Class goes through a sobering day


Roundtable gallery

The class of 2016-17 heard from representatives of 10 nonprofit groups during roundtable discussions on Community Issues Day. They were (top row, from left) Denise Arland, FUSE; Kim Hall, Mental Health Partners of Hancock County; Linda Hart, Hancock County Senior Services; Lisa Heady, Hancock County Children’s Choir; and Nicole Mann, Jane Pauley Community Health Center. Also, (bottom row, from left) Linda Ostiweg, The Landing; Jim Peters, Love INC; Kathleen Vahle, Meals on Wheels of Hancock County; Kurt Vetters, Edelweise Equine-Assisted Therapy Center; and Judy White, Hancock County Women’s Resource Center.

Their comments after Community Issues Day said it all.

“Very long day,” said one member of the Class of 2016-17 after the group visited with more than a dozen nonprofit directors to learn about challenges that our communities face. “Emotionally draining.”

“Very eye-opening,” said another class member.

Their reactions came at the end of a busy class day in which the 25 class members surveyed the breadth of Hancock County’s nonprofit community. From large groups (United Way of Central Indiana and the Hancock County Community Foundation) to small ones (FUSE and Edelweiss Equine-Assisted Therapy Center), the class received a broad education in the agencies that assist those in need.

The Landing, 18 W. South St., Greenfield, played host to the group for the day. The Landing is a youth center that offers support to at-risk young people.

The class day began with a “poverty simulation” designed to illustrate the hard choices families must make when they encounter crisis. The class members struggled to prioritize expenses when the moderator, Paula Jarrett, area east director for United Way of Central Indiana, told them they had to eliminate a chunk of their fictional families’ income because of a job loss. Some gave up health insurance to cut expenses. Others surrendered their cell phones. Everyone chafed at the choices.

There were no wrong answers. Only difficult ones.

The class also spent nearly two hours of their day in roundtable discussions with directors of nonprofits, who explained their agencies’ roles in the community. Many real-life families from their earlier poverty scenarios, they learned, depend on the services these agencies provide.

Participating in the roundtable discussions were:

Linda Ostewig, director of The Landing

Kathleen Vahle, director of Meals on Wheels of Hancock County

Lisa Heady of the Hancock County Children’s Choir

Jim Peters of Love INC

Kurt Vetters of Edelweiss

Denise Arland of FUSE, a clearinghouse to assist families with  special-needs children

Kim Hall, director of Mental Health Partners of Hancock County

Linda Hart, director of Hancock County Senior Services

Nicole Mann of the Jane Pauley Community Health Center in Greenfield

Judy White of the Hancock County Women’s Resource Center

The class also heard an enlightening presentation from Mary Gibble, president of the Hancock County Community Foundation, who gave the class an inside look at the makeup of nonprofits and the importance of volunteering for nonprofit boards.

After enjoying lunch at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen in downtown Greenfield, the class toured the Hancock County Food Pantry and Hancock Hope House, the county’s transition shelter for those who have lost their homes.

As the class toured the food pantry and listened to director Tom Ferguson describe the challenge to feed the hungry in the county, a vehicle pulled up to the loading area with a collection of donations. Peeling off from the group, several class members helped unload the groceries, piling the bags onto a cart so the items could be sorted and brought to the pantry floor.

It was a fitting object lesson on a day dedicated to learning about those who help others.



Class of 2016-17 gets down to business

Members of the class of 2016-17 thought they were visiting an agriculture operation when they walked onto the production floor at Fortville Feeders.

Imagine their surprise, then, when they learned they were actually watching the fabrication and testing of equipment that is found in virtually every factory in the country that uses automated processes.

Fortville Feeders was one of two stops on an afternoon field trip for the class, which spent Wednesday, Nov. 2, learning about business, commerce and, yes, agriculture during its monthly class day. The group spent the morning and enjoyed lunch at Elanco Animal Health in Greenfield.

The stop at Fortville Feeders is on the agenda every year for Leadership Hancock County. As a leader in manufacturing equipment that feeds parts into assembly systems, Fortville Feeders is one of the county’s most interesting — if little understood — businesses.

