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The IBJ Podcast

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A weekly take on business news in central Indiana. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


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A weekly take on business news in central Indiana. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.








Tony Pancake, the PGA's pro of the year, walks fine line at Crooked Stick

Central Indiana isn’t necessarily known as a golf mecca, but it's well represented on the national championship stage by Crooked Stick Golf Club and its singular course designed by the legendary Pete and Alice Dye. It recently announced that it will host the 2028 U.S. Senior Open. It last hosted the Senior Open in 2009, drawing nearly 150,000 attendees to Carmel for three days of practices and four days of tournament play. In the last 20 years, Crooked Stick has hosted the 2005 Solheim Cup, 2007 USGA Women’s Amateur, 2009 U.S. Senior Open, the 2012 BMW Championship, the 2016 BMW Championship, and the 2020 Western Amateur. This brings us to Tony Pancake, the director of golf at Crooked Stick, who has worked at the club for 21 years. He didn’t compete in any of these events, but in late January he was announced as the recipient of the highest award granted by the PGA of America: Golf Professional of the Year. In the words of the PGA, the award recognizes leadership, strong moral character and a substantial record of service to the association and the game of golf. Pancake walks a fine line. He’s charged with preserving one of the most significant golf courses in the country while pleasing the club’s exclusive membership. He also needs to be sensitive to contemporary trends in golf while remaining faithful to the purpose of the club when it was founded in 1964: to provide a venue for championship-level golf. For this week’s edition of the podcast, he discusses the mix of talents required to do his job justice—from a strong grasp of accounting to an instinctive ability to read people’s unspoken needs. Golf is a people business, and Pancake explains in detail how the skills needed for success as a golf pro are the same tools needed for success in any business. He also shares a hair-raising story about a last-second trip last year to see his youngest daughter compete in the final of the British Amateur Championship, filled with twists and turns and ultimately made possible by the members of Crooked Stick. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Pete the Planner asks, ‘Can ambitious people feel fulfilled in retirement?’

As you know, we discuss retirement planning fairly regularly on the IBJ Podcast, but in retrospect it’s been a little one-dimensional. We almost always are focused on how to hit a particular number—the amount to have squirreled away that will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle during retirement. There’s a little bit of wiggle room in our definition of lifestyle, but we’re usually talking about creature comforts, travel, entertainment, family obligations and health care. What we have not addressed is ambition. If you’re a company founder, serial entrepreneur and/or C-suite executive, the ambition that drives you will not vanish the day you decide to give up full-time work and hit the pickleball court. Ambition is part of your mental and genetic makeup, and you need to account for that itch while planning for quote-unquote “retirement.” IBJ personal finance columnist Pete The Planner, aka Peter Dunn, is obsessed with the topic of ambition, and it’s frequently something host Mason King finds himself wrestling with. So in this week’s edition of the podcast, they’re fleshing out how retirees can harness their ambitions while widening their definition of the term to help others. They also have a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of ambition, people who use ambition in a constructive way—with several local examples cited by Pete—and those who are focused on their own interests. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Inside the plan to pack a million meals for food pantries in 24 hours of All-Star Weekend

This is the week of the NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, which officially tips off on Thursday and will run through the 73rd NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. Over the next week, Indianapolis will be the site of star-studded concerts, exhibition games, fan-friendly activities, multimedia programming and major art installations. For this week’s episode of the podcast, we wanted to focus on a philanthropic feat that deserves to be in someone’s record book. The Indianapolis-based not-for-profit Million Meal Movement is bringing together thousands of volunteers in Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday in an attempt to pack 1 million meals for Indiana-based food pantries in a 24-hour period. For a not-for-profit with such an aspirational name, Million Meal Movement is a surprisingly compact organization. It has five employees, including co-founder Nancy Hintz, who is a full-time executive for another firm in the food and agriculture space. But since Hintz and her husband, Dan, founded the group in 2007, it has packed nearly 35 million meals for food-insecure people. Nancy Hintz is our guest this week, sharing the story of how she and her husband met at Indiana University, the game plan for packing one million meals in one day, and the group’s strategy for simplifying its operations so its impact can have such a wide footprint. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Here's what to see and do during All-Star Weekend

