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Recap: 2023 United for Service

In a powerful demonstration of community strength, compassion and coordination, The Heritage Group’s 2023 United for Service — a week-long service campaign — recently unfolded across 11 states, bringing together 682 volunteers on a mission to combat food scarcity and hunger.

Now in its second year as a company-wide initiative through The Heritage Group, United for Service originated with the Fehsenfeld family as a way to gather and bond together while giving back to the communities where we live and work. This year’s effort resulted in an impressive 1,400 service hours dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of those facing the harsh realities of hunger.

The heart of our United for Service campaign lies in the spirit of collaboration. Local service organizations, impassioned volunteers, and essential community partners joined forces to address one of the most pressing issues affecting countless lives — the lack of access to adequate, quality food. The scale of this initiative reflects the shared commitment to creating positive change.

The need for food is key to our existence, and the communal sharing of meals is a part of our culture. Families bond over dinner; co-workers chat over lunch. But for some, putting food on the table is a struggle. According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure. In fact, every community in the United States is home to families who face hunger. But rural communities — where many struggle with limited job opportunities and lack of transportation options to reach grocery stores or food pantries — are especially hard hit by hunger.

The backbone of any successful service campaign is the dedication of its volunteers. Our Heritage volunteers united with a common goal: to make a meaningful impact in their respective communities. With 682 individuals stepping up, each hour contributed becomes a building block in the fight against hunger. Together with business leaders and colleagues, members of our Heritage family served meals at soup kitchens, stocked shelves at food pantries and prepared meals for distribution to community members in need. Spanning across 11 states, our week of service was a testament to the widespread need for assistance and the urgency to address food scarcity on a broader scale. This year’s United for Service week witnessed an impressive tally of 1,400 service hours, which underscores the dedication and commitment to service within our employees.

Crucial to the success of this campaign were the invaluable partnerships forged with local organizations. From food banks and shelters, the collaborative network created a ripple effect, amplifying the campaign’s reach and effectiveness. Together, these partners played a pivotal role in ensuring that resources were utilized efficiently and that the impact extended beyond the week of service.

Beyond the numbers, the true measure of success lies in the lives touched and the communities strengthened. By addressing immediate needs and fostering sustainable solutions, this campaign aimed not only to provide relief but also to create a foundation for lasting change. In the face of food scarcity, our United for Service week stands as a beacon of hope and a testament to the transformative power of collective action. Our combined efforts remind us that, together, we can build stronger, more resilient communities, and that positive change is possible when we are united around a shared vision and purpose.

To everyone in our #HeritageFamily who donated food, sorted produce, chopped vegetables, served lunches and assembled snack packs: Thank you!

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Salute To Service

The Heritage Group Honors Heroes: Veterans Wave the Flag at Indianapolis Colts Game


It was one year ago that John Masterson, Sales Manager for US Aggregates and a United States Marine Corp veteran, hatched an idea for a unique and memorable way to show appreciation to veterans in the Heritage family.

“My colleague Ben Hardy and I were at a Colts game last year and were watching the flag ceremony. I mentioned to Ben that it was something we should look into doing as part of a Heritage Group community event,” said John. “Being a salesman, Ben was confident he knew someone with the Colts organization to help get this rolling.”

The idea grew into a collaboration between The Heritage Group and the Indianapolis Colts, two organizations united by a shared commitment to giving back to their communities. As a way to honor Heritage veterans, they and their families were invited to participate in the pre-game flag ceremony at the Colts’ November 26, 2023 “Salute to Service” home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The pre-game ceremony involves unfurling a 1,200-pound flag that spans the entire field. To pull off this feat requires the coordinated efforts of hundreds of volunteers on the ground. Ben and John collaborated with Sara Morris, Director of Strategic Experiences, to coordinate this massive event. Over the course of a few months and with the help of a special event committee, formal invitations were sent to all Heritage employees with veteran status, shirts were designed and ordered, transportation was scheduled and day-of plans were pieced together to keep participants enthusiastic and entertained.

“In coordinating with the Colts, we thought it best to first involve members of our Heritage employees and their families with veteran status. From that first invitation, we filled all 400 available positions, the maximum amount of people the Colts will allow to hold the flag,” notes Ben Hardy, Sales Representative for Asphalt Materials, Inc.

