with more than 50 years’ experience offering janitorial and 20-plus other facility services. In 2005, Jeff Smith, an Indiana native, opened City Wide of Indianapolis and began offering the company’s unique experience to building maintenance and janitorial services to commercial facilities in the greater Indianapolis metro.Jeff knew from experience that truly amazing client support took an extra level of engagement but resulted in successful lifelong relationships. He was drawn to City Wide because he recognized that they had a unique business model that offered this excellent support better than any team he had ever seen.Today, Jeff is transforming an industry often plagued with mediocrity.* Offering a unique management approach* Providing more than 20 different services* Representing your needs* Focusing on vendor selection, compliance & overall client satisfactionClients aren’t used to the attention to detail and level of communication City Wide Maintenance offers and once they hired them, they love it! Their goal is to become an extension of your management team and save you time, money and the stress associated with facility management. Special Guest: Jeffrey Smith.
On this episode, we interview Kevin MacCauley and Myles Grote, co-founders of Upper Hand. Upper Hand offers sports organizations a suite of online tools to effectively manage their businesses. By offering solutions to manage lessons, camps, clinics, teams and memberships, Upper Hand enables sports businesses to cut through the clutter of administration and enhance the clients’ experience with their organization. Upper Hand also allows sports organizations to intelligently manage their business by providing features including online registration, payments management (including cash), booking and scheduling, contact management, roster management, financial reporting, marketing and communication with their clients. Special Guests: Kevin MacCauley and Myles Grote.
On this episode, we interview Matt Hunckler of Powderkeg (https://powderkeg.com). There's no doubt of the massive impact Matt has had in Indianapolis on the technology community. From his origins as one of the first Orr Fellows (https://orrfellowship.org) to Powderkeg, he's skyrocketed and accomplished somethinging truly special. We discuss his journey and Powderkeg in this episode.Powderkeg is a network of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and supporters who are passionate about creating massive value through software, technology and their innovative businesses. They host regular tech conferences, pitch competitions, and industry events in host cities around the U.S. and publish the best strategies and methodologies for growing a technology business. Special Guest: Matt Hunckler.
On this episode, we interview Tim Houterloot, a ten year survivor of Hairy Cell Leukemia. Tim is a candidate for the Man & Woman of the Year (https://pages.mwoy.org/in/indy19/thouterloo) award. Also joining us is Katelyn Sussli, a campaign specialist for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as both this year's boy and girl of the year... Tyler and Piper! And of course their Moms are sharing the stories.We discuss Douglas' experience in a previous year's campaign, Tim's journey, as well as the journey's of Tyler and Piper. Please, please, please help support the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. From research, to treatment, to education, to supporting the families... they do amazing work and make every single dollar count! Special Guests: Katelyn Sussli and Tim Houterloot.
On this episode, we interview Indianapolis' former Mayor Greg Ballard. Mayor Ballard has written a new book, Less Oil or More Caskets: The National Security Argument for Moving Away From Oil (https://amzn.to/2I2puub). While that's a provocative title for a book, as a Marine who has served in Desert Storm, Mayor Ballard is passionate about our servicemen and also passionate about transportation technology. He discusses the intersection of the two in his newest book. While this may be viewed as a political view... it's actually not, Mayor Greg Ballard is a Republican.Mayor Ballard also discusses the work that Indiana is doing on workforce development, women in technology, the state's robotic championship, and other work that he's doing on behalf of Hoosiers. We also had Michael Denny sit in as a guest and he discussed the innovative work that Butler University is doing to transform higher education. Special Guests: Greg Ballard and Michael Denny.
On this episode, we interview ScoocH President and Co-founder Matt Foley on his journey to rival the PopSocket by creating the No. 1 phone case for video streaming. Four years ago, Matt, along with fellow co-founder John Stagge, saw a void in wireless phone case technology and had an idea – a phone case with versatile one-handed use. Think snap bracelets. The unique kickstand feature of the ScoocH Wingman allows you to use your device in landscape and portrait mode with ease. Not to mention that the case’s textured grip, 10-foot drop protection and car mount feature boast 4-in-1 capabilities while keeping functionality, style and durability at the forefront. In the competitive environment of consumer electronics, ScoocH (https://scoochcase.com/) has emerged as a leading competitor, expanding its presence across 6,000 retail environments across the United States and Canada. Since 2015, ScoocH’s revenue has grown from $250,000 to over $6M, doubling its revenue almost every year.In alignment with its commitment, ScoocH also provides empowerment, protection and autonomy to Hoosiers in need by donating 10% of profits to locally-based Prevail, a crisis center dedicated to empowering those affected by domestic violence. Special Guest: Matt Foley.
