Back

Butler Magazine

Spring 2018

An Innovative Partnership

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

Tim Valentine and Joshua Gaal started Train 918, their video-production company, at Butler. But after graduating in 2016, they needed a home base.

They found it at the Broad Ripple Speak Easy, which bills itself as "a place for entrepreneurs to create, collaborate, and learn."

The Broad Ripple Speak Easy only offers community space, though, and with their business growing, the Train 918 partners needed dedicated office space. So they moved to the downtown Indianapolis Speak Easy—of which Butler University is a founding partner—where they have an office and a secure place for their equipment. Not only that, but they work alongside lawyers, graphic designers, programmers, and others trying to build new businesses. The opportunities to collaborate are abundant.

"What's nice about the Speak Easy is the community," Valentine said. "If you ever have a question, there's tons of people that are here as resources. I can't tell you the amount of times I get up and walk across to the guy next door, who's a venture capitalist, and ask him a question about an email I'm going to send or a marketing strategy or anything like that. Everyone's here trying to help each other out to get to that next step."

Butler got involved with the Speak Easy in 2016 when the business was looking to expand beyond its Broad Ripple location. Andy Clark MBA '99, a founder of the Broad Ripple Speak Easy, approached the University with the idea of a partnership downtown.

Melissa Beckwith, Butler's Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Chief Information Officer Pete Williams, and Lacy School of Business Dean Steve Standifird saw the potential.

"What an interesting opportunity from the standpoint of experiential education," said Beckwith, who's now a Speak Easy board member. "If you have this very entrepreneurial co-working space with all of these companies, it is another way to connect Lacy School of Business students into the working environment of these companies. There are all kinds of possibilities for internships and job placements. It's another way to connect our students with the business community."

The downtown Speak Easy, located at 47 South Meridian Street, is situated in a 12,000-square-foot space. With its exposed brick and pipes, rustic woodwork, and large common area where members can avail themselves of coffee and beer, it looks like something you'd expect to see in Seattle or Silicon Valley.

Travis Herring, Speak Easy Experience Manager, said the downtown venue has 17 offices with tenants. (Over all, the Speak Easy now has about 1,000 members and five locations in Central Indiana.)

Herring sees the space as a middle ground for fledgling businesses for whom working from a coffee shop might not be conducive to doing business but renting a large office might be too expensive. Membership costs $75 a month, or $750 a year (office space is additional), and gives members access to community space in the five Speak Easy locations.

Valentine said the office that Train 918 rents for about $1,200 a month has been "100 percent worth it. We as a company make that back monthly—easily—just by the connections that we make."

Beckwith said the Speak Easy partnership has been worth it for Butler too. Butler students have been able to get involved with companies housed at the Speak Easy. Representatives from some of the companies have come to campus to work with students in the Real Business Experience classes. The Small Business Development Center, which became part of Butler on January 1, is housed in the Speak Easy. And the Speak Easy and Butler's Executive Education program are working to develop a non-degree certificate program for Speak Easy members.

"There are so many benefits for us partnering with startups and creating synergies we can potentially offer beyond academic," she said. "This is giving us an opportunity to be in the middle of a lot of companies."

Innovative Partnership
Community

An Innovative Partnership

"Everyone's here trying to help each other out to get to that next step."

Innovative Partnership

An Innovative Partnership

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18
Life Lessons

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

With less than a decade of professional work experience under his belt, Matt Lally ’10 has ventured into territory many might postpone until closer to retirement. He’s the Founder of a nonprofit dedicated to bettering educational outcomes for at-risk youngsters; in addition, he’s funded a global effort to create a sustainable food source. Yet it’s clear his youthful enthusiasm is paying off for those individuals and communities in the crosshairs of his altruistic dreams.Matt Lally ’10

While he is optimistic about his efforts, he is also in touch with the realities of running a not-for-profit and a start-up business.

As Nielsen’s Associate Director of Growth and Strategy, Lally refers to himself as a market research consultant by day and nonprofit volunteer evenings and weekends. “Philanthropic work has always been important—it’s a value instilled from an early age,” he said. “My father ran his own charity for a decade (saving outcast dormitory furniture from landfills and delivering to Appalachia, the Caribbean, and Central America). I’ve always had exposure and interest in philanthropic activities.”

Networking led to meeting other young professionals with similar aspirations. One such acquaintance was exploring how he could have an impact on educational systems. The two were shocked at the statistic that one out of every eight students misses a month of school per school year. In 2012, when Chicago was the focus of national attention with high school graduation rates hovering around 50 percent, the duo began researching the issue—speaking with educators, administrators, and those with experience with existing programs and their shortcomings. “I believe education is the foundation and background for a successful life,” he said. “It was an area in which I wanted influence.”

Ugandan ParticipantsThrough research, they narrowed their focus to an approach that had little or no attention: A partnership geared toward elementary school parents that they named, “Goods for Grades.” In 2014, they attained their 501c3 and launched the inaugural program in 2015 with one school on Chicago’s southside. There, regular attendance (and later they added good behavior) results in rewards to the parents of actual goods or open-ended opportunities like a gift card to a restaurant or for purchasing clothes.

As happens through altruistic efforts, he’s learned more than he’s given over the course of three years. What he found was that the lackluster attendance of children was not because it was inconvenient to get them to school or that parents didn’t believe school was important.

“For some of them, it’s a matter of ‘I have to be at work at 6:00 a.m., so I rely on an older child to get them to school.’ We have to take into account all the different circumstances and then what would it take to place importance on overcoming that barrier,” he said. “We have learned a lot—most importantly, understanding the problem from their perspective. No one wants someone from the outside telling them how to raise their kids.”

