Michael Kaltenmark ’02, ’16
Journalism major
Senior Director of Marketing, Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Penske Entertainment

How did Butler prepare you for your career?
My current position with Penske Entertainment is Senior Director of Marketing for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Without Butler, I have no career. After all, for nearly 25 years, Butler was all I knew academically and professionally. Butler inspired me to be a lifelong learner, taught me how to be an independent thinker, provided me with a vast network, reinforced the importance of values, challenged me to dream big, and gave me a safe space to fail, grow, and succeed. Somewhere in all of that, I obtained the skills necessary for the career I’ve chosen, but those skills wouldn’t amount to much without all of the other things Butler has given me. Even though I’m no longer employed by the University, I will forever owe my career to Butler. I try to honor that in the work I do now for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT INDYCAR Series.

What knowledge or skills gained at Butler have been most useful in your career?
Certainly, Butler taught me some valuable skills like how to be a good writer and communicator, and how to infuse creativity in the work to do. Butler helped me learn how to achieve more with less, and the value of hard work and commitment. But perhaps more than anything, Butler helped me become a leader, and moreover, taught me how to serve those that I have the opportunity to lead. It’s knowledge that I use every day, and strive to build upon as an aspiring servant leader.

What is the most important thing you learned at Butler?
Big things are achievable with little more than a committed team, a common set of core values, a shared vision, a solid strategy, and enduring passion.

What is something you loved being part of at Butler?
I loved being involved with the Butler Blue Live Mascot Program. It’s part of my Butler legacy, and I take a lot of pride in what we were able to do with the program and for the University as a result. In addition, because of my involvement in the live mascot program, it allowed me to be a part of some other really great things at Butler, like the Final Four appearances, the University’s brand evolution and development, new enrollment and fundraising records, and so much more. Being on the other end of the leash put me at the center of it all.

Who influenced you most while a student?
Academically, I owe a lot to Dr. Steven Vibbert who was a part of the College of Communication when I was an undergraduate. Dr. Vibbert was smart, witty, and demanding. In addition, he was passionate about the subject matter, his craft, and his students. His passion was contagious and it inspired me in the best way possible, to absorb his expertise, and to apply it. I still think about him a lot in the work that I do. 

And professionally, being colleagues with Brad Stevens really made a big impression on me. Brad served as a model for all of us when it came to embodiment of The Butler Way, especially the value of humility. He could’ve been the most prideful guy on campus, but he wasn’t. Quite the opposite, and that influenced me then, and still does today. I really admire Brad and his commitment to integrity.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
Use the Butler network to your advantage. Butler’s vast network of alumni can be found not only in Central Indiana but in all corners of the United States and beyond. So, take the initiative. Countless opportunities exist for Butler students.