Beyond the overwhelming response for signups, Heritage veterans expressed gratitude for the chance to be a part of such a significant event. For the veterans involved, the experience was deeply moving. Many spoke of the sense of pride and connection they felt as they represented their fellow service members on such a grand stage.

“I’ve never worked for such a good company that honors our military veterans in this way. It’s just very humbling and an honor to not only be part of this event, but to work for Heritage,” said Brian Frank, Transport Driver for Heritage Transport, LLC and United States Navy veteran.

The collaboration with the Indianapolis Colts showcased THG’s potential to make a meaningful impact by fostering a sense of unity and appreciation.

“Acts like this show the company cares,” said John Masterson. “When The Heritage Group says they support veterans, they absolutely do and events like today are proof of that.”

The Heritage Group and its operating companies has long emphasized support for veterans with initiatives like mentorship programs, job placement services, and ongoing partnerships with veteran’s organizations. The success of the flag-holding ceremony demonstrated that there is a profound desire within our family of companies to recognize and support those who have served in the military.

The Heritage Group’s commitment to supporting veterans serves as a shining example of how businesses can make a positive impact on society while creating unforgettable experiences for those who have selflessly served our nation.

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Building More Than Roads

Tommy Gott of Milestone Contractors zips up a custom-made high visibility vest for his new friend Zayden

This past spring in the heart of Martinsville, Indiana, a significant project was underway – the construction of a brand-new roundabout. While the project itself was a remarkable feat, it was the story of a construction crew that would truly touch hearts and exemplify the core values of both Milestone Contractors and The Heritage Group.

Milestone Contractors is known for their dedication to quality construction and commitment to the communities they serve. But their impact often goes beyond asphalt and concrete – it extends to the people who witness their work firsthand.

The project, converting a dangerous five-point intersection into a roundabout, began in February 2023. “It was cold outside when we started this project,” said Tom “Tommy” Gott, Project Supervisor at Milestone Contractors. “As soon as Spring came, Zayden and his grandfather would come outside and walk around the site every day.”

Aden and Zayden, three-year-old twin brothers who live just steps away from the intersection, were among those who observed the daily hustle of the Milestone crew as they worked tirelessly on the roundabout project. The boys watched in awe as heavy machinery whirred and workers skillfully maneuvered equipment. The twins’ fascination with the construction site was apparent from the very beginning.

“They’ve been so interested in all of the equipment running up and down the road,” said Randy Padgett, grandfather of the twins. “I bring them out here every day and they’ve just fallen in love with it.”

For most construction workers, having an audience is just another day on the job. But Tommy and his crew saw something more in Aden and Zayden’s eager faces. Fascination soon turned into friendship as the crew warmed to the curiosity of the twins and recognized the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these young boys. What started with a simple wave and a smile turned to bigger gestures like providing protective safety glasses to the boys and gifting them kid-sized hard hats, allowing them to feel like honorary members of the team. The twins even received personalized high visibility vests with Milestone patches handsewn on the front, compliments of Amy Bingham, Senior Safety Representative at Milestone.

“It reminded me of when my son was a kid and I’d bring him to job sites on the weekend so that he could see the equipment and pretend he was a construction worker, too,” reminisced Tommy. “This is all part of our effort to be good to everybody and the communities we serve.”

Twin brothers Aden and Zayden inspect a Milestone Contractors construction site outside their home in Martinsville, Indiana

Values in Action

Milestone Contractors and The Heritage Group have always upheld a strong commitment to their core values, and this heartwarming story truly exemplifies that commitment. By taking the time to befriend Aden and Zayden, Tommy and his crew embodied the values of integrity, respect and community engagement.

“This is just a perfect example of our people doing the right thing when others aren’t looking,” proclaimed Rob Rood, Senior Operations Manager for Bloomington & Terre Haute with Milestone Contractors. “It’s all just part of the culture we’ve built, knowing the guys on the crew have their own free will to do these acts of kindness, and we support it. It’s cool.”

As the roundabout project neared completion, the bond between Aden, Zayden and the construction crew remained strong. The twins had not only witnessed the construction of a physical structure but had also experienced the construction of lasting friendships and invaluable life lessons.