The NBA’s All-Star weekend is just about 10 days away, and the calendar is filling up fast with official and unofficial events. There are concerts, forums, theater, comedy and lots of art. Guest host Lesley Weidenbener talked with IBJ arts and entertainment writer Dave Lindquist to talk about the schedule so far and what central Indiana residents can find to do during All-Star Weekend—even if they don’t have a ticket to the game. One note: After this podcast was recorded, the NBA said rapper Lil Wayne will be the headliner for a pre-game concert at the NBA Crossover. You can find more information about that show and the entire schedule at The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


RecycleForce founder on new HQ, hiring ex-offenders and his own story of second chances

The concept behind the local not-for-profit group RecycleForce can be stated in a very elegant maxim: “We’re recycling electronics, and recycling lives.” When you get into the nitty-gritty details, RecycleForce is not nearly as refined, but accepting things that are rough around the edges is integral to its mission. Entrepreneur Gregg Keesling hit on this set of solutions to two persistent problems in the early 2000s: Give people who have just been released from jail or prison a much-needed opportunity for temporary employment by training and hiring them to salvage recyclable materials from electronic waste. The ex-offenders also receive comprehensive services designed to get their lives back on track, including job skills, personal counseling, professional mentoring, literacy training and connections to full-time, permanent jobs. RecycleForce has employed thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals since 2006 and recycled about 10 million pounds of waste. But there’s so much more to the story. Keesling grew up about an hour outside of Indianapolis, and one of the major themes of his life has been transformation. Beginning at 16, he played a minor role in the drug trade, procuring marijuana with his friends and regularly driving his family’s station wagon to Florida to pick up pounds of pot to transport back to Indiana for people who would pay a delivery fee. He moved to Jamaica for its easy access to pot, but he ended up becoming a straight-laced businessman who developed a vacation resort and joined the Rotary Club. In this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Keesling discusses how RecycleForce’s new headquarters in Indianapolis will help it do more with the recyclable materials and the people it trains. But he also talks at length about his own story and how he has learned the importance of giving people a chance to change and succeed. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Huddling with the Indiana artists painting 24 massive basketballs for All-Star Weekend

At least as far back as the 2012 Super Bowl, Indianapolis has built a reputation not just for its excellence in stitching together all of the elements of large sports events but also for finding ways to weave the work of local artists and craftspeople into the fabric of the event. For the NBA All-Star Weekend set for Feb. 15-18, local organizers hit on a way to put a distinctly Hoosier spin on the areas downtown that will host the most visitors, playing off of the concept of Hoosier Hysteria. Here’s the idea: Create 24 giant fiberglass basketballs that would act as blank canvases for 24 artists. On the balls, they would paint scenes relating to the people, places and specific game we most associate with Hoosier Hysteria. Obviously, the Milan Miracle is on the list—the 1954 state championship that inspired the movie “Hoosiers”. And there’s a ball dedicated to the legendary 1955 champions from Crispus Attucks High School—the first all-black squad to win an open state championship in the nation. You’ll also see balls referencing the annual Indiana-Kentucky game, the effect of Title IX on high school basketball and the never-ending debate over class basketball. The project is called Hoosier Historia. For this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, host Mason King went to the warehouse where artists are working on their pieces before they’re deployed in the Mile Square. He interview to several of the artists, who in some cases were chosen for their close personal connections to the schools they’re depicting. And organizer Julia Muney Moore of the Arts Council of Indianapolis discusses the challenges of mounting a large-scale public art project in February that will only be display for a handful of days before dispersing across the state. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