As if one such effort wasn’t enough, Lally more recently became an investor in a sustainable chicken farm in Uganda. The relationship formed as he sat on the Chicago board of Accumen, “a global community dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty” by employing business practice and models and changing the traditional charity approach to something more sustainable. A business plan, cost analysis, and proforma led to Lally providing them with capital. 

Chicken Coup“The chicken farm is a supply/demand opportunity for eggs. At the beginning of 2015, five families were selected to participate to be the caregivers and owners of the project,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous success. They’ve followed their revenue forecast and already payed back the loan. Structuring it as a loan—versus a charitable donation—brings a greater sense of responsibility.”

These sorts of bold endeavors take a little chutzpah, and Lally credits his days at Butler with building that trait. “Something that has always stuck with me that I learned at Butler: It never hurts to ask. That can play out in a lot of different ways, but it’s a mentality. If there’s something that you want, the worst that can happen is you get a ‘no.’ Being vocal about what you want is going to have a positive impact. Also, if you have a real passion, you need to share that with as many people as you can.” 

 

To learn more about these respective projects and how to support them, visit GoodsForGrades.org or gofundme.com/emmy039s-empathy.

Life Lessons
PeopleCampus

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Market research consultant by day—nonprofit volunteer by night. 

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

Read more
Grand Adventure

A Grand Adventure

Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

It Happened in a Weekend

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

Why? We felt that restless feeling to be somewhat careless and do something crazy. We wanted to experience newness. To break out of our routine. We had a desire to change our surroundings and rid ourselves of the strains of everyday life. 

And so we went. In fall 2016, we spent two months camping and hiking the western United States, two months navigating the chaos of India, and three months exploring Southeast Asia. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I feel for being able to go on this grand adventure. 

In reality, long-term travel is overwhelming and exhausting. You are constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone. Your relationship with yourself and your partner is challenged daily. Here are just a couple of excerpts from my blog sharing our unique and transformational travel experiences: 

Grand Tetons, Wyoming 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband at the Grand Tetons“What’s been your favorite place so far?” We get asked this question quite a bit on the road, and so far we have the same answer: The Grand Tetons. While leaving beautiful Oregon was bittersweet, we were eager to get to Jackson, Wyoming. We bypassed our planned one-night stay in Boise (We’ll be back for you Idaho!) and drove the 12+ hours from Portland, Oregon, to Jackson, Wyoming, in one day. We made it in one piece and found a free campsite as the sun was setting just outside of the Tetons. 

The next morning, we arrived at the Grand Tetons Visitor Center an hour before it opened to get a backcountry permit. Needless to say, John (JJ) was excited to be the first one in line. Before getting our permit, we had to watch a short video about backcountry camping safety… and this is where my irrational fear of bears began. By the end of the video, I was convinced we were going to be stalked and killed by a bear. Wyoming isn’t too bad of a place to die, right? 

Bear spray in hand, we set off on a 22-mile loop hike up Paintbrush Canyon and down Cascade Canyon. The first day consisted of 7.5 miles and 3,500 feet up. It was tough hiking, but the blossoming colors of fall made us forget about the level of difficulty. There are two weeks out of the year when leaves are at their brightest in the Tetons, and we had unknowingly chosen one of these sacred weeks. The Aspens were changing to a shade of yellow I’ve never seen before—hard to describe, and even harder to photograph. 

We were up early the next morning to tackle our one mile, 1,500-foot ascent of Paintbrush Divide to the Saddle Between Two Peaks. JJ kept me going by reminding me that, “every step you take is the highest elevation you’ve ever been.” At 10,700 ft., the 360-degree views were breathtaking. The pass opened up a new world of mountain ranges, peaks, and canyons; it is safe to say that I’m addicted. Addicted to the feeling of wanting to see what’s over the next pass, to the exhilaration of the wind blowing in your face, to feeling entirely humbled, small, and insignificant compared to the mountains that surround you. 

India 

On December 17, 2016—my 25th birthday—we arrived in Rishikesh, India. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges River, Rishikesh is a charming town that attracts yogis and adventurers from around the world. It is free of meat, dairy, and alcohol—making it the ideal location for people to focus on their spiritual and physical wellness. 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband in IndiaHowever, two days into our blissful retreat, JJ and I were taking turns emptying our stomachs over a dirty toilet in a freezing cold yurt. The physical pain was compounded by the homesickness I felt being away from my loved ones so close to the holidays. I was tired of being cold and dirty and living out of a backpack. I couldn’t help but think of all of the places I’d rather be. 

Slowly, we started to regain physical strength and with it came mental clarity. We spent the next two weeks practicing yoga, getting lost in the foothills, reading by the river, and expanding our minds with new forms of spiritual guidance. And then I’m crying at the airport because I’m not ready to leave this powerful place that had become “home.” 

Despite the immense discomfort, we quickly discovered the real reason why we travel: It reminds us to be present, to be kind, to practice empathy—and to never take ourselves too seriously. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to be grateful for exactly where you are and who you are with in life. 

 

Camryn Walton '14 (Strategic Communication) and John Joseph '11 (International Studies and Marketing) moved to Denver in July 2017. They spend their time exploring the mountains, chasing music festivals, and working at a small marketing agency and large software company respectively. To read more on their grand adventure, check out flossinginthesunshine.com or follow them on Instagram @camryn_walton and @plaidjj1.

Grand Adventure
Arts & CulturePeople

A Grand Adventure

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

by Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

Read more
Dujuan

Thinking Big, Achieving More

Pat Pickett Snyder ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

As a student at Butler University, DuJuan McCoy set his sights on success. The Ben Davis High School graduate and recipient of a Christamore House scholarship was dedicated in both the classroom as a Business/Marketing major and on the athletic field as a record-holding Bulldog sprinter.