In considering the future of his grandsons, Randy Padgett is hopeful this experience instills strong work ethics and a commitment to hard work.

“I think they’re gonna learn something about work and what kind of job they can have in the future,” Randy noted.

In the end, Tommy Gott and the entire Milestone Contractors crew didn’t just build a roundabout in Martinsville, Indiana. They built friendships, and they exemplified The Heritage Group value of doing the right thing, always – even when it seems as if no one is watching.

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Talking Talent: John Glushik Takes the Helm of New Ventures

Early in 2023, John Glushik took the helm from Kip Frey as Executive Vice President of New Ventures and Managing Director for HG Ventures. The multi-faceted role puts John front-and-center of the ventures arm of The Heritage Group, where he directs the vetting, investment, incubation and growth of companies building innovative technologies and services related to THG’s industries. He also oversees the New Ventures internal incubation activities and the THG Accelerator, which brings a cohort of upstart hardtech company founders to Indianapolis for a three-month intensive program each year. Accelerator founders pilot their products, receive guidance from a network of mentors and prepare for successful launches into their industries. In a recent interview, John discusses his path to New Ventures and how he plans to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit of THG’s family of operating companies to best position us for institutional success.

Let’s discuss your journey to arriving here at The Heritage Group. You have a diverse educational background, studying mechanical engineering at Duke, achieving a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and earning an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. What drove your educational pursuits and how have they played into your role today?

Early in my education, there was a lot of trying to find where I wanted to be longer term. I got into technology because I was just fascinated about how it could change the world. By the way, my major was the same as Fred Fehsenfeld Jr’s. We both went through the mechanical engineering and materials science curriculum at Duke University. Following undergrad, I went to work for General Electric (GE), where I completed a technology leadership program that allowed me to move around and become involved in different types of engineering. That exposure sparked my interest in mechanical engineering, first through aerospace, because I was excited about all the new technologies coming out of that industry.

I started research at GE that got me connected to the Draper lab at MIT, which meant being at the forefront of studying modern technologies, including GPS navigation. Now, GPS is part of our everyday lives, but in those days it was very early in its development. As intrigued as I was by research, I realized I didn’t want to be focused on a single technology, and I decided to attend business school. Through my time at Kellogg, I developed some basic skills in business and finance, but more importantly, I started building a network of relationships in the business world and specifically in the venture capital sector. All of this led me to consulting and portfolio work in areas of new technologies, which then led me to the venture industry.

When did you first cross paths with Kip Frey?

I first met Kip through my work with Intersouth Partners, a venture firm in Durham, North Carolina that invests in early-stage life science and technology companies. Kip was a rockstar entrepreneur, and our professional relationship began through Intersouth’s investments with his companies. We also had a chance to work together as partners at Intersouth for a few years. After leaving Intersouth, I reported to Kip when he hired me to help create the Duke Angel Network. Slowly throughout the years, our dynamic developed into a personal friendship. In collaborating with one another for so many years, our styles and roles are very complementary of one another. He’s been a fantastic mentor and our dynamic is built on a deep sense of trust and respect that you can only find when working with someone for years upon years. Kip is how I first learned of Fred Fehsenfeld, Jr. and what he and Amy were starting to develop with The Heritage Group with Kip’s help.

What was Kip’s pitch to you to uproot your family and move to Indianapolis to work with Ventures?

Kip indicated that Fred and Amy Schumacher were interested in building a new model of corporate venture investing that capitalized on the capabilities of The Heritage Group. He said, “Just come to Indianapolis and meet with the folks at The Center. Meet with Fred and Amy, see the vision that they’re building around their corporate venture practice.” And because it’s Kip, I could only say, “Yes, I trust you.” So I got on a plane and met with the three of them in early2018. My visit to the Center and my discussion with Fred and Amy validated everything that Kip had told me. There was a special opportunity to build something unique with great people. It also helped that my wife, Robyn, knew Kip and trusted him. We made the decision to start the process of leaving North Carolina. I commuted for a year, and eventually moved my family to Indianapolis in the summer of 2019.

Since arriving, what’s been the most surprising thing to you about The Heritage Group?

