Salute to Business winners have a big impact on the South Bend area.
by Heidi Prescott Wieneke
A South Bend native who holds a doctorate in neuroscience. A tireless champion of women. A distinguished leader in health care. A family entertainment center owner. The recipients of the 2015 Salute to Business awards in St. Joseph County, presented by the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of area residents and are drivers for change across the region.
“Each year, we have an impressive list of nominees. At the end of the day, we feel that those that were chosen had differentiated themselves from the competition and that their efforts were worthy of special recognition,” says Jeff Rea, president of the St. Joseph County Chamber. This year, 1st Source Bank served as the title sponsor of the program.
Debie Coble will never forget the look on the face of a woman who sat across from her in a meeting at the Goodwill Industries Elkhart office almost 20 years ago.
While serving as a Goodwill employment services coordinator at the time, Coble offered the woman the results of a work assessment, which would help her to get off government assistance and land back on her feet.
With the right education, Coble informed the downtrodden woman that the assessment showed she would make a perfect paralegal. The woman looked at Coble gratefully. No one had ever believed in her like Coble did.
“No one had ever told her she had that kind of potential,” Coble remembers about the pride the woman showed upon receiving her results. The way she held her head a little higher. The way she carried herself realizing she mattered. “Sometimes I believe in women before they believe in themselves.”
For that belief and the number of women’s lives Coble has touched through the years, Coble received the Athena Award, sponsored by Gurley Leep Automotive Group. The award is presented to individuals who embody the highest level of professional excellence, devote time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and assist women in realizing their leadership potential.
When Coble learned she had won the award, she, too, felt grateful. Helping others is part of her DNA, after all. Mentoring is second nature.
Today, Coble serves as president and chief executive of Goodwill Industries of Michiana, the not-for-profit organization that provides jobs, training and placement services for people facing barriers to employment. What started as a job she thought she might hold for a couple of years has turned into a career of 25 years–and counting.
She’s especially proud of the Beyond Jobs grant the local chapter obtained through a partnership between Goodwill International and the Walmart Foundation. More than 380 women have enrolled in the program that offers free tuition and child care. Women who dropped out of high school because they became pregnant. Women who didn’t return to school. Women who always ran up against roadblocks when it came to juggling education, work and family.
More than 200 women have received a high school diploma and found local employment through the publicly funded program that Coble, not surprisingly, was instrumental in obtaining.
Coble says she always looks for ways she can give someone a hand up. “You have to be intentional in wanting to help people succeed and to always look for opportunities to help people grow,” Coble says. “It’s all about a hand up, giving people a chance to grow and to celebrate their success.”
Small Business of the Year
Paulo Teixeira frequently receives donation requests. But one letter stands out to the owner of Strikes & Spares Entertainment Center in Mishawaka.
A local elementary school student drew several stick figures across the top of a sheet of lined paper. The people were holding books. The boy explained how his school could use a “donashen” for reading night and other special events.
Teixeira could not turn him down. He sent a monetary donation to the school and he also gave the boy a bowling certificate for his family. “I liked your letter very much,” he replied to the youngster. “Your teachers and parents must be very proud of you.”
A professional engineer by training and education, with a master of business administration degree, Teixeira has used everything he learned in his professional career to help him create his own business.
Strikes & Spares received the Small Business of the Year award for its leadership, innovation, economic growth and capital investment. The award was sponsored by Kruggel Lawton CPA of South Bend.
“It has required very hard work, perseverance, great attention to detail and honesty,” he says about opening, sustaining and expanding his 11-year business that has been recognized as a leader in family entertainment center innovation.
All the while, Teixeira has also remained focused on giving back. During the past five years, he has donated more than $160,000 to the community. “I believe that everything you give will come back to you double,” Teixeira says. “I always like to help when I can.”
Strikes & Spares opened its doors as a bowling center in the heart of a popular retail and restaurant corridor. Within a couple of years, however, Teixeira realized that bowling lanes were not enough to sustain the business long term. He needed to expand to add attractions that would make the center a destination.
But he decided to make this investment at a time when many retail businesses and bowling centers were struggling and closing in 2008 and 2009.
Still, Teixeira forged ahead and leased adjacent space in the building to construct a nine-hole black-light indoor miniature golf course and electric go-karts. He added bumper cars and mini bowling, remodeled the arcade and snack area and installed LED monitors in the bowling lanes. “We kept adding more and more attractions to prepare ourselves for better times, believing that those better times would come back,” Teixeira says.
The strategy sustained Strike & Spares through the Great Recession, and the business has doubled in size and doubled its revenue since 2009. But Teixeira’s focus has extended far beyond the books and business numbers. His business caters to people with special needs. He works with the University of Notre Dame to provide activities that integrate students into the community.
Teixeira is never happier than when he’s watching patrons have fun. “One of the things I like the most is when I go to the kart area and we have a little oval track for the kids,” he says. “I like to stand in the first curve of that track because that’s where you can see the smiles the best. The 4- and 5-year-olds come around that curve and smile ear-to-ear. It’s so rewarding.”
