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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.”

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Blazing Her Own Path

Women’s Equality Day is held annually on August 26 to honor the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which recognizes women’s right to vote. In celebration, The Heritage Group profiled Liz Larner, General Counsel of Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M), to examine how women’s equality has played a role in her professional life.

HER STORY

Liz Larner knows exactly where she belongs. Whether she’s negotiating a mergers and acquisitions agreement in a boardroom or touring a jobsite in a truck and boots, Liz Larner feels perfectly in place as General Counsel for HC+M.

In her role, Liz is responsible for assessing risk involved within all the operating companies across HC+M, including US Aggregates, Asphalt Materials, Inc., and Milestone. Her responsibilities also include understanding environmental laws and regulations, managing both Human Resources and safety regulations, certifying compliance, maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and non-discriminatory workplace, and above all, ensuring the safety of our Heritage employees. As Liz explained, “A lot of times people think attorneys review contracts or oversee lawsuits–Law & Order type stuff. My lens is different where I am responsible for thinking through all sorts of risks to the company and risk mitigation. I think through future scenarios where if we don’t proactively respond, there is the likelihood of increased risk.”

To put employees and customers first, Liz works diligently to build and anticipate the needs of those she serves. “People hear the word attorney and think I must somehow be intimidating. The challenges come when I try educating people that I am here to help them,” Liz noted. “My view is you always want to talk to me because I promise to support you. I always say, Do what you do, and I am here to help you do it better.

PAVING HER OWN PATH

Prior to joining The Heritage Group in June 2021, Liz’s professional career had been a self-professed winding journey that included a role in the Indianapolis mayor’s office. “I worked for the Department of Public Works, so I know a thing or two about roads, sidewalks, and potholes,” she quipped. After attending law school with the hopes of breaking out as a civil rights attorney, Liz assessed her mounting student loan debt and opted instead to work for a large legal firm. This is where she developed her expertise in mergers and acquisitions, and while serving in an advisory role with a client, was asked to become their senior legal counsel. “I fell in love with being on the inside of business within an oil and gas operating company. I would close the deal, deliver a new company, determine benefits and payroll, and manage operations. Wanting to be on the inside of the business as a teammate while assisting with the legal aspect all resonated with me.”

This career shift sent Liz on a path in which she often found herself as the only woman operating within male-dominated industries. Liz leaned heavily on her upbringing and ability to connect with everyone. She noted, “My dad worked in construction and has always been a source of good advice.” That guidance includes being well-versed in the language of construction, over-preparing, and meeting people on their turf. “I learned early on that in order to gain trust and respect, I had to take as many face-to-face meetings as possible,” remarked Liz.

These traits have proven to be beneficial, particularly during tenses. “Meetings like that can be a painful process as it can get very contentious,” she said. In one proceeding, Liz recognized that the older male attorney representing the other side would not address her directly. “He only spoke to the man to my side, who is not only 10 years younger than me, but also has less legal experience.” Despite making decisions the entire meeting, the opposing side continued to not acknowledge Liz. “He wouldn’t look me in the eye,” she lamented. At the conclusion of the negotiations, the opposing representative finally recognized Liz, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these two days it’s that you are essential to this process.” Feeling accepted, Liz knew her deep knowledge, experience, and her friendly-yet-commanding approach is what earned her the respect.

While she has still experienced setbacks, Liz is thankful for the women before her that blazed trails to allow her to find her place. “I had some people who paved the path ahead of me and now I am interested in helping young women come up through the ranks,” said Liz.

FINDING OPPORTUNITY

Since joining The Heritage family, Liz has found a place that allows her to lean heavily on her expertise while operating in a welcoming, professional environment that celebrates her individual attributes. “One of the reasons I was attracted to The Heritage Group is because the opportunities are limitless and the culture is such that I can use my skill sets in ways that are truly appreciated,” Liz said. She also feels supported and empowered by witnessing strong women in leadership roles at Heritage. “In my past, there have been very few women in leadership roles. While I have typically reported to men, and while I still do, I’ve never been surrounded by as many women leaders as I am now. It’s refreshing,” Liz observed.


“One of the reasons I was attracted to The Heritage Group is because the opportunities are limitless and the culture is such that I can use my skill sets in ways that are truly appreciated,” Liz Larner, General Counsel, HC+M


While ensuring her fellow female colleagues are afforded mutual respect and are aware of avenues to develop their talent, Liz indicates there is still potential for empowerment opportunities in the professional setting. For her, achieving equality within the workforce means that male colleagues, especially those in positions of leadership, need to be challenged and encouraged to advocate for all voices. “I want men in leadership positions to be champions of equality, to be mentors for women,” said Liz. This advice also extends to female colleagues. “There have been times when I’ve questioned whether I should be at the table. I tell younger women to sit at the table. I remind them that they belong there,” she asserted.

For Liz, gaining equality in the workforce means that women need to consult in more advisory roles, sit on more boards, and serve in leadership positions. While she notes that equitability awareness is increasing, she’s persistent in her belief that the road ahead is long. Looking to the future, Liz’s steadfast expectations are as high as her ambitions. “There’s scientific data behind the fact that women in leadership is better for professional relationships, it’s better for cultures, and it’s better for revenue.”

