Tag : business

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Erik & Rebecca Johnson

By: Noelle Beans

Erik & Rebecca Johnson

Erik and Rebecca Johnson both attended Indiana Wesleyan University and played for IWU’s men and women’s soccer teams. Rebecca graduated in 2010 with a degree in Exercise Science, and Erik graduated the following year with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Finance. They both emphasized that their times at IWU were special for many reasons, but especially because they met each other.

Soccer was a big draw for both Erik and Rebecca as they committed to Indiana Wesleyan for participation in the program. Through their athletics and other student life, they both made their closest friends, which they are still friends with to this day. Erik and Rebecca met each other during pre-season of his freshman year and her sophomore. Rebecca said of her time with Erik, “We spent lots of long evenings together as I worked the Lodges front desk and he ‘did his homework.’”

Spiritual growth was also a major part of their story at IWU. For Rebecca, she hadn’t really been extremely involved in Bible studies or youth group before coming to college, so she soaked in all the opportunities at school, from devotions with her coach to Summits every semester to godly roommates – all these things had a huge impact on her walk with the Lord. For Erik, college was finally a time he could drift in order to find himself and make his faith his own. Like Rebecca, he had many spiritual influences that were pivotal in creating a culture at IWU where he could pursue Christ more.

Now, Erik is the Principal and Cereal Entrepreneur at J2 Marketing – the business plan of which he had the privilege to write during his entrepreneurship classes at IWU. J2 is a leading branding agency in Northern Indiana employing about a dozen “passionate, creative geniuses.” Erik also owns a custom gun holster manufacturing company called Click Holsters, as well as has equity stakes in other ventures.

He attributes his education from IWU as a significant part of what has prepared him for where he is today in his career. Erik said, “I don’t think any school, simply through classes, can fully prepare someone for a successful career after school. IWU had many opportunities to participate in activities outside the classroom.” These opportunities included work with the American Marketing Association, Students in Free Enterprise, Business as Missions and other opportunities to collaborate with students outside the classroom. To lay the foundation of his faith and the foundation of the businesses he is a part of, Erik looks to James 1:17 that reads, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.”

Erik, Rebecca, and their son, Lincoln

Rebecca feels blessed to spend most of her time raising their 2-year old son, Lincoln, as she knows she is “raising the next generation of world changers.” Although it doesn’t always feel this way to her, Rebecca knows she has one of the greatest and most important jobs on the planet as a mom. Rebecca said, “The decisions I make for our family every day and the values I teach our son are all found and founded in the truth of God’s Word.”

In addition to childcare, Rebecca helps run some of the business. She believes her spiritual life gives her the work ethic and perseverance to make it through the not-so-fun parts of being a business owner. She also works on the board of an adoption and fostering ministry non-profit named Village to Village Intl. Two trips to India during Rebecca’s time at IWU opened her worldview and gave her a love for travel and a heart for all things adoption.

Erik, likewise, has a love for travel, and he and Rebecca have taken several trips abroad as well as stateside – some with their son, Lincoln. In Crete, they loved cliff jumping, though Rebecca joked it may have taken her 30 minutes to actually jump.

Rebecca encouraged IWU students to enjoy their time at IWU, because it goes by faster than imaginable. “Make as many friends as you can. Take the opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow in your relationship with Christ,” she said. From a business standpoint, Erik tells students to get involved beyond the classroom within their area of study. As an employer, he looks for graduates who go beyond their school education to learn new perspectives and get experience in their field to set themselves apart from their classmates. Erik failed his English class the first time he took it. He said, “Just because you fail at some things, doesn’t mean you can’t excel in something you truly enjoy.”

 

 

Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the Alumni Center. Noelle is a freshman Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College.

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Attorney & Activist Aaron Greenwalt

By: Dezaray Barr

Aaron Greenwalt

Aaron Greenwalt graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science. Greenwalt felt led to attend IWU, and he said, “I appreciated the emphasis on developing a Biblical worldview that was woven throughout IWU’s curriculum.”

Greenwalt particularly enjoyed his junior and senior years as a student at IWU, because he became active in student government and other extracurricular opportunities. “I’m grateful that I developed several life-long friendships [during this time,]” he shared.

IWU’s spiritual environment also had a strong impact on Greenwalt’s life. While a student at IWU, his faith moved from something that was abstract to something that he made concrete and finally considered his own.

Now, Greenwalt and his father own Greenwalt Development Corporation, which focuses on commercial and industrial real estate development. He is an attorney, but does not do outside legal work. Greenwalt shared, “I focus on internal legal items regarding our development company. For example, I help prepare purchase agreements, leases, listing agreements and items related to closing real estate transactions.”