The prowess and inner drive that helped him navigate his undergraduate years has propelled him into significant roles of management and ultimately ownership in the broadcast industry. He currently owns five television stations as President and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting, including CBS and Fox affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and three stations (Fox, NBC, and Mynetwork TV) in Lafayette, Louisiana.

According to McCoy, his desire to rise through the ranks was established early in his career while in his first job at WTTV-4, Indianapolis.

“In 1991, the station was sold to River City Broadcasting. One of the partners was a guy named Barry Baker, a 38-year-old entrepreneur,” McCoy recalls. “He stands up in front of the whole sales team and says, ‘I’m looking for athletes who want to make a lot of jack.’ From that day forward, I wanted to be like that guy. I trained my brain to learn as much as I could about my craft, and I became the top sales guy by 25. I just took my athletic principals and applied them to the business world.”

His experience includes over 13 years of television sales management in market sizes ranging from No. 105 to No. 10. He has worked with small, medium, and large ownership groups in different regions of the country, including Capitol Broadcasting, River City Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcasting, and Fox Television Stations Group, managing revenue budgets ranging from $4 million to more than $130 million annually and he now has over 10 years of M and A experience

“When I started really chasing my dream of station ownership,” he said. “I let enough people know that’s what I wanted to do, and heard a lot of, ‘that will never happen, there’s too much consolidation going on in the industry’—but I didn’t let that dissuade me.”

McCoy believes that despite an increasingly competitive media landscape, the future remains bright for local broadcast TV stations. “In a time of crisis—a hurricane, a tornado—people turn to their local station. That’s never going to go away.”

His reputation of turning around stations and increasing revenue followed him throughout the industry to his last job as Vice President of Sales for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox 26 in Houston. “When I started, their annual revenue was roughly $90 million, and in four years, I  took it to over $130 million based on my skills and strategy,” he said. In July of 2007, he left Fox 26, formed Bayou City Broadcasting, and agreed to purchase seven, at the time, unprofitable stations in West Texas for $3 million.  

“Five years later, I was able to sell them for nearly seven times that amount,” he said. My track record was solidified and, even during the recession, my companies profited.” That success attracted the attention of Bain Capital who provided the backing needed for his currently owned stations.

Amid all that success, it’s not lost on McCoy that his success is unique on more than one level. “For whatever reason, I was never given a shot as a station general manager,” he said. “I skipped that step, so to speak.”

His recent station acquisitions are of special significance according to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters where McCoy serves on the Board of Directors. “Even though constituting 14 percent of the total population, African Americans own only 12 full-power, commercial television stations out of the 1300 full-power, commercial television stations in the United States.” McCoy is currently the only African American to own, operate, and manage every aspect of a big-4 affiliate (ABC, NBC, CBS, or Fox) in the United States. His company has no joint sales agreements, shared service agreements, financing agreements, or any other ‘sidecar’ agreements with any group station owners. His company is a stand-alone operation.”          

Beyond that, the organization refers to McCoy as a “broadcaster’s broadcaster.”

“Upon acquiring his television stations…he immediately upgraded the service that his stations provided to that community,” the organization noted in a 2017 press release. “He hired staff and launched new local newscasts in Evansville and increased local news production in Lafayette, which had an immediate, positive impact on the community served by those stations. In addition, for the past 10 years, McCoy has been paying his success forward by teaching other TV Executives (with an emphasis on women and people of color), how to do what he has done all via the National Association of Broadcasters--Broadcast Leadership Training Program in Washington, DC. 

Dujuan
People

Thinking Big, Achieving More

"I trained my brain to learn as much as I could about my craft, and I became the top sales guy by 25. I just took my athletic principals and applied them to the business world.”

by Pat Pickett Snyder ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

Read more
Dave

Beam Me Up, Scottie

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

A product of Butler University’s Radio/Television program (now part of the College of Communication), Dave Arland ’85 began his career working a graveyard shift at an automated radio station that played easy listening music … not exactly the stuff of which dreams are made. 

That rather inauspicious beginning led to big things that included working at the then top-rated news station in the city (WIBC), serving as the Press Secretary for four-term Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut, and ultimately landing at Thomson/RCA in 1991 where he became Vice President of Global Consumer Marketing. One of those jobs you think you’ll be in forever—until you’re not. Dave Arland and company at CES“I was there 16 years, but the last five produced a major shift away from the consumer business to B2B,” he recounts. “Every week, I was getting additional budget cuts and having a difficult conversation with someone.” Eventually, his job was eliminated as well, and for the first time in a long time, his future wasn’t so certain. 

Friends encouraged him to launch his own firm—a rather daunting task if you’ve never run a business before. But another friend gave a stellar piece of advice: “What’s the worst that can happen? It’s an epic fail, and you go to work for some big company.” 

Arland started with one client that soon became three that became six. “We moved out of my spare bedroom and into this office about six years ago,” he says, nodding to the wall covered with his beloved deck of the Starship Enterprise (yes, he’s a Trekkie of galactic proportion). “I hired my first full-time employee and then a second. It just grew.” 

In January, Arland Communications celebrated its 10th anniversary. He has built upon the expertise in the consumer electronics industry gained through his time at Thomson/RCA to become a major player working for large manufacturers like LG and Panasonic (both in the U.S. and Japan), as well as the Consumer Technology Association that stages the annual CES. As one of the largest tradeshows in the world—with 185,000 attendees in Las Vegas for four days in a space equivalent to 47 Lucas Oil Stadiums—it garners hours of air time via reporters interested in the “next big thing.” 