Jason Crouse, the company’s president, led the group of a tour of the plant, which is just off Broadway Street on the eastern edge of Fortville. The family business, started by his father in the 1970s, is a leader in the technology. Its 60 employees fabricate what are known as “feeder bowls,” circular machines into which parts — everything from shampoo bottle caps and aerosol tips to small automotive components — are fed. Using a high-speed vibrating mechanism — one employee likens it to the same technology that powered  old-time electric football games — the pieces travel down a spiral chute and eventually wind up in the proper position to  be either packaged or placed on another piece. In the same way little player pieces moved on a vibrating surface painted to look like a football field, a well-functioning feeder bowl vibrates parts into the right position, often at high speed.

Crouse said almost every manufacturer that uses automated processes uses some type of feeder bowl mechanism to arrange parts. Across the large floor in the plant, employees were working on several bowl mechanisms, feeding various parts into the top of the machines and watching them vibrate their way toward the bottom.

The tour was one of several presentations the class heard during Business/Commerce/Ag Day. Here’s a summary of the others:

Davis, Mitch–Mitch Davis, an Elanco executive who helped organize a recent major summit of world business leaders to discuss the role of antibiotics in safely increasing food production, told the class that the world’s population is consuming more food than the planet is currently producing. This will become even more critical, he said, as the world population grows. Elanco, which manufactures medicines and other compounds for animals, is a key player in developing methods to increase food production.

Livengood, Retta–Retta Livengood, president of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, profiled the chamber, which has nearly 400 members and is the largest business networking entity in the county.

Ballard, Roy–Roy Ballard, agriculture and natural resources educator for Purdue Extension Hancock County, gave the class an overview of agriculture in Hancock County. Ballard, one of the founders of the Hancock Harvest Council, a group dedicated to promoting locally grown food, pointed out that Hoosiers import much of the food they consume. That’s ironic, he said, in a state whose farms are numerous and productive.

Kuker, Skip–Skip Kuker, director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, took the group behind the scenes in the campaign to bring jobs to Hancock County. In the hyper-competitive site-selection process, it’s not always tax incentives that clinch deals, he said. Often, prospects pay more attention to things like ample utilities, good schools, and a well-qualified workforce. He also said that the Mt. Comfort area will be the next major retail/restaurant hub in Hancock County. A number of new employers, such as Celadon Trucking, will bring hundreds of new employees to the area, and those workers will want places to eat and shop, he said.

–After visiting Fortville Feeders, the class finished its day at Wooden Bear Brewing, the popular craft brewery on North Street in Greenfield. The group met Shelley Swift, a 2016 LHC grad whose husband, Jason, is a partner in the business; and Tony Vivaldi, the head brewmaster. Vivaldi led the group on a tour of the facility and explained how Wooden Bear’s popular beers are made. Class members also were able to sample some of them.

Jon Cannaday, an employee at Fortville Feeders, sands the edges of a feeder bowl part. Even small metal spurs can cause problems in the finished product.

Jon Cannaday, an employee at Fortville Feeders, sands the edges of a feeder bowl part. Even small metal spurs can cause problems in the finished product.

Tony Vivaldi, brewmaster at Wooden Bear Brewing, cracks open a container of hops, a key ingredient in brewing beer. Class members (from left) Rachel Cremeans, Lisa Thompson, Matt Davis, Summer Grinstead and Debbie Grass take a closer look.

Tony Vivaldi, brewmaster at Wooden Bear Brewing, cracks open a container of hops, a key ingredient in brewing beer. Class members (from left) Robert Caird, Rachel Cremeans, Lisa Thompson, Matt Davis, Summer Grinstead and Debbie Grass take a closer look.


Agenda finalized for Business/Commerce/Ag Day

Members of the Class of 2016-17 will hear about a worldwide food-safety initiative with roots in Hancock County as part of Business/Commerce/Ag Day on Nov. 2.

The schedule/agenda for Business Day has been finalized. You can look at it by clicking on the link below.

Mitch Davis, an Elanco Animal Health executive who helped organize a recent summit in Washington D.C., to talk about the use of antibiotics in animals in the food production chain, will talk about the Greenfield-based company’s role in the One Health initiative, which is trying to address the stewardship of antibiotics use around the world.

This is the second class day for the Class of 2016-17. The next class will be Dec. 7: Community Issues Day. On that day, the class, which has 25 members, will be divided into groups that will receive assignments for community projects.

The projects will be presented at LHC’s graduation next spring.

