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Embracing Authenticity in the Workplace

As a Talent Acquisition and Human Resources specialist at The Heritage Group, I am not just filling roles, I am helping to build a community where everyone can thrive and contribute their unique perspectives.

Growing up, I never had a clear vision of my future career. My primary aspiration was to help people, and when it came time to choose a college path, nursing seemed the obvious choice. My love for math and anatomy in high school supported this decision. However, college-level anatomy and math were a different story, and I found myself back at square one, re-evaluating my goals.

After some career mapping and self-reflection, I settled on a Communications Studies major with a minor in Public Relations and Advertising. Though uncertain about the exact career this would lead to, I believed it was a step toward understanding and addressing people’s needs.

Upon graduating, I grappled with how to merge my desire to help others with my Communications degree. I began working at the IU School of Nursing, supporting the very students who were pursuing the path I once considered. The arrival of COVID-19 and my growing aspirations led me to explore new opportunities, eventually landing an HR Coordinator position at a retirement community through an IU connection. Despite limited HR experience, I recognized it as a potential avenue to fulfill my passion for helping others.

As I learned the intricacies of payroll, benefits and policies, I was promoted to an HR Generalist, handling all aspects of talent acquisition. I hired folks for a wide range of positions, from part-time servers and housekeepers to CNAs, RNs, and director-level roles. High turnover rates in retirement communities kept me constantly busy, but I relished the chance to help people find jobs that suited them and to ensure that employees felt heard and valued. The residents’ appreciation for the staff I helped recruit was incredibly rewarding.

I wasn’t actively job-hunting when I discovered an opening at The Heritage Group, thanks to a former supervisor who knew my skills and passions. Feeling unfulfilled in my current role, I decided to apply. The opportunity seemed perfect for my growth and learning. After a phone interview with Lisa Minter and subsequent meetings with the team, I knew this was the right fit. I felt an immediate connection with the team, able to be both my professional and playful self. Receiving the offer letter was exhilarating, though leaving my previous job was bittersweet.

Talent acquisition might seem straightforward, but it involves much more than just filling positions. It requires a deep understanding of team dynamics, job responsibilities and the qualifications necessary for the role. At The Heritage Group, the approach is different from my previous experiences. Here, the focus is on finding the right person who fits the right position at the right time. This motto is deeply ingrained into our company culture.

What I cherish most about my job is building relationships. I enjoy those initial conversations, delving into both the professional and personal aspects of candidates. I aim to understand not only their qualifications but also their aspirations and values.

Often, candidates ask me about my favorite part of working at The Heritage Group or the company culture. My genuine response is that The Heritage Group encourages employees to be their authentic selves. It’s a place where your voice is heard and valued. This is the first company I’ve worked for that genuinely welcomes diverse opinions and actively seeks feedback from its employees.

This journey has shown me that being true to oneself in the workplace is not only possible but essential for personal and professional fulfillment. Working for a business that is open, inclusive, and dedicated to authenticity has been a transformative experience.

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Driving the Future of Octane

At the Octane National Symposium, held in Indianapolis in late-April 2024, Monument Chemical brought together key players together for once-of-a-lifetime experience.

From April 22 to 24, over one hundred industry experts and technicians flew in from all over the country to swap stories and gain insight into the future of octane fuels. Monument’s Indianapolis Octane National Symposium created an intersection for proven experience and fresh perspectives to give attendees a valuable look into emerging industry trends — and how we’re taking full advantage. And true to Monument fashion, we took the conference experience to another level, hosting it at the Heritage Center with a truly one-of-a-kind tour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“As a leader in the Octane space, it was our goal to bring together key players in our industry to share best practices on the nuances of Octane measurement,” Indresh Mathur, Director of Innovation and Customer Solutions at Monument, explained. “In addition, we shared our expanded capabilities and investments in the renewable fuels business, particularly in the racing industry, as well as how we leverage decades of history and experience through Haltermann Solutions to support our customers in all the areas they need. This Symposium is just one of many ways we’re raising the bar.”

After a night of networking and introductions, the first day of the three-day event included technical sessions and panel discussions, featuring business leaders from Sunoco, Marathon, ExxonMobil, Argonne Laboratory, and more, as well as several members of the Octane measurement and racing community.

“Our speakers were thoughtfully chosen to facilitate the most effective transfer of knowledge across the industry,” Sarves Peri, VP, Business Leader Monument Renewables and Fuels, shared. “There are a lot of highly experienced leaders entering retirement, so we wanted to give their expertise a platform to educate the young people in our field who are shaping the landscape and designing the future of Octane and Cetane measurement.”