Staying nimble and relevant in the fast-moving pace of electronics and technology can present a challenge in and of itself. Calling himself a “reluctant entrepreneur,” Arland credits Butler with the preparation that enabled him to succeed. 

“I picked Butler because of the Radio/Television program; they had a great intern program and offered substantial on-air experience,” he says. “It may not have prepared me for the exact place I am now, but I’d like to think Butler prepared me for new challenges and being willing to learn.” 

And willing to change. He continues, “You have to learn to not fall into the same old way you’ve done things. I keep up by hiring people younger and smarter than me ... they are amazing and do incredible work.” Among those people is Butler graduate Joshua Phelps ’12 as well as a rotation of interns from his alma mater that he touts as “fabulous.” 

Dave Arland in a StudebakerMore than three decades after he graduated, Arland offers three timeless pieces of advice: 

  • Find a way to work somewhere doing something so you get a taste of what the real world is like. It may not be the be-all-end-all, but you have to show initiative, be thorough, and find a way in. In my case, working late at night at an easy listening station led to other opportunities. 
  • If you are a student, immerse yourself in something but experience everything. I didn’t have the highest GPA; I wasn’t aiming for that. But I was very involved—from choir and marching band to the radio station to being an officer in my fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha). 
  • Get out of your bubble. I took a class called “Change and Tradition” that was taught by noted professor Emma Lou Thornbrough. We were on opposite ends of the political and life spectrum, and I learned so much. If you’re a college Democrat and I bleed blue, or a college Republican and bleed red, get out of your bubble to listen and respect other opinions. The world is not a bubble just for what you want to hear. 
Dave
PeopleCommunity

Beam Me Up, Scottie

“Immerse yourself in something but experience everything.” 

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

Read more
Dinner

Dinner with 10 Bulldogs

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

It’s not about the location or the menu for that matter. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves—college students are all about a home-cooked meal. But, what a Dinner with 10 Bulldogs is really about is the energy and connections made between students and alumni. 

Just ask Bryan Brenner ’95, CEO of FirstPerson and current Butler Trustee, who was hooked after hosting a dinner. “I’ve hosted a few of these because they inspire me—the eagerness of students to connect ... It reminds me to go for big goals in my own life and to encourage others.” 

Curious how Butler students feel about Dinner with 10 Bulldogs? Look no further than Logan Schwering ’18, who has engaged with alumni in various contexts, but says the Dinner with 10 Bulldogs is the most memorable. “It’s motivating and inspiring to see how much success Butler alumni have achieved. The dinners lead to connections that last a lifetime.” 

In Schwering’s case, it also led to an internship with FirstPerson. As Brenner puts it, 

“[The dinner] gives us access to great future talent! It’s also a great opportunity to reconnect to the purpose and values of Butler. I’ve instilled those values in my company. ” 

These values—trust, collaboration, and innovation, to name a few— are important to Butler students and many seek those values in an employer. It should come as no surprise, then, that FirstPerson has seven Butler alumni on staff and several Butler interns. 

So what kind of company is FirstPerson? It’s an Indianapolis-based strategic business advisory that helps organizations of all sizes become better businesses by developing smarter people strategies. Their core solutions—benefits and compensation, leadership and infrastructure, and community and culture—help organizations design meaningful employment experiences, resulting in healthier employees and a more productive business. 

“I do market research, benchmarking, sales support, and build community partnerships,” Schwering explained of his internship role, where he assists the small group team (clients with less than 200 employees). And with so many Butler alumni on staff, I wasn’t shocked to learn that Schwering reports to one—Alli Isaacs ’10, who is a Strategist in the organization. 

His connection to Butler alumni at FirstPerson doesn’t end there. Schwering was introduced to FirstPerson by Mark Minner ’12, a Managing Director with the company. Minner and Schwering met through their mutual involvement in Phi Delta Theta. Schwering’s role in Student Government Association (SGA) also gave him opportunities to speak with and present to Butler Trustees, including Brenner. 

About a year later, FirstPerson hosted a Dinner with 10 Bulldogs event and Schwering attended. He interacted with Brenner and Minner at the dinner and, as they say, the rest is history. 

For those of you thinking about hosting a Dinner with 10 Bulldogs, Brenner has some advice: “Do it! You’ll be energized by the rich personalities of Butler students, and their capacity for understanding the world around them. You’ll remember why you love Butler, and discover new ways to engage with your alma mater.” 

Still on the fence? Schwering reassures me that Butler students want to hear about your Butler experience. He also added, “If it’s the food selection that has you worried, fear not. Anything homemade or from a restaurant is likely better than what we would have eaten in the dining hall or made on our own.” 

See, I told you it wasn’t about the menu. 

We Need You!

Collaborate with and inspire Butler students while making connections that will last a lifetime. To host a Dinner With 10 Bulldogs, please visit butler.edu/busf/dinner-10-bulldogs. You will be energized to reconnect with Butler while encouraging students to “go for big dreams.” 

Dinner
GivingPeopleCommunity

Dinner with 10 Bulldogs

On the menu: trust, collaboration, innovation, and connections

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

Read more
Max

That's the Ticket

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

In October 1956, Schumacher was finishing a two-year stint in the Army and thinking about what to do with his Journalism degree from Butler. He picked up a copy of the Indianapolis Star—he had his subscription forwarded to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, where he was stationed—and read a one-paragraph news brief reporting that Marjorie Smyth, the ticket manager for the Indianapolis Indians baseball team, was leaving. 