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Talking Talent: Fellow to Full Time

Pictured: Annie outside the Biosynthetic Technologies lab

Finding Heritage

Annie (left) with Fellows on a hike during 2020 winter retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

When Chicago native and chemical engineering major Annie Hynes began her senior year at University of Notre Dame in 2018, she wasn’t sure what career she’d pursue after graduation. By the time she walked across the stage at commencement, though, her next two years were set: Annie had accepted an Orr Fellowship. That meant she’d have a full-time job and a whole lot more. Orr Fellowship supports young professionals with a community of peers and opportunities for continued learning and community involvement.

As a senior at Notre Dame, Annie had already explored career options within her major. “I had interned in research at a biotech company in college, but I wasn’t convinced that engineering was the right place,” she said. Orr Fellowship gave Annie a chance to learn about all areas of a business, which appealed to her curiosity. “The Fellowship is two years to explore, to get new experiences and figure out what you want to do — and I liked that,” she said. At Finalist Day, the last step of Orr’s application process, Annie and her fellow candidates interviewed with a handful of Orr’s dozens of Partner Companies — including The Heritage Group (THG).

Annie had no idea what to expect going into her interview with THG, but she was “happily surprised that Heritage had both science and engineering opportunities as well as business opportunities,” she said. The interviewers from THG, Matt Kriech and Kierstin Janik, were happy with Annie, too. Orr Fellowship matched her with THG for three eight-month rotations.

Exploring Heritage Companies

Annie’s first rotation began in June 2019 with Biosynthetic Technologies (BT), which had been recently acquired by The Heritage Group. Her degree in chemical engineering translated well to her research work with Biosynthetic, where she circulated samples to generate interest in the company’s capabilities.

Recognizing the benefits of the company was easy. “With The Heritage Group, you’re being backed by the security of a 90+ year old company, but you still get innovative entrepreneurial experiences from a startup as well,” Annie said.

“Annie reacted quite well to the challenges of an early-stage company, which can be chaotic to say the least,” commented COO Matt Kriech, Annie’s supervisor at BT. “She worked with a diverse team to create technical data packages that greatly accelerated our time to market by reducing the amount of technical development our manufacturers had to do.”

Annie on the job in her current role at Asphalt Materials, Inc.

For her second rotation, Annie relocated to Houston, Texas, to work as a production engineer with Monument Chemical. Orr Fellows are typically based in Indianapolis, so Annie’s time in Houston was unique. “I had never worked at a plant before, so that was my introduction to manufacturing, and I loved it,” Annie said.

“Usually, when we get someone that new out of school, they focus on one area until they’re comfortable,” said Operations Manager Jake Moehring, Annie’s supervisor at Monument. “Annie made it a point to branch out and take the opportunity to get involved with as much as she could.”

In March of 2020, Annie and many of her co-workers at Monument went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the new virtual environment, she developed experience in the manufacturing field by monitoring production processes using automatic data collection from the plant. “I was still using my degree, but in a way I didn’t really know was possible,” Annie said. “I liked the creativity of the work and I loved my team there, so it was a really positive experience.”

During each of Annie’s rotations, her Heritage leaders made a difference. “I was given a lot of responsibility off the bat because of how much my managers trusted me and believed in me,” she said. “I liked the ability to make an impact early on in my career.”

Annie’s experience echoes other young professionals who are met with trust and responsibility when they join the Heritage family. For example, “I make it a point to treat our college interns as close as possible to a full-time new hire engineer,” Jake said. “I want them to be engaged and exposed to all areas of the plant to get a real taste of the role so they can make a good decision for their career path.”

Annie’s third and final rotation was completely remote, so she spent her final eight months of the Fellowship working from home in Chicago. Annie worked as a financial analyst for Heritage Environmental Services’ accounting and finance department, an area new to her academically and professionally. “To get that experience in accounting and finance was really beneficial to any job I might have in the future,” she said. “It’s nice to have a well-rounded picture of how our businesses operate from end to end. That has definitely benefited me, even in my current role in engineering.”

Joining the Heritage team

Annie (right) with colleagues at AMI

After her Orr Fellowship ended, Annie became one of the 57% of Fellows who stay with their Partner Companies by accepting an offer from Asphalt Materials, Inc. to work as a manufacturing engineer. Her work is primarily remote, but she travels to locations where J-Band is produced in Illinois and Indiana. “The work I do now is more like production planning and working out the kinks,” she said. “With some of our products, there are unique obstacles that I can help troubleshoot, which can be done remotely.”

Annie was one of The Heritage Group’s first two Fellows, but she is far from the last. THG has hired two Fellows from the class of 2020 and two from the class of 2021, and three more Fellows joined the Heritage family after their graduation in May 2022.

THG’s Early Career Talent Specialist, Lexie Seward, was an Orr Fellow at another Partner Company before joining the Heritage family. “Orr Fellows’ eagerness to participate in a wide range of experiences allows us to be creative with the rotations and make sure we fit company need with a Fellow’s interests,” Lexie said. “Overall, Orr Fellows bring curiosity and adaptability to THG. Because they’re agile and hungry for experience, there’s no limit to what they can do here.”