“Following the conference, participants were eager to share positive feedback with the Monument team,” Indresh added.

“Monument did a great job coordinating the event and keeping all the attendees engaged with the presentations, while creating a relaxed, open atmosphere where we could all share insights and stories about our experiences in testing fuels,” Zachary Santner, Manager, Product Engineering and Business Optimization at Sunoco Performance Products, shared. “Building my network of resources for octane testing gave me a lot of confidence in continuing to find parts and service for our old equipment — which is extremely valuable for Sunoco and me personally in navigating any issues my team might encounter related to the knock engines.”

That afternoon, a bus took all attendees to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a special access tour led by the head of track operations. Working closely with Milestone, everyone was able not only to get exclusive access to the track itself, but also to see and learn all about a real pace car first-hand.

“I feel like Monument went above and beyond any expectation that anyone had,” Stacy Perry, Refining Analytical & Development’s Quality Programs Compliance Specialist, Marathon. “The tour of the raceway was a once in a lifetime experience for me. But my favorite part of the experience was meeting individuals who have been in the business for many years. Hearing their experience and life lessons is an invaluable practice that provides benefits to everyone. I learned more in the two days of this symposium than I have learned in the ten years I have been in the refining industry.”

Day two featured a highly technical agenda in collaboration with the Joint Regional Octane Group Meeting. Sessions were tailored specifically to these members, while all other attendees had the opportunity to tour The Heritage Lab, as employees shared the history of our research, as well as our current and emerging capabilities in renewable fuels.

“The Center was an amazing venue,” Stacy added. “I got a chance to walk around the woodland trails and fell in love with the creative world they have created!”

From one-of-a-kind tours to invaluable networking and knowledge sharing, Monument is extremely proud of the success of our first Octane Symposium. We’re grateful for our collaboration with CFR Engines Inc., the regional groups, our sponsors, and all the participants in coming together to share valuable perspectives and insights.

“Our role as an industry leader goes far beyond buying and selling Octane and Cetane reference fuels,” Sarves explained. “It’s our responsibility to understand the big picture, how the industry environment is changing, how that impacts our customers’ needs, and how we respond with solutions. And we then share that information with our partners and even our competitors. That’s what being a leader is all about, and we’re very excited about what the future has in store.”

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Fueling Discovery

In the race for innovation, there’s no greater proving grounds than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Throughout its storied history, the Speedway embodies the spirit of discovery.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of motorsports worldwide. The Speedway’s marquee event, the Indianapolis 500, has inspired countless imitations and adaptations, solidifying its status as the pinnacle of motorsport. The Indianapolis 500, often referred to as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” is the crown jewel of racing in America. This annual event draws hundreds of thousands of fans to witness the world’s best drivers compete in a grueling 500-mile race. The event’s significance transcends sports, becoming a cultural phenomenon that symbolizes the spirit of competition, perseverance and ingenuity.

The Heritage Group and our operating companies have stood alongside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for decades. Together, we push boundaries, harnessing emerging science to propel progress forward. But, how exactly, did this long-standing partnership come about?

Our first company, Crystal Flash, sponsored a car for the 1937 running of the Indianapolis 500. Beginning in the late 1950s, Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI), a member of Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M), began supplying bituminous materials for use in track repairs. This partnership continued and expanded in 1988 when Heritage Research Group (HRG), the research and development team of The Heritage Group, designed specific asphalt mixes for the Speedway’s oval.

Since then, the partnership between the two institutions has only strengthened. As time wore on and the track’s racing surface was subjected to the ever-changing climate of Indiana, it was time to update the asphalt, which at the time was only lasting around seven years. When it came to repaving the surface, IMS called upon Heritage to oversee and execute the sensitive work.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the full strength and capabilities of the various operating companies of The Heritage Group were put on display. On October 1, 2013, IndyCar and IMS officials announced a new event, a grand prix race on a road course, to be held in May 2014. However, an entirely new track needed to be designed and built in a very short amount of time. The road course project united Heritage Research Group, Milestone Contractors, US Aggregates and Asphalt Materials, Inc. to complete the work prior to the upcoming winter season which would halt any on-track construction. The work was completed to specifications on time, and the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix was held May 10, 2014, just seven months following the event’s announcement.

