Tag Archives: local business


Business 101

Local leaders share secrets to success, advice and goals for our region

Photos by Christian Watson, Tony Bennett & Danny Alexander


This is an exciting time for Southern Indiana, a region that is filled with business professionals striving to make our community better in myriad ways, from economic development and job creation to philanthropic endeavors that assist those of us who need it most. For this, Extol’s inaugural Business Issue, we asked local industry leaders and business owners to share their insight, advice, accolades, secrets to success and their hopes for our collective future.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-53-16-amWendy Dant Chesser

President & CEO

One Southern Indiana


“I am so fortunate that I get to work toward this passion every day.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Part of my job is to represent our business community on various boards and commissions, including: Louisville Zoo Foundation Board; Ivy Tech Regional Board of Trustees; Kentucky Derby Festival Board of Directors; Greater Louisville, Inc. Board of Directors; Indiana Economic Development Association (Chair); Indiana Metro Chambers Group; Kentucky-Indiana Exchange Board of Directors/Managing Partner; Falls of the Ohio Foundation Board; Louisville Regional Airlift Development Board of Directors; Align Southern Indiana Board of Directors; 55,000 Degrees Board of Directors.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

We measure economic growth not only through job creation, but also tax base investment and increased consumer spending. A big emphasis during recent years is on our workforce development needs. We support increasing average wages in our area because we cannot build vibrant communities on low-wage jobs.  However, workers have to be skilled for higher wage positions, which is why you see much of our focus on increasing business/education partnerships to lead to higher wages. So, by 2028, I would like to see wages in our counties surpass the average wage for Indiana’s state average.


Who or what motivates you?

Good energy and fresh ideas. I love to be surround with positive people who have can-do attitudes. They give me energy.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I do my best to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. I feel better and think more clearly when I do.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

In community and economic development work, there are high times and low times – it is the nature of local economies to ebb and flow. Remembering this not only motivates me to celebrate the accomplishments, but also instills the perseverance to work harder when times are bad.


What are you most proud of professionally?

My passion is to create opportunities for people who call Southern Indiana home. I am so fortunate that I get to work toward this passion every day.


John E. Jones


John Jones Automotive Group, John Jones Police Pursuit Vehicles


“I push myself every day to be better than the day before.”


Boards, volunteer or community work: 

Board Member Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority, Reserve Officer with local County Sheriff’s Departments.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years? 

I would like to see all the local Municipalities working together towards the one goal of making our region a more desirable area where our young people would want to live and work. To reach this goal, we have to have a trained and motivated work force working with this goal in mind. I would like to see more small community parks and recreation areas in Southern Indiana; places where families can go and enjoy their time together.

Also, I think people would be amazed at the number of residents who do not have access to broadband internet service; that is very important for every resident to have access.


Who or what motivates you? 

My family, my employees and my business. In order for them to be successful, I push myself every day to be better than the day before. I want to see everyone do well for themselves, and if they succeed then I have succeeded.


What habits/routines have helped with your success? 

Staying highly organized every day. I try to answer every single email, phone call and clear my desk before I go home each night – even if that means going home for dinner and then coming back into the office later. I want to be ready for whatever challenge I might have the next day. Little issues tend to always become bigger issues. It’s always easier to solve small problems instead of larger ones that are out of control.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?  

The responsibility of running my business.


What are you most proud of professionally? 

The growth of my business over 35 years. I started with 15 employees selling about 20 vehicles a month in one location. Now, John Jones Automotive Group has over 200 employees, six locations in Southern Indiana and averages 400 sold vehicles per month. We are always growing, and that is definitely something I’m proud of.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-53-46-amJim Epperson

Executive Director

SoIN Tourism


“A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Indiana Tourism Association – Government Affairs Co-Chair & Board of Directors; Destinations International – Advocacy Committee; One Southern Indiana, Board of Directors; IU Southeast Chancellor’s Medallion Committee; Rotary Club of New Albany – Community Toast Committee; Falls of the Ohio Foundation – Community Leadership Council.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

Southern Indiana has amazing potential, and we are seeing little bits of it achieved every day with new businesses, new residents and improvements to our quality of place. I often hold up northern Kentucky (Covington & Newport and the greater three-county area) as an example of potential realized and where we can be in the future. Their growth is not without mistakes from which we can learn.