New play about Oscar Robertson, historic Crispus Attucks team to debut in Indy

For people outside of Indianapolis, the focus of NBA All-Star Weekend next month will be an offense-only exhibition game between the league’s biggest stars. But the expansive festivities surrounding the game in Indianapolis will essentially be a celebration of Black excellence. The league has come to embrace the way its players have pushed the sport into the realms of Black culture, including music, fashion, cuisine, acting and art. A cavalcade of Black celebrities will be on hand as Indianapolis becomes a cultural magnet. One of the many events timed to coincide with all-star festivities is the debut run of a play about the 1955 Crispus Attucks High School basketball team, led by Oscar Robertson, that became the nation’s first all-Black squad to win an open state tournament. Titled “A Touch of Glory,” the play will be performed at the high school, just north of downtown’s core. For the podcast this week, IBJ arts and entertainment writer Dave Lindquist hosts a conversation with playwright Laura Town and director Deborah Asante. They discuss the production and the achievements of Robertson and his teammates, who excelled despite having no home court—and some being displaced from their actual homes. Here’s their conversation. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Pete the Planner bullish on 2024 stocks, housing market (with a Constitutional caveat)

Stocks went up about 25% in 2023, a welcome correction from a lousy 2022. Don’t say we didn’t give you a heads-up: On the IBJ Podcast a year ago, Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner, predicted a “bonkers” year for stocks with equities rising 30%. He wasn’t quite as close on some of his other prediction—especially for the housing market—but, you know, nobody ever gets it totally right. Given Pete’s qualified success last year, we thought it’d be worth revisiting those predictions about stock, interest rates, housing and the overall economy for this week's edition of the IBJ Podcast, and then present a fresh forecast for 2024. As David Letterman used to say, “Please, no wagering.” But, as you’ll hear, Pete has some compelling reasons to be bullish on 2024—as long as the political climate in America remains at its usual low boil. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Statehouse reporters preview the upcoming legislative session

Indiana lawmakers will return to the Statehouse for their 2024 session on Jan. 8 with plans to talk about water rights, literacy and apprenticeships for students. But House and Senate leaders have said they don't expect to tackle any especially polarizing issues this year. With IBJ Podcast host Mason King off this week, Managing Editor Greg Weaver talks with two Statehouse reporters—IBJ's Peter Blanchard and State Affairs' Kaitlin Lange—about what to expect at the Legislature in the coming weeks. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


“We’re survivors”: How the family firm that founded Clancy’s Hamburgers and Grindstone Charley’s evolved to The Fountain Room

Welcome back to the podcast everybody. Noblesville-based Clancy’s Hospitality has been creating and running restaurants in central Indiana—and much of the Midwest—for nearly 60 years. The names are instantly recognizable for folks who have lived in these parts for a while, including Clancy’s Hamburgers, Grindstone Charley’s, Michaelangelo’s Italian Bistro, Red Rock Roadhouse and, most recently, The Fountain Room at Bottleworks District. But you almost certainly don’t know the name Fogelsong. Carl Fogelsong co-founded Clancy’s in 1965, and incredibly it has stayed in the same family for 58 years. It’s now on its third generation of leadership, with Carl’s grandson Blake spearheading a recent surge of restaurant openings alongside his father, Perry Fogelsong. The story of Clancy’s Hospitality in many ways is the story of the central Indiana restaurant industry. Clancy’s Hamburgers beat McDonald’s to the punch in many areas in the 1960s, but it eventually was overpowered by burger chains. Grindstone Charley’s was on the front end of the casual American trend in the early 1980s, but the rise of national competitors put it at a disadvantage. But Clancy’s Hospitality is nothing if not scrappy, and it has continued to adjust to new trends while leveraging savvy real estate decisions. It has a successful entry for the food hall trend—actually a version of its original concept—while also embracing high end dining with The Fountain Room. For this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Perry and Blake join host Mason King for a freewheeling conversation about the evolution of Clancy’s Hospitality over 58 years. The family-owned firm currently counts eight restaurants: Two Clancy’s Hamburgers, two Grindstone Charley’s, one Michaelangelo’s, The Fountain Room and two next-generation versions of Grindstone Charley’s—Grindstone Public House in Noblesville and Grindstone on the Monon in Westfield. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Former drag racer Morgan Lucas now in driver’s seat at Lucas Oil Products