There’s an unprecedented level of partnership, collaboration and understanding that The Heritage Group has with its customers and business partners – it’s been built over decades. This isn’t your typical customer relationship, and it cuts across all our businesses as part of the culture at The Heritage Group. This was important to me because of some issues I have seen with other venture investing groups. They often interact with entrepreneurs in a strictly transactional way. Not here. It speaks to the stability and unparalleled understanding of our businesses and their partnerships with clients.

From a Ventures perspective, what’s it like collaborating across industry partnerships and the network of experts we employ at The Heritage Group?

When we started the group, we made it our mission to not simply be an investor, but to invest in areas where we can add value. I think that’s how we distinguish ourselves from a pure venture company. Of course, we perform deep diligence on all our investments and we structure deals with a focus on being good stewards of THG capital. However, what we do is very different, because it’s not strictly transactional. We will do everything we can to make companies a success by utilizing our connections and our Heritage network. Entrepreneurs are blown away by the level of feedback they receive across our companies. What The Heritage Group can do in terms of business relationships is something no other company can do in our industries.

What’s something you wish our employees and companies better understood about HG Ventures?

I want to make sure our employees know that we want to collaborate. If there’s a challenge they’re trying to overcome, we want to know about it, because we might be able to help. We can provide a window into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes an awareness of early-stage companies that are creating innovative solutions for our industries. We want to create an open door for communication.

You’ve inherited this position with Ventures from Kip. Where do you plan to take it?

First, I think it’s important to note that while, yes, I’ve inherited this from Kip, I’ve always been aligned with his and Amy’s vision of Ventures. I want to lead Ventures in what I would call a deeper integration into our industries. Given what we’ve been able to build and develop in terms of a nice track record of success, I want to weave Ventures into the fabric of The Heritage Group. We can deepen our integration and leverage each other’s expertise so that we add value across our businesses.

If anyone within our operating units has any big ideas, anything they think can be the basis for a new business, we want to help. That’s where we see great potential to create game changing businesses. When I look at the next five years, that’s where I think we can make the biggest impact with our venture work. Internal incubation is where we’re truly harnessing the power of the innovative people that we have here.

What are some ideas emerging on the horizon that you’re particularly excited about?

Well, it certainly varies from quarter to quarter, depending on our market intelligence. Right now, I’m excited about a wide range of innovation trends including the future of roads, circular economy/recycling technologies and sustainable approaches to chemical manufacturing.

We’re good at finding entrepreneurs and companies that are creating things to address specific business and technology challenges. Effective communication across THG is really important so that we can leverage the power of people in our businesses who understand those challenges.

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Heritage Grant Supports Ukrainian Scholars at Purdue University

Just over a year ago, war erupted in Ukraine. Following a long buildup of military equipment and forces, Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In the days and months that followed, Russia’s bombings targeted essential infrastructure and systems, including hospitals, schools and neighborhoods, leaving destruction and devastation at every level of Ukrainian life. In news reports and through footage posted to social media, many were witness to the millions of Ukrainians being killed, displaced or forced to flee their country.

As a response to the invasion, Purdue University launched the Ukrainian Scholars Initiative, a program to host individuals whose lives were upended by the war. The goal of the initiative is to offer support to scholars who held faculty positions or were conducting research at Ukrainian universities the opportunity to safely continue their academic pursuits at Purdue.

“Our aim is to make at least one small contribution to help the Ukrainian people in this moment of peril,” Purdue’s then-President Mitch Daniels said of the program’s launch in March 2022. “Our hope is that we can offer refuge to these scholars and a chance to continue pursuing their work, and then see them return to a safe and free Ukraine. But while they are with us, I don’t doubt that they will personify and perhaps share with our students the precious value of freedom and the constant need to defend it from its enemies.”

Having experienced the terror and sadness of the war unfold, leadership within The Heritage Group (THG) gathered with representatives from Purdue to help fund the initiative. “For 90 years, the Heritage Group has been committed to building a safer, more enriching and sustainable world by harnessing the power of family,” said Sara Morris, Director of Strategic Initiatives. “We are fortunate to be able to support this initiative to enrich the lives of the individual Ukrainian scholars, their families, all who come into contact with them at Purdue, and for our own team members.”