Our growth needs to foster success for even more local, independent business that has rejuvenated our downtowns. The authenticity of local is vital to help us carve out our own niche within the collection of Louisville “neighborhoods.”


A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders. Our most transformative projects are going to be regional and will require that kind of cooperation.


Who or what motivates you?

In destination marketing, we work to bring visitors to town who spend money here. What they spend here supports jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors and beyond. That person who has a job in hospitality because of the people we bring to town is my motivation. Hospitality provides a path regardless of degree; our industry provides a second income on a flexible schedule for the household so that childcare is easier; almost all businesses in the sector are small and entrepreneurial; and our industry provides most peoples’ first jobs, training them for a career of contribution.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I am a proponent of ongoing professional development for me and our team. Attending conferences and workshops, sharing with colleagues from around the state or country, refreshes and refocuses us by getting us out of our daily routine. Time away allows us to think about how to bring that next cutting-edge idea back home and put it to work.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Knowing that I can retreat to important things like faith and family combined with a network of incredible colleagues who have been there, done that, gets me through the rough patches.


What are you most proud of professionally?

Having been able to explore my profession in different places but ending up back in my hometown and being able to contribute to our common success.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-08-amBrent Rogers


Sounds Unlimited Productions (SUP)

“I’m driven by the dream, not the money!”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Leadership Southern Indiana NEXGEN Board.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

My vision is a unified Southern Indiana, with all communities coming together for a common goal of growth, collaboration and vision for the future. As an extension of Louisville, we have an excellent opportunity to showcase our great SoIN region.


Who or what motivates you?

Connection of people and business. I’m driven by the dream, not the money!


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I’m an early riser, so getting into my day before most are out of bed is a benefit. I also workout in some form each day. It keeps me focused, energized and has become a lifestyle.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives in some manner keeps a smile on my face, whether it’s working to help a nonprofit raise much needed dollars or helping a friend connect. My kids, JR and Sally, also remind me that life is a journey, not a destination. I have learned life is 10 percent about what happens to you and 90 percent about how you handle it.


What are you most proud of professionally?

The team at SUP makes me proud. Knowing we have built a positive reputation in the community for being creative, innovative and hard-working is something we pride ourselves on. I don’t feel like I have a job as much as each day is a new challenge. I’m eager to take it to the next level!

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-19-amDana Huber 

Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations

Huber’s Orchard, Winery, & Vineyards


“I am motivated by my family, my co-workers, our community, enthusiastic people, smiles, music, big dreams and laughter.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:
First Harrison Bank – Board Member; Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Council for Agribusiness – Council Member; “Our Southern Indiana” Regional Development Authority – Chairperson; University of Louisiville Family Business Center – Board Member; Southern Indiana Tourism(SoIn) – Board Member; WineAmerica – Board Member.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

In 10 years, I would like to see Southern Indiana positioned as one of the top 10 places to live, work, and raise a family in the Midwest. Southern Indiana is poised for greatness and with the right partnerships, community planning, and by simply working together to plan for growth, we have all the right ingredients to make Southern Indiana a blue-ribbon recipe for success!


Who or what motivates you?

I am motivated by my family, my co-workers, our community, enthusiastic people, smiles, music, big dreams and laughter. All of these things indicate happiness to me and, in turn, all of these things provide motivation for me. But, I will say that my mom and dad are like my rocks.  Whether I am in crisis or in celebration, my parents are the rocks and foundation of everything that I get to learn from or enjoy every day. They are my reason for dusting myself off and giving 110 percent to everything I touch.
What habits/routines have helped with your success?