Schumacher called his mentor, J.R. Townshend Sr., who knew Frank McKinney Sr., the Indians’ Chairman of the Board, to help him arrange an interview. That December, Schumacher went to McKinney’s Fidelity Bank office on East Market Street. After a brief conversation, McKinney wrote a note on a little piece of paper and told Schumacher to take the note to Ray Johnston, the team’s General Manager. 

“He didn’t put it in an envelope,” Schumacher said. “He just handed it to me. He wrote something like: ‘This is the young man I talked to you about for the open position at the ballpark.’” 

Schumacher took the paper to Johnston. He was hired. 

Over the next dozen years, Schumacher advanced from Ticket Manager to Public Relations Director to General Manager to President and Chairman—a position he held for 47 years until he retired at the end of 2016. In that time, the Indians won 19 divisions and eight league championships, turned a profit for 42 consecutive years after periods of financial losses, and moved into a downtown Indianapolis ballpark still considered one of the best in America. 

“After I graduated from Butler, I thought I’d get a regular job—work for the Star, maybe—or be in somebody’s PR department or putting together publications for some corporation,” he said. “This just dropped in my lap.” 

Truly a Butler Family 

Schumacher grew up at 44th Street and Winthrop Avenue in Indianapolis, his academic future seemingly preordained. His father, a musician, and his mother, who worked in a downtown department store and later at a bank, both went to Butler when the campus was in Irvington. His two older sisters preceded him on the Fairview campus. “I never thought about anything else other than Butler,” he said. 

As a sophomore at Shortridge High School, where his classmates included future U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and author Dan Wakefield, Schumacher became interested in Journalism. He also played second base on the Shortridge team, which was coached by Jerry Steiner, a 1940 Butler graduate and future Butler Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. Steiner accompanied Schumacher on a visit to ask Tony Hinkle about an athletic scholarship. They arrived to find Hinkle cutting the grass, his leg in a cast—the result of a lawnmower accident from a previous session mowing the baseball field. 

Schumacher remembers Hinkle’s response. “He said, ‘Well, kiddo’—everybody was ‘kiddo’—‘we have a great school here. It’s a wonderful school. We announce when baseball practice starts, and you can come out for ball.’ He didn’t say baseball. And away we go. Long story short, that’s what I did.” 

Schumacher drove his 1936 Chevrolet Coupe the two miles to Butler (later upgrading to a ’41 Pontiac), where he studied Journalism and walked on to the baseball team. He was surprised at his first game when Hinkle called out, “Hey, Schuey, coach third base.” He did that for two years before earning some playing time in his last two years. (His best game, four hits in four at-bats against DePauw was overshadowed by teammate Norm Ellenberger, who threw a no-hitter that day.) 

When Schumacher wasn’t playing ball, he was in class or writing for The Butler Collegian. He worked his way up to Editor, but when the boss at his summer job—public relations for Junior Baseball, a citywide youth baseball program—asked him to stay on during the school year, Schumacher chose the paying job. 

Time to Go to Work 

That turned out to be the right decision: The man who ran Junior Baseball, J.R. Townsend Sr., would later provide the introduction to Frank McKinney Sr. with the Indianapolis Indians. 

By his senior year, Schumacher also had a second job with the Indianapolis Times. He took calls from sports correspondents at high schools, gathering information for box scores and game stories. He also wrote his own stories occasionally—like on the night of March 20, 1954, when he was sent to the tiny town of Milan to see if there was anyone around. (Almost everyone was in Indianapolis, watching their team win the state high school basketball championship.) 

“I loved that,” Schumacher said. “I really loved that. That got me hooked on Journalism.” 

With what he learned in classes, on The Collegian, and through his outside jobs, he graduated with skills that translated well for what was to come next. 

“I thought at the typewriter better than longhand, so to have correspondence that had to go out to somebody for Indians’ business, I could sit down and compose a coherent letter and fire it into the mail to them,” he said. “I was very happy with my education. It helped me develop the necessary skills to be successful, and I had what it took to get started.” 

Building a Franchise and Family 

From 1957 until he stepped down in 2016, Max Schumacher experienced enormous successes—and the occasional hiccups. He once traded a future Cy Young Award winner (Mike Cuellar), but he also helped assemble teams that won four consecutive championships in the 1980s. The 1986 title, won in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game when the Indians’ Billy Moore drove in the winning run off future star Rob Dibble, remains a personal favorite. 

Perhaps his greatest success in those years was meeting and marrying Judy Whybrew, an Indiana University graduate who worked on the Indians’ ticket staff. Schumacher had been hired to replace her friend Marge Smith as ticket manager, “and I was not real well received because I was replacing her friend,” he said. “But we got to know each other well, and we fell in love later.” Bruce, their first son, who succeeded Max as Indians Chairman of the Board and CEO, was born in 1959, followed by Brian, Karen, and Mark, and they now have five grandchildren. 

Over the years, Schumacher had opportunities to go to the major leagues, but he turned them down. He grew up in Indianapolis and, except for his two years in the Army, has lived here his entire life. With the Indians, he was more or less his own boss, and he was instrumental in building one of America’s great minor-league franchises. He’s particularly proud that for the team’s employees, “to have on their resume that they worked for the Indianapolis Indians is a pretty good line to have.” 

“I never had the feeling that I wanted to be a big guy in my industry,” he said. “A lot of people think if you work in baseball, you need to get to the major leagues if you want to be a success. So many people have said to me, ‘I thought you would have been in the major leagues by now.’ If you’re an attorney, do you have to work in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles to be successful in your profession? No. And I don’t, either.” 

Max
AthleticsPeopleCommunity

That's the Ticket

Can one little newspaper story change a life? It did for Max Schumacher ’54. 