Purdue received hundreds of inquiries to the program, ultimately welcoming nine scholars. Michael Brzezinski, Dean of International Programs at Purdue, notes that the Ukrainian Scholars Initiative is one of the first, largest and most ambitious university-led programs in the United States. According to the university, the visiting scholars participate in several academic pursuits that span many schools of study – from chemistry, library sciences, psychology, linguistics, sociology and neuroscience to political science, management, history, and earth and planetary sciences.

Through the grant, THG has pledged a two-year commitment to the participating Ukrainian scholars that will run through May 2024. “After the arrival of all of our nine scholars, The Heritage Group was eager to learn more about each individual and to know how they could help,” Brzezinski said. “We’re so very pleased and grateful that they are contributing the majority of funding needed to sponsor each scholar. Individuals from Heritage are eager to meet our Ukrainian faculty and students, a sign that they are truly interested in their well-being.”

As of late February 2023, the total number of Ukrainian casualties has surpassed 8,100 according to the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. It is estimated that over 8 million citizens have been displaced within Ukraine and another 8 million have fled the country. While the war continues, so does The Heritage Group’s commitment to Purdue’s visiting scholars. “The ultimate hope is for the war in Ukraine to end and for these scholars to be able to return home, but we are so pleased to support these amazing scholars in the meantime,” said Megan Savage, VP of External Affairs. “Beyond the financial support to cover their basic needs, it is our hope that we will have an opportunity across THG for our teams to engage with the scholars to learn about their experiences, both personally and professionally. There is a long connection between THG and Purdue, and our support is a natural extension of that. We also stand ready should any of the scholars need more wrap-around support, it is our hope we can tap the THG family to help provide that.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

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Homecoming: Sibel Selcuk Appointed EVP of Heritage Research Group

On January 16, 2023, Sibel Selcuk assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Heritage Research Group (HRG), returning to lead a segment of the same organization where she began her career 16 years ago. A home-grown expert, we are delighted to bring Sibel’s deep technical expertise, knowledge of the industry, and talent for people-first leadership back to Heritage Research Group in this new role. “Sibel exemplifies all of the reasons we bet on people and is a natural choice to lead this dynamic group,” said Amy Schumacher, CEO of The Heritage Group.

After earning her chemistry PhD at Louisiana State University, Sibel began her career at HRG as a research chemist and most recently served as Vice President, Global Research and Development and Strategy at Monument Chemical, an operating company of THG. Sibel found a moment to reflect on her time with Monument and how it feels to move into the next chapter of her career. What follows is a brief, modified Q&A she gave as she transitioned from her role with Monument Chemical.


How does it feel to leave Monument and begin your new job leading HRG?
I’m very excited, but it’s also bittersweet. When I joined Monument, I did not envision ever leaving or that I would someday return to HRG. I came to Monument tasked with building a new global R&D organization to boost our collaborative, cross-functional opportunities and enhance our abilities to fuel Monument’s growth. Two years ago, I was asked to be responsible for defining our strategy and identifying our growth levers, and that work was also very exciting to me. I loved my job and the people I got to work with. Monument and HRG will always feel like family to me, and I have this new opportunity because of how much you taught me, helped me grow as a leader, and prepared me for this next step. I look forward to always being part of the Monument and HRG family — you’re stuck with me!

What excites you most about what lies ahead for you with HRG?
It’s very exciting and an honor to return to lead the group I “grew up in.” It’s also humbling, because HRG is such an important part of The Heritage Group’s history going all the way back to Amy’s grandfather, Fred Fehsenfeld Sr., who interviewed me for my first job and became one of my mentors. He understood, as Fred Fehsenfeld Jr. and Amy do, how important R&D and innovation are to The Heritage Group’s future. I’m also very much looking forward to partnering with fellow members of the Heritage Leadership Council to seek future opportunities for HRG and the operating companies to collaborate.

Is your career heading down a path you envisioned, or has it surprised you?
When I was finishing my PhD almost 20 years ago, I pictured myself working as a chemistry professor in Turkey, not as an industry executive in Indiana. In fact, I had two teaching jobs waiting for me in Turkey when I graduated. But I listened to a professor who was advising me when he suggested I look into industry, and here I am. Turns out, it was very good advice.