My habits and routines were the result of the environment that I grew up in and our family life. I was taught by my parents, Janet and Bob Temple, that anything worth having wouldn’t come easy, and you will have to work hard, work smart and be patient and success will find you. It’s these principles that were shared with me early in life with a dash of “being humble” and “being kind,” that have helped me to find my version of success. Because in the end, who is to define your success other than you.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

My push is from my husband of 27 years, Ted Huber. As he always says, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” coupled with some advice that “You can only worry about those things that you can have some influence or control over.” Admittedly, working with your spouse can be challenging at times, but we always find a way to work it out. We complement each other, and he is my biggest cheerleader. He advocates to get me positioned in responsibilities that highlight my strengths, which help to push me through anything – personal or professional.


What are you most proud of professionally?

I would say I am most proud of my abilities to bring people together for a common goal and my work in our community. There is no doubt for those who know me best that I ABSOLUTELY love my work out in our community! Anytime I can represent Huber’s Orchard, Winery, & Vineyards and add value to the task at hand, I am thankful to be a part of the process. I am very thankful that my family work team has allowed me the opportunity to spend time in our community.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-29-amAlan Muncy




“I always focus on what’s in front of me that I can control and not the things in the past that I cannot.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:     

See the arc “Philanthropy” link on our website, to.gowitharc.com/charity.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

I would like to see our community continue to grow and compete as an emerging market while maintaining our small-town values. Southern Indiana has an incredible culture that is diverse, unique and forward thinking.  I want to continue to see us be a better place to LIVE.WORK.PLAY.


Who or what motivates you? 

The desire to be better: being a better person, being a better company, creating a better environment for my community.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I have a habit of always changing things. My staff knows it and expects it from me. I am never satisfied and always think we can do better at everything. I think the constant pursuit of perfection is a motivator and has helped us continue to grow as a company.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

I constantly remind myself of the hard times I have experienced and the fact that they all fade in to the past. I always focus on what’s in front of me that I can control and not the things in the past that I cannot.


What are you most proud of professionally?

The easiest question of all – my people! They are everything to me. Without them I would not be where I am today. Every past and current employee has helped us become the company we are today. We are arc!

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-39-amLinda Speed

President & CEO

Community Foundation of Southern Indiana


“I would like to see this area align all its resources to reach our potential for being one of the best places in America to live, work and play.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:    

I serve on the boards of the Center for NonProfit Excellence and the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (vice-chair). I am past president of the Southern Indiana Estate Planning Council, the Charitable Gift Planners of Kentuckiana, and the Fundraising Executives of Metro Louisville.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?  

In 10 years, I would like to see this area align all its resources to reach our potential for being one of the best places in America to live, work and play. When we maximize our quality of place, we improve our lives, keep our families and businesses here, and we attract new companies because this is a place where workers have the skills and education to meet the demands of employers and where people want to live and raise their families.


Who or what motivates you?      

First and foremost, my family motivates me every day. But, a close second is the work I do at the Community Foundation. At the foundation, I’m able to come in each day and work to make this a stronger, better community. I get to work with individuals and businesses that give back in ways that matter to them and make a real difference in the lives of the residents of Clark and Floyd counties. Not only is that a great motivator but incredibly rewarding.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?     

I’m a big fan of continuous learning and improvement, so I try to attend seminars and read as much as I can on a lot of different topics, but especially those that affect the charitable industry. I work out several times a week, and I make it a point to meet with friends outside of work often to recharge and stay in touch, all of which make it easier to focus on work when I’m there.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

The knowledge that “this too shall pass” usually helps. I rely on faith, prayer and my family to support and guide me when times are tough.


What are you most proud of professionally? 