In this Martech Zone Interview, we speak to Mike Reynolds, founder of Innovatemap (http://innovatemap.com), a digital product agency. Mike has been ideating and delivering digital products to market for over 20 years. He is an expert in product management, user experience, and product marketing. Innovatemap helps companies of all sizes dream, design, and scale digital products and services. Innovatemap works with startups looking to build their product roadmap, scale-ups that are shifting or taking their company in another direction, and tech-enabled businesses that wish to leverage technology to enhance their non-technology company. We discuss a couple of shared clients and the impact that Innovatemap's work with them. Innovatemap has also launched A Better Product Podcast (http://innovatemap.com/podcast/) to share their knowledge with the industry. Special Guest: Mike Reynolds.
On this episode, we interview Brian Rowe of Perceivant. Brian has been a serial entrepreneur in Indianapolis since 2005, with his most notable success being the sale of iGoDigital to ExactTarget. Now, Brian is putting his knowledge of software to helping advance higher education. Perceivant (https://www.perceivant.com/) publishes and provides courseware that replace traditional textbooks with cost-effective and interactive learning experiences for both web and mobile applications. Each course is accompanied with powerful analytics and real-time data to boost student engagement and provide educators with an easier, more efficient solution to analyze course efficacy. Perceivant is also armed with editorial expertise and tools to enable educators to create custom solutions that exceed expectations and university standards. Special Guest: Brian Rowe.
Joined by Frank Leonard and Harry Howe, on this episode, we speak with attorney Wes Zirkle who was part of a sports talent representation firm that went international and Emily Schoenbaechler, who worked extensively in the State House and is passionate about female representation in our technology space.The conversation about our business climate was frank and honest. We're all proud Hoosiers who have invested heavily in our home state and want it to move forward. No doubt, we've had some setbacks, but that shouldn't stop every company that works here from helping one another drive their businesses forward! Special Guests: Emily Schoenbaechler and Wesley Zirkle.
On this episode, we interview Rich Banta, founder and Chief Compliance Officer of Lifeline Data Centers. Rich leads the country in compliance and certifications and has been instrumental at driving innovation in the Data Center industry. His certifications include:CISSP (ISC²) Certified Information Systems Security Professional - April 2017 - PresentCCSP (ISC² & CSA) Certified Cloud Security Professional - May 2017 - PresentCISA (ISACA) Certified Information Systems Auditor - September 2010 - PresentCRISC (ISACA) Certified in Risk & Information Systems Control - December 2010 - PresentCFCP (FISMA Center) Certified FISMA Compliance Practitioner - October 2014 - PresentCDCDP (CNet/BTEC) Certified Data Center Design Professional - February 2014 - PresentCDCAP (CNet/BTEC) Certified Data Center Audit Professional - February 2018 - PresentDCIE (IDCA) Data Center Infrastructure Expert - February 2018 - PresentThe defense acquisition system exists to manage the investments of the United States in technologies, programs, and product support necessary to achieve the national security strategy and to support the United States Armed Forces. The primary objective of DoD acquisition is to acquire quality supplies and services that satisfy user needs with measurable improvements to mission capability and operational support at a fair and reasonable price.Rich is an expert in compliance and the regulations associated with them. Rich speaks regionally and nationally on all topics related and is a saught out speaker. Special Guest: Rich Banta.
On this episode, we interview Steve Sanner, President of Hoosier Automotive Services. In 1985, Steve Sanner and his partners started what is now known as Jiffy Lube of Indiana. Since that time, the Indianapolis-based business has expanded to 48 Jiffy Lube locations (46 in Indiana, two in Illinois) with more than 400 employees, creating one of the largest systems of franchised service centers in the industry. In 2017 alone, the company performed nearly half a million oil changes. While Jiffy Lube of Indiana is well-known for providing superior vehicle care, its commitment to employees is what Sanner says has led it to become one of the leading Jiffy Lube franchises in the U.S. Through the company’s “Growing People Through Work” program, lives of employees and their families have been transformed.Recognized for several years by Training Magazine as one of the best training programs in the country, highlights of Growing People Through Work include: $5,000 loans for managers who are first time home buyers to use as a down paymentTuition reimbursement and college scholarships for employees’ children Seminars with experts, designed to coach employees on financial literacy, health and wellness, and attitude/pride-in-workA Jiffy Lube Cares Fund that has provided more than $220,000 in no-interest loans to employees for emergency situationsLonnie Hinkle, COO of Jiffy Lube of Indiana, is a living example of how Growing People Through Work can change lives. He started at Jiffy Lube with a part-time job vacuuming cars, moving up through the ranks to become manager and eventually COO and company partner. He credits Jiffy Lube with paying off his student loans, helping him buy his first home – and even helping him lose 120 pounds! Special Guest: Steve Sanner.
