Author: Maria Leichty

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.

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.