There are a lot of things that got me to where I am now professionally, beginning with graduating from Vanderbilt School of Law and then moving from the private practice of law into the nonprofit and foundation sector, which have led to the work I do now with the Community Foundation. I’ve been working a long time, so I have different things to be proud of from different periods in my career, but right now I’d have to say that leading the Community Foundation since 2010 as our assets have grown to over $115 million – which gives us so much more opportunity to support the community – is something that I am very proud of because it exhibits the generosity of this community and the faith they have in the Community Foundation as a partner in their philanthropy.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-49-amScott Neumann


502 Video Post


“In 10 years, I know that the business development in Southern Indiana will be a showcase of diverse business and creative talent in our state.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Jan. 2007 – 2014, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician and Sergeant at various Fire Departments; Pleasant View Fire Department, Pleasant View Fire Tennessee (3 Years); Williamson County Fire and Rescue, Franklin, Tennessee (3 Years); Lyndon Fire Department, Louisville (6 Years); Worthington Fire and Rescue, Louisville (6 Years); football coach for a variety of youth, middle school and high school football programs, including Greenhill’s Eagles peewee football, Williamson County Cowboys youth football, Lyndon Lightning youth football, Highland Hills Middle School football and Ballard High School Football; and volunteered for a variety of disaster relief, including Marengo Indiana Tornado volunteer, Hurricane Katerina Red Cross volunteer and Henryville Tornado volunteer; Kentucky Colonel.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

All of us at 502 Video Post are extremely excited about the growth that Southern Indiana is experiencing and am happy to be part of it. A little over two years ago, we made the decision to move 502 Video Post to Southern Indiana and to get involved with business development. It’s our goal not only to grow and be a successful company but to be a part of the growth and success of our clients. We are in a great position to utilize our skills and help other companies promote their brands and offer solutions for better communication within those companies utilizing video for communication, training and promotions. In 10 years, I know that the business development in Southern Indiana will be a showcase of diverse business and creative talent in our state.



What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Serving in the fire service has really put things in perspective for me. The experiences you face as a firefighter are unlike any other profession. I have a whole new respect for the word “difficult.” I’ve learned not to be so quick to draw conclusions about people. When you are involved in so many tragic events, you quickly learn the things that are truly important in life. The difficult times I have faced have been elementary compared to some situations that I have witnessed other families overcome. I have truly been blessed with a wonderful wife and four beautiful and healthy kids. My family and helping others are what pushes me through difficult times.



Who or what motivates you?


I am motivated by the creative process. There is nothing cooler to me than to start with nothing and turn it into something. There are endless possibilities to explore, and finding the right one for my client’s vision is the drive that takes my work to a whole new level. I have an inner drive to seek out exciting clients and projects that will challenge me creatively so that I can bring their ideas to life in an exhilarating way.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

The key to success for me has been focused on a few simple concepts. Work hard, push yourself to outperform your best work and never stop learning. Often the difference between a good project and a great project is putting in a little extra time and making sure you are completely happy with what you are striving to achieve. Generally, if you are happy with the outcome of the project, it makes you feel good inside and you will find that the same feelings are shared by the client.


My father would say to me, “Do you want to know the secret to get rich quick and be successful?”  I’d say, “Yes.” He would say, “Work hard.”


What are you most proud of professionally?

Opening and operating a video production company has been one of the proudest moments for me. I have always ensured that clients get the best customer service I can offer. I like being in the driver’s seat to create the best product possible for my clients.  I feel that it’s important to me personally and for my clients to provide an excellent customer experience and producing an extraordinary product for them. Helping other businesses grow and telling peoples stories is extremely fulfilling.


I am also very proud of the time I spent as art director for Country Music Television (CMT). It was a very high-profile position in the production world because we produced live shows in the Grand Ole Opry such as the Country Music Awards, Junior Miss Pageant Awards, TNN Motor Sports, The Wild Horse Salon and many other shows all while supporting the promotional efforts for CMT and Z Music Television, which are international 24/7 music channels. These productions were a highly-coordinated effort and there was no room for mistakes and nothing but excellence was acceptable.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-54-56-amStefanie Griffith


Strandz Salon & Threadz Boutique

*I am part-owner of Strandz & Threadz with my two sisters, Stacy Tunnell and Julie Young


Boards, volunteer or community work:

I currently serve on SoIN Tourism Board, 1si Ambassador, Champion Connector and Chair of 1si SoIN to Weddings group, Falls of the Ohio Leadership Council, Prosser Cosmetology Advisory Group and past board member/vice president/president of Develop New Albany.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?  

