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.

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


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.