@530 on Main Podcast Guests
Our incredible podcast guests have contributed a lot of insight into digital and physical experiences. Learn more about the unique voices we have welcomed to the podcast studio.
The Necessity of Sharing Experiences
Chairman at Mayor’s Latino Advisory Board
Abraham is passionate about Community Integration. From the moment he moved to the Tri-State area, Abraham has worked to help the local Latino community and bring mutual respect and understanding. He is also the Director of Latino Ministry at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, the Founder at Latino and American Center, Editor-in-chief of El Infomador Latino, and the Owner at La Campirana.
Learning From Challenging Times
Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus
Daniela Vidal began her tenure as Chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus on March 16, 2020. She came to Ivy Tech from the position of vice president of operations at Vidal Plastics.
Prior to her work at Vidal Plastics, Daniela served for more than 10 years in a variety of roles at the University of Southern Indiana. Her last role was as director of Opportunity Development, which housed the Center for Applied Research, Eagle Innovations Accelerator and Tech Commercialization, Resource Development, USI @ Innovation Pointe and the I-69 Innovation Corridor initiative.
More about Daniela
Previously, she was coordinator of the Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Supervision degree programs and Engineering instructor, at USI. Vidal has also served as a consultant and trainer in the fields of operational excellence, new product introduction and leadership.
She has also served in a variety of roles at Procter & Gamble Latin America, Mead Johnson, GE Plastics and Berry Plastics. She holds a chemical engineering degree from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela, and a Master of Business Administration from USI.
Vidal is active in the community serving on several boards including the YMCA of Southwest Indiana, Reitz Memorial High School, The International Center, Talent 2025 Education track Advisory Board, the Southwest Indiana Chamber and the Regional Economic Development coalition. Most notably, she is a founding member and past president of HOLA. She has been involved in advocacy for the Latino community since 2001 and has taken that passion to both the local and state level.
She has been recognized for her leadership and community involvement through such honors as being named an JLA’s Top 20 Women in Business, Athena Award finalist, Leadership Evansville award, Top Five Most Influential Women in Evansville, Sydney Berger Community Award, and YWCA 100 Years 100 Women.
In addition to cultural awareness and advancing the Latino community, Vidal is also very passionate about economic and workforce development in our region. A few of the projects Vidal has been involved in include:
- Growth Alliance Innovation & Entrepreneurship Committee Chair
- Rural Indiana Technology Commercialization Initiative (RITCI)
- Led region in application for Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative
- I-69 Innovation Corridor leadership team and steering committee; this included the Brainpower and Innovation & Entrepreneurship task forces.
“I am committed to fully leveraging my experience, cultural background and passion to make Ivy Tech a beacon of hope for our community.” – Daniela Vidal
Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Evansville
A Chicago native, Ron Ryan moved to the area 21 years ago. With a vivid background in education and coaching, Ron has a true passion for our community’s youth. Combined, Ron has over 35 years’ experience in coaching, coordinating, directing and managing students and various personnel. His education includes University of Illinois at Chicago (Bachelor of Science in Kinesoliogy), Chicago State University (Master of Science in Physical Education), St. Xavier University and Governor’s State University where he received his Masters of Arts in Educational Administration.
Ron is very active in the community having served on the United Way Planning Committee, served as United Way Agency Directors Chair, is a member on the Evansville Sports Corporation Board and serves on the Board of the Indiana Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Southern. Ron is also a former two-year United Way Board Member, a 2013 recipient of the Indiana Outstanding Club Professional Award designated by the Boys & Girls Club of America and the 2018 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Midwest Region Horizon Award winner.
Connectivity & Community Experiences
Lorie Ann Van Hook
Executive Director, Evansville Trails Coalition
Lorie serves as the Executive Director for the Evansville Trails Coalition (ETC) in Evansville, Indiana and describes herself first as an advocate and life-long volunteer. Her passion for our community is communicated through her personal and professional advocacy work. Through partnership and collaboration, Lorie promotes ETC’s mission to connect people and places, to promote active lifestyles and to advocate for the development of multi-use trails. She does this by serving to bridge the gap between community members and our municipal offices and through the positive initiatives that bring focus to the importance of a connected trails network system in and throughout our city.