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more
Marc Williams

A Philanthropic Vibe

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

As a student, Marc Williams ’07 spent as much time as possible in Fairbanks, Room 050, working on his music and learning audio production. 

“I just threw myself into that,” he said. “Admittedly, I didn’t think of what it would be like for me after college. I was just so in love with having the opportunity to be hands-on with equipment I could never afford in my entire life. I thought that was such a great opportunity. I was all-in when it came to that.” 

What it’s been like since college has been a mix that takes advantage of Williams’ many talents. He is, depending on the time of day: A special-education teacher at Fishers (Indiana) High School; the on-court emcee at Butler Men’s Basketball home games; a recording artist and deejay (known as Mr. Kinetik; his latest record is called Voyager); event producer and promoter (Fam Jaaams, a family-oriented dance party, is his newest event); and Adjunct Professor at Butler, where he teaches “A World of Hip-Hop,” a course on the global impact of rap culture. Not to mention husband and father. 

The through line for all of this? Butler. 

“Butler is where I was able to figure out who I really wanted to be,” he said. “As I was learning new information, I was able to form a more detailed perspective about myself and my place in the world. I met people from all over the world, had support from incredible people, and was able to experience things in ways I really never imagined.” 

Williams came to Butler from Dayton, Ohio, in 2003—two years after his sister Danielle—for the Engineering Dual Degree Program. When that major didn’t fit, he switched to Recording Industry Studies. 

“Best decision I made in college in terms of academics,” he said. 

After graduation, Williams went back to Dayton to work for a car dealership management software company, then returned to Indianapolis in 2008 for a job with a company that sold copy machines. “I hated every part of it,” he said. 

He saw an ad on Career Builder for a transition-to-teaching program. “I thought, I like young people and I like working with people and watching them become better,” he said. “I thought it would be nice to do because there were so many educators who had helped teach me. I thought it would be a cool thing to do and give back. A philanthropic vibe. I thought I was going to save the world from a classroom.” 

Williams is now in his 10th year of teaching at Fishers, where his classes include Algebra 1, English 10, and a basic reading/writing skills class—and he has found his niche. He approaches teaching this way: Students are like plants. Some of them will grow fast, some will take a while, some will take more work than others, some might not grow the way you want them to. 

He approaches his role as on-court emcee—a position he pioneered during the 2009–2010 season—with the same kind of thoughtfulness. “I’m not really the center of attention, as much as it may seem like it. I just want people to be engaged and have a good time and establish an environment that helps the team play better.” 

And just as Williams enjoys helping to excite the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd, he’s just as happy to have a chance to spend time at his alma mater. 

“Butler is my home away from home,” Williams said. “I hope I’ll always have a way to be somewhere around 4600 Sunset Avenue for the rest of my life.” 

Marc Williams
GivingPeopleCommunity

A Philanthropic Vibe

"I thought I was going to save the world from a classroom.”

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more
Ramonna

Accentuate the Positive

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

During her 25 years as a public relations practitioner, Ramonna Robinson ’93 has seen the best and worst the world has to offer. 

Within a year after graduation, she was traveling handling communications for the Pan Am Games, Goodwill Games, and the Olympics. 

Six years later, she’d been the Lakewood (Colorado) Police Department’s spokesperson for just six weeks when the Combine High School shootings occurred. “It was trial by fire,” Robinson said, “and that is where I learned ‘on the job’ and honed my crisis communication skills.” 

At those jobs and others, Robinson has used what she learned at Butler—and in the field—to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative for a slew of clients. 

“I rave about Butler all the time,” said Robinson, whose first name is her mom’s middle name, Ann, and her dad’s first name, Omar, spelled backwards. “I got a great education, a great mixture of professors and adjuncts who came in from the real world—especially in some of my advertising classes, where we looked at campaigns and how things are applied—and values that were instilled in me that stick with me to this day.” 

Robinson grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, and chose Butler for radio/TV. But as a member of the WAJC staff, she kept losing her voice. An examination discovered nodules on her vocal cords, so she switched her major to Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. 

She remembers Gay Wakefield, who ran the department, and her advisor, Journalism Professor Art Levin, as being particularly influential and helpful. Levin helped arrange her schedule so she could study at Murdoch University in Australia for a full year and still graduate from Butler on time. 

One of Wakefield’s classes helped propel Robinson into the sports industry upon graduation—first leading communications for a national gymnastics organization and then to Indiana Sports Corp., where she handled communications for events in Indianapolis like the Olympic trials for swimming and diving. 

In 1998, Robinson visited Colorado “and realized that the sun comes out in the winter and people get outside year-round to enjoy the mountains and everything Colorado has to offer.’” Though the closest she’d been to law enforcement was getting a speeding ticket, she got the job with the Lakewood Police Department. In her first year there, she worked on Columbine, two officer-involved shootings, and a record number of homicides. 

After that, she had the opportunity to take over the marketing and public relations for Swedish Medical Center outside of Denver. She spent five years there in a role that expanded to include physician relations and new business development. While there, Robinson helped the hospital celebrate its 100th anniversary by putting together a commemorative book, arranging publicity for a community immunization project, and planning a gala celebration. 

During that time, she mentioned to a friend that she was open to new opportunities. That friend connected Robinson with Laura Love, the owner of GroundFloor Media, and “I left a 100-year-old hospital for a 4-year-old PR agency.” 

That was in 2005. Robinson has since become part owner of the agency, which is located around the corner from Coors Field. She’s helped the firm evolve into digital marketing and social media strategies, guiding clients through successes and crises, and is building a culture that has landed the agency in the top five on Outside magazine’s best places to work list for the past five years. (One of her clients is Sun King, the hugely successful Indianapolis-based brewery founded by her dad and her brother Clay.) 