Greenwalt said, “The College of Arts and Sciences at IWU provided a solid foundation for law school at Liberty University. With my B.S. from IWU and my J.D. from Liberty, I have a unique skill set and understanding of the business community.” Outside of this unique mindset, Greenwalt also uses his Biblical worldview to impact how he and his father operate their business.

Greenwalt enjoys international travel, kayaking and riding his motorcycle. He volunteers with Kids Around the World, building playgrounds in underdeveloped areas in the world, reaching children for Christ. He is currently the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the IWU Alumni Association. He’s also the Vice President of Greenfield’s Rotary Club and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Love Inc. of Greater Hancock County. He’s also a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the USA. Greenwalt is a member of Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church in Greenfield, Indiana.

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Thresette Briggs & Stephen Nelson

By: Dezaray Barr

Briggs and her husband

Briggs and her husband

Thresette Briggs graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1999 with a Master of Business Administration. “My time at IWU was a real Godsend. I feel it was another demonstration of how well God knows what we need, and when,” Briggs explained. “At first, I hesitated to attend graduate school, but after much prayer I knew that if I didn’t do it then, I never would. Because I was traveling and working 12 plus hour days at the time in a very high stress position, the accelerated program for adult students was extremely attractive to me.”

Briggs is now the owner of Performance 3, LLC (P3), a leadership and professional development firm that helps leaders and organizations achieve high-performance with integrated coaching, speaking and training services.

“I launched P3 in 2010 after spending 20 plus years in corporate America in global HR and organizational development leadership roles. While my company primarily provides services to leaders in small business, nonprofit, and higher education, we have collaborated with leaders in multiple industries, and I get to work with some great clients,” Briggs said. “After being in corporate America for as long as I was, God was calling me to do things differently. After getting enough courage to launch my own business, I wanted to focus on how I could use my spiritual gifts and professional strengths, as well as multiple business certifications including being a certified member of The John Maxwell Team of coaches, speakers and trainers – to help leaders and organizations achieve high-performance by breaking down barriers to be able to do what they thought was impossible.”

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Briggs receiving her qualification from The John Maxwell Team

Briggs is also an Adjunct Professor in the DeVoe School of Business for HR and business-related courses. “After 2 years of teaching at IWU, I was called to teach Sunday School,” Briggs explained. “Through my former church, I had the opportunity to attend courses at Crossroads Bible College, then I began teaching adults. I now teach in the Women’s Ministry at my church and sing on the Praise Team.”

Because of Briggs’ line of work, there is not always room for discussions about faith and religion. “My time at IWU gave me additional confidence and allows me to be the authentic Christian business owner and leader I was meant to be. People know that’s who I am. If a client wants to have conversations about their faith or discuss ways to Biblically address an issue, I actively engage with them. They even seek me out for these conversations!” Briggs shared.

Briggs wants IWU students to remember that their time in school will go by faster than they think. “Enjoy it, and don’t be so focused on graduating that you forget to be present during the daily moments, Briggs said. “Value and nurture the relationships you’re developing, and remember that they can be some of the best friends, colleagues or even potential employers you’ll ever meet.”

Briggs is married to her incredible husband, and they have three children and four grandchildren.

 

Stephen Nelson, the Associate Director of Multi-ethnic Recruitment at Indiana Wesleyan University for the adult program, was born on the beautiful island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean and lived in Antigua and Jamaica. “I was born into culture and grew up in culture for the first ten years of my life. This greatly influenced my life in what I am doing today at IWU,” he said.

Nelson’s primary objective is to develop trust, friendships and relationships, which develop into partnerships with individuals or Community Groups within the greater Indianapolis area.

“Higher Education is a key to help make our community a better place to live in and for our children to grow up in,” Nelson said. “It is my desire to help make the greater Indianapolis a better place to live through higher education.”

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU, Dezaray runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Lathan Fritz

By: Emily Lehner

Lathan Fritz chose Indiana Wesleyan over two other schools. Indiana Wesleyan was a place of family (Fritz had an older cousin that attended IWU) and a place of educational opportunity. The business program drew him near and cultivated his interest in IWU. Fritz said, “I thought the facilities at IWU were awesome, and after visiting other schools, the environment I clicked most with was Indiana Wesleyan.”