More about Lorie
As an only child born in Evansville, Lorie had the opportunity to live in many places such as Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, New York and Puerto Rico, where she spent much of her time in the summer with her mother, hiking and volunteering to pick up litter within parks. This experience gave Lorie the opportunity to learn about other community cultures and exposed her to wonderful city infrastructure amenities. Lorie returned to Evansville as a young woman and met her husband James and raised her three children here. Lorie is a proud University of Evansville, Double-Ace, with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Science in Public Service Administration.
Lorie’s background in higher education administration provided many opportunities to build relationships with students that shared their desire to see alternative methods of moving around developed in Evansville. This fortified her personal passion to improve Evansville and to get involved at the local level, leading to a volunteer position serving as the Co-Chair of the Environmental, Conservation and Trails Committee with the Westside Improvement Association.
Seeking to improve the quality of life for everyone in the Evansville area, Lorie’s goal is to grow the coalition of trailblazers in Evansville and to help build awareness and support of the Evansville area trails network system. This includes our bicycle and pedestrian routes for the benefit of our young, old, and community members with disabilities. Providing a means for active transportation for all community members is vital to our overall quality of life and improves our health, and overall wellness. Trails can support the people who live in our neighborhoods, have a positive impact on economic growth, and impact how we use our greenspace as an alternative transportation option—improving our sense of community culture within the region.
Lorie loves hiking, biking, and kayaking and spending time with her family. She has dedicated much of her personal time serving local, state and national nonprofit improvement and trails organizations, such as the Westside Improvement Association, The Friends of Woodmere Dog Park, Urban Seeds, The Greenways Foundation of Indiana, and The American Discovery Trail. Volunteering has been a part of Lorie’s life since childhood and she encourages others to find a way to make a difference in their communities through volunteering.
Building Positive Community Experiences
Development Director, Evansville Zoological Society and Evansville’s Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
Jennifer Evans is currently the Development Director for the Evansville Zoological Society and Evansville’s Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Evans has over 22 years leading community-based projects for non-profits, city, state and federal programs. Prior to the zoo, she worked as the Alumni and Community Engagement Director for Leadership Evansville. Her career and civic involvement has produced a path of public service, community engagement, and activating initiatives, groups and individuals toward improving the quality of life in the Evansville, Indiana region. Recent results of Evans’ collaborative work includes the:
- Kinney Family Penguins of Patagonia…opening this summer!
- Mickey’s Kingdom Evansville Riverfront Playground
- Evansville Promise Zone Planning Team – Working to organize, plan and submit the federal application to HUD
- North Main Street Mural
- Jacobsville Neighborhood Quality of Life Plan and the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program
- Evansville Streets Alive!
- North Main Complete Street Project
- Young Leaders United Benefit Dodgeball Battle
The Youth First Experience
Joyful Fundraiser, Youth First, Inc.
Julie is an accomplished marketing and communications strategist who leads a growth-oriented development team at Youth First, an Indiana-based nonprofit committed to strengthening kids and families with mental health supports and coping skills.
- Lives in Evansville, IN; born in Houston, TX. Stops along the way have included CA, PA, KS & OH
- Happily married to Mike since 2017, raising their beautifully blended brood: Mitchell (19), Baylee (10), Bennett (8) & Brenna (3)
- Volunteers with Evansville Area Fundraising Council, Tri-State Texas A&M Club, Corpus Christi Booster Club
- Named 20 Under 40 Leader, Rotary Club of Evansville, 2020
- Graduated Cum Laude from Texas A&M University, BBA in Marketing, 2005
- Her life motto is “choose joy”; in her spare time she’s a runner, traveler, college hockey fan & joy enthusiast
- Career experience includes Anchor, FLANDERS, SWIN Chamber, and Ford Motor Co.