Speaking of advice, what career advice do you most often share?
My number-one piece of career advice is to not fear change. Change is challenging and can be difficult to manage, but it keeps us moving forward and open to new opportunities. I’ve made some big changes in my life, beginning with leaving Turkey and my family to come to the United States to continue my education. Leaving HRG to join Monument was another big change, and I remember feeling nervous when I started. But I am very grateful I didn’t let uncertainties stop me then or keep me from taking this next step in my path.


As an organization, The Heritage Group is delighted to welcome Sibel back to our HRG team. HRG has played a unique role in the longevity and success of The Heritage Group, helping us innovate and tackle tough problems. As a versatile and experienced leader, Sibel embodies our Heritage values with a forward-thinking approach to innovation and research. In the months ahead, she’ll be working with colleagues new and old to talk, connect, share ideas and work together to build the future of Heritage Research Group.

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A Quick Reflection On United For Service

Coinciding with The Heritage Group’s 92nd anniversary as a company, our inaugural United for Service event was held on Thursday, November 17, 2022. Volunteers from around the Heritage Group of companies and centered in dozens of locations across the country came together, united in generous spirit, to serve the communities in which we live and work. With a focus on addressing food scarcity and insecurity, and in partnership with the United Way, volunteers hosted food drives, assembled food kits, sorted and packaged food donations, and served residents of community shelters. We are so grateful for this opportunity and are proud to celebrate the 1,211 volunteer hours. 

What is United for Service?

United for Service is your opportunity to volunteer side-by-side with your Heritage family to meet a need in your community — putting food on families’ tables. This experience is all about building a sense of community among our Heritage family while also giving back in a meaningful way to the communities where we live and work.

United for Service originated with the Fehsenfeld family as a way for the whole group to get together and bond while giving back to the community.

Why focus on food insecurity?

The need for food is key to our existence. And the enjoyment of food is a part of our culture. Families bond over dinner, co-workers chat over lunch. But for some, putting food on the table is a struggle.

According to the USDA, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, in the United States are food insecure. In fact, every community in the United States is home to families who face hunger. But rural communities — where many struggle with limited job opportunities and lack of transportation options to reach grocery stores or food pantries — are especially hard hit by hunger.

 

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Cirba Solutions Gains Governmental Green Light

In October, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $2.8 billion grant to supercharge U.S. battery manufacturing for electric vehicles and the electrical grid. Cirba Solutions, a Heritage family company focused on battery recycling, was one of the 21 companies awarded a portion of that grant. Here, in an interview with The Heritage Group, Shane Thompson, Strategy and Business Development for Cirba Solutions, discusses what a $75,000,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy means for the company and its future.

Tell us more about the grant.
It funds the first set of projects for President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The U.S. government is trying to set up a domestic supply chain for critical materials so the country can expand manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the grid.

What does the grant mean for Cirba Solutions?
It allows us to put more dollars into our new facility in Lancaster, Ohio, which was already in the works when we won the grant. We’re planning to expand the number of minerals we recycle and enhance our ability to upgrade materials before they re-enter the battery supply chain.

How will the grant impact the future?
The fact that our new facility is being built with the full confidence of the Department of Energy will help us introduce our product in the marketplace. In addition to funding, the validation adds visibility and credibility that will make us more attractive to customers, employees and investors.

How did you win the grant?
We responded to the Department of Energy’s request for funding, which included a rigorous application process. Our strategy was to apply for half of the available funding in the battery recycling category. We built on the fact that Cirba Solutions is unique, and we have experience to back up what we do. Laura Evans, our director of environmental, social and governance (ESG), led the application process, which included a robust environmental justice questionnaire and requirements. We welcomed that. We prioritize sustainability and ESG at Cirba Solutions, and the grant was a great opportunity to highlight some of those practices.

Why is the grant important for the country?
We’re creating a circular economy and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and minerals mined in other parts of the world. Producing batteries and components in the U.S. will help advance our country’s goal to build a robust lithium-ion supply chain and meet the demand for electric vehicles.

What capabilities will you add?
Typically, in the process of collecting, disassembling, shredding and upgrading critical materials from lithium-ion batteries, we focus on nickel and cobalt. Our expansion in Ohio will allow us to add lithium and other materials to that list.

