Author: Maria Leichty

Featured Startup: The IT Factory

Founder shares startup journey with inmates

The journey of a zWORKS startup has not only involved the founder but also some of his students at the Indiana Women’s Prison.

Ken Kitts is a mentor with The Last Mile, a program that trains incarcerated individuals in business and technology. He has worked with The Last Mile for 9 months.

“One of the greatest rewards has been the motivation effect that it has on the students,” Kitts said. “They’re seeing a world they didn’t even think existed, let alone one that they could be a part of.”

Kitts has shared the process of building The IT Factory from step one to the current phase of beta testing. The IT Factory is designed to help teams align their development efforts with the strategic goals of the organization and forecast dates with little to no effort. It prioritizes work based upon the strategic mapping and cycle time for completing a requirement.

Featured Member: Matt Fleck

A man of many talents … and voices

Education. Check.

Broadcasting. Check.

Radio. Check.

Add in a dash of urban forestry, and you have a pretty good picture of zWORKS member Matt Fleck.

What started as an urban forestry major at Purdue turned into a radio and broadcast career then morphed into an education career which is where Matt Fleck has remained for the past 25 years.

And even in education, Fleck has been exposed to various aspects from teaching to administration to the Indiana Department of Education.

Featured Member: Peter Noel

Saving pets one day at a time

Broken ribs, fractured femurs, and perforated intestines are just some of the things one zWORKS member deals with on a daily basis. But not with humans, with animals.

Peter Noel is a veterinary radiologist who typically reads X-rays, CT scans and MRIs for dogs and cats. He is one of approximately 600 veterinary radiologists world-wide.

“I was hooked early and I just never gave up on it,” Noel said.

Noel works with five specialty clinics around America – including ones in Los Angeles, Nashville, Santa Barbara and Pittsburgh. Pet radiology has a lot of different opportunities, he said, so he can stay very busy while working remotely.

Featured Partner: Nameless Catering

The Nameless journey from $500 to state-wide company

What started as a small pizza shop has turned into a state-wide catering company. And looking towards breaching the state boundaries in the near future.

Nameless Catering was a startup at a co-working space just a few years ago, similar to many of you out there. Boone County resident Jeremy Brown originally started a pizza shop with his cousin – with just $500.

“My cousin and I have both always been entrepreneurial-minded and we toyed around with a few different ideas,” Brown said.

Featured Member: Rachel Huser

Back to her roots

One zWORKS member returned to her roots in her new position for the Boone EDC, the county economic development corporation.

Rachel Huser is the Economic Development Manager for Boone EDC. She was a Western Boone and St. Mary’s College graduate and has worked in Chicago as a financial analyst for the past few years.

“There is something to be said about big cities and there’s something to be said about Boone County and this is where my heart is,” Huser said.

Her goal was to get more involved with community work and local economic development. As the Economic Development Manager, Huser focuses on small businesses and business retention efforts in the county.

She said her favorite part about Boone County is the uniqueness of each town.

Featured Startup: TRG Web Designs

zWORKS entrepreneur turns hobby into business

What do you want to do when you retire?

The answer to this question has many guises but rarely is the answer to start a business. Despite its rarity, this is the route one zWORKS member went.

“The reality is that when I decided to retire, I quickly learned I wasn’t ready to sit around,” Tom Greer said.

Thomas R. Greer started TRG Web Designs after he had retired from his career in business leadership. He was looking to do something entrepreneurial when he decided to turn his hobby into a business.

Greer started programming before there was a world wide web. For programmers out there, think COBOL in the 1970s. He had been creating websites for friends and family over the years and even maintained his own blog.

Featured Member: Michael Mioduski

zWORKS member finds niche as “PowerPoint guy”

It’s all about finding your niche. And being the best at it.

That was one zWORKS member’s goal after realizing the huge demand for presentation design.

Michael “Mikey” Mioduski started his company GhostRanch Communications in 2015 which specializes in just that. They design custom sales presentations whether that be customizing specific slides or creating brand new templates.

“We see it as an underdog medium,” Mioduski said. “And we’ve been on a mission to make business-to-business slide decks bigger and better.”

Featured Startup: Predictive Wear

Burgeoning startup combines textiles and technology

Their mission is in their name. Predictive Wear focuses on making connected clothing that monitors your health.

Dane Albaugh, the CEO, and Pablo Argote, the CTO, are Purdue graduates and are working together with six other graduates to make their mission a reality.

The team of eight met while studying biomedical engineering at Purdue. They melded their various expertise after cofounding a student organization and eventually started the company, Predictive Wear.

“We created a solution both as a service and product that can center around the patient and have an ecosystem focused on predictive analytics, health informatics and wearable technology,” Argote said. “We believe the future is going this direction, especially in medicine.”

Featured Startup: Safekeeping

zWORKS startup highlights healthcare transparency

Matt Prasek’s personal experience with the healthcare industry inspired his startup company, Safekeeping.

His grandfather was in a skiing accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Matt and his family quickly realized there was a communication gap between care providers and family members.

“We were constantly chasing down clinicians to get information,” Prasek said. “Information isn’t really easy to access at these care facilities. Really, family members just want to know how our loved one is doing.”

After his experience with his grandpa, he decided to work towards a solution.

Featured Member: David McArdle

Pilot by night, web designer by day

He wakes up for work at 1 in the morning. Flies to another part of the country. Sleeps for a few hours. Then works on websites the rest of the day before he flies back home.

David McArdle is a pilot for FedEx Express and flies the night sort shift. Packages are loaded between 2 to 3 a.m., then he flies out by 4 a.m.

His company, Indy Web Designers, is something he started after receiving compliments on the website he created for another of his startup companies. When he saw the positive response, he decided to make it his day job.

“I like learning new things,” McArdle said. “I learn something new with every project.”