Improving Our Communities
Lynn Miller Pease
Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Everyone
Lynn has a passion for diversity, servant leadership, and the collaborative process. As Chief Executive Officer of Leadership Everyone, Inc., she develops servant leaders to transform communities with the support of her board of directors, staff, alumni, and volunteers. Lynn has more than 22 years of experience in facilitation, leadership development, civic engagement, and visioning for strategic action.
More about Lynn
Lynn’s ability to attract diverse stakeholders to this process—giving all people a voice—has led to more creative, sustainable solutions for community transformation.
For example, Lynn led Leadership Everyone, in partnership with Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, in the design and implementation of the Evansville VOICE community visioning process. The data gathered and visions captured from VOICE have been, and continue to be, used to plan long-term goals and direction for the entire Tri-state area. This has ensured that our citizens’ hopes and dreams for the community have real impact into the future. In 2019, VOICE expanded into a five-county area, using the process to create a shared vision for the entire region and leverage new and pooled resources to grow regional assets, employment, and development.
As the 2010 recipient of the Sydney and Sadelle Berger Community Service Award, Lynn was recognized as “a tireless community advocate who promotes fairness, inclusion and respect for all.” Lynn was also honored as the recipient of the 2011 ATHENA Award and named one of the Evansville YWCA’s “100 Women in 100 Years.”
In 2015, Lynn was recognized for her innovative community impact by both the Indiana Leadership Association and the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. Most recently, her community visioning efforts received the National Excellence in Innovation Award from the Association of Leadership Programs, (2017).
Owner, Matt Wagner Design
Matt Wagner is a designer and letterpress printer who has worked in the industry since 1995. He began my career at Krieger Ragsdale and Co, Inc. in the pre-press department and went on to co-found Semisans, Inc (a design firm) and Dyspepsidisc (a record label) with longtime friend and collaborator Aaron Tanner (Melodic Virtue). He is now operating Matt Wagner Design, a multi-disciplinary design studio where he continues to design for local and international companies and not-for-profit institutions. Matt has won numerous ADDY awards and had his work featured in many international design magazines, books, and traveling exhibitions. He is very active in the Evansville community where he serves on many committees. Matt serves as Vice President of the Evansville Design Group, is on the Ivy Tech Community College Visual Communications Advisory Committee, the Henderson County High School Career & Technical Education Advisory Committee, and mentors students whenever he can.
The Importance of Change and Strong Foundations
Process Improvement Manager, MetroNet
Jean Reising is a current resident of Mount Vernon where she lives with her husband, Brian, and step-son, Christopher. She graduated from New Harmony High and decided to stay in the area after graduation. Jean currently works in Evansville as a Process Improvement Manager for a high-speed internet company, MetroNet. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Evansville. She enjoys process improvement and project management, is currently a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, and will be completing her Black Belt certification by the end of May. Jean is also pursuing a PMP certification (Project Management Professional) and hopes to have that completed by December 2020.
In addition, Jean volunteers for Carver Community Organization where she serves on the Board of Directors. She is a current member of Leadership Everyone where she also serves on the Board of Directors. Jean is a member of Altrusa International. In addition, Jean has been leading a project to construct a garden in the front lawn of the CK Newsome Center for several years.
The Evolution of Air Travel Experience
Executive Director, Evansville Regional Airport
Nate Hahn, a proud graduate of Purdue University’s top-rated national aviation program and a native of Indiana, serves as the executive director at Evansville Regional Airport.
Nate started his aviation career in Midland, Texas in 2005, prior to joining Evansville Regional Airport as director of operations and maintenance in 2011. During Nate’s tenure as EVV’s ops director, he was recognized for his leadership in the airport’s runway relocation project, which was completed safely, under budget and one-year ahead of the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) deadline. Nate was a driving force in EVV’s terminal modernization project that concluded in December 2018. And, effective January 1, 2019, Nate assumed his current role as EVV’s executive director.