2016 Bus-Com-Ag Day schedule

Class prepares for a busy Business/Commerce/Agriculture Day

Speakers who will address the class on Business/Commerce/Ag Day include (from left) Mitch Davis of Elanco; Retta Livengood of the Greater Greenfield Chamber of Commerce; Roy Ballard of Purdue Extension Hancock County; and Skip Kuker; executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council

Speakers who will address the class on Business/Commerce/Ag Day include (from left) Mitch Davis of Elanco; Retta Livengood of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce; Roy Ballard of Purdue Extension Hancock County; and Skip Kuker; executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council.

After a whirlwind tour of Hancock County historical sites on Oct. 5, the Class of 2016-17 is now looking forward to its next class day on Nov. 2.

That day is Business/Commerce/Agriculture Day, and class members will learn a lot about Hancock County’s workplace diversity in a series of talks and visits.

The day will begin at Elanco Animal Health, arguably Hancock County’s most important employer. The class will hear from Mitch Davis, the director of Global Shared Value at Elanco; Retta Livengood, president of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce; Roy Ballard, an agriculture expert with Purdue Extension Hancock County; and Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council.

Later in the day, the group will travel to Fortville for a tour at Fortville Feeders, a national leader in vibratory bowl feeder technology. According to Wikipedia, these machines are “common devices used to feed individual component parts for assembly on industrial production lines.” They are an obscure but vitally important part of any assembly operation. Imagine how a million caps work their way onto shampoo bottles whizzing by on a conveyor, and you get the idea.

The group will end the day at Wooden Bear Brewing, a popular craft beer brewery that is enjoying a successful start-up in Greenfield.

The Business Day itinerary is nearly as packed as the one for History Day on Oct. 5. The class visited six historic sites that day: the Old Log Jail  and Chapel in the Park museums; the James Whitcomb Riley Home; Tuttle Orchards; the Thomas Log Cabin; and the Octagon House in Shirley.

Members of the Class of 2016-17 pose for a photo outside the Octagon House in Shirley.

Members of the Class of 2016-17 pose for a photo outside the Octagon House in Shirley. The group stopped at the historic site on History Day Oct. 5.

The Leadership Retreat in photographs

Group 1

Members of the 2016-17 class of Leadership Hancock County completed their two-day retreat on Friday, Sept. 16, picking up valuable insights about team-building, consensus-building and problem-solving from a series of speakers. The class, consisting of 25 emerging leaders from a wide variety of entities in the county, will next meet on Oct. 5 for History Day. Scroll down to see more photos from the retreat, which was held at the Hancock County Public Library.




Laurene Lonnemann, a marketing professional at Elanco Animal Health (left); and Gina Jackson, a health information systems supervisor at Hancock Regional Hospital, share a light moment during the opening exercise of their retreat on Thursday, Sept. 15. The two took turns interviewing the other before introducing their classmate to the rest of the group.


Lisa Thompson, operating room coordinator at Hancock Regional Hospital, turns on her heel to hit the road after making a stop at the Daily Reporter on the Leadership Hancock County Scavenger Hunt on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 15. Greeting Lisa (and members of five other teams who were making the rounds on Thursday) was Andrea Mallory of the Daily Reporter, who pointed the visitors toward materials the class members were charged with picking up during their quests. In this case, it was a replica of the front page of one of the first editions of the Daily Reporter from 1908. Andrea also is secretary of the board of directors of Leadership Hancock County. Lisa and her team won the Scavenger Hunt with a score of 188 points out of a possible 200. Lisa was the team’s driver.




Tom Seng, one of the founders of Leadership Hancock County in 1995-96, introduced the class to the history of the organization on Day 1 of the retreat. Many members of LHC’s first class, he told the group, went on to occupy important positions in their communities.


Chad Chalos, an instructional designer and educator with Community Health Network, reveals the 2016-17 LHC class’s DiSC profile assessment. The DiSC scores, which explain an individual’s personality style and leadership traits, are a key part of the LHC experience. Community Health Network’s team processed the assessments this year for LHC.


Winners of the 2016 LHC Scavenger Hunt: Summer Grinstead, an administrative assistant for the city of Greenfield; Lisa Thompson, OR coordinator at Hancock Regional Hospital; Matt Davis, Principal at J.B. Stephens Elementary School in Greenfield; and Mike Graf, a vice president at Greenfield Banking Co.

Happy Hour (from Facebook)

Members of the Class of 2016-17 enjoy a cold one before their Day 1 dinner at Griggsby’s Station in downtown Greenfield. The restaurant sponsored the LHC Scavenger Hunt earlier Thursday.