I would love to see all empty buildings filled with local, family-owned businesses, the continued improved living spaces in the main areas of down and uptown New Albany and the K & I bridge open for pedestrians making the Greenway a complete circle. I’d like to see all of this while keeping our same level of hometown hospitality that we have now.


Who or what motivates you?  

My family. I want to provide an area that they will be proud to raise their families one day, and I always enjoy a good challenge.


What habits/routines have helped with your success? 

Most people tell me it is I always try to stay positive and see the good in people, places and things.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?  

My husband’s continuous support and honesty. He never lets me play a victim. Oh, and a lot of beer sometimes, LOL!


What are you most proud of professionally? 

I am very proud that my two brothers, two sister and myself (The Lenfert 5) took a chance almost 25 years ago and purchases the current home of Strandz & Threadz on Vincennes Street. Our parents, Betty and Paul Lenfert, taught us, “Take care of your community and it will take care of you,” and it has. From our awesome team of ladies we have at Strandz to all our wonderful clients, we have had the pleasure to serve in a growing area that I am proud to have helped take part in reviving over the years.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-55-04-amEileen Yanoviak, Ph.D.


Carnegie Center for Art and History


Boards, volunteer or community work:

My life is dedicated to non-profit community work every day! I also serve on the Board of the Southeastern College Art Conference; Generation WOW Mentor; former Big Brothers Big Sisters Arts Workplace Mentor.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

I would like to see the arts and culture sector in Southern Indiana experience exponential growth. The arts enhance quality of life and build a creative capital that attracts and retains talent for regional businesses. The arts are valuable contributors to the business economy­–$61 billion nationwide each year. Southern Indiana can have a bigger piece of that pie.


Who or what motivates you?

My passion for putting art and history in the hands and minds of more people, regardless of race, gender, age, and socio-economics, is the core principle that motivates me every day. Artists and historians are storytellers – how can I share those stories more broadly?


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I am a connector, and I always see the potential for collaboration. We all succeed when businesses, organizations and people connect to leverage talent and resources. Nonprofits like the Carnegie necessarily run lean, so we rely on the human energy and financial generosity that our partners provide. In turn, we champion our business supporters and celebrate our non-profit peers.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

An educator at heart, I am privileged to lead an institution that teaches and inspires people every day. I am constantly reenergized by our mission to engage, inform, and connect. The big picture guides me through everyday challenges.


What are you most proud of professionally?

I am especially proud of the Carnegie’s recent success raising funds to expand and enhance children’s programs and outreach. Stay tuned! Personally, I am proud of succeeding professionally while being a mother. Balancing a family and professional life requires practical skills like efficiency and adaptability. More importantly, parenthood fosters empathy and compassion that permeate the workplace.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-55-13-amCheryl “Cricket” Koetter


Cricket’s Cafe


Boards, volunteer or community work:

I’ve volunteered in many platforms, but most recently, I’m the founder of the Bryson A. Melton Forward Foundation, which is dedicated to helping families in financial need after experiencing medical emergencies or tragic circumstances; chaired several Our Lady of Perpetual Help fundraisers; raised money for, performed in and won the 2016 Dancing with Our Southern Indiana Stars event benefiting Hosparus Health and judged the 2018 competition.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

I know the question was about Southern Indiana, but I feel like most of our area is moving forward in these aspects. However, I feel like our lack of a better high school here in town is holding back growth and development. Don’t mistake what I am saying. I love this community and the people in it! However, I feel like our local school needs an overhaul. I grew up here, I live here, I work and own my business here. Our high school needs major attention. Somehow, we all need to let whatever needs to be done get done. I’m unsure as to why we can’t get it together enough to proceed forward.


Who or what motivates you?