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Talking Talent: Intern to Employee

Cole Radel had never heard of The Heritage Group when he applied for an internship with THG in fall of 2020, but after a few weeks into his role as the group’s Learning Management System (LMS) intern, he knew he’d found a place to call home. Cole said he’s always felt like a valued part the Heritage team — as an intern, as an employee and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Cole at his May 2021 graduation from IU-Kokomo

During his 9-month internship, Cole served as a main point of contact for anything related to Lessonly, the group’s LMS, uploading lessons and running reports for HR partners and managers. He was also pulled into other human resources projects, making connections across the HR team. Cole reported to Kaitlin Odom, an HR Shared Services project manager who recognized his talent and gave him meaningful projects. “I never felt like an intern,” Cole said. “Kaitlin and the rest of the HR team just treated me like a valued employee from the start.”

By May 2021, Cole had finished his bachelor’s degree at IU-Kokomo. The internship experiences on his resume helped him decide that he wanted a career in HR, so when he told Kaitlin and others from the HR team that he had ideas for improving the employee experience, they were all ears. “I told them that I wanted to be in front of people, interviewing, playing ‘hostess with the mostest’ for the company,” he said, “and I felt like they were on my team, encouraging me.”

So Heritage decided to bet on Cole. Because people were impressed with the work he’d done on the corporate orientation program, they found a position on the Talent Acquisition team that matched his interests. “Lisa Minter [Talent Acquisition Partner for THG] and I are two peas in a pod,” Cole said of his manager upon joining the Corporate HR and Talent Acquisition team. “Our personalities are so alike — so we have a lot of fun working together!”

People at THG have been warm and welcoming, but that’s not been the case in Cole’s previous workplace. Because of some uncomfortable experiences, he knew what he was looking for in an employer: one who would welcome him to be his authentic self at work, where he could talk about his personal life when everyone else was talking about theirs.

Cole (first row, right) with members of the summer 2021 intern cohort

“When I joined The Heritage Group as an intern, I took a risk,” Cole said. “It was a test, really, sharing with Kaitlin that I had a boyfriend during my first week. And Heritage passed that test with flying colors.

“To be authentic in the workplace, compared to previously experiencing discomfort elsewhere, leaves me feeling free: free to be happy, free to be vulnerable, free to bring my best and entire self to work. Ultimately, being authentic at work leads to the best experience for me and those around me. I cannot thank Heritage enough for providing this inclusive culture.”

Being his best and authentic self, Cole recently earned a promotion to Talent Acquisition Specialist, with plans to earn his SHRM certification. And because he wanted the full-circle experience, Cole is now mentoring a group of THG’s summer interns.

THG’s internship program is proving to be an invaluable part of our talent pipeline, introducing talented young people to our business and giving them a chance to experience our culture first-hand.

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Celebrating the Women of The Heritage Group

Thousands of women are responsible for making The Heritage Group and our world work. We asked women across the Heritage family of companies about their career inspirations, their work in our industries and the future of women in the field. Their answers revealed so many reasons to celebrate the women of the Heritage family, only a few of which are below. 

They power the work that connects our world.

“I started in the construction world at a young age working with my dad and have worked with other companies in the industry for five years. My mother (Deb Schriber) has been working with Milestone for 17 years now, so you could say she set an example for me. Working in the construction industry comes naturally.”

Julie Schriber, Superintendent, Milestone Contractors

Maria Kraemer Gutierrez, pictured with her children Adrian, 7, and Amanda, 4

“I actually came to Tri-State Asphalt quite by accident. My husband was working at the plant as a manager, and they were in need of workers, and I came in to help him. I’ve been here for 19 years.

Lorraine Heffner, Lab Technician, Tri-State Asphalt. Before coming to The Heritage Group, Lorraine previously served in the military as a heavy equipment mechanic.

“In Venezuela, where I was born, oil was a big industry, but not a lot of women pursued that career. I wanted to do something meaningful and that I was really passionate about. The oil field was unstable, and I liked the specialty chemical manufacturing industry, so I wanted to explore career in that area. Ten years later, and now I get to make chemicals that are used for things like hand sanitizer during the pandemic, so you can see the impact more tangibly.

Maria Kraemer Gutierrez, Plant Manager, Monument Chemical. Maria taught Spanish and English in Thailand before becoming a Plant Manager at Monument Chemical.


They’re innovators.

Andrea Moberly

“When I was in high school, no one ever talked about women’s scientific discoveries. Now our culture is becoming more aware of the importance of telling those stories, and as those are told, more girls are thinking, ‘this is a choice I could make for me, too’. If someone needs to do the work, why not me? If there’s work to be done, why not me?”

Andrea Moberly, Senior Analytical Research Chemist, Heritage Research Group. Andrea’s interest in science was sparked during a childhood trip to Yellowstone National Park.

I feel lucky, because working in Portage, it’s an almost completely female lab. We do have a lot of guys out in the plant. When you go to a conference or any kind of schooling, everyone has been very supportive, very welcoming and willing to listen.”

