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Piece of World Trade Center Steel To Be Presented To Anderson Business Owner

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation To Present Piece of World Trade Center Steel, To Mike Jackson, Indiana Flooring Carpet One

 

December 17th 2015 (approximately 10:00 AM), representatives from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization begun in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, will pay a special visit to Mike Jackson, Indiana Flooring Carpet One, Anderson, to personally thank him for their generous support of the Foundation’s Building for America's Bravest (BFAB) program.

The BFAB program builds hi-tech “smart homes” for service members returning from war who have been catastrophically injured.

Carpet One Floor & Home, and its manufacturing partner Mohawk, have committed to providing flooring materials and installation for 46 of these “smart homes.” Each store's customers are invited to share information about the program with others, and make a personal contribution at the store site. The goal is to collect a donation of $10—or more—from each customer, to ultimately enable the building of at least two more “smart homes.” (http://www.carpetone.com/our-bravest).

In recognition of that support, members of the FDNY (Fire Department of New York City)—acting on their own initiative, as ambassadors of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation—will present a specially-designed shadowbox containing hallowed 9/11 steel from Ground Zero to Mike Jackson, on December 17th, 2015 at approximately 10:00AM.

“We are truly humbled and honored that the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and members of the FDNY—who were actually at Ground Zero on 9/11 and during its aftermath—are travelling all the way from their home base to visit us and express their gratitude to us,” says Mike Jackson, Indiana Flooring Carpet One. “In fact, we are the ones who are thankful to them for their dedication and service. That is why we are so thrilled to be part of this impactful program that helps military heroes who have sustained the most devastating injuries.”

About Indiana Flooring Carpet One

Indiana Flooring is a locally owned flooring retailer serving the Anderson/Madison County area for over 60 years. They are part of North America’s leading floor covering co-op. Their showroom is known for carrying a broad selection of beautiful carpet, wood, laminate, ceramic, vinyl, and area rugs including exclusive brands like Bigelow and Lees. They offer a unique customer experience with the exclusive SelectAFloor merchandising system that simplifies the shopping experience and The Beautiful GuaranteeTM, which guarantees that the customer will be 100% happy with their floor. Indiana Flooring Carpet One is also the home of the exclusive Healthier Living Installation system. For more information visit 313 E. 14th Street Anderson, or visit www.indianacarpetone.com.

About the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named in honor of FDNY 9/11 fallen Firefighter Stephen Siller, and best known for its annual Tunnel to Towers Run at Ground Zero in New York City, is committed to building specially-adapted “smart homes” for the most seriously wounded U.S. service personnel through its Building for America’s Bravest program. For more information, go to www.Tunnel2Towers.org.

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Passion, dedication fuel entrepreneurial success

By Stuart Hirsch | The Herald Bulletin

Photo by John P. Cleary

 

ANDERSON — Bill and Judy Nagengast arrived in Anderson from Detroit 30 years ago expecting to stay a year.

Instead of leaving, however, the life and business partners started a successful company called Continental Inc. & Solas Ray Lighting that now employs about 500 engineers in three business divisions.

On Friday, the couple was presented with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce 15th annual Entrepreneur Award for success as business owners and their ongoing commitment to Madison County.

The award is given to local business owners to recognize their community contributions.

Mayor Kevin Smith presented the award, saying the couple has been at the forefront of Anderson's growth in recent years. One example is that Bill Nagengast joined Smith and the city's economic development team on a trip to China.

"These are real people who do real things and they don't seek any recognition for it," Smith told a crowd of more than 100 people who gathered at Anderson Country Club for the event where the where the Anderson University Falls School of of Business scholarship recipient was announced.

"Bill and I are very honored to receive this award," Judy said. "It does give you time to reflect back on your time in the community."

As often is the case with entrepreneurs, the path that brought the couple to Anderson, recognize an opportunity and act on it is full of twists and turns.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with degrees in chemistry and physics, Bill figured out he hated those disciplines, became a potter and began selling ceramics.

He made $300 the first year and was thrilled. The second year, after meeting Judy, he sold $3,000 worth of crafts. As Bill tells it, Judy noticed that his blue colored cups and bowls sold better and he should make more of them.

Then tragedy hit. Bill somehow managed to burn up his kiln, which meant he had to find a job.