Success motivates me. Not monetary success, but success of people I love bettering the

community and helping other people to succeed.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I am an early riser. My bed is made every day and no laying around in or on it later in the day either. I’m very strong-willed, sometimes to a fault. Most importantly, I have a very strong work ethic. This was ingrained in me long, long ago. I was taught that education was important but most important was the fire in your belly and how hungry you were for success! This helped me become a registered nurse (RN) at an early age and move on to business endeavors later in my 30s.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Faith and the will to push myself even just five more minutes when I desperately want to throw in the towel.


What are you most proud of professionally?

Professionally, I am most proud of the trail I am blazing. I am proud to be an RN, and I loved, loved, loved helping to care for and educate people in the medical setting. However, I am also proud of the companies we have built in our community and giving people a place to come to and enjoy a great breakfast or lunch while seeing their neighbors, friends and family. I feel like Cricket’s has finally made itself a name and is recognized more and more but still holds the mom-and-pop shop persona.

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-55-21-amCase Belcher


Four Barrel CrossFit


“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and to move along with business as usual, but you’ll soon be forgotten if you cease to innovate and improve.”


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

Continuing along a similar path. It’s been great to see the growth of places like River Ridge that drive a lot of employment opportunities in Southern Indiana. Even within the business park in New Albany where we operate, we’ve seen several existing businesses expanding, reinvesting and adding jobs. All this means good news for us and a lot of the service and retail business that are helping drive the redevelopment of downtown (which we’re big fans of). At Four Barrel, we want to help build a happier and healthier community, and I think as more jobs move into the area, so will more projects that promote healthy communities (parks, bike lanes, greenways, etc), thus continuing to improve the allure of our area


Who or what motivates you?

My wife, my son, my family and my community. Sounds canned but it’s true. I probably didn’t even recognize the lessons at the time, but my family taught me a lot about the value of hard work and community growing up. Fast forward to today, and we run a business whose product is literally about teaching people to work hard and creating accountability through community. We’ve built so many relationships and have learned so many lessons from our members that the value of tribe –community – and being accountable to others really hits home in terms of motivation.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

Focusing on small incremental improvement. We ask our members to aim for small improvements in training each day, and we apply the same to business. Some days are better than others, but creating a mindset focused on daily improvement – no matter how small – creates a big net positive over time. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and to move along with business as usual, but you’ll soon be forgotten if you cease to innovate and improve.


What pushes you through your most difficult times? 

Two things. First, the accountability I have to my family, my team and our members. Second, the examples of everyone who’s gone before me. Working through all the problems that come with building a small business can be challenging and even lonely. There’s comfort and motivation in seeing the examples of people and companies who have been through adversity and who have worked hard to come out on the other side as better leaders and better businesses.


What are you most proud of professionally?

The community and the culture we’ve built. Like most companies, there have been bumps along the way, and we still have a long way to go, but we get the opportunity to see daily examples of people showing up for each other and supporting each other to be healthier and better versions of themselves. We couldn’t ask to be part of a better community or a more rewarding endeavor.




Celebrating Harvest Homecoming’s 50th Anniversary | Harvest of Gold

3Compiled by Angie Fenton 

Historical photos courtesy Stuart B. Wrege Indiana History Room | New Albany-Floyd County Public Library 

Photo of Harvest Homecoming mural created by Wilfred Sieg III was taken by Tony Bennett 

Photo of the Harvest Homecoming queens provided by Tyler Zoller Photography 

ON THE NIGHT of Oct. 10, 1967, the community of New Albany debuted its inaugural Pumpkin Festival with a parade. The following weekend, folks gathered downtown to enjoy a farmers market, the sale of pumpkin pie, cider and barbecued chicken, a public square dance, and a battle of the bands. Downtown merchants held a Harvest of Values Square, and the festival culminated with pumpkin growing and decorating and costume contests.

While the initial festival was the creation of the New Albany Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee – founding members included Cora Jacobs, Henry Ramsier and Paul Lipps – today the annual event beckons hundreds of thousands of visitors to what is now known as Harvest Homecoming.

7In its 50th year, Harvest Homecoming is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and is managed by an all-volunteer board of directors and officers. Bradley Needham is the acting president; David White serves as the board chairman.