His last name literally is up in lights on downtown’s biggest stadium, although he probably could wander through a crowd of 60,000 Indianapolis Colts fans in near-complete anonymity. Morgan Lucas is the president of Lucas Oil Products, and quite literally grew up with the company. His parents, Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, founded the firm in 1989, when Morgan was about 7 years old. His youth and tween years were spent in part making deliveries to early customers and playing with Hot Wheels at trade shows under the table bunting at the Lucas Oil booth. Then he discovered drag racing, and the die was cast. From 2004 to 2016, he won about two dozen titles and started his own racing team. That experience under the hood of his business gave him a decent footing as he transitioned to the family company and tried to learn all facets of developing, testing and selling engine and gear oils for cars, trucks, marine crafts, motorsports vehicles and industrial machines. It’s a tough company to get your arms around, as it sells more than 300 products in 48 countries and maintains several subsidiaries loosely related to sports, farming, transportation and metal fabrication. Morgan was named president in 2020 and effectively now serves as the company’s CEO. And in an unusual mirroring of the firm’s founders, Morgan is married to the company’s chief administrative officer, Katie Lucas. In this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Lucas recounts what it was like growing up with hard-charging entrepreneurs as parents, how he and his wife have geared their relationship at home and at work, the value of being the naming rights sponsor for Lucas Oil Stadium, and the recent decision to relocate the company’s headquarters from California to Indianapolis. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


How Westfield resident Joey Chestnut makes a good living in competitive eating

Joey Chestnut is the king of competitive eating. You almost certainly have seen video clips of him gulping down dozens of hot dogs, boiled eggs, tacos, wings, burritos, Twinkies and/or spears of deep-fried asparagus. He in fact has more than 50 gastronomic world records, including a vaunted 76 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, with buns, eaten in 10 minutes. He’s the first to admit that competitive eating is a little weird, but he has a natural affinity for it, and it allows him to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. He confirms in his IBJ Podcast interview recent reports that he earned close to $500,000 in 2022. A few things brought him to the IBJ Podcast studio in late November. He recently moved to Westfield, which now is his home base for spending about 140 days a year on the road. He chats about the reasons in his conversation with podcast host Mason King. Chestnut also was preparing for the 10th Annual St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship, which this year was staged on Dec. 2 as part of the festivities for the Big Ten Football Championship. He explains how he prepares to down somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 pounds of shrimp, plus St. Elmo’s extra-potent cocktail sauce. (He recently hit 40, and it’s not as easy as it used to be.) But the lion’s share of the conversation concerns how he built a career in competitive eating and assembled all of the revenue streams he leverages to make a good living. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Pete the Planner on the five things everyone should know about their financial life

We’re entering the holiday season, of course, and that critical six-week period in which we are encouraged to indulge in conspicuous consumption. IBJ Podcast host Mason King has it circled on his calendar, since his goal this year is to keep from exceeding his modest budget. His plan for this week’s edition of the podcast was to ask regular contributor Pete Dunn—aka Pete the Planner—how best to avoid going into the red this year. But as usual, Pete had the bigger picture in mind. Pete’s plan is to discuss the five things everyone should know about their financial life. Knowing those should help give you the grounding and confidence you need to guide your shorter-term budgeting decisions. And Pete and King still managed to talk a bit about how to deal with the unwelcome revelation that you and your family are spending more money than you’re making. Spoiler alert: This revelation came about after King and his wife did a line-by-line examination of their credit card and debit card purchases. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


