Author: Maria Leichty

Polo in Zionsville recap

Thanks to everyone involved with Polo in Zionsville for making it such a success! A big shoutout to our sponsors as well as our volunteers for making this sold-out event happen.

We enjoyed partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County and together we raised over $12,000 for our organizations! And lastly we wanted to thank Ryan Woodall for taking the pictures.

zWORKS startup builds houses in Haiti

A former pastor has turned her mission work into a non-profit startup called Zanmi Fondwa. Zanmi is the Creole word for “friend” and Fondwa is the area in Haiti in which they build houses.

Jamalyn Peigh Williamson and her husband, David, met in a graduate school at Duke Divinity School. Jamalyn ended up taking a trip to Haiti where she got some advice that would change their lives.

The professor on the trip suggested to live outside the country before leading churches (they wanted to become pastors).

Jamalyn and David moved to Haiti in 2003 and lived there for two years – she was an administrator at the school and he taught English. Ever since, they have been taking trips down to Haiti.

Featured Partner: The Growth Coach

Zionsville resident and zWORKS member Bob Paden is now the owner of The Growth Coach Indianapolis North franchise. He and his team are focused on supporting Boone and Hamilton County business owners grow their companies while maintaining balance.

Paden was operating an independent firm called Tier321.

“Becoming a Growth Coach franchise allowed me to throw gas on a fire I had already been working on for three years,” Paden said.

After leaving a 25-year long career in corporate America, Paden branched out on his own in one-on-one consulting with TIER321 firm. During his past two months with The Growth Coach, Paden said it has been like drinking from a fire hose – in a good way – better tools, better materials and a great support system.

Featured Startup: BestQuote

Lifelong entrepreneur heads new startup

He’s been interested in startups since middle school.

Jeff Wraley’s very first foray into the world of entrepreneurship involved harvesting pachysandra in middle school. That effort evolved into a full-fledged landscaping business in high school.

“I have ideas all the time and sometimes too many ideas,” Wraley said.

After helping a few friends with their startups as well as working for a boutique startup consulting firm, Wraley decided to make the plunge.

“I guess I have always been working toward an entrepreneurial endeavor,” he said.

Featured Startup: Perfit

The Perfit solution to in-store shopping

From left: Tre Plowman, Jason Fordham and Casey Reagan

It all started at American Eagle in Circle Center Mall. Jason Fordham’s wife was trying on jeans.

As is the popular question for most issues now-a-days, Jason wondered if there was an app that made the fitting room experience less cumbersome.

Different size? Different brand? Shoes to go with those jeans? Jewelry?

And so, the Perfit solution started to form.

Jason brought back his idea to a few of his coworkers at the time, Casey Reagan, Jamal Khan and Tre Plowman.

“We wanted this to be a consumer-driven product,” Fordham said. “That’s the one thing that’s consistent. No matter if people shop online or in-stores, they want to own the experience from start to finish.”

Featured Partner: Indiana University

zWORKS partners with IU entrepreneurship program

Jason Whitney has always lived amongst small businesses and startups. His grandfather was a typical Indiana Main Street shop manager and Whitney worked closely with him.

Whitney ended up owning several small businesses in Richmond, Indiana including a pizza restaurant.

“Through those experiences I learned the value of knowing people on a personal level and not on a transactional level which helps me to do business effectively today,” he said.

Featured member: Lindsey Bullinger

Atlanta professor calls zWORKS home

One zWORKS member doesn’t commute across town, she commutes across the country.

Lindsey Bullinger flies to Atlanta, Georgia about once a week and is technically considered a super-commuter.

Bullinger does public policy research and teaches at Georgia Tech. Her education route included an undergrad at Miami University, a master’s at Syracuse University and a doctorate at Indiana University.

“What I enjoy about doing this is that these decisions that people are making everyday are affecting people everywhere,” Bullinger said. “It’s important to know if public policy is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.”

Featured Member: Geneva Taylor

From corporate America to coworking

She used to source parts, now she sources people.

Geneva Taylor was a purchasing executive primarily for both Navistar and Rolls Royce for more than 25 years. In 2016, she started looking for something different and heard about recruiting.

“I did a lot of things I liked to do and I still get to do,” Taylor said. “Throughout my career, I’ve mentored people and helped them with careers. It felt really natural that instead of sourcing parts, I source people.”

Taylor bought an MRI Network franchise and started Tellis Executive Search, named after her maiden name. Tellis provides recruitment and staffing services focused on engineering, manufacturing and supply chain roles along with IT positions.

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.