Ed Freije, a retired school administrator who was principal at New Palestine High School for 25 years, coaches class members (including Aaron O’Connor, foreground, Rob Caird, Summer Grinstead and Susie Coleman, far right) on the fine art of consensus building. Tackle the “worst” first, Ed counseled the class, suggesting the best way to find consensus is to meet contentious issues head-on.


Aaron O’Connor (left), Cindi Holloway, Matt Davis, Rachel Cremeans and Rob Caird (right) engineer a tower made of spaghetti in a team-building exercise on Day 2 of the Leadership Hancock Retreat on Friday. The group’s task: Using a set list of materials, they were to erect a tower capable of standing on its own with a marshmallow on top. The group’s creation didn’t quite pass the test.




Lisa Thompson (left), Nicole Mann, Kate Brown and Rachel Dennis test their structural integrity of their spaghetti tower during a team-building exercise Friday afternoon. The exercise was designed in part to show team members the importance of overcoming fear of failure. It was an easy lesson on Day 2 of the retreat!




Facilitator Jesse Keljo puts a tape measure to a spaghetti tower. It topped out at 28 inches without toppling, making it the winner of the exercise.


Their spaghetti tower won’t win any architecture awards, but it was a good lesson in team-building for the winners of Friday’s exercise: Teresa Smith (left), Dede Allender, Robert Harris, Debbie Grass and Jennifer Frye.

Facilitator Cody Flood (foreground, with back to camera) plays referee for a group exercise called “Blanket Flip” on Day 2 of the Leadership Hancock County Retreat on Friday. The blanket, on which all 25 class members were standing, had to be flipped to its reverse side without anyone stepping off. Handicapping the effort was the fact that half the group wasn’t allowed to talk and the other half wasn’t allowed to use its hands. The class successfully completed the flip on the second try, which Cody said was impressive. After two days of team-building, some class members said this wouldn’t have been possible had the exercise been attempted on the first day of the retreat.


Barbara Roark, assistant director of the Hancock County Public Library, facilitates a presentation on problem solving to close the LHC retreat. Barb quoted Albert Einstein during her presentation, in which class members were tasked with offering solutions to a fictitious problem: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”









Class members receive King Scholarships

As Rachel Dennis and Debbie Grass begin their studies in Leadership Hancock County this fall, they enjoy a distinction none of their classmates can claim: They are winners of the Nancy King Scholarship, which pays most of their tuition to attend the class.

King winners BDennis is the new victim’s advocate in Hancock County for Alternatives Inc., which provides services for victims of domestic violence. Grass is a teacher at Eastern Hancock High School, where she helps oversee the Royal Leadership Academy for students.

The scholarship is in honor of one of the founding members of Leadership Hancock County. King, who died in 2010, helped establish the scholarship to help deserving applicants enroll in the eight-month leadership academy. King was a longtime extension educator who was active in many community organizations. She is credited with helping establish Leadership Hancock County in 1996.

Dennis and Grass, in essays that accompanied their applications for the 2016-17 class, said they are eager to hone their leadership abilities. Both already occupy leadership positions, and they said it was important to expand their knowledge of leadership qualities.

“Along with networking and meeting new people, I would like to learn more about Greenfield and the community,” wrote Dennis, who recently replaced longtime victim advocate Kelly Buzan as Alternatives Inc.’s representative in Hancock County. “I am new to Hancock County and could benefit from learning about other leaders and their organizations within the community.”

Dennis added: “In attending the Leadership Hancock County classes, I hope to strengthen my existing skill set while adding more to my leadership tool kit.”

Grass, who teaches business courses at EH, recently gave up sponsorship of two student groups at the school. “I thought it was time to ‘pass the torch’ to younger teachers,” she wrote. “Because I have been so active in our school, my principal (Dave Pfaff) asked me, ‘So, where are you going to get involved next?’ I told him I wasn’t sure, but I would keep my eyes and ears open because I knew an opportunity would come along. I think this is one of those opportunities.”

Grass and Dennis are among 25 emerging leaders who are beginning their studies this fall. They will attend day-long leadership seminars one full day a month for the next seven months and participate in a community project.


Schedule released for LHC retreat

Organizers have finalized the agenda for the two-day retreat to kick off the 2016-17 class of Leadership Hancock County.