From humble beginnings, apartment developer built $500 million firm in 10 years

Over its first 10 years, The Garrett Co. has been one of the fastest-growing—if not THE fastest-growing—company in the Indianapolis area. Not coincidentally, it also has become one of the largest companies in the state of Indiana. To put it as simply as possible: The Garrett Cos. develops high-end apartment complexes. To flesh it out a bit: The Garrett Cos. has been built to include nearly every element of the apartment development process under one roof—including site selection, design, material sourcing, construction, landscape architecture and even a restaurant company with its own brands of brewhouse and coffee shop for mixed-use projects. The Garrett Cos is based in Greenwood, where founder Eric Garrett launched the company from a barn in his backyard. He grew up in Evansville, and one of the seminal moments of his childhood was moving with his mom into their very first apartment. He found his niche in real estate, first on the finance side and then picking up experience as part of a development firm. In this week’s episode of the IBJ Podcast, Garrett discusses the origins of the company; a business model that you could shorthand as “a rising tide lifts all ships”; the firm’s recent growth to nearly 300 employees despite a very deliberative hiring process; and how his role as CEO has evolved as the firm has sped through several ages of the corporate growth process. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Indy anesthesiologist quit career to become whiskey-making entrepreneur

You certainly hear a lot of people these days talk about changing careers, especially to start their own business—maybe a restaurant, coffee shop or microbrewery. Juliet Schmalz hears from a lot of people who are impressed that she actually did it. In her mid 40s, she left her career as a medical doctor—an anesthesiologist—to start a company that produces high-end whiskey. That company, called Fortune’s Fool Whiskey—a nod to a line in a Shakespearean tragedy—debuted its first product a few weeks ago in Indiana stores, bars and restaurants. It's called The Prelude. It’s a 109-proof straight rye whiskey that has been aged nearly three years, which, yes, means that Schmalz has had to wait nearly six years to see any revenue from a company she started in early 2018. In the meantime, there is another rye whiskey, a bourbon whiskey and a wheated bourbon whiskey sitting in barrels on the four-year plan. An Indianapolis native, Schmalz is our guest on this week’s edition of the podcast. Host Mason King asks what possessed her to leave a lucrative and respected profession to make spirits for a living. They also discuss how she brought herself up to speed in a fickle industry, determined how she would position her product, and funded what by necessity is a long-term startup process. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Debby Knox hopes to lose news ‘addiction’ in second shot at retirement

Legendary local newscaster Debby Knox has been on the air in Indianapolis, with the exception of a short break, since 1980 when she joined WISH-TV Channel 8. She worked as a reporter and anchor for 33 years until retiring in late 2013. It didn’t stick. She soon was recruited to help launch the newscasts for CBS4, which had taken over the city’s CBS network affiliation from WISH-TV. She was paired with veteran news anchor Bob Donaldson and meteorologist Chris Wright starting in January 2015. Earlier this month, she announced that her second stint in TV news would come to an end with her second shot at retirement, set for Nov. 30. The Michigan native will be 70 years old in February and has a long list of places around the globe she wants to visit when she isn’t spending time with her granddaughter, now 18 months old. Still, she’s concerned about being able to shake what she calls an "addiction" to breaking news. On this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Knox shares a wide-angle view of her career, including the most difficult and most rewarding days on the job. She shares heart-stopping stories from her interviews with world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Desmond Tutu. She also discusses how TV news has changed over four decades—and its current value in relation to today’s multitude of news sources. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Carmel filmmaker, 23, prepares to air 8-hour JFK documentary on History Channel

It might not be surprising that the History Channel is planning to air an eight-hour docu-series on the life of President John F. Kennedy next month to mark the 60th anniversary of his assassination. You might be very surprised to learn that the filmmaker who researched, shot, wrote, edited and scored much of the documentary is 23 years old, having been born a year before 9/11. Ashton Gleckman grew up in Carmel and attended local schools, although his ambition to work in the film industry was so great that he left Carmel High School after his sophomore year to work for a collective of film and TV composers. He decided to become a documentarian after a short stint working in Los Angeles, and by the age of 19 had created the award-winning documentary “We Shall Not Die Now” about survivors of the Holocaust. In this week’s edition of the podcast, Gleckman discusses what he found so resonant about Kennedy that he embarked on the three-year project by doing his own fundraising and without any guarantee that the finished product would win national distribution. (Along the way, he picked up a producing partner in the Academy Award-winning firm Radical Media.) Gleckman also lays out milestones in his lightning-fast and unusual rise as a filmmaker, as well as the reasons he thought the world—and in particular post-Kennedy generations--needed a deep dive into the life and legacy of the 35th president. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Pete the Planner on understanding your (and your partner’s) relationship with money