Penny Jacobson, Technical Coordinator, Asphalt Technologies Group. Penny has been working at Asphalt Technologies for nearly 16 years.

When I presented a business opportunity in Turkey to Heritage leadership, they said yes. The Heritage Group believed in the businessbut more so, they believed in me. It doesn’t matter gender, ethnicity, background, culture, all that if you create value and if you do the right thing, you have tons of opportunities.”

Sibel Selcuk, Vice President of Global Research & Development and Strategy, Monument Chemical. Sibel started out at Heritage Research Group before establishing a startup in Turkey and then transitioning to Monument.


They’re pioneers in male-dominated fields.  

Maly White (right) and Rebecca Rivers Duncan (left)

“I hear about the lack of women in the industry, but my experience hasn’t been the same.  At my building, I’m surrounded by women in leadership roles who are skilled, intelligent—just the whole package.  They have seats at the table where decisions are made, and it is just one more reason I am glad to be working here.”

Maly White, Executive Assistant at Heritage Construction + Materials. Maly is an army veteran and serves her community on the board of Indianapolis’s PATH School.

I learn even more by being part of Women of Asphalt, which is a nationwide initiative. It’s great to partner with women who have worked in the asphalt industry for 20 years; they might live in Los Angeles, but I have that resource. It’s good to be involved in things like that, especially when you’re new to the industry. That’s advice that I would give to any woman coming in: Get involved, ask questions, take advantage of the resources.”

Rebecca Rivers Duncan, Business Administrator, Asphalt Materials, Inc. Rebecca is mother to Jada, a future Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; the two have three rescue dogs between them.

“Coming from a farm community and having strong women in my family, I didn’t have preconceived notions of women can’t do this or that.  I think that has helped me the most.  I love our workers, the dirt, and the work itself.  I think the field employees realized I was there for them and cared and I haven’t had any major issues in the whole 25 years.”

Amy Bingham, Senior Safety Representative, Milestone Construction


They support and encourage the next generation of women in the material sciences.  

“When I graduated over a decade ago, women made up only 10% of my civil engineering class. Since then, I have seen nothing but significant growth in the number of females applying for and pursuing careers in this industry.”

Rachel Lockhart, Plant Manager, US Aggregates. Rachel followed in the footsteps of her father, who owned a construction company and masonry business.

Kristin Sweeney

“The future is more than bright for women in the environmental industry, especially within Heritage. We have women in executive and leadership positions across the company. We have women in every type of position, from Drum Handlers to Senior Vice Presidents. If you look at any role within our company, you’ll see women working hard and excelling at what they do.”

Raven Shyrock, Customer Experience Manager, Heritage Environmental Services. Over the past two years, Raven has leveraged her role to help clients meet COVID-related requirements for health and safety.

“When you do what you love and are passionate about it, it’ll show. Jump in! Find a mentor (a man or a woman) who will help you through the challenging times and celebrate your accomplishments with you.  I think girls should also know that the construction industry of today is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Technology has come so far that we have a variety of roles to suit everyone!”

Kristin Sweeney, Director of Operations, US Aggregates. Kristin got hooked on the mining industry during a summer internship in 2004.

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Cultivating Confidence

How an innovative female scientist launched a Turkish startup, forged a career in global research and development and created a legacy of leadership

A strong foundation

Sibel at her college graduation

When Sibel Selcuk joined Heritage Research Group (HRG) in 2006, HRG looked very different than it does today. “There were only three female scientists, including me,” said Sibel, who first came to the United States after graduate school in Turkey. “Now when you look at HRG, we have not only female scientists but female engineers. We’ve become more diverse in every angle you can imagine. And that’s really important.”   

Back in the mid-2000s, Sibel was new to Indianapolis and searching for a job. With a Ph.D. in chemistry and the help of the American Chemical Society, Sibel connected with Erin Clark, a senior analytical research chemist at HRG.   

Erin introduced Sibel to The Heritage Group. Soon after, Sibel joined HRG as a research chemist, working on everything from asphalt emulsions to shampoo. The diversity of the job brought surprise and satisfaction.  

“What I ended up doing for the Heritage Research Group — I didn’t even know a job like that existed,” Sibel said. “One day I’d be working on an asphalt-related project, and then it would be an environmental customer’s project, and the next day I’d be doing analytical work.”


“You work with something new every day, and you make new things out of the things that people can’t use. It’s always problem-solving, and that’s the part that I love.” 


Launching innovation

Sibel networking with young professionals

In addition to her dedication to the work happening in the lab, Sibel formed a bond with her HRG co-workers. “When I joined HRG, I had just gotten married, and I had absolutely no family in town,” Sibel said. “Everyone in that group became my family — and they treated me like family. It doesn’t matter where I am. I know they’re there for me and I’ll be there for them.”  

After finding a home in the lab, Sibel began to consider how total waste management could apply to new settings. Observing a coworker’s business venture abroad, she sought out new opportunities for the business to grow internationally. “I came up with a couple of ideas and I presented them, and for some of them they said no,” Sibel noted. She remained determined to keep her eyes open for opportunity. “Then I presented the opportunity in Turkey, and they said yes.”  