He found work in the clay design studios at General Motors when a friend called and told him about a job in Anderson working for Guide Corporation designing headlights as a contract engineer.

That job eventually eventually led to an opportunity for the couple to start their own business.

Bill was working 100-hour weeks and the company still needed a lot of help, Judy Nagengast said.

"We were from the Detroit area and we had a lot of friends who were design engineers and we said we could bring them down and we started this little company," with five or six friends, Judy said. "Eventually, we ran out of friends and we had to learn how to recruit and we kept growing from there."

The company had a lot of great customers in Anderson and the company thrived. But as General Motors began pulling out of Anderson, the company had to reinvent itself.

"Things change and we had to change with it," Judy said. "There came a point where I realized one day that all our main customers had either shut down, gone bankrupt, or left town."

When that happened, she said, they began getting into LED lighting. They know a lot about lighting but didn't have expertise in electronics. But Anderson's workforce stepped up and helped provide the expertise to make that a thriving segment of the company's business, Judy said.

Anderson University graduate student Jordan Ball received the Falls School of Business/Dickmann Scholarship Award of $5,000.

An Anderson native, Ball will receive his MBA in 2016 with a concentration in forensic accounting. After graduating he plans to become a certified public accountant. With some encouragement from AU President John Pistole, who served as keynote speaker of the event, Ball thinks he might pursue a career in the FBI.

 

Past Entrepreneur Award winners

• Steve Madinger (2014)

• John Paugh (2013)

• Brian Donahue (2012)

• Robert Loose and Family (2011)

• Craig and Marsha Dunkin (2010)

• Mary Jamerson (2009)

• Virgil E. Cook (2008)

• George and Nancy Likens and Hebert and Darlene Likens (2007)

• Robert Pensec (2006)

 

Foundation's purpose

The Madison County Chamber Entrepreneur Award and the Anderson University Falls School of Business Award are funded by the Madison County Community Foundation's Charles H. and Hazel Dickmann Chamber of Commerce/Anderson University Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to:

• Publicly recognize and honor outstanding and successful Madison County entrepreneurs.

• Motivate future entrepreneurs by providing financial assistance to Madison County residents who are full-time students pursuing a degree from the Anderson University Falls School of Business.

• Educate and motivate present and future entrepreneurs to replace the stock of "social capital" both within and without the workplace.

 

Posted on The Herald Bulletin: Saturday, December 5, 2015 7:00 am

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From South Side to Business Owner

The Brian Miller Interview

By Dirk Webb

Brian Miller poses at 2012 Awards Gala at the Paramount where as a chamber board member he greeted every guest at the front door | Photo by Dale Pickett

 

In 1946, Harry West started his own electrical contracting company. Brian joined the company in 1979, his brother, Ron joined in 1982, and together they bought West Electric from their grandfather in 1984.

In the 1950’s and 60’s West Electric was instrumental in wiring the new sub division homes springing up around Anderson, booming commercial retail outlets, and several schools. Among their projects were the rewiring of the Anderson Banking Company building (now PNC), the Beverly Terrace building, Hoyt wright, and the Ward Stillson Company.

Today, West Electric provides electrical services for a wide variety of companies in various industries such as food process and material handling companies, energy storage, hotels and schools. Brian and Ron continue to do old Harry proud.

West Electric has always served in the community through the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and is a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project. West Electric values their employees. "We have 13 employees who have been with us for over 15 years helping serve Central Indiana customers."

Why here in Madison County? “I was born and raised on the south side of Anderson and am a ’78 graduate of Madison Heights. Growth happens in cyclical terms. We did a lot with GM. Despite peaks and valleys Madison County is strong. With the I-69 corridor and our central location we can service Muncie, Indianapolis, Shelbyville and other areas very quickly from our home base. That lends itself to sustainability and continued growth.”

What are your goals for the rest of 2015? “We still need to capture work from the new businesses coming into town and we’re succeeding. It’s important to be able to focus on new opportunities with these niche companies that value us all the while maintaining our core customers.”

Who do you consider the most courageous person in history and why? “My father Edward Miller. What he dealt with in his life puts things in perspective every day. Due to war injuries, he was 70% disabled and given only five years to live yet enthusiastically lived his life to the fullest. He was superintendent of West Electric, kept the presses running for the Anderson newspapers at night, Boy Scout leader, was the head of a parent group at Madison Heights that carefully guided the school through a period of racial strife, and was appointed to the school board. His work ethic was modeled for my brothers and me and still permeates West Electric today.