Now, when we chop up batteries and separate out materials, some parts of the battery — including lithium, carbon, manganese and aluminum — are sent to a third party for processing. In the future, we’ll run those materials, known in the industry as “black mass,” through a hydrometallurgical process at our plant. We’ll be able to keep the recycling process going and create more materials that can go back into the battery supply chain.

How does this impact The Heritage Group?
Winning the grant is something Cirba Solutions and Heritage employees should share in and feel good about. It shows that a company that got its start with The Heritage Group is betting on the right things, receiving validation at the highest level and growing, which is good for us all.

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Sara Morris Discusses Family’s Commitment To Service

Since 2014, Fehsenfeld family retreats have hosted a United for Service event that addressed strategic and specific needs in various areas of the country. This year, with the inaugural United for Service event extended to all employees of The Heritage Group family, Sara Morris, Director of Strategic Experiences, discusses her family’s history of service and the goals of this year’s campaign to address food insecurities in the communities in which we live and work. 

 

Talk about the history of United for Service and to a larger extent, the Fehsenfeld Family’s involvement in service and giving back to communities.

In 2014, the Fehsenfeld Family Council decided it was time to refocus our family retreats. Several fourth-generation family members were wanting to become more involved in activities surrounding our gatherings, wanting to find different avenues for people to connect and give back to the community. The family spent a lot of time determining what was most important to us, and together we decided it was learning & giving back together.  We established two models for our family retreats: United for Learning, where we gather to learn about something new, often centered around THG and United for Service, where we collectively take on a community service project. It was always important that all ages could participate, so that even the youngest could create and be part of what the rest of the family was doing. There is something special about grandparents working alongside grandchildren, all coming together to help others.

When that idea was generated, was everyone immediately on board? 

It added a new energy to the family and certainly made people feel connected. This initiative gave everyone a new way of viewing how we as a family and now as a company can help others. We have a lot of people who are passionate about conducting service projects in their own communities. In some instances, we’ve been able to listen and learn what others’ passions are and to find venues to share those passions through service. In 2017, we held our retreat in Utah where we worked on my cousin’s urban farm, The Green Urban Lunchbox. Together we built a green house, repaired fences, prepped planting sites, and collected food to be delivered to the local community. It was great being able to learn about a family member’s passion, and to experience it firsthand.

What are the family’s expectations for this year’s United for Service efforts now that it has been extended to include the Heritage Family of employees?

When Amy and I took this idea to the family council to let them know we were expanding our efforts, everyone was overwhelmed with excitement and support. I could see us [the Fehsenfeld Family] doing this again and working alongside Heritage employees. There are great opportunities in the future.

What do you hope employees get out of this initiative?

I would love for people to make new connections or deepen relationships with employees and colleagues. I would love for people to better understand the importance of this kind of work, because as a family, it is deeply important for us. My hope is that it instills in employees a sense of pride for the organizations they work for and that they’re enthusiastic about addressing food insecurities across the country. Partnering with the United way is an exciting opportunity and I hope we can make an impact in our communities.

What specifically about food insecurity and our united mission to address hunger relief speaks to you? 

I have spent the last several years learning from our employees what’s most important to them and their families to help inform our Heritage Group giving pillars. Food insecurity wasn’t initially one topic we addressed, but it became clear with the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 that we cannot support the mission and goals of our pillars if people cannot eat. Food scarcity during that time became a very eye-opening, important experience. If, during the pandemic kids were not attending school, those kids still needed to find their next meal. Born out of that was our ongoing partnership with Gleaners, which is the largest food pantry here in Indiana. I imagine a lot of folks in Indianapolis are familiar with them, but much like our industries are spread across the state, so too is their presence as they distribute food throughout Indiana.

After the impact is measured and we’ve wrapped the inaugural United for Service campaign, what does success look like and how will we know if we have achieved our goal?

This is the first time we’re doing United for Service with members of the company, and I think it’s always hard to predict the outcomes the first time you do something. I hope we can listen to feedback and learn how we can better position ourselves for a greater impact next year, because this is going to be an annual event for The Heritage Group and our operating companies. Success for me is creating an experience that sheds more light on what the culture of Heritage is to a larger audience while proving to communities and our employees that this is who we are as a company. If we can empower our employees to connect with service initiatives in their communities, then we instill within them a source of pride for the work they do every day.