In the 1980s, the organization added a souvenir pin program, which helps to support the festival and charitable endeavors. Earlier this year, several officers and longtime volunteers traveled to the Indiana State House for a proclamation celebrating the golden anniversary of Harvest Homecoming.

4This year’s theme – Harvest of Gold – kicks off Oct. 7 with opening ceremonies followed by the parade, which has drawn a number of celebrities as Grand Marshal over the decades, including The Monkees Davy Jones, James Drury of the television western The Virginian, country singer Louise Mandrel and golf champion Fuzzy Zoeller.

Events – many of which are free – vary from the 50-year-old pumpkin decorating and costume contests to the annual Business Luncheon to a dog show and a baby photo contest. And then, of course, there are the booth days, which are Oct. 12 through Oct. 15.


8Harvest Homecoming has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships through the “Who Wants to be a College Student” contest.

The festival is a staple for many nonprofits who depend on proceeds from booth sales to ensure they continue to operate.

Crusade for Children is one of several beneficiaries of the festival, which has given thousands of dollars to charity.

Volunteers of all ages are always needed; anyone is welcome to give back and join the Harvest family. Contact Haley Matheny at 812.786.6779 or hmatheny@harvesthomecoming. com for more information.acr472720019896322309296

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-4-24-26-pmWin A 1967 Ford Mustang!

Want the opportunity to win a vermillion red 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe? Purchase one of only 300 chances to win this 50-year-old car in honor of Harvest Homecoming’s 50th anniversary for $100 per chance by Oct. 15. Proceeds will benefit various Kentuckiana charities. Call Rosie Bryant 502.541.4056 for more information.




2017 Miss Harvest Homecoming

Tiarra Taylor is honored and grateful to be representing her hometown of New Albany as Miss Harvest Homecoming 2017. Tiarra attends Indiana State University as a sophomore majoring in English Teaching. She is excited to advocate for her platform, the YMCA, as more than just a provider of swim and gym services. Along with the goal of encouraging citizens across our great Hoosier state to get involved with their local YMCA, Tiarra is grateful for the opportunity to reach into the heart of her community with the Harvest Homecoming Festival.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-4-23-30-pmMEG EDWARDS 

2017 Miss HHC’s Outstanding Teen

Meg is both honored and excited to be your 2017 Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen. She is a 15-year-old sophomore at Floyd Central High School, where she is an athlete and honors student. Meg resides in Indiana’s first capital city, Corydon, with her parents and two younger siblings. She is the founder of her platform, Meg’s Mirror Message. Her mission is for every girl to look in the mirror and love who she sees. She works with her peers in our community, shares her story of having self-confidence issues and introduces journaling as a method of self-help. Meg’s goal is to become the Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen she always looked up to when she was younger, while also promoting her platform and the Harvest Homecoming Festival during her year of service.


*This is only a small sampling of events. For a complete list, go to www.harvesthomecoming.com.


Opening Ceremonies: 11:30 a.m., Seventh and Spring streets

Kick off the 2017 Harvest Homecoming festival at opening ceremonies. Musical entertainment TBA and will begin at 10:30 am. Stay and watch the annual parade!

Harvest Homecoming Parade: 12 p.m., starts at New Albany High School and ends at Bank and Elm streets

Come experience over-the-top floats, vintage cars, and loud bands with the Harvest of Gold Parade. The parade kicks off at 12 p.m. from New Albany High School, marches down Vincennes Street, takes a right on Spring Street and ends on Bank Street. You can have a front row seat to all the action along any street! The Harvest Homecoming Festival is also a proud supporter of Hope Southern Indiana, so please bring your canned goods to be collected during the parade.


Pumpkin Decorating Contest: 2 p.m., New Albany Farmers Market on corner of Bank and Market streets

This is Harvest Homecoming’s oldest event! Group- or individually-prepared pumpkins may be painted or decorated with any material. Craft entries may be ceramic, fiber or maché. No previous year craft entries accepted. There will be two Grand Champion Awards (one from the Individual category and one from the Group category) for the entry most closely related to this year’s theme, “Harvest of Gold.” All entrants receive participation award. This event is free. All pumpkins must be picked up and taken from event. Any leftover pumpkins will be thrown away.