The 25 class members will gather at the Hancock County Public Library for a series of exercises, presentations and conversations as they begin their studies for the leadership academy. Among the exercises will be the popular Scavenger Hunt, in which the class members break up into teams and travel throughout the county in a series of quests.

The Scavenger Hunt is being sponsored by Griggsby’s Station restaurant in downtown Greenfield. The group will gather for dinner at the restaurant at the conclusion of the Scavenger Hunt. The winning team will receive gift cards from Griggsby’s Station and LHC.

New to the retreat this year is a panel discussion on teamwork, which will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. The blue-ribbon panel will discuss teamwork and how collaboration leads to success. (For more on the panel, click on the link below.)

The retreat was organized by a volunteer committee of day chairs. They are: Kara Harrison, Hancock County Community Foundation; Donnie Munden, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department; Jesse Keljo, Hancock County Public Library; and Cody Flood, also a member of the library’s staff.

You can look over the schedule by clicking on the link below.

2016 Retreat Schedule

LHC gearing up for 2-day retreat

The newest class of Leadership scholars will attend a retreat to open their studies for the 2016-17 year. The retreat will be Sept. 15-16 at the Hancock County Public Library and will feature community leaders addressing the importance of teamwork, consensus building and the foundations of strong leadership.

The foundation of the retreat is to build a sense of teamwork among the students, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. This will be one of the largest-ever classes for Leadership, an indicator of how important the program has become to identifying and nurturing leaders in our communities.

An important part of the program will be an examination of the students’ DiSC profiles, which will be presented by Sandy Flowers, senior education specialist at Community Health Network. The class members will complete questionnaires designed to define their leadership styles, and the ensuing discussion on the first day of the retreat is always a moment of interesting self-discovery for the participants.

The retreat also will feature the annual Scavenger Hunt, which encourages teamwork as students race against the clock to collect clues that expose them to interesting facts about Hancock County.

New this year will be a panel discussion featuring prominent members of the community. It will take place on Day 1 of the retreat. More information on the panelists will be posted as it becomes available.


LHC celebrates 20th anniversary

Bobby Keen (middle) and Tom Seng (right) field questions from emcee Paula Jarrett about their roles in establishing Leadership Hancock County in 1996. Both men urged the board of directors to innovatively seek new ways to foster leadership in our communities.

Bobby Keen (middle) and Tom Seng (right) field questions from emcee Paula Jarrett about their roles in establishing Leadership Hancock County in 1996. Both men urged the board of directors to innovatively seek new ways to foster leadership in our communities.

Leadership graduates spanning a generation celebrated the organization’s 20th anniversary on Tuesday, June 7, with an evening of fun and fellowship.

The centerpiece of the anniversary celebration were the members of Leadership Hancock County’s first class, in 1996, who were in attendance. But the occasion was also an opportunity to reflect on the organization’s history and its path into the future.

A total of 363 people have gone through the Leadership Hancock County program. Bobby Keen and Tom Seng, two founders of the program who recounted its early days during an interview on stage with emcee Paula Jarrett (class of 2003), told the 100 or so guests that innovation will be vital to the organization’s success going forward.

Keen added that today’s divisive political and social climate also demands that gifted leaders come to the fore. That must start in local communities everywhere with programs such as Leadership Hancock County, he said.

Steve Jones, the incoming president of the board, acknowledged the importance of strengthening Leadership Hancock County’s presence. His goals, he told the crowd, include building a strong social media presence, reinvigorating the organization’s website and increasing LHC’s geographic reach. The community also can expect an ongoing appraisal of LHC’s curriculum, he said.

Four members of LHC’s first class attended the event: Debbie Bruce, Robert Harold, Don Watson and Joe Fitzgerald. Marcia Parker, one of the original board members who also served as the organization’s executive director in its early years, also attended.

Focus also fell on more recent graduates. Kari Sisk, a graduate of the 2016 class who could not attend the graduation ceremony because of the birth of her son, received the Stacia Alyea Excellence in Leadership award that was announced at graduation in May. Presenting the award was the 2015 winner of the honor, Keely Butrum.

The event, which was held at Tyner Pond Farm, also recognized the service of Donieta Ross, who left her job in June as coordinator of Leadership Hancock County. She had been coordinator for 12 years. Bobby Campbell, immediate past president of LHC, praised Ross as a devoted and tireless advocate for the program.