Enduring Spirit of Innovation

The pursuit of speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has also been a catalyst for scientific discovery. Engineers and mechanics continuously strive to enhance the performance and safety of race cars, often pioneering technologies that eventually find their way into commercial vehicles. From rearview mirrors to disc brakes, from seatbelts to increased fuel efficiency, all of these innovations were first tested at the Speedway before making their way to your personal automobile.

The innovations born on the track often have far-reaching implications beyond racing, contributing to advancements in automotive technology, transportation systems and even environmental sustainability. For example, developments in hybrid and electric vehicle technology, spurred in part by the push for greater fuel efficiency in racing, have the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry and reduce carbon emissions.

Beyond its role as a hub for innovation and scientific discovery, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds a special place in the hearts of racing enthusiasts worldwide. The speedway’s illustrious history is dotted with legendary drivers, unforgettable races and dramatic moments that have captivated audiences for generations. From the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 to the present day, the speedway has been a dramatic stage for both motorsports and human achievement.

“Find those partners that understand your mission and that are willing to work alongside you to make it better,” noted Doug Boles, President of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “That’s one of the things we love so much about Heritage. We could not have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 without our partners at Heritage.”

The enduring partnership between the Speedway and The Heritage Group drives a relentless pursuit of excellence, shaping the next generation of safety, speed and success — both on and off the track.

 

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Envita Solutions: Leading By Example

Since 2001, Envita Solutions has been a devoted partner to customers, helping them tackle their most complex waste and sustainability challenges. Since its inception, Envita Solutions has continued to evolve with the changing sustainability landscape. From circularity strategies, increased recycling, waste minimization, landfill diversion, equipment optimization, cost savings – and everything in between – Envita Solutions understands the dynamic decision points its customers are weighing.

Envita Solutions exists to protect human health and the environment. As the premier provider of total waste management services in North America, they walk the talk in working towards their own ambitious sustainability goals.

Carbon Neutrality

To further its environmental impact goals and continue leading by example, Envita Solutions has achieved carbon neutrality across its North American operations. In addition to structural changes to minimize GHG release, Envita Solutions also procured carbon credits from N2O abatement projects to offset harder-to-decarbonize business operations. Envita Solutions’ carbon credit strategy was guided by ClimeCo, a trusted carbon credit market leader with the highest standards of environmental commodity products. Over the next decade, Envita Solutions will work to reduce GHG emissions so each subsequent year they rely less and less on the offset market to support climate resilience.

Environmental Impact Reporting

Creating a sustainability plan requires extensive decision-making with a focus on long-term impact. Envita relies on both The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and EcoVadis to help identify benefits and risks as well as improve performance and accountability on their sustainability journey. CDP supports Envita Solutions in managing its environmental impact through reporting and risk management with programs focusing on climate change, water, supply chains, forests, and cities. EcoVadis is a globally recognized assessment platform that Envita Solutions utilizes for reporting. It allows Envita Solutions to see the full picture of how their sustainability decisions influence four main categories: environmental impact, labor, procurement practices, and human rights standards/ethics.

Zero-Waste-to-Landfill

Envita Solutions has proudly helped more than 300 of its customers’ facilities achieve zero-waste-to-landfill certification. This means that they send zero discards to landfills or high-temperature destruction, instead diverting it to more sustainable means. Of course, all of Envita Solutions’ facilities in both the United States and Mexico are also proudly zero-waste-to-landfill certified.

Envita Solutions is the industry leader in delivering transformative sustainability across North America and they’re not slowing down any time soon!

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Progress Over Perfection

Amy Schumacher is CEO of The Heritage Group, a U.S. based sustainability investor. Amy tells Nomura Greentech that she is applying generations of business experience to grow vital new industries such as battery recycling.

This interview first appeared in the Winter 2023 edition of Nomura Greentech, and is reposted here for promotional purposes.

“We have been in the environmental sector for over 50 years.”

 

What first sparked your interest in sustainability?

At The Heritage Group we are a fourth generation, privately held, family-owned business. We think in terms of decades and ultimately generations, that’s how we are still around.

We have been in the environmental sector for over 50 years. My father founded that part of our organization, and I grew up in that world.

My spark is tied to how we define sustainability as people, planet and communities, as well as our common vision, centered on leaving the world better than we found it.

From early teenage summer jobs to my current CEO responsibilities, sustainability has always been a part of me.

How concerned are you about climate change and the pace at which the world is collectively trying to solve this problem?

We are all citizens of the world on this particular issue and I think everyone needs to explore what they can do to address climate change.