Distinguished Business Leader
Phil Newbold rises every morning at 4:45 to train. He has completed 19 Ironman triathlons, has led a 7,000-employee health care system for an unprecedented timespan, and has never missed a son’s or daughter’s soccer game, school play, mock trial or parent-teacher conference.
To say that Newbold is highly disciplined is an understatement. “And the plate is pretty darn full,” he admits.
But it’s also an understatement to say Newbold has had a positive impact on health care in South Bend, especially given his duration in the community. The average turnover rate of a hospital chief executive is 40 months. Newbold has been chief executive of Memorial Hospital and Beacon Health System in South Bend for 27 years. He came in to turn the hospital around, to improve management and solve some financial challenges.
His numerous achievements led to Newbold receiving the W. Scott Miller Distinguished Business Leader award, which is given to an individual who has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, made significant contributions to the area business environment and has shown personal involvement and commitment to the community. The award was sponsored by Burkhart Media of South Bend.
“It’s not just about making money, it’s about making a difference and hopefully I have something to do with that,” Newbold says about his years as a business leadership.
His signature accomplishment is the formation of Beacon Health System, an affiliation between Memorial Hospital and Elkhart General Hospital that has helped the organization recognize significant cost savings through leveraged buying power and expanded physician recruitment opportunities and specialty coverage.
Newbold also founded the Pfeil Innovation Center, which assists local businesses and nonprofit organizations to be more competitive and integrate innovation into their workplaces. He has spearheaded Beacon Health System’s national reputation for innovation and implemented one of the nation’s first hospital tithing programs, which has produced dozens of health outreach programs.
“You can do a lot of good,” Newbold says about the 23 years the tithing program has been investing in community health projects.
His focus has always been on excellence. And on innovation. “We’d go on a lot of trips to see somebody who was doing it better than we were doing it. People tend to stay within their industry, but cross-industry learning is the most powerful and leveraged learning,” he says.
Newbold is not afraid to try something new. Or to fall down. “We make a lot of mistakes and a lot of things don’t work. But you learn from them.”
Newbold lives by an Oscar Wilde quote that sits on his desk. “In the end, the only thing one does not regret is one’s own mistakes.”
“What that tells me is that you don’t regret your own mistakes in the end, you’ll never regret those things, because you tried. No, you regret the things you had not gotten around to doing. It’s when you have big dreams and never do anything about them.”
Economic Impact Award
Wellbrooke of South Bend is anything but another nursing home. “It’s a new choice and a better choice,” says Doug Peterson, vice president of development for Carmel-based Mainstreet, which developed and built the 100-bed post-acute care center on the city’s north side.
Wellbrooke received the Economic Impact Award for its $14 million investment in the facility, which will create 100 permanent jobs when the 66,000-square-foot center is fully operational. The award was sponsored by Specialized Staffing Solutions of South Bend.
Facility construction commenced in July 2013, creating more than 350 construction jobs. It opened in September 2014 and provides transitional care after cardiac events, including stroke, and hip and knee replacements.
The average length of stay in post-acute care centers today is under 30 days. “Baby boomers today want to get better and get back home,” he says. “Our focus is on providing a hospitality-type environment that is rehab-focused. They are comfortable, almost like a hotel stay, and they’re on a rehab program that is aimed at getting them back home as quickly as possible.”
Wellbrooke of South Bend provides such amenities as a movie theater, hair salon, reflection room and game room. An onsite chef gives residents the opportunity to order off the menu, like a restaurant. Walking trails offer guests the chance to get outside for strolls on the property.
“We don’t want people to feel like they have to stay in their room all day,” Peterson says. “The design is driven by providing a wide variety of options and common areas and activities.”
Outstanding Young Business Leader
After Shane Fimbel received his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Notre Dame, he could have worked anywhere in the world. But he chose to work in South Bend.
The chief operating officer at Union Station Technology Center, Fimbel has helped put South Bend on the map in information technology. Located in a former train station, Union Station has attracted national and multinational corporations to house IT infrastructure south of downtown South Bend.
Fimbel has led Union Station to four consecutive years of 40 percent growth, making it one of Indiana’s premier carrier hotels. Fimbel received the Outstanding Young Business Leader Award, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels.
In a way, the technology center has helped South Bend return to its manufacturing roots. It leverages the core infrastructure located in that district for high-growth businesses that want space, power and connectivity to power.
“We’re a high-tech landlord, but we’re leasing high-tech real estate to people to build their own successes at Union Station and in the Renaissance District, at the old Studebaker complex,” Fimbel says.
But he isn’t stopping there. It’s Fimbel’s goal to bring 1,000 business professionals and their families to South Bend during his lifetime. Fimbel is 35.
He wants to start more companies, having about a dozen already under his belt, to grow more companies and acquire more companies. “The baby boomer is retiring and looking for the person they can trust to carry their business forward,” he says. “I believe there will be a tsunami of businesses that need that help in the coming years.”
Fimbel said South Bend’s biggest challenge is believing in itself. “My goal is to provide folks in our area the permission to believe,” he says. “If we believe in ourselves, we can plant the flag and say, ‘This is and should be the type of place for this kind of business.'”