In Russell Hughes’ years at Butler, he was active in Phi Kappa Psi and Spring Sports, participated in the Speech and Debate team, and held campus jobs working the front desks at Ross Hall and ResCo. But his most important activity was an internship at GreenLight LLC, which manufactures and sells licensed die-cast replica vehicles (everything from Indy cars to replicas of vehicles featured in The Walking Dead), model kits, and aftermarket automotive accessories.

Fifteen years later, he’s still there—only now as Co-owner and President.

But back in 2002, Greenlight was a startup company that consisted of three people—including him.

 “You kind of don’t think you’re ready for that amount of responsibility, because you’re a junior in college, but in hindsight it’s huge,” he said. “It builds your resume and gets you into that routine of going to work, learning things, and pairing what you’re learning in the world with what you’re learning in school. I thought it was incredibly helpful.”

Hughes did two internships with GreenLight, then was hired after graduation. In 2010, the company was sold for the first time, and the new owners named Hughes as President. In 2013, when GreenLight was up for sale again, he and two partners bought the business for $1.4 million.

Four and a half years later, GreenLight recorded $15 million in annual sales and has been named one of Indianapolis’s 25 Fastest-Growing Private Companies two years in a row by the Indianapolis Business Journal. In addition, GreenLight now has nearly 30 employees.

Hughes said he chose Butler because “it just had the right feel,” and he said that what he learned as an Economics major and Communication Studies minor has helped guide his career.

“I felt like I came out of school very well prepared,” he said. “I didn’t come out as green as maybe some kids from other schools do…. Butler was a great experience for me. As far as academics go, as far as building lifelong relationships, I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”