This past Thursday, the fourth annual business camp for high school students concluded at Anderson University. While I enjoy most of the components of the camp, my favorite is always taking the students around and visiting businesses in the community. I am always amazed — and incredibly thankful — that business owners and managers will give up substantial portions of their day to spend time sharing their stories with the students and patiently answer their questions.
I am more amazed that we have so many great businesses in the community that I would venture many who live here aren’t aware of. The six we visited with this year were:
- XADS: For four years in a row, Pete Bitar has surprised the students with the inventions and products this company is working on — both for the defense department as well as consumers. At the end of the camp, we always ask which places should we visit again, which ones are you not sure about, and which ones we should never go to again. For the fourth year, XADS was the only visit to unanimously be in the first category.
- Coeus: Nate Richardson gave a great explanation of Monofoil, the antimicrobial protectant his company has formulated and is selling. He also shared the challenges involved in betting your future on a startup company and the need to be on top of marketing and other aspects of the venture.
- Tractor Supply distribution center: There are over 1,100 stores throughout the United States, but only six distribution centers and we are fortunate to have one of the busiest in our backyard. A staggering amount of product moves in and out each day — originating from companies in the U.S. as well as overseas — in a logistics concerto.
- Owens-Brockway: A glass manufacturing giant located in Lapel creates the glass containers and bottles that you run across many times in the course of a day without ever realizing that they originated just a short distance up the road.
- Reflectix, Inc.: The world’s leader in reflective insulation, and a division of Sealed Air, is hidden in an old high school building in Markleville. You could drive past every day and never be conscious of what a large operation sets just off the main road. We were privileged enough to have four of the upper managers spend well over two hours with our group showing them around and answering their questions.
- Red Gold: While time did not allow a visit to the manufacturing operations, we did visit the distribution center and were dumbfounded by the site of a single warehouse just outside of Elwood with over one million square feet that never sleeps.
As mentioned, I am appreciative of the companies and their owners, or representatives, for allowing us to come and visit and spending time with us. I am more appreciative, however, that I live in a community where these entities exist and just wish that they weren’t such secrets.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology. The Falls School of Business is one of Anderson University’s largest academic departments offering eight undergraduate majors as well as MBA and DBA programs. The school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and is a member of the Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA).