Have you read the book “Good to Great” by James Collins? I find myself re-reading the context and my scribbles within the pages on a regular occasion. The highlighted notations remind me that great is hard. Passion is what fuels my will for greatness, but even passion can be tested.
When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered. --James Collins.
As advocates for the West Central Indiana region and specific clients that range across different sectors, we’re positively faced with people who are striving to live meaningful lives. The people we work with have passion for greatness. Although they have different needs, the bottom line is they want to be great. So, we’re asked to help move the needle. It is within those conversations we have to determine how far they are willing to go and how hard are they willing to push. Remember, great is hard. I also believe it is “great” that keeps us standing through a storm – like the most recent layoff announcement from Sony. The diversity of our greatness makes the storm less daunting.
Kristi Cundiff, CEO of the newly formed nonprofit, Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents (IFAAP), serves as an advocate liaison for over 6,000 foster and adoptive families in Indiana. Recently, she was invited by Governor Eric Holcomb to serve as a voice for Region 8 of the Department of Child Services. She has testified in support of SB233 (authored by Senator Jon Ford), which would create a Foster Parent Bill of Rights, giving foster and adoptive parents a voice. This bill passed out of Senate. On February 14, it also passed to the floor on the House side 10-0. Kristi and her team of over 6,000 families are making a difference in West Central Indiana.
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce announced their launch of three important task forces that will advance our region’s advocacy efforts at both state and national levels. 1) Their work to build a team around expanding the federal penitentiary has obvious, positive ramifications like building new infrastructure, creating more federal jobs, and increasing the overall census of Vigo County. 2) They’ve launched a Defense Development Coalition to aggressively pursue development opportunities (in partnership with the state’s Defense Development Director, Danielle Chrysler) around the defense sector, including opportunities to grow our 181st Intelligence Wing and the 81st Troop Command. 3) Understanding the need to form collaborative partnerships, the Chamber is also working with other Chambers in the six-county region (Vigo, Clay, Putnam, Vermillion, Parke, Sullivan) to form West Central IN 2025, meant to develop an asset inventory and find collaborative points of interest for quality of life programs and economic stimulus.
Harsha Behavioral Center is hosting the West Central Indiana Drug Symposium on Friday, March 16, and it’s free and open to the public. The event will be held at Ivy Tech Community College located on South US HWY 41. Seeing the real effects of the opioid crisis consuming families in West Central Indiana, owners Dr. Paras and Roopam Harshawat wanted to partner with local leaders to advance the dialogue and start working on meaningful solutions together. Roopam stated, “Localizing the problem might help us understand the tools we all bring to the table to start fixing the rooted issues in our communities.” You can register for the symposium here.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College opened a new health clinic, in partnership with Union Health Network, to serve its students, faculty, staff, and Sisters of Providence. Soon they will be serving the community of West Terre Haute, offering a more accessible option for health care. This vision was developed by President Dottie King through their strategic planning process in 2014-15 and is now coming to fruition. The ribbon cutting for the clinic is scheduled for Friday, February 16, at 10 a.m. It is located on the west side of Rooney Library.
The owners of the Meadows have a new vision for the retail space. After purchasing the property, they began immediately reaching out to nonprofits, offering their available spaces for community events at no cost. In addition, they’re taking on a new approach for occupying the retail center. Their vision is a retail and community center that draws everything/everyone from mall walkers, to special events, to shoppers, to small business and nonprofit affordable leases. We’re excited to say there’s more at the Meadows. The hustle and bustle of the holiday spirit will soon fill the halls and make a more vibrant destination for Terre Haute’s east side. More coming soon.
TransCare recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Russell Ferrell started this company independently, from the ground. In 1992, TransCare began as a one-van operation in wheelchair transport with Russ behind the wheel. Always a visionary in technological advances that would ensure the best use of time in those precious moments, Russ had a cell phone in a time when they were cutting-edge technology so that he could be as efficient as possible in transporting patients. Fast forward to today, where Russ operates a full-fleet ambulance service with a dispatching unit using GPS and internet call technology.
Thanks to Senator Ford, the Vigo County Food and Beverage tax has made its way to the House (Ways and Means Committee). Members of Vigo County community leadership worked together by writing letters of support and testifying in front of the Tax and Fiscal Committee. We appreciate the trust of the Vigo County Commissioners to advocate on behalf of this important initiative to bring tourism development to West Central Indiana. The RJL Solutions team will be working with house members, Representatives Heaton, Morrison, Kersey, and Baird to keep the bill moving forward.