Though Robinson’s plan had been to be in the media, she said everything has worked out well. She credits Butler with kick-starting her career. 

“The education I got there and the class size and the attention to detail that I learned at Butler,” she said, “has stuck with me and served me well.” 

Ramonna
People

Accentuate the Positive

During her 25 years as a public relations practitioner, Ramonna Robinson ’93 has seen the best and worst the world has to offer. 

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more
Chad

Engine of Opportunity

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2018

Why would a man who graduated cum laude with three job offers accept the one that didn’t quite match either of his two Butler University degrees? 

Because this offer came from Google, and “I think I would’ve been kicking myself if I hadn’t taken it,” said Chad Pingel ’16. 

The Des Moines, Iowa, native hasn’t allowed himself many chances to kick himself for passing up opportunities in his life—or for failing to make the most of them. And though he earned degrees in Finance and Marketing with an Ethics minor, Pingel may have found his activities outside Butler’s classrooms the most educational. 

“I was interested in forming relationships with folks who had unique and varied experiences. One of the core pieces to my time at Butler was how the campus fostered relationships from chance encounters and random experiences.” 

Effective keywords 

Taking his parents’ lifelong advice to always make the most of the chances he’s given, Pingel quickly became a Student Ambassador and a member of the Student Government Association, eventually becoming Student Body President. 

“Being in SGA was the perfect opportunity to serve as a liaison between groups. We were hearing students’ concerns directly and then championing them to staff, faculty, and administration,” he said. “Some of my proudest accomplishments happened in SGA.” Chad Pingel at Google

Pingel led initiatives to persuade IndyGo to reroute city buses through campus, and to court student input and buy-in around plans for new student residences. 

“The plans were a bit of a shift in perspective for students who had lived in Ross Hall, like I did, and we didn’t want to lose the community feeling we had created there,” he said. 

Intelligent search 

Pingel threw himself into the Lacy School of Business with the same sense of purpose. He cites three specific sources of the business mentality and work ethic he took to Google: The Real Business Experience (RBE), a financial portfolio management class, and the Butler Business Consulting Group (BBCG). 

RBE teaches students how to finance and market a project, take informed risks, and manage a real business “just like out in the real world.” In the financial portfolio management class, Pingel and his team were allowed to invest and manage $2 million of the University’s endowment money. (They finished 80 basis points up.) 

“I knew I was interested in assessing companies and the quality of an investment, but we got to go beyond that and develop higher-level skills by looking at overall business values,” he said. 

Finally, Pingel said joining the BBCG was “one of the most exciting and valuable chances of my life. We got to help the NCAA better align their internal feedback and approach to setting goals. It was a dream project.” 

Then came a job at one of the most successful companies in the world. 

Results returned 

Google receives two million resumes every year. Pingel’s first position was in Human Resources, diving into that enormous stack of candidates to recruit for finance positions. Itching to get back to actual Finance a year later, he became a Finance Automation System Administrator, the position he holds today. 

Though he said Google is such a leader in automation that no university could have fully prepared him for what he’s doing now, Pingel said he left Butler knowing how to assess information and maintain a work-life balance. 

“I learned a lot about professional life, but also how to show yourself as someone who can have fun and relate to people,” he said. “And professors like Dr. Paul Valliere taught me the importance of staying intellectually curious. The ability to think creatively helps me every day—at Google and in life.” 

Giving Back by Giving Chances 

Working at Google in California puts Chad Pingel ’16 far from his Iowa family and his Butler family, too. He decided to stay connected and give back to the University by funding the Pingel Family Scholarship. 

“I created a scholarship in my family’s name because I recognize all the sacrifices my parents made to put themselves through school. They worked two and three jobs, and I am so lucky that I could attend a great school like Butler without having to worry about finances,” he said. “Now, I get to give a similar chance to another student every year that could make the difference for them being able to attend Butler’s business school.”

Chad
AcademicsGivingPeople

Engine of Opportunity

Why would a man who graduated cum laude with three job offers accept the one that didn’t quite match either of his two Butler University degrees? 

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2018

Read more

Entrepreneurship is in His DNA

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2018

Sixteen-hour work days? Jeremy Baldi ’09 loves them—as long as he’s spending them working for himself. 

In less than a decade, the student who majored in Biology “because it strongly interested me, not for career planning” has started two companies that are bringing significant improvements to the medical industry. In fact, he’s working with some of the most innovative players in synthetic DNA research today. 

And he’s not done yet. 

“I enjoy everything about starting companies: The challenges in the first year or two, the 16-hour days, the working weekends, the late nights. It’s an adrenaline rush, really exciting because it’s yours and you’re influencing something greater than yourself.” 

Though his formal education may not have led directly to his career choice, Baldi said the Butler experience taught him how to network, which turned out to be key to successful entrepreneurship. 

Networking led directly to the creation of Baldi’s current company. An acquaintance, Rob Moseley, was considering how to build a business around a new DNA assembly technology invented by Dr. Henrique De Paoli in Knoxville’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

“Unfortunately, a bottleneck still exists in R&D’s (research and development) design and build stages, which leads to increased costs and research slowdowns. That’s where we were stepping in, streamlining these stages for scientists and improving efficiencies up to tenfold,” Baldi said. “Rob and Dr. De Paoli brought the technical and scientific knowledge, and I was able to bridge the business gap: I had my Butler science background, and I’d already started one company. After a few months, Rob realized the value I would add and asked me if I was interested in becoming a co-founder.” 