“When they said, ‘we’re going to do this,’ what they meant was: ‘We’re going to do this because we believe in you.’ That meant a lot to me.”


International insight

Sibel’s daughter Ada, an aspiring scientist

Starting a business in her native Turkey was a turning point for Sibel’s career. “The Heritage Group believed in the business,” she recalled, “but more so, they believed in me.” Betting on Sibel paid off: İnteraktif Çevre, Heritage’s Turkish waste management venture, was established in 2015.   

Sibel had experience in market intelligence and technology evaluation, and the Turkish startup was her first foray into business management. But she was ready. Her background in science had prepared her for much more than working in the lab.  

“In chemistry, graduate study is more like problem solving, so it teaches you how to approach a problem or an opportunity and figure it out. That’s similar to building a business and doing a startup,” Sibel said.  After seeing her success at İnteraktif Çevre, Heritage leadership recognized Sibel’s talent. “I was so lucky. Amy (Schumacher, CEO of The Heritage Group) was my mentor throughout my career. She always supported me, so when she asked if I would consider a position at Monument, it turned into my best experience at Heritage.”  


“I did lab work, I did development, I did a startup, but until joining Monument I was never part of an operating company. Seeing how Monument works has dramatically changed my perspective on research and how we do things.”


A lasting bond

Sibel during her first year of PhD studies

In her current role as vice president of Global Research & Development and Strategy for Monument Chemical, Sibel unites her passion for chemistry with business savvy to solve problems for customers across the globe. She credits her experience at Monument with a new perspective on the chemical research process.   

“When we develop something in the lab, we’re fairly good about thinking big picture. But when we live it day in day out, it’s really different,” Sibel said.  

“It takes big-picture thinking in a real-world context to take opportunities to the next level. We need more scientists and engineers who lead with practical applications in mind. It’s really important for them to develop themselves, but it also helps the businesses overall.” 


“Within Heritage it doesn’t matter gender, ethnicity, background, culture, all that—if you create value and if you do the right thing, you have tons of opportunities.” 


Facing the future with confidence

Reflecting on her career as a woman in a male-dominated field, Sibel noted that gender shouldn’t hold anyone back from their aspirations.   

The key is to build self-confidence, something Sibel prioritizes when mentoring young scientists. She encourages her mentees to build their confidence in the lab before venturing out: “Giving yourself time there will strengthen your leadership skills and your contribution to the business in the long run.”  

Linda Osborn (left) and Sibel at The Center

Scientific skills have value in the business realm. That’s just one reason, Sibel said, that all scientists should feel confident that they can contribute beyond science and technology.  

In addition to mentoring, Sibel prioritizes giving back to the American Chemical Society, which helped her secure her first job at HRG. In 2013, she and Linda Osborn, Director of Analytical Research at HRG, worked with ACS to plan an event for children to celebrate science. The event was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which has benefitted from HRG’s research on and development of asphalt and aggregates.   

Sibel hopes that her passion for mentoring and inspiring young people will encourage more kids — especially more young girls — to explore science. Her advice for them? “Whatever you want to do as a woman, you just have to believe in yourself and go after it. Being female or male is not a differentiating factor.” 

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Meet the Recipients of the Brothers Scholarship

pictured: Brothers Scholarship recipient Ashlyn Halstead (right) and her dad, Robert Rood.

The Heritage Group is proud to announce that 114 dependents of Heritage family employees have been awarded a Brothers Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. The program awards renewable scholarships of $2,000 to recipients to assist with the cost of higher education. By investing in students’ futures as they pursue a college degree, we’re sharing the passion for education held by the Fehsenfeld family—including the brothers for whom the scholarship is named.

Among the future leaders awarded this year’s scholarships are 40 first-year recipients, many of whom began their undergraduate studies last fall. These students represent 27 colleges and universities across the United States, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the Heritage family. The remaining 74 recipients are in their second, third, fourth or fifth year of receiving the scholarship.

“The Brothers Scholarship is an outstanding opportunity for our organization to give back to the families of our employees and to help invest in the educational attainment of our future leaders,” said Early Career Talent Specialist Lexie Seward. “Brothers Scholars are uniquely situated not only to benefit from our scholarship program, but also from the unique opportunity to participate in our summer internship program, which many have done so far.”

Meet the Scholars

Ashlyn and her dad Robert

Ashlyn Halstead, a third-year recipient, is a Marketing major with a sales management concentration at Indiana State University. She spent last summer as an intern with Milestone Contractors, where her dad Robert Rood is an Asphalt Manager.

“The Brothers Scholarship has been a blessing to me and my family for the past three years. As a student who lives outside of my parents’ home, I have a lot of financial obligations. Receiving the scholarship has given me financial security when it comes to school and has helped ensure that I have enough financial aid to cover tuition and book fees for the year. I want to thank the Heritage Group for the support they have given me and the help they have provided in reaching my academic success.” – Ashlyn

“The Brothers Scholarship has been a tremendous gift to my family! To see them support my daughter’s educational dreams brings me pure joy. I would like to thank The Heritage Group for all that they do!” – Robert


Conner and his dad Jason

Former THG intern Conner Woods is a second-year recipient majoring in biochemistry at North Park University with plans to pursue a PhD after graduation. His dad, Jason Woods, is a Bulk Dispatcher at Heritage Environmental Services.