Let’s not forget announcements this past week made by Tredegar and Allura. Tredegar is expanding, and Allura is reopening its Terre Haute plant. Thanks to the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation for advancing their efforts.
People often ask me why I opened up my company in downtown Terre Haute and drive to Indianapolis multiple times a week. My first answer was easy, “because I love my community/region.” Cliché answer, right? I wanted to see West Central Indiana pushing for more, expecting more, and offering more. After some reflection over the last few months working with our various clients and leaders across the state and nation, I’m encouraged by people wanting greatness. It is no surprise to anyone reading this we often get in our own way. I see a difference in people – those who strive for meaningful lives are achieving greatness. A witness for Collins’ writings. Those who are striving for something which seems less meaningful are achieving goodness. They’re not bad, they’re just not great. The best fireworks come from doers who are great, living meaningful lives.
We are proud to call our clients friends. We consider you partners in all we do. We strive to help you achieve “great.”
It’s that time of year for thanksgiving and time with family and friends. As I reflect on the last six months of the opening of RJL Solutions I’m filled with many emotions mostly centered on gratitude. Since July, I’ve hired two new team members, Betsy Peperak and Jenn Kersey, and have the privilege to work alongside many amazing clients who are leaders in their industries and communities. There is no shortage for celebration. So, I find myself celebrating each of you.
This past weekend RJL Solutions had the opportunity to assist Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) with implementing the Second Annual Light Your Way Parade in collaboration with Miracle on 7th Street. Watching SMWC students Karah Ellis and Maddie Stuck lead the parade route with over 10,000 people in attendance was a sight to witness. Certainly I felt pride for each of them. Another example was watching Rose-Hulman students assemble hundreds of bikes for the Bikes for Tikes program. Bikes were then delivered to organizations across the region for children in need of a bicycle for transportation and recreational purposes. However, it made me think. How many other amazing programs could be implemented across West Central Indiana if we were to help nurture more students in servant and civic leadership roles? There are many examples of how college students can make a difference beyond any one of us, but why not more, many more?
Last week, Governor Eric Holcomb visited Terre Haute. He spoke to a large group of Chamber members followed by time with the Tribune Star’s editorial board. In both settings he talked about West Central Indiana’s biggest asset being the variety of educational institutions including ISU, Ivy Tech, SMWC, Rose-Hulman, Harrison College, and he even mentioned Vincennes and DePauw Universities. He stated, “I can’t think of another region across Indiana that has this same opportunity. The menu of options is incredible.” So, as a business community, how do we nurture these students in experiential ways and raise servant and civic leaders willing to change West Central Indiana? I think we can do better.
With that, RJL Solutions is excited to announce two new interns starting in January. Kathryn Shema from Indiana State University and Anna Madden from SMWC will be joining the team to work on a collaborative, community project which will be announced soon. We look forward to what these two students accomplish as they work closely with government and business leaders across West Central Indiana.
In the grieving period after the Las Vegas shooting, I find myself questioning several things, including my individual relevance. As a mother of two children, a wife, and a business owner, what impact do I have to offer that becomes relevant to my community, my state, and my nation? I have become a spectator, the nation has become a spectator, to a grieving city, which to them is their small town community. No different than how I might feel about Terre Haute, West Central Indiana, or my great state of Indiana. This incident has caused reflection on gun control, crowd safety, and much more. However, in a time of terror and healing, the small town of Las Vegas that we know as the city that never sleeps is breaking down barriers of distrust, building new hope, and recognizing their impact on the global message of love and kindness. Each person, organization, and cause associated with helping in the healing process is relevant in some way. Everyone is relevant.
I immediately felt drawn to want to do something for Las Vegas, but I'm only one person from Terre Haute, Indiana. What difference could I make? I guess you could say I had similar feelings related to the most recent hurricane devastation. It is times like these, times of fear, when I reflect the most. I suspect that is the same for many people. Perhaps too simply minded, but I find my relevance to be most important where I'm planted. In reflection of fear and watching America mourn the Las Vegas incident, I find hope in helping one another build trust and collaborate together.
Every small minded issue before us as a community, region, and state seem irrelevant. We have bigger issues in front of us that take a collective body of people, knowledge, and passion to overcome. Maybe this is one time where we can't say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. We are not immune to crime, disaster, and fear. Therefore, we reflect and find our individual relevance. How do we create impact of collaboration and kindness that typically transpires in difficult situations through reflection of what could be? With collaboration, everyone is relevant.