More about Nate
Passionate about community and regional economic development, Nate currently serves on the Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville Board of Directors and is an active board member at the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce, where he serves on various committees and was named “Young Professional of the Year” in 2018.
Nate has further served the region through his executive board leadership at TEDxEvansville and the Purdue Alumni Club of Evansville, as well as through his involvement in Leadership Evansville’s “VOICE” and as the Young Professionals’ conference chairperson.
Nate is a board member of Aviation Indiana. He also serves as Indiana’s state representative for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), where he holds a certified member accreditation.
Aside from work and serving his community, Nate attends Methodist Temple in Evansville, where he serves on the church council. He loves staying active – golf, hiking, biking, running and disc golf keep him outside during good weather. He is also an avid traveler and explorer of art and history. Nate resides in Evansville with his wife Sara, and their beloved dog Peyton.
Nate looks forward to continued regional partnerships that benefit not only the region’s largest commercial airport – EVV, but also the greater good of the entire tristate area.
Innovations in Technology
Director Business Development, Quarion Technology
Richard is an experienced business professional with over fifteen years in the corporate and commercial finance sector. He currently works for Quarion Technology where he leads sales and marketing efforts with fortune 500 prospects.
Richard is happily married to Amy Clements and has two children. He is a fifth-generation resident of Vanderburgh County, a chronic volunteer, history nerd, and outdoors enthusiast.
The Human Element and Technology
Founder, The Mike Thissen Group
Michael Thissen is the founder of the The Mike Thissen Group; a consulting firm focused on Talent, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Michael is an expert facilitator in collaboration to maximize potential in project development and implementation.
Michael brings 22+ years of experience in the private, public, and academic sectors and has developed a unique perspective/expertise with organizations such as the University of Southern Indiana (USI), Purdue University, The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), The State of Iowa’s Great Places Initiative, & Marriott International.
More about Mike
Michael has been an award-winning collaborator on teams to tackle large-scale ecosystems and has failed forward. Michael is certified as a public innovator by the Harwood Public Innovation Institute and has been a facilitator with entities such as The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, USI’s Center for Applied Research and Economic Development, and Purdue University’s Agile Strategy Lab. Michael’s work also has led to projects and advocacy in economic development, downtown revitalization, and historic preservation.
Michael has served on various boards of directors and trustees and has served as a commissioner on the Indiana Commission on Thriving Communities Thriving State led by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute. He lives in Vanderburgh County with his family and various domestic pets.
Executive Director/Founder, Keep Rolling Campaign
DeAndre Wilson is a Serial Entrepreneur, Culinary Curator, Small Business Owner, and Brand Builder. He strives to share new and exciting content from his brand and businesses that is relatable, engaging, and encouraging for young and future entrepreneurs. DeAndre lives by example to be a change agent by developing more inclusive, and accessible channels for entrepreneurs to get necessary resources, mentoring, and support for long-term success in his community.
More about DeAndre
Along with Chef Jeff, DeAndre is the co-founder and co-owner of Turn Table, LLC, a culinary experience company in Evansville, Indiana, that is regionally recognized for remixing and remastering recipes to create visually enticing cuisine with a distinctive flavor. DeAndre also created a fundraising platform, the Keep Rolling Campaign, to commemorate his father’s life and to help nonprofits and families battling cancer who are indeed of extra financial assistance. Currently, DeAndre is working on a documentary to tell his father’s story and the story of his own health transformation from rolling the 230-pound tracker tire around the City of Evansville. Since launching the Keep Rolling Campaign, DeAndre has transformed mentally and physically, losing over 50 pounds, setting an example as a pillar of health and as a personal fitness trainer at ChamFit. With Merrick Korach, DeAndre’s most recent endeavor and community collaboration is the Bedford Collab Project in the Tepe Park Neighborhood that will work to gather members of the community through culture, cuisine, and conversation.