“The scholarship allows me to venture outside of Indianapolis and my family and I to breathe comfortably financially. Our main worry heading into my collegiate career was cost, and The Heritage Group has helped greatly in that sense.” – Conner

“Our family is grateful that Conner received the Brothers Scholarship. His goal of attending school in Chicago was able to come to fruition, in part, due to the scholarship. His goal is to graduate debt free and pursue a PhD, the scholarship has eased the financial burden for him. I am extremely thankful to work for a family-owned company that has the vision to invest in young individuals and talent.” – Jason


Lauren and her dad Brian

Lauren Sliger is a second-year recipient majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry at Butler University. She plans to go to dental school after graduation and finds inspiration in her dad, Milestone Superintendent Brian Sliger’s, work ethic.

“When I first realized I received the Brothers Scholarship, I felt very honored. It definitely motivated and drove me to focus on my academics without having the financial burden and stress. College is so expensive, so having this scholarship meant a lot to my family, especially to my dad through his work. It motivates to help out my community as well.

“Watching my dad in his career, I was very inspired to work hard through whatever I was doing. He’s always been passionate about getting the job done, teaching people, being a leader—and I knew that whatever I was doing, I wanted to bring the same attitude and leadership. I’ve been inspired through the scholarship to focus on school and bring the same passion to my community that I learned from my dad.”


Hunter and his family

Hunter Assenmacher is a second-year recipient enrolled in a five-year masters program in architectural engineering at Lawrence Technological University. His dad, Scott Assenmacher, works in sales at Asphalt Materials, Inc. Hunter’s sister Hanna Assenmacher is also a Brothers Scholarship recipient.

“The Heritage Group made me feel like I’m part of the family, and part of something bigger than just myself. My family and I have always put family first, and it’s really nice to see how a large company like this has the same values, just on a much larger scale. So as a student, it’s really furthered my desire to learn and work towards a career where I can find myself in a supportive community like this and eventually give back in a similar way.” – Hunter

“It starts with family, and I’m really proud to be part of the Heritage family. I’m happy to be the catalyst that gets to tie it all together so that my kids can benefit from this scholarship.” – Scott


To learn more about the Brothers Scholarship and how you can apply for next year’s funds, visit https://thgrp.com/brothers-scholarship/.

HAHDhAHSDHAHS

Growth, Good Business and Giving Back

As a Director of Operations at Heritage Interactive Services, Shaun Miller oversees business in the US and Canada. When he started out, he had no idea how far a career in sustainability would take him. We sat down with Shaun to talk about the evolution of his career over the last nine years.

 

Let’s get started with the beginning of your journey. How did you first hear about Heritage?

 

I went to Indiana State, and when I graduated, I had taken over as general manager of a fine dining restaurant in Terre Haute, Indiana—but I lived on the west side of Indy. That’s a heck of a commute—it’s an hour and a half each way, but 23 years old and GM of a nice restaurant was a great place to start. At the time, my brother-in-law David Cripe worked for Heritage Environmental Services (HES). He said, “I know you’re not sure what you want to do, but if you want to be closer to home, Heritage is always hiring.” I took the chance and started as a temporary employee at HES in fixation (the management and disposal of contaminated waste by immobilizing hazardous contaminants). Fast forward several months later, I became group leader, and I was still trying to figure out where I wanted to be. Every time I had an opportunity to leave this organization, they gave me a reason to stay.

 

After my promotion to group leader, I helped deploy the HES call center, worked inside sales, and in 2014 I was again at a crossroads. I had gained all this experience, and I wanted a career, so I had to decide, where do I want to go? I interviewed for a program manager position at Heritage Interactive and got the job—and as much as I enjoyed the hazardous waste side, I loved broadening my horizons and being able to move into non-hazardous waste, and trash and recyclables, and byproducts and all kinds of commodities.

 

Then I went from program manager to senior program manager to operations manager and here I am as a director today. Now, I’m at the forefront of world-class sustainability services for our customers, which is awesome. For instance, we’ve aided companies in diverting their byproduct waste, contributing to zero landfill status—and more recently, we worked with ClimeCo to help March Madness go carbon neutral.

 

I can’t wait to see where I’ll be three years from now, but it’ll be at Heritage, you know? All these synchronicities brought so much opportunity, and I worked to make the most of it. And I’m happy to be here!

 

Could you go over a bit about how Heritage has invested in you?

 

How much time you got? (laughs) I’m a big Peyton Manning fan, and he always talks about not always being the smartest in the room, not always being the toughest in the room, but outworking everybody in the room. And that’s always been my mantra—if I’m dedicated to something, I’m going to find every way I can to add value to the organization. I’ve done that over the years, and this company has been good about recognizing that. Whether that’s about collaboration opportunities, promotions or bonuses, growth as an individual, I could go on and on.