Fritz began his college journey in the fall of 2006, graduating in three years. During his time there, he prospered under IWU’s dedicated and compassionate professors. “I have to say that the professors were probably the best part of my time at Indiana Wesleyan, besides the life-long friends that I met,” Fritz said. He built relationships with professors like Dr. Rojas and Wilbur Williams, and these relationships allowed Fritz to prosper in college, teaching him key communication skills.

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Lathan & Haley Fritz Photo obtained from Facebook

Not only was college a time for Fritz to meet professors and friends, but it was a place for Fritz to meet his future wife, who is now Haley Fritz. At IWU, Fritz also ran track and field for a year, but then decided to pursue leadership in Residence Life, specifically in Scripture Hall. Along with the business program at IWU, Fritz’s leadership in Scripture Hall influenced his post-college career greatly. These moments with his peers allowed him to grow spiritually as well.

Originally, Fritz’s goal was to attend law school after his time at IWU, so he decided to graduate in three years to save money for law school. He said, “I took some extra courses, CLEP’ed out of things and tried to focus on being involved in my dorm life and my studies.”

After graduation, Fritz attended Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

The leader characteristics that Fritz gained and developed during his time at IWU paid off, as now he has two businesses of his own. He owns a medical digital marketing company, which he said is small, but employs 12 full-time employees. Check out more about Millennial Tech Services here.

Fritz also owns a currency trading and siding company called Faux Direct. Fritz’s exemplary leadership in the classroom and dorm life at IWU transitioned into a highly successful business career, and he stated, “I am sort of an entrepreneur on decaf.”

Fritz enjoyed his time at IWU so much that he stated, “Whenever my children get to the age of looking for college, I will probably recommend IWU over and over.”

 

 

Written by Emily Lehner, writer for the Alumni Center and a junior Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.

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The Refinery: Innovative Business Comes to Marion

Our own town of Marion, Indiana has brought a new and innovative business to the community to support independent professionals.

Indiana Wesleyan University partnered with Launch Fishers to open The Refinery Business Center on Thursday, September 24. The Refinery is a dynamic, affordable work environment for entrepreneurs, non-profits, remote workers, small businesses, contractors, start-ups, students and more.

The Refinery will be a great addition to the thriving entrepreneurial culture in central Indiana. It will offer co-working desks, conference rooms, private offices, Wi-Fi, a café area, patio seating and other professional office amenities for members and guests. The business is called The Refinery because is a place where people can develop and refine their ideas.

Alexis Dierker

Alexis Dierker

Alexis Dierker, a 2015 alum, is the Director of Community Relations. She cannot wait to support and encourage the creative and empowering environment of The Refinery and the brilliant minds there. “It’s important to me because, as a very recent graduate, I have heard a lot of people who like the idea of staying around Marion but they feel like they don’t have any opportunities, so they go other places,” she said.

Dierker has a passion for the business because she herself is an entrepreneur. She graduated with a photography degree and has been developing her own brand. “I identify a lot with what The Refinery is doing. I see the vision,” she said. “There were probably so many people who were more qualified for this position than me, but my boss could tell we wanted to pursue the same needs in the community.”

IMG_8540The Refinery has already given people so many opportunities to meet new faces and connect with those around the area. “One reason I felt driven to stay around Marion was because I wanted to get to know more of the community that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet before… Through this, I have gotten to know so many incredible people,” Dierker said.

Dierker is not the only young professional excited to be making connections through The Refinery. Lauran Burchell, a senior at IWU, is currently working as one of two interns. She serves as the Marketing and Member Services Coordinator. Burchell is studying Business Administration and Management, and she is excited to be a part of the growth of The Refinery and to use the skills she has learned in her experiences to encourage innovative development right in her hometown.

“I have already networked and met so many people that I never thought I would meet while in college,” Burchell said. “Many professionals from Indianapolis have already discussed my future with me and connected with me.”

The Refinery ribbon cutting on September, 24, 2015.

The Refinery ribbon cutting on September, 24, 2015.

Like Dierker, Burchell knows that this experience is shaping a way for her future. She chose to work at The Refinery instead of Launch Fishers because she desired to be a part of something new. “Not very many people can say they were actually part of a start up. I’m getting so much experience, and even though I’m not an entrepreneur starting my own business, I was part of one and I learned from it,” she said.

The Refinery welcomes visitors and is located at 2301 S. Western Ave. You can learn more about The Refinery at www.therefinerycenter.com.

 

Written by Kelly Reed. Kelly is a senior Strategic Communications major with a focus in Public Relations. She is the President of IWU PRSSA and hopes to work as a communications director of a nonprofit organization after graduation.