Experience is a Feeling
Lead Event Coordinator, City Social Events
Leslie Eades owns and operates City Social Events, a craft and heart-driven company that creates and logistically executes event experiences in the community. Leslie is a born and raised Evansvillian who attended the University of Southern Indiana for her undergrad, the University of Evansville for graduate work and started City Social in 2016. Through her personal and professional life, she strives to influence those around her to create an environment where we can love ourselves and utilize our strengths to better the world around us, together. She is a creative dreamer at heart who seeks out challenges as opportunities and while she’s not at the office or an event, you can find her rock climbing, running, obstacle course racing, bear crawling, and in general training for “life”.
What it means to be a Servant Leader
Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Shoe Carnival, Inc.
Sean M. Georges, J.D., LL.M., currently serves as In-House Counsel, Secretary to the Board of Directors, and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Shoe Carnival, Inc., a publicly traded national retailer with over 390 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico, headquartered in Evansville, Indiana.
In 1983, Sean graduated with Distinction (English Honors) from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, where he served as the Vice-Chair of the Brigade Honor Committee. Sean accepted a Commission as a Marine Corps Officer, and while on Active Duty with the Marines, was one of ten Marine Officers selected to attend Law School under the Funded Law Education Program. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1989 from the University of Illinois College of Law, and in 1993 earned a Master of Laws degree from The Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army at the University of Virginia.
More about Sean
During his 13 years on Active Duty as a Marine Corps Officer, Sean served in numerous positions of responsibility with units from North Carolina to Okinawa. As a Marine Judge Advocate, he served as Senior Trial Counsel and Senior Defense Counsel, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, and as Senior Judge Advocate for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in the Western Pacific.
Prior to joining Shoe Carnival in 1999, Sean worked as a senior litigation associate at law firms in Evansville, Indiana, with a focus on business, employment, and labor law. He is admitted to practice in courts in Indiana, Illinois, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Sean is a frequent speaker on leadership, employment law, and human resources issues, and serves on non-profit boards in the local community. He is now completing a book on servant leadership and the leadership development journey with his co-author, Dr. John Buford, Ph.D.
Improving the Downtown Evansville Experience
President, Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District (EID)
Josh Armstrong is the President of the Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District (EID). The EID is the largest such business improvement district in Indiana, containing 454 parcels in 110 city blocks. The EID contains three of Evansville’s five largest private employers; annual EID assessments range from $.42 to $63,000.
He also founded and serves as a consultant to the newly-formed Downtown Evansville Community Development Corporation (CDC). The CDC was formed to accelerate real estate development in the Downtown area through acquisition, financing, managing, or other activities of distressed or troubled properties.
More about Josh
Prior to the EID & CDC, Armstrong directed the Southwest Indiana Chamber’s Downtown Alliance, providing business and developer support, creating events, and managing the 2016 Downtown Evansville Master Plan Update Process. Previously, he owned two restaurants in Evansville after having served as a general manager of several Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Los Angeles. He feels his work is guided by a belief that people live their best lives in urban areas allowing a high degree of daily interaction with their fellows, and that his role is to serve the broader region’s growth through precise efforts in Downtown and other urban neighborhoods.
The Downtown Evansville resident is a native of Pasadena, California, and a graduate of UCLA. He has lived in Evansville since 2005. He currently serves as Chair of the Arts Council of Southwest Indiana.
MBA, CPCC, ACC
Born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Amelia received her undergraduate degree from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. From there, she began her career in Louisville, Kentucky where she founded, Socialite Media LLC, a digital marketing firm with a Southern flare—polite and tenacious. During this time, Amelia received her MBA from Bellarmine University.
A week after marrying her husband, Phillip, the couple decided to move to Evansville, Indiana so that Phillip could pursue the career opportunity of a lifetime. It was during this bumpy life transition that Amelia began working with a life coach to reignite her career passion.
More about Amelia
The world of coaching not only perfectly aligned with Amelia’s strengths and values, but it also offered her a more appropriate outlet for her true passion: helping people learn and grow.
Amelia received her coaching training and certification from The Co-Active Training Institute and is an ICF-credential holder.