 

The biggest impact on me was back in 2018, when I was promoted from Operations Manager to Director, it happened to line directly up with the Connect, Collaborate, Innovate (CCI) initiative. It’s a training program where THG invests in the future of potential leaders from across the family of companies. It created relationships and bridges across the organization. You were able to meet people whom you wouldn’t have otherwise known—and I used that network just last week to introduce a colleague to a resource at another Heritage company! I was able to be a bridge for others, which is a great thing, and I know that there are others willing to be a bridge for me as well.

Shaun (right) with Jeff Laborsky of Heritage Environmental Services

 

Is there a point that stands out to you when you realized that this was a career as opposed to just a job?

 

When I moved from HES to HIS, I could see the runway of what we could do, both when I was there initially and what we could grow into. I was able to work as I saw fit and add value to the organization—and the fact that Heritage enables me to work in such a way—it all just kind of clicked. And that’s continued to evolve over time, because the term sustainability evolves every day, and it’s an exciting time to be in this industry. We’re talking about the course of a few years, but I would say sometime around 2015, 2016, I was like “okay—this is where I want to be.”

 

What does it mean to you to be part of a family business?

 

A lot of companies will say, “we’re a big family,” but everything I’ve seen here proves that leadership truly lives out that mantra. I met my boss now, Peter Lux, when I was going through CCI and getting exposed to THG; again, this company provided me that just because I worked for it and was vocal about where I wanted to go within The Heritage Group. Getting to know Peter and work with him, and now directly working for him, it was the same mentality. Whether I’m sitting in my office, with our team, or I’m having that exposure to a higher level, the feeling is always the same.

We’re given access to capital and resources and things that a very large organization typically has access to, but there’s always that personal feel to the interactions with our leadership—in how they empower us to manage and to make our own decisions. Not all companies will afford you that autonomy, and I think that has a lot to do with this organization having that family ownership and mentality.

Shaun with his family

Do you feel like that also affects the way you interact with customers or clients?

 

I think so. I think this is an empathy-minded organization, and I try to lead with that. When you have that servant leadership attitude, doors open, it shows your customers that you care, it affords you business retention and trust. The culture here definitely affects how I do business. Not only that, but this company gives me the opportunity to investigate new things.

 

My work style over time is taking every opportunity I see to invest in others. That’s been engrained in me in large part due to this organization and the way they’ve treated me. I try to pay that forward to my employees, my colleagues, my leadership, my customers, my suppliers, and it bleeds over into your personal life, too. When you see that, and you see the benefit of it, you lead with that. It’s about touching as many lives as possible and impacting others in a positive way. There’s always the chance that it could come back around—you never know. It builds relationships and trust, and it’s good business, too.

Where does your passion for sustainability come from?

 

I fell into sustainability. It just kind of happened, and before I knew it, I was in deep. I realized how much I liked it, and it’s such a broad term today. But to me, sustainability is not just about waste. It’s about time, equipment, people and labor. It’s about opportunity and attitude. Sustainability, to me, is so much of elongating the things in life that we will inevitably need indefinitely in so many different ways. That’s why I like where we’re at now. A couple years ago, it was all about supporting zero waste to landfill, and then simply zero waste—now it’s bringing in carbon neutrality. I have a call coming up with one of our customers to support zero water discharge, and my colleague is working on industrial hygiene for other customers and compressed air efficiencies and water balancing for another. It’s such a spiral of potential in the term sustainability. And it’s not all about hugging trees—it goes so much more beyond that. It’s a discipline.

Shaun with his team

What’s your advice to someone who is at the same place that you were when you graduated college, looking for an opportunity?

One of the scariest things in the world is to be vulnerable, but my best advice to my younger self and to anyone in that position is to stay humble and vulnerable. It’s a nice way of saying, “ask stupid questions.” And there aren’t really any out there, which I know is a cliché, but you can’t shrink into yourself. You have to find ways to get out of your comfort zone. I’m not a great public speaker—I mean I can speak to my customers, to my team, but even in a Teams call, if there’s 80 people, or in a huge venue, I get a little squirrely. So what I’ve done is found situations to intentionally put myself out there, and know that I was going to look silly, but convincing yourself that it’s okay, is probably the hardest part. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know it, and at some point, you won’t be as good at your job for not knowing. Read, research, learn. I hope that when I’m at retirement age, I’m still looking for ways to learn, and it’s only going to benefit you. It’s never a waste of time.

 

Right now, what is exciting to you in this moment of your career?

 

Over the last five years, we doubled in size. We invested heavily in people, and in training—KPIs, too. Another interesting aspect between the public and private sector is that we have the ability to integrate, measure, grade and improve, so we focused on our metrics so that we could maintain scalable, rapid growth. We also invested in our people so that we have the right folks in the right positions, and it set us up for where we are today. Our fiscal year just ended—another record year, and our growth rate is ridiculous, and we’re prepared for it now.

 

We’ve been working within sustainability since 2000, and the evolution of sustainability over the last 20+ years has been phenomenal, and volatile in another way, and opportunistic. Now we’re here, and I’m watching The Heritage Group through Techstars, Heritage Sustainability Investments, all these different elements and the ability to access all those resources— it’s all growing. It’s an exciting time to be here because I’m not exactly sure where we’re going to go, but I know it’s going to be great.