On this episode, we interview Robert Bogue. Robert has a driving passion for delivering solutions through both teaching and learning. His drive for resolving problems is fueled by his creativity and innovation – by his ability to find solutions that others cannot find. His experience in the technical world has given him a unique opportunity to learn how to solve problems both in a technical sense and an organizational sense well before problems arise.Robert is an Indianapolis leader and has owned his business, Thor Projects (https://www.thorprojects.com/), for over 10 years. He has authored 26 books and has been an editor for over 100 additional books. Robert has received the prestigious Microsoft MVP designation fifteen times. He combines his love for emotional intelligence, communication skills gleaned from working in the IT world and having to talk to others, and his dynamic presentation skills to help change lives one at a time.Robert is an engaging presenter who speaks at local, regional, national, and international events. He has spoken to tens of thousands of professionals. Robert has fine-tuned his ability to focus others into effective communicating to create a wonderful experience for his audiences. He can bring together all departments of an organization to help build communication bridges to increase employee satisfaction and therefore increase efficiency within the organization. He is committed to making the complicated, simple. His approach to continual learning has led him to be an expert in instructional design and video production.Which led our host, Douglas, to travel to Robert's home studio where Thor Projects can sit down and record a podcast or video lesson at the click of a button. It's truly an exceptional resource for Robert and his wife who both provide content for learning management systems. On this episode, we speak to Robert about the studio, the equipment, and the lessons learned along the way. Special Guest: Robert Bogue.
On this episode, we interview Scott Rudd, who works for Indiana's Lieutenant Governor's office as the Director of Broadband Opportunities. We discuss how Indiana is leading the country in driving innovation with broadband access. As well, we interview Scott's work in Brown County got the attention of the state, where he's been hired to help transform the broadband accessibility in our state. Scott wworks closely with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to work with farmers and farm businesses within the community on ways to make sure they are keeping up with the advancing technology that will keep the agriculture industry thriving. Scott also works closely with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to collaborate with communities and identify the best ways to attract reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet to rural Indiana. As a part of the task set forth for the director of broadband opportunities, Rudd is working with OCRA on their Broadband Readiness Plan in the Community Development Block Grant Planning Grants program. Special Guests: Nik Thomas and Scott Rudd.
On this episode, we interview Susan Marshall, a 20-plus year technology veteran who's been deeply involved in the rapid evolution of digital marketing, video, audio, mobile, social and data management technologies. Digital marketing is complex. Marketers today need guidance on how to identify what's truly a top priority and help to get it done. At Torchlite, they believe it's not enough to just create another software solution. It's about bringing people and technology together to create a fast, nimble, and tech-enabled approach to get marketing done.Susan's excitement is contagious and Indianapolis' Torchlite continues to evolve as a leader for companies to attract and assemble their outsourced digital marketing teams. Unlike most freelance directories, Torchliters are vetted and their performance monitored to ensure the highest quality resources are assembled.The Torchlite management platform provides a new way to get digital marketing done right by seamlessly combining people, technology, and campaigns into a single interface. And their marketplace of experts helps you make the most of your digital marketing - inspiring you to focus on the work you love most. Special Guest: Susan Marshall.
On this episode, we interview Evan Tester and Steven Meyer of King Park and discuss how Community Development Financial Institutions are helping to play a key role in developing underserved parts of our community.King Park Development Corporation is a non-profit community development corporation (CDC) committed to improving housing, economic development, and quality of life in the King Park area. Founded in 1987 by concerned residents and neighborhood groups, King Park has helped drive the revitalization of neighborhoods in the northern downtown area of Indianapolis through various public and private partnerships.King Park focuses on comprehensive community development by:* Revitalizing neighborhoods by renovating and building affordable housing.* Driving economic growth and sustainability with our business services.* Directly impacting and contributing to the quality of life through public programs.The King Park service area includes the following neighborhoods: Old North Side, Herron Morton Place, Kennedy King, Reagan Park, Fall Creek Place, Friends & Neighbors, and Crosstown. Each neighborhood offers a unique experience, and our efforts have helped create vibrant, growing communities in the heart of Marion County. Special Guests: Evan Tester, Jenn Golding, and Steven Meyer.
On this episode, we interview Jeffrey Ton, a Hoosier native who has worked in IT for over 35 years. Jeff has written hundreds of blog posts about technology and technology leadership and most recently published his first book, Amplify Your Value: Leading IT with Strategic Vision (https://amzn.to/2oY3u9c). His articles have appeared on Forbes, CSO Online, People Development Magazine, Intel’s IT Peer Network, and his own blog, Rivers of Thought (https://riversofthought.net/). Throughout his career in business, Jeff has developed and fine tuned his leadership skills to become a business focused leader who drives results. He brings a strategic view of business and identifies innovative approaches to achieve business objectives by leveraging technology where and when appropriate. Adept at building and leading teams, both in-line and cross-organizational, he has been a catalyst for change across the businesses he has served. In this discussion, we speak about the evolution of the IT industry, its products and services. Jeff's insight into the business is incredible. Regionally, he's also launched the Indy CIO Network that holds monthly lunch and dinners with over 250 CIOs in attendence. Special Guests: Frank Leonard and Jeffrey Ton.
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