He was, by nature, a carefree guy; happy-go-lucky and very strong. He joined the Marines in 1949 right out of high school and was shipped to Korea. Two weeks before he was to be discharged, his company was caught in a mortar attack and he was the only survivor.”

If you were to take that person on a tour of your business, what one thing would you want them to see? “He would be pretty pleased at how we've have kept his values. We’ve built a service crew stationed around the county that can respond rapidly. We have a warehouse stocked with supplies and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

What was the defining moment when you knew your business was making a difference? “The Ice Storm of '91! Thousands of customers needed immediate electrical help and West Electric was there to serve their needs. Our defining moment's now are when general contractors and engineers acknowledge us for our skill and reliability, when International Companies call on us to coordinate logistics and provide services here in our state, and when product we are assembling in the county, installing in the country, and shipping internationally is making life easier for others, then we know we are making a difference.”

How do you define courage? “Facing the various situations during the day and finding the balance for a good life. Prioritizing: First - God, second - family, and third - business. It takes a lot of courage to make that happen every day.”

Brian Miller,President

West Electric, Inc.
1320 E. 60th Street
Anderson, IN 46013
(765) 643-6444 (work)
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

About #COURAGEOUS

Launched as the Madison County Chamber's theme during the 2015 Annual Awards Gala, #COURAGEOUS is a platform to tell really good stories of really good people in business. It is a seamless collection of the thoughts, dreams, doubts, fears and inevitably the triumph of perseverance, hope and faith. These are the stories of business leaders in Madison County who have given us a gathering place or rather a rallying point to remind us that together as a community we can achieve much, both for ourselves and for the generations to come. #Courageous - yes we are.

Read more #COURAGEOUS stories here

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From South Side to Business Owner

The Brian Miller Interview

By Dirk Webb

Brian Miller poses at 2012 Awards Gala at the Paramount where as a chamber board member he greeted every guest at the front door | Photo by Dale Pickett

 

In 1946, Harry West started his own electrical contracting company. Brian joined the company in 1979, his brother, Ron joined in 1982, and together they bought West Electric from their grandfather in 1984.

In the 1950’s and 60’s West Electric was instrumental in wiring the new sub division homes springing up around Anderson, booming commercial retail outlets, and several schools. Among their projects were the rewiring of the Anderson Banking Company building (now PNC), the Beverly Terrace building, Hoyt wright, and the Ward Stillson Company.

Today, West Electric provides electrical services for a wide variety of companies in various industries such as food process and material handling companies, energy storage, hotels and schools. Brian and Ron continue to do old Harry proud.

West Electric has always served in the community through the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and is a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project. West Electric values their employees. "We have 13 employees who have been with us for over 15 years helping serve Central Indiana customers."

Why here in Madison County? “I was born and raised on the south side of Anderson and am a ’78 graduate of Madison Heights. Growth happens in cyclical terms. We did a lot with GM. Despite peaks and valleys Madison County is strong. With the I-69 corridor and our central location we can service Muncie, Indianapolis, Shelbyville and other areas very quickly from our home base. That lends itself to sustainability and continued growth.”

What are your goals for the rest of 2015? “We still need to capture work from the new businesses coming into town and we’re succeeding. It’s important to be able to focus on new opportunities with these niche companies that value us all the while maintaining our core customers.”

Who do you consider the most courageous person in history and why? “My father Edward Miller. What he dealt with in his life puts things in perspective every day. Due to war injuries, he was 70% disabled and given only five years to live yet enthusiastically lived his life to the fullest. He was superintendent of West Electric, kept the presses running for the Anderson newspapers at night, Boy Scout leader, was the head of a parent group at Madison Heights that carefully guided the school through a period of racial strife, and was appointed to the school board. His work ethic was modeled for my brothers and me and still permeates West Electric today.

He was, by nature, a carefree guy; happy-go-lucky and very strong. He joined the Marines in 1949 right out of high school and was shipped to Korea. Two weeks before he was to be discharged, his company was caught in a mortar attack and he was the only survivor.”