HAHDhAHSDHAHS

Heritage Accelerator Alumnus Wins Innovation Showcase (Again)

The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars fuels innovation by giving participating startups face time with mentors from across the Heritage family of companies, access to the Heritage Research Group, and a dedicated accelerator team supporting the entrepreneurs. The latest proof of the program’s value comes from Ateios, which was selected into the inaugural accelerator program in 2019 and received additional funding from HG Ventures. Ateios placed first of 22 startups in the Venture Club of Indiana’s Innovation Showcase, which serves as a state finals event at the NCAA Hall of Champions.

Ateios CEO Rajan Kumar (left) and HG Ventures’ Jonathan Schalliol at the 2021 Innovation Showcase

Ateios aims to enable innovations through ultra-thin, flexible and conformable batteries. Compared to typical coin cell batteries, Ateios’s flexible models are more than five times thinner and deliver up to five times higher energy density. As Ateios brings their product to market, these capabilities promise to help people around the world through improved wearable medical devices.

Their innovative manufacturing process caught the eye of Jonathan Schalliol, Director at HG Ventures, when the company applied to the Accelerator in 2019. “It was clear from the first time meeting Raj [Kumar] that Ateios had great potential and was an ideal fit for our accelerator. Their novel battery technology and a team driven to do whatever what it takes to bring it to market is a winning combination.” The supportive network and partnerships that Ateios’s team built during the Accelerator made the company more competitive. Ateios has since moved from La Jolla, California to Indiana.

Kumar, CEO of Ateios, is not the first Heritage Group Accelerator founder to take home the first-place prize at the Innovation Showcase. In 2020, judges awarded first place to MITO Materials, whose specialty additives are engineered to help manufacturers create lighter and more durable products. Since the Accelerator, founders Haley Marie and Kevin Keith have been named to Forbes’ 2021 30 Under 30 list in the Manufacturing & Industry division.

There’s a good chance that one or more of this year’s Accelerator class will feature in next year’s Innovation Showcase. Until then, the founders will take advantage of the opportunities and connections provided during their 13 weeks at The Center.

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Behind Mentor Madness

Pictured: HG Ventures Senior Associate Nida Ansari consults with the Simplifyber team.

As The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars reaches its midpoint, its 2021 cohort of entrepreneurs have spent over 50 hours connecting with more than 70 mentors from both the Heritage family of companies and the Indianapolis business community. Known as Mentor Madness, these three weeks serve as an opportunity for participating startups to make important connections, practice their pitches and engage in valuable discussions about business strategy.

Startup founders meet at The Center.

Utilizing expertise from 30+ operating companies, mentors from The Heritage Group (THG) provide key insights into their markets and industries. Not only does the 13-week accelerator add value to the entrepreneurs, but mentors are exposed to innovative and disruptive technologies that could revolutionize existing processes.

Any businessperson understands that success does not happen alone. For the founders in the cohort, mentors are a vital resource who also benefit from their participation in the program. Linda Osborn, Director of Analytical Research at Heritage Research Group, states that as a mentor, “not only does this (program) allow me to pay it forward as my great mentors did for me, but it is invigorating to be around these entrepreneurs. The founders sometimes develop innovative ways to meet challenges that we face on a global scale.”

THG and program mentors share in the excitement and take pride in seeing the entrepreneurs adapt to challenges and overcome hurdles. Nida Ansari, Senior Associate at HG Ventures, states that “many of these entrepreneurs have had significant personal challenges before getting here, and we get to know what drives them. THG gives them access to labs, resources and minds that these folks will leverage to change their business in leaps and bounds.” The mentors, many with an entrepreneurial background themselves, share personal experiences that founders can relate to and then apply to their own strategies.

Founders attend Techstars’ Concept to Commerce event.

Basil Merriman, Director of Strategy on THG’s Strategy + Mergers & Acquisitions team, says, “My favorite part of being a Techstars mentor is being around the entrepreneurial energy of the founders.  It’s inspiring to see someone create something from nothing, and you can really feel the passion and vitality when working with the teams.” This same energy carries over into THG, as conversations and experiences with the Techstars cohort encourage critical thinking and spark innovation within the Heritage family of companies. “The mindset that comes with partnering with a company like Techstars forces us to think differently and gives us fresh perspective to further differentiate from the competition,” says Chris Ames, Senior Strategic Manager at Heritage Interactive Services.

Anthony Rogers, VP of Technology and Growth for Retriev (formerly Heritage Battery Recycling), says, “I think THG brings a wealth of commercial, business, and technical experience to the table. THG is able to make connections in ways most venture firms aren’t able to, and I think that adds a lot of value to the Techstars companies.” Participating founders utilize these resources leading up to and beyond the program’s culmination, Demo Day, where each startup pitches at The Center to local investors and THG representatives. While Demo Day is the last step of the Accelerator, it’s only one of the first steps in the mission HG Ventures shares with its Accelerator companies: building the future, together.

With every day bringing new chances for innovation, mentors take pride in working with founders to turn big challenges into even bigger opportunities.