Both big initiatives and small steps can create a significant impact. For example, we’ve taken the small, but important step of eliminating single-use plastic bottles at our headquarters, and other Heritage locations are beginning to do the same. On a larger scale, we’re part of an initiative that’s introducing sustainable solutions into the construction of airport runways.

Tackling climate change is fraught with challenges from inconsistencies in language and measurement, to lack of global alignment and keeping up with rapidly evolving regulation.

I am concerned that the challenge may seem too daunting or the solutions so complex that people either get discouraged or spend too much time debating rather than taking meaningful steps forward.

At The Heritage Group, at least on our sustainability journey, we have adopted the mantra of ‘progress over perfection’ – in other words, even if our action is somewhat imperfect, we’ve ultimately made more progress than if we hadn’t begun at all.

As CEO you oversee The Heritage Group’s portfolio of more than 50 businesses and 7,000 employees. What’s your ethos when it comes to sustainability, capital allocation and investment or acquisitions?

The way we consider sustainability in making investment decisions has changed dramatically. It was always in the ether, but it’s now front and center as a factor that we actively discuss as it relates to strategic investments.

Our portfolio is very diverse. We have some companies that operate directly in the environmental services space and others in various adjacencies around it.

In addition to our core business areas, we have grown our investment thesis into new platforms that ultimately service our sustainability mission. In our HG Ventures portfolio, a hard-tech focused venture strategy, I can’t think of an investment we have made that doesn’t support our sustainability goals.

The DNA of The Heritage Group is in materials science. You have a focus on chemicals, construction materials and environmental services. How are you looking to bring sustainability into these businesses and which one is the hardest to decarbonize?

I’m really proud to be in these sectors and I’m committed to supporting their transition.

When I think about some of our legacy core businesses, we have embraced circularity for a very long time. Take reclaimed asphalt pavement, or RAP, one of the most recycled materials in the U.S., or recovering zinc from one of the largest solid hazardous waste streams in the country.

To decarbonize these businesses, we have long leveraged our Heritage Research Group, which uses science and technology to do more with less and do things differently.

This means harnessing our expertise in specialty chemicals and sustainable fuels to drive development or taking a waste stream from one industry to create an environmentally friendly solution in another or even optimizing processes, not only to reduce waste, but also to decrease our environmental footprint.

Quite often the decarbonization challenge is difficult and instead of leaning in, many investors exit and transfer the problem to someone else. We see that all the time and instead, we are using our expertise in science to drive sustainable solutions.

Which areas are you focused on for new investment and which of your past investments have yielded the biggest sustainability impact?

From an investment perspective, we are always looking at aligning our capabilities with the next emerging macro trend or tailwind – that’s when we are at our best.

Our investment in Cirba Solutions, the largest lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, is a good example of a recent success and where we plan on maintaining our focus in the near term.

Battery recycling is set to benefit from the rapid expansion in the global EV market and the U.S. will continue to develop at a fast pace as there’s a shortage of mineral inputs. Batteries are also associated with geopolitical and societal challenges considering where in the world some of these raw materials are located so recycling can help mitigate these issues.

Our strategy for Cirba Solutions was to look at that emerging opportunity and match it with the expertise within our portfolio companies to accelerate its development.

When I think about our past investments and current capabilities, what gave us the courage to commit to building and ultimately growing Cirba, was our understanding of recycling. We have capabilities in collection, and expertise in the science and technology of reusing materials.

With our track record of successfully handling challenging materials, we see an opportunity to be a leader within that industry. It’s a perfect example of where so many of The Heritage Group’s best capabilities really came together to do something impactful.

To what extent do you think the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is fast tracking decarbonization solutions and is it helping any of your portfolio companies?

I think it’s too early to understand the full impact of the IRA. It is definitely raising awareness, driving capital investment and accelerating the pace of business growth within the green space.

A number of our businesses, including Cirba Solutions, were recipients of federal Department of Energy grants related to their innovative technology. We were fortunate to have Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at our ribbon cutting to celebrate not only the IRA, but what was possible for one of our emerging core businesses.

Envita Solutions is another example of a key Heritage operating business that is helping our customers achieve their goals through the use of data and science to optimize waste management.

While the IRA is not directly benefiting Envita, it is impacting the customers we serve by accelerating their net zero goals and timelines which in turn creates more opportunities.