Of course, we are still planning for the first company-wide campaign, but if you were to name hopes for the future of United for Service, what do you want its legacy to be?

There is something about having this event in November, when our construction materials teams have quieted down a bit and we are entering a season of reflection and celebration with not only the date the company was founded, but Thanksgiving occurring the week after, that it all just feels special. I love the energy surrounding this drive and I love the idea of supporting causes that provide people with food access. I want it to be an event that grows each year. I am hopeful that our employees, regardless of location, can take part in some way.

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Award-Winning Duo

The Emmy Awards honors the best in television, but did you know that The Heritage Group has its own pair of Emmy-award winning filmmakers?

 

Built on a friendship that developed over two decades ago, filmmakers Bill Baker and Matt Mays have witnessed their working partnership grow into an award-winning collaboration. When not writing, directing, producing and editing dynamic video content for the Heritage family of operating companies, the duo creates works of film that receive significant accolades. Recently their film, a 30-minute featurette highlighting the work and importance of The Indianapolis Prize, won in the category of Outstanding Branded Content – Long Form at the 53rd Central Great Lakes Chapter Emmy Awards.

The pair first met in college and have since built not only a strong bond, but a working relationship that thrives on creativity, collaboration and trust. “What we have in place now was not expected, but it is the culmination of a 25-year friendship and working relationship. It’s not an accident that we ended up here together, but it was by no means a predetermined arc,” noted Matt. “But it’s a pretty funny and interesting culmination of thousands and thousands of hours of working together in all corners of the world.”

Prior to joining The Heritage Group, Matt and Bill worked together on several collaborations, including a series for ESPN called SportsCentury. “That project was a Peabody and Emmy-winning series, which turned into a bunch of work for other entities like History Channel and Discovery Channel,” said Matt. What followed was an opportunity for Matt to branch out on his own, which is when he discovered The Indianapolis Prize. “The vision for it was to be like the Nobel Prize for animal conservation.”

Founded in 2006 by the Indianapolis Zoo, The Indianapolis Prize is a conservation initiative that recognizes six individuals from around the world who have dedicated their lives and work to the sustainability of the Earth’s endangered species. Winners receive a cash prize of $250,000 and the five finalists receive $50,000. Armed with a camera and the goal of capturing the stories of these conservationists, Matt and his production team hop around the globe to film in exciting locations. “Matt does the production work of going out into the field and shooting all of the footage of all of those nominees,” said Bill. “We produce a short film for each of those six finalists, which are then used and screened at the semi-annual black-tie gala where they honor the finalists and winner.”

I hope that THG has a great respect for what we can produce, and that they trust us with our work and our vision. When you see that trust in action, it’s an amazing thing. That trust engenders us to want to put our best effort forward. To be able to continue working with Bill has made all of the difference in slowly building our own little production department, and it’s all exciting.” – Matt Mays

For the team, the accolades are only part of why they choose to work for this cause. “If you get into the subject matter of sustainability and saving species, The Indianapolis Prize is undoubtedly the most important and meaningful project I’ve ever worked on,” remarked Matt.

This 25-year culmination of honing their craft has now landed the pair at The Heritage Group, and their vision for telling dynamic stories is reflected in the work they produce in the many industries of the various operating companies. From training materials to marketing pieces to content displayed throughout the building, Bill works closely with the Marketing and Communications Department as editor for all video production needs of The Heritage Group and its operating companies. Additionally, Bill serves as Multimedia Services Lead, chiefly supporting the audio/visual needs of meetings and events at The Center. Matt produces, writes, and directs video content for THG and its operating companies, while serving in roles related to events throughout the Center. “Thanks to my work with The Indianapolis Prize, I have a perspective of what a lot of natural resources look like in a number of different countries. I know what the issues surrounding environmental struggles are in those places, so I can tell better stories around sustainability,” remarked Matt.

For Bill, the relationship and missions between The Indianapolis Prize and The Heritage Group feels like a natural alignment, especially regarding environmental stewardship and sustainability. For him, the work he and Matt produce is a showcase of how these amazing scientists and conservationists are striving to make the world a better place. He noted, “Written into the purpose of The Heritage Group is the idea of building a safer, more enriching and sustainable world by harnessing the power of family, which aligns perfectly with the work that we have been involved with The Indianapolis Prize.”