October 2nd, 2015 Newsletter

Evapco in Newton

Jasper CEO students were welcomed by Evapco managers David Blecha and Rob Martin Monday morning for an informative session on manufacturing and leadership skills. We started with a basic understanding that Evapco in general makes products from cooling towers and large industrial refrigeration units to large residential cooling units. The tour of the Newton facility allowed us to monitor the process of making fiberglass structural components for field erected cooling towers.

In their conference room we also discussed topics Evapco feels very strongly about in the success of their facilities.

  •      Employees will be your greatest asset
  •      The importance of communication
  •      Handle misunderstandings immediately
  •      Communicate using the 4 C’s:
  •           Cordially
  •           Cooperatively
  •           Constructively
  •           Concisely

Finally, one of the students favorite components of the visit this year and last was the discussion of “Key things to being successful” which included:

  •      Passion
  •      Vision
  •      Plan
  •      Execution
  •      Continuous improvement
  •      Love it
  •      Know the destination
  •      Visualize your picture.
  •      Do it
  •      Always improve and learn

Newton Part Supply, Inc. with Alan Mendenhall

Today we had the pleasure of meeting with Alan Mendenhall, owner of Newton Parts Supply, which is an independent store with the Napa corporation. After a tour of their facilities with an explanation of the application parts areas we gathered in their break room and discussed topics such as the history of the business, requirements to be an independent store, how the Napa distribution system works. The Newton Napa store was started in 1953 by the Webb Family and Alan joined the ranks as an employee in the 1980’s. The new Napa store was erected in 2006 to a prime location along IL Highway 33 in Newton. We also discussed the importance of inventory in an auto parts store touching on a program that is utilized that uses the local car registration information to guesstimate what parts to keep in stock. Another challenge in this business is the complicatedness of working the front counter keeping the separate sales tax laws in order for wholesale and farm customers.

Wolf Eye Care

On Wednesday we met with local optometrist Dr Adam Wolf. Dr. Wolf is an NCHS graduate who attended local colleges before he left for optometry school in Bloomington, Indiana. He shared with us his excitement and gratitude for having the opportunity to practice in his hometown. We learned of Adam’s experience with private practice and retail optometry before having the opportunity in 2012 to purchase Dr. David Sanders practice upon his retirement. Adam continues to expand his practice and has just recently added to new machines including one for glaucoma care. He is also in the process of growing his staff to meet the needs of his patients. We discussed the biggest difference between retail optometry and owning a private practice which led to our discussion of business overhead. We also learned how he set up vendors, scheduled patients, and what malpractice insurance is. We also had the opportunity to have our first discussion about what non compete clauses are, how they work, and why they are beneficial to business owners.

Crooked Creek Antler Art

A great Thursday was had by the Jasper CEO groups as we visited Crooked Creek Antler Art with Eric Carr. Eric gives a great presentation on how life and business success is not a linear path. His business started in 2001 when his parents built a log home and bought an antler lamp that was junk and Eric had the idea that he could make one that was of much better quality. Eric grew up on his family's swine farm and has always been an outdoor enthusiast. This visit is always a great example for our students in creating or finding a job that fits your passion and pursuing it! He started to sell some key chains, lamps, and a few other small items on Ebay, which was unheard of in the early 2000’s. This led to doing some trade shows which expanded the business greatly. The business established its location in one of the hog barns on the family farm but soon outgrew those facilities. During this time he also noticed how his lab and beagle dogs loved to chew on the pieces of antler left from artwork he had created. This led to the subsidiary business “Perfect Pet Chews” which is also now a big success and sells in retail stores all over the nation. Iin 2006 they moved to Hidalgo and in 2013 they again had outgrown their facilities and moved to their current location in Newton.

Eric offered to the students, “You'll go throughputs and downs that's life.” His latest bout of good news and great business promotion came this summer when he was contacted by Under Armor to create a full scale artwork of their hunting logo using shed antlers. Eric recently finished and had the honor of hanging his artwork in the Michigan Avenue Under Armor store in Chicago. This business has created a market for every byproduct of the process.

The powder that is left from cutting the antlers is now collected and can be added as a top dress to active dog’s regular daily ration. All of Eric’s creations and bi-products can be found at their family's pet supply store which is located beside the showroom in downtown Newton.

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