The IRA is also having a positive effect on our communities. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is one of the best museums in the country, and The Heritage Group helped it apply for a Department of Energy sustainability grant through the IRA. We have a strong passion and commitment towards improving our communities.

Which future technologies are you most excited about?

Every year, around this time, I get really excited about welcoming our hard-tech founders into The Heritage Group Accelerator.

The program brings roughly ten very early stage companies to The Heritage Group for 13 weeks to help launch their sustainability businesses in areas such as green materials, infrastructure, environmental solutions and industrial systems.

It’s inspiring to see so many budding entrepreneurs applying their curiosity, talents and creativity to this space and the number of applicants grows exponentially each year.

Specific technologies capturing my attention include: sustainable aviation fuel, low carbon materials, water technology, and, of course, battery recycling.

There are also brand new technologies that we have never envisioned, which provide a glimpse into the future.

In 2030, The Heritage Group celebrates its centenary. What would you like to achieve by then and what legacy would you like to leave?

As a long term family-owned business, we’re building for generations, leaving people, planet and communities better than when we found them.

I’m fortunate to build upon what came before me at Heritage and to plant the seeds for what will come after, and that’s both a privilege and a responsibility.

Aspirationally, I would like to leave The Heritage Group in a place where it will be successful for the next 100 years, not just the next decade.

That means a focus on top talent. We aim to have a collection of world class businesses where smart, hardworking individuals can make a real difference. We are thinking carefully about the people side of our company because people are our greatest asset and hopefully a part of my legacy.

Who’s your sustainable hero and why?

It would be easy to say my grandfather and father; they had the foresight and courage to introduce sustainability concepts into The Heritage Group at a time when no one was talking about it and really laid the foundations for the businesses that we run today.

But honestly, my sustainable hero is my great-uncle Frank who was the steward of our sustainability journey in the early days, when the environmental industry was so much like the Wild West that we felt uncomfortable operating there.

All leaders have defining moments in their history where they can choose diverging paths and great-uncle Frank’s came soon after we had bought a fledgling environmental business. It was hindered by a series of challenges and leadership at the time was considering getting out and moving on.

But great-uncle Frank said “the world needs people like us in this business so we’re going to lean in, not lean out, and do the right thing, always.”

That really became the fabric and DNA of the business. We never stepped into this because of ESG regulatory pressures, financial returns or to jump on the next big macro trend. My forefathers did it because it was the right thing to do and that has served us at the heart of who we are today.

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Betting On The Future

Embracing Our Heritage While Betting on Our Future

Who We Are

Over the past 90 years, we’ve seen exponential growth, built on the shoulders of the Fehsenfeld family and our extended Heritage family of employees. Four generations of family leadership and our lasting relationships with employees, customers and communities form a foundation that keeps us strong. We started out delivering home heating oil during the Great Depression, and now operate more than 50 companies, employing more than 7,000 hardworking people who want to make a difference. This is our story.

Our History

During the Great Depression, John E. Fehsenfeld embarked on a journey that would shape generations to come. His venture, Crystal Flash, delivered heating oil to families, a bet that would evolve into a collection of filling stations that spanned across Indiana and Michigan. That entrepreneurial spirit along with hard work and dedication was passed down to his sons – Frank, Fred and Mac – who played pivotal roles in the company’s evolution.

Returning from World War II, Fred Fehsenfeld, Sr. recognized a need to drive the company forward. His groundbreaking idea revolutionized the hauling of cut-back asphalt, laying the groundwork for the acquisition of Asphalt Materials in 1955. This same spirit of seeking out opportunities continued into the 1970s when a customer’s request for assistance with hazardous waste prompted an investment in environmental research. We took a risk on environmental services long before “sustainability” became a popular term, simply because it was the right thing to do.

The decades that followed witnessed our expansion into new frontiers. Seizing an opportunity in the early 2000s, we ventured into specialty chemicals with the acquisition of a struggling plant in Houston, cementing our position as a leader in diverse industries.

Our Bet on the Future

The core of our success lies a steadfast commitment to innovation. This dedication is demonstrated through investments in research and development, led by Heritage Research Group and HG Ventures, both of whom foster a culture of forward-thinking and inventive solutions.

With over 90 years of strategic bets, The Heritage Group remains anchored by our people, culture and values. Each milestone, each success, is a testament to the enduring legacy forged by generations of hard work and perseverance. Looking ahead, we are poised to continue a legacy of innovation and growth. By investing in our people and nurturing collaboration, we are laying the groundwork for a brighter, more sustainable future.

 

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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/.