Amelia is also a Registered Yoga Teacher, and enjoys broadening her cultural horizons through travel, food, reading, podcasts, and the arts.
Experiences that Promote Healing
UX and Visual Designer
Tara Blessinger is a passionate visual designer with a background in healthcare, corporate and news media platforms. She is a visual storyteller driven by a need to understand and influence her audience.
She utilizes abstract and strategic thought, but remains grounded in concrete details. She sees how technology has revolutionized the way people learn and communicate and is passionate about creating visual designs that bring comfort and a welcomed distraction during trying moments in what can sometimes be a sterile environment.
She recognizes relationships between ideas and reality, and forms a method for improving the connections between a person and their experience.
Tara has over 20 years of design experience and has designed for Sony, Mobil Oil, US News & World Report, OneMain, various regional hospitals, Evansville Regional Airport, Koch Family Children’s Museum and Indiana Cardinal.
The Transformation of User Experience
SCADpro Senior Instructor and Design Team Oversight, Savannah College of Art & Design
David’s journey from private sector to arts education has allowed him to be on the forefront of how User Experience Strategy, Design Thinking, and User-Interface Design translate from the boardroom to the classroom. David has built, launched, and taught complete undergraduate and graduate-level programs that combine the most state-of-the-art applications of interactive, gaming, and traditional media. The success of the flagship programs—the Interactive Design (MFA) and User Experience program (Bachelor’s) at Savannah College of Art and Design—led to an opportunity to author a complete Interactive Design and UX curriculum for an online Master of Arts Degree Program at Lindsey Wilson College.
David brings to the classroom more than 30 years of experience improving brand positions and user-experiences for various Fortune 500 companies, healthcare systems, entertainment icons, and higher education/nonprofit organizations. As the owner of an award-winning website design/development company, he has a unique perspective that has allowed him to develop the curriculum for these programs with current technology and real industry issues in mind that leverage both theory and practice.
The Evolution of Commercial Construction
Vice President, Lensing Building Specialties
Matt Theby is Vice President at Lensing Building Special1es. He is responsible for the Architectural Sales division of Lensing, which is comprised of the Company’s commercially focused business units. Prior to joining Lensing in 2009, Matt was Assistant Vice President, Corporate Banking for PNC Bank in Indianapolis, IN. Matt serves the community in a variety of ways, including as Chair-Elect of the United Way of Southwestern Indiana Board, Director – Easterseals Rehabilita1on Center Board, and a member of the Habitat for Humanity Transforming Lives Transforming Neighborhoods campaign, as well as coaching youth sports.
Matt earned a B.A. in Economics from Denison University and an MBA with a concentra1on in Finance from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis. Matt and his wife enjoy the hectic pace of raising their four children and are proud to call Evansville home.
Guitar Design & Experiences
Luthier/Owner, Harper Guitars
Jacob Harper (Luthier, designer, musician) founded Harper Guitars in 2013. Jacob took his part-time job of building guitars (2006 to 2013) to the next level by nailing down several distinctive and eye-catching design elements, including signature shapes, scroll, and keystone 3D headstocks.
“I want to create instruments that are sonically superior, extremely comfortable, easy to maintain and become an extension of the artist wielding them, allowing the artist to concentrate on composing and performing.” – Jacob Harper
Converging the Old and the New
Executive Director, American Institute of Architects – Indiana Chapter (AIA Indiana)
Jason Shelley, Hon. AIA currently serves as the American Institute of Architects – Indiana Chapter (AIA Indiana) Executive Director. Born and raised in historic downtown Madison, IN, he received his BS degree in Political Science from Indiana University. Prior to working for AIA Indiana, Jason held various posi8ons including State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Indiana, the largest small-business advocacy organization in the state, Life, and Health Issues Director at the Insurance Institute of Indiana, and Senior Legislative Assistant at the Indiana House of Representatives. Jason has been a registered lobbyist in Indiana since 1997. In his spare time, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, and attending concerts and auto races.
Be a Podcast Guest
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