Kids’ Dog Show: 5 p.m. registration; 5:30 p.m. start time, at New Albany Amphitheater

Open to kids ages 3-13 years old. Dogs must be at least six months old, have all shots and be on a leash or contained. Awards for Best Costume, Best Trick, A Face Only A Mother Could Love, Best Groomed, Best Overall and Most Interesting Pet (this can be any legal, domestic animal; same vaccination and leash/containment rules apply). Entrants can enter maximum of three categories.


Pumpkin Chunking Competition: 6 p.m., Purdue Polytechnic New Albany, 3000 Technology Ave.

Watch teams of all ages fire pumpkins from a gravity-powered trebuchet in this high-flying competition. Awards for accuracy, originality and efficiency will be presented. 


Senior Bingo: 2:30 p.m., Providence Diversicare Transitional Community, 4915 Charlestown Road

BINGO games for the Senior Living Community of Providence Retirement Home. Prizes awarded to winners. Refreshment will be served and lots of fun will be had by all. 


Craft & Food Booth Days Begin: Booths are open 12 to 9 p.m. Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 14 and 12 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 on Market, Pearl and Bank streets.


Harvest Homecoming Business Luncheon: Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Sounds Unlimited Productions Party Tent on the New Albany Riverfront

The show will immediately follow lunch and feature a “Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock & Roll” theme. 


Harvest Homecoming Care & Bike Show: Registration 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; awards at 3:30 p.m., New Albany Riverfront

Admission for entrants is $15. Open to any type of stock, classic, show or race car, antique vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, any model any year. Please enter at West 10th and Main Street and proceed toward the large Yellow Pavilion. DJ Service by Terry Langford. Dash Plaques for first 200 Entries; $100 given away every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 


Closing Ceremonies: 4:15 p.m. at the Harvest Homecoming MainSource Stage, State and Market streets

It’s saying goodbye. Head to the Harvest Homecoming Stage for Closing Ceremonies, prizes drawings, awards and announcements. 


Fiesta Rides open at 1 p.m. at end of Pearl St. and will have daily hours through Oct. 15.

Harvest Homecoming MainSource Stage is located at State and Market Streets and features entertainment Oct. 12 through Oct, 15

Check www.harvesthomecoming.com for complete hours. 

Harvest Homecoming Festival 2017 

Oct. 7-15 in New Albany


Harvest Homecoming Mission Statement 

Harvest Homecoming is a group of volunteers dedicated to providing a family-oriented festival. It unites the community in a spirit of fellowship and is committed to continuous improvement.

Harvest Homecoming Office 

431 Pearl St. New Albany

Open 12 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday




Business Spotlight | German American’s Clay W. Ewing Elected 2018 Chairman of Indiana Bankers Association


Clay W. Ewing, German American Bancorp Inc., Jasper, accepts the Indiana Bankers Association leadership gavel for 2018 from Annette M. Russell, Security Federal Savings Bank, Logansport, at the 2017 IBA Annual Convention.

German American’s Clay W. Ewing Elected 2018 Chairman of Indiana Bankers Association

Clay W. Ewing, president, chief banking officer and secretary to the board of directors of German American Bancorp Inc., Jasper, has been elected 2018 chairman of the board of directors of the Indiana Bankers Association (IBA). He currently serves the IBA as first vice chairman and was elected to his new position at the Association’s annual business meeting on Sept. 11 in French Lick.

Ewing has more than 35 years of banking experience, and he joined German American in 1994 as president and CEO of a subsidiary bank of the company. Active in regional economic development, he currently serves as chairman of the Perry County Development Corp. and as a board member of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, in addition to service on various other civic and community boards. A past southwest region director of the IBA, Ewing is a graduate of Lockyear College and of The School for Bank Administration at the University of Wisconsin.