He was. The two co-founders recruited a Chief Technology Officer as a third founder and formally established SimPath (simpathinnovations.com) in early 2016. Basically, researchers place orders for synthetic DNA for use in testing and SimPath builds it to their specifications, allowing research scientists to test hundreds of ideas in a fraction of the time and cost of current technology. 

Networking with an acquaintance had sparked Baldi’s first startup, too. 

“A family friend was in an industry where there was a strong need, but antiquated methods. We created a plan to take advantage of technology and analytics,” Baldi said. The startup, Archway Physician Recruitment, is a placement firm now helping hospitals and medical groups find physicians. 

Baldi said his extracurriculars at Butler University taught him valuable lessons about forming fruitful relationships. 

“I learned a lot about networking through being a fraternity President and coordinating a charity 5K race. When you’re in high school and even college, you think of networking as a buzzword. You realize when you get out of college that networking is so multi-faceted and might be the most important thing.” 

He said networking has opened many avenues to people and companies he’d never dreamed of connecting with while a Butler student: The CEO of Foundation Medicine, a global leader in connecting physicians and their patients to the latest cancer treatment approaches; the CEO of EDP Biotech, committed to developing simple, accurate and cost-effective diagnostics for early disease detection; and members of the business team at Google. 

Baldi would like to see Butler further its blend of science and business. “In the lab where we licensed our technology, for example, a lot of the scientists had no business background at all. In today’s world, everyone needs to know the basics of business. And we need to start exploiting the many avenues today’s technology gives us within the Science Department.” 

Academics

Entrepreneurship is in His DNA

Sixteen-hour work days? Jeremy Baldi ’09 loves them—as long as he’s spending them working for himself. 

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2018

Read more

Of Brothers and Business

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

Conner ’11 and Jordan ’13 Burt—brothers from Elkhart, Indiana—came to Butler for similar reasons. The people. The size. The athletics. The feeling ... you know, the one where you just know it’s where you belong. 

While at Butler, both studied Economics—Conner an Economics major with a minor in Business, and Jordan a double major in Economics and Finance— and both played soccer. 

Conner BurtJordan’s favorite Butler memory is playing Indiana University in the Sellick Bowl with 5,000 fans in the stands. “The game was wild in itself, but we ended up coming back from a 2-0 deficit when David Goldsmith sent in a game-winner during overtime. That was a special day.” 

And Conner credits Butler Soccer for teaching him how fulfilling it can be to reach toward a common goal with like-minded individuals. “It made me appreciate ‘the underdog’ and, to this day, I’ve always tried to find situations that allow me to play that role.” 

To most people, being an entrepreneur is a lot like being the underdog. You aren’t the “safe bet,” so you have to enjoy taking risks. And you’re going to need to work twice as hard to be successful, so you better have incredible drive. Conner and Jordan both possess these traits and, with them being brothers, it makes most question the role genetics play in the matter. But, we aren’t here to discuss the nature vs. nurture of it all. 

During Jordan’s first year at Butler, he “got very fired up about entrepreneurship” in his Real Business Experience class. As he continued into his junior and senior year, his “classes and internships really fueled the flame.” 

Not surprisingly, Conner can relate. “Experimentation and opportunity was encouraged. From the Real Business Experience to independent studies, I realized the challenge and fun in starting something new.” 

In fact, both Conner and Jordan helped start the Butler Farm and Conner tried to build a compost business during his time at Butler. “Seven years later, I still think about a lot of lessons I learned through those experiences,” Conner confesses.

These lessons have served him well. After graduation, Conner completed an Orr Fellowship, which places high-potential college graduates with Indianapolis-based technology companies. His first job—which turned out to be in sales—was with a software startup called iGoDigital. Conner loved the challenge and helping solve customer problems.Jordan Burt

Eventually, ExactTarget acquired the startup and, then, Salesforce acquired ExactTarget. Through the transitions, Conner got involved with training—these new companies needed to learn about iGoDigital in order to sell it, which is what Conner had been doing for two years. So, he spent a lot of time on assignment in London, Australia, and all over the United States. 

During this time, Conner became a friend and roommate of Max Yoder. Yoder needed clients to test out his new training product, so they tested it at ExactTarget. As Conner shares, “It worked splendidly. It cut my travel time in half, and everyone who used it, loved it.” 

Conner joined Yoder at Lessonly, where he currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer, which means, “focusing on new initiatives that present large opportunities and/or the biggest challenges we’re facing at any given time.” 

According to Conner, “Lessonly has more than doubled in size each of the last five years and was ranked one of the Top 3 Best Small Business Cultures in the United States by Entrepreneur.” Quite an accomplishment for a startup. 

Back when Lessonly had only three employees, Jordan worked with Conner, helping him sell the software for a year and a half. He also was playing soccer with the Carolina Railhawks. 

While his friends were applying for corporate jobs after graduation, Jordan was trying to land a position on a pro soccer team. He admits it wasn’t a smooth path, but he is happy he took the risk. 

“The soccer world is an uncertain one in which your career could end at any time, so I have tried to always find balance in doing other work, exploring interesting topics, and, now, starting my own business,” explains Jordan. 

He found his passion while completing internships during his time at Butler. His first, in corporate finance at Zillow in Seattle, had some great perks but was not something that would excite him every day. His next experience at Techstars, a startup accelerator for tech companies in Boulder, Colorado, is where he found the contagious excitement and energy he wanted. 

Now, Jordan is playing professional soccer with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club and is Co-Founder of Pro Performance (properformance.guru). 

While he and Conner may not work together directly anymore, Jordan’s business uses Lessonly. “We get a killer deal.” 

AcademicsAthletics

Of Brothers and Business

Butler University: Entrepreneurs welcome here

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

Read more

Pages