IBJ columnist Peter Dunn—aka Pete the Planner—joins the podcast this week to talk about the ways in which people relate to money. He describes four money personalities—or "scripts," as they are called by Brad Klontz, a Boulder, Colorado-based psychologist and certified financial planner who first wrote about them. They scripts are money vigilance, money worship, money status and money avoidance. Pete uses a series of questions to help listeners identify the script that best matches their relationship with money and then explains the pros and cons of each. Plus, he talks about the importance of understanding not just your own relationship to money but that of your partner's as well.


Shawn Fain, UAW’s firebrand prez, was forged in Kokomo’s union hotbed

Shawn Fain seemingly came from nowhere to win the United Auto Workers presidential election in March by a razor-thin margin. He ran on a reform platform promising to toss out the status quo and stand up to the Big Three automakers: GM, Ford, and Stellantis. He took a hard line in contract negotiations, and when the automakers didn’t meet the union’s aggressive demands by the Sept. 15 deadline, the UAW took the unusual tack of striking against all three companies at the same time. It’s still in the midst of what’s called a standup strike, meaning that it adds more and more of its 145,000 members to picket lines as negotiations continue. The UAW has 13,000 members in Indiana, but no workers in those Indiana plants had been asked to strike as of Oct. 6. But Fain knows all about the auto industry’s history in Indiana. He grew up in Kokomo, the grandson of two UAW members at General Motors. Another grandparent started at Chrysler in 1937, the year the workers joined the union after a sit-down strike. Fain himself worked as an electrician in a Chrysler foundry in Kokomo and was active in the union for decades. Of course, Chrysler now goes by the name Stellantis, its new parent company, and it employs about 7,000 people in Kokomo and nearby Tipton. Now 54, Fain is leading a high-stakes battle against the U.S. auto industry, which is remarkable given that he has been such a relatively low-profile player in the union until recently. IBJ reporter John Russell went back to Fain’s old stomping grounds and tried to get a sense of how he was shaped by his decades in Kokomo. It’s worth noting that Fain still carries in his pocket one of his grandfather’s Chrysler pay stubs from 1940. In this week’s episode of the IBJ Podcast, John tells us what he’s learned. The IBJ Podcast is brought to you by Taft.


Phish fan, philanthropist builds huge wireless retail business, branches into cannabis

You could say Scott Moorehead, the 45-year-old owner and CEO of Fishers-based Round Room, is in the connections business. Round Room is the holding company for TCC, which is one of the largest Verizon retailers in the United States, and Wireless Zone, one of the nation’s largest wireless retail franchise systems in the U.S and also a Verizon authorized dealer. Together they count about 1,260 stores in 43 states. Another one of Moorehead’s main preoccupations is finding ways for workers to feel connected to their employers, beyond the need for a paycheck. To that end, Round Room has given its employees the ability to grant millions of dollars per year to not-for-profit groups of their choice. And another firm under the Round Room umbrella provides consulting services for employers who want to strengthen their company cultures by finding the “soul” of their enterprises. Here's another move out of left field that makes a certain sense to Moorehead via his expertise in the retail industry. He and his wife, Julie, sniffed out cannabis as a simpatico business opportunity and dove in after Michigan legalized it for adult recreational use. Founded in 2020, Stash Ventures is a vertically integrated provider with indoor growing operations, a processing facility and several retail dispensaries. Moorehead also has been lobbying Indiana legislators to take the leap and legalize marijuana use, seeing big growth opportunities in the sector. In this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Moorehead lays out his journey as an entrepreneur, first buying out his parents in their family-owned company and guiding it through a decade of staggering growth in the wireless industry. He also details how he uses philanthropy to help define Round Room, as well as his hopes for expanding Stash Ventures.