If you were to take that person on a tour of your business, what one thing would you want them to see? “He would be pretty pleased at how we've have kept his values. We’ve built a service crew stationed around the county that can respond rapidly. We have a warehouse stocked with supplies and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

What was the defining moment when you knew your business was making a difference? “The Ice Storm of '91! Thousands of customers needed immediate electrical help and West Electric was there to serve their needs. Our defining moment's now are when general contractors and engineers acknowledge us for our skill and reliability, when International Companies call on us to coordinate logistics and provide services here in our state, and when product we are assembling in the county, installing in the country, and shipping internationally is making life easier for others, then we know we are making a difference.”

How do you define courage? “Facing the various situations during the day and finding the balance for a good life. Prioritizing: First - God, second - family, and third - business. It takes a lot of courage to make that happen every day.”

Brian Miller,President

West Electric, Inc.
1320 E. 60th Street
Anderson, IN 46013
(765) 643-6444 (work)
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

About #COURAGEOUS

Launched as the Madison County Chamber's theme during the 2015 Annual Awards Gala, #COURAGEOUS is a platform to tell really good stories of really good people in business. It is a seamless collection of the thoughts, dreams, doubts, fears and inevitably the triumph of perseverance, hope and faith. These are the stories of business leaders in Madison County who have given us a gathering place or rather a rallying point to remind us that together as a community we can achieve much, both for ourselves and for the generations to come. #Courageous - yes we are.

Read more #COURAGEOUS stories here

 

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Leave town or reinvent ourselves: the Nagengast interview

Employers of 500 share insights and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs

By Dirk Webb

Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett

Bill Nagengast tells of the day that Guide Corporation laid off 135 engineers and saw over 800 square feet of manufacturing space shut down. He remembers, “We could leave town and find work, or we could stay and reinvent ourselves.” Much to Anderson’s benefit, the reinvention has been a success.

Since 1985, Bill and his wife of 38 years, Judy, have in their own words, “started our company using our friends.” They started hiring their friends to staff a new company, Continental Design and Engineering and when they ran out of friends, they started recruiting. Today, with over 500 employees, this duet of creative engineering and analytical design makes Bill and Judy the Madison County Chamber 2015 Entrepreneurs of the Year.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs? “First, understand financial statements and know what it takes to make a profit. Then, have a good foundation in sales and marketing. Either be good at it or surround yourself with people who have those skills. Finally, be a lifelong learner. You can acquire lots of data and expertise but you have to keep abreast of latest technology that your company is involved in. Even making a pizza involves technology. Some version of ‘if you build it they will come’ is a fatal flaw. You need strong product research. Ask yourself ‘who’s going to buy it.’ Just because you have a passion for it doesn’t mean everyone does. ‘What’s the market like, who else is making it?’”

How do you define success? “The bottom line, making the budgets and targets, enjoying your work, having a good life/family balance. Our best advice is to enjoy your life, work with people you like, and have a great team to work with. There has to be a blend of viability and enjoying what you’re doing. You can enjoy it and still go broke. Connect both.”

Who has been your greatest inspiration? “Each other. We work well together since we have different strengths and weaknesses. If one is down the other has to step up. When we need advice we go to each other, we each bring a unique perspective.”

What book has inspired you the most? “The Biography of Elon Musk of Tesla. I’d love to meet him. If you ever want to feel like an underachiever, read that book. This book gave me a huge recharge. Also, Empress Dowager Cixi, who effectively ran China for 40 years from a Harem as a concubine. She was really an amazing person.”

What has been your scariest moment in business? “One day we realized that our five main customers had either shutdown or left town. We suffered some losses, but it could have been worse. This was in the 2007-08 time frame. We had to re-invent our business, using our resources and market research.”

What has been your most satisfying moment in business? “Getting our Solas Ray Lighting (LED) business off and rolling still keeps us going. We love winning more business and seeing the staffing come back to its previous levels. You have to feel your best year is your next year.”

What makes a good day for you? “When you get everything done during the day and still get a bicycle ride in. Working with our kids. They have businesses and we love talking strategies with them. Also, days that we get a purchase order. You can solve a lot of problems with a purchase order. That means a customer looks at what you’re selling and says ‘I like that.’ It’s a validation of your research and your dedication to quality. When we hit the budget numbers, it makes us happy. The numbers come from the activities of our employees which means we’ve got the right people matched with the right resources.”

 

>> Join us Friday, December 4th, as we honor Bill and Judy Nagengast as the 2015 Entrepreneurs of the Year.

 

 

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