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Mayor Scott Fadness: From Farm to (Round)Table
When Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness was a kid, all he really ever wanted to do was become a farmer. Raised on a farm in North Dakota, he didn't question that he would be the third generation to run the family business. Through what he calls a "strange career trajectory," he now likes to run cities, and he will not be able to hide that passion as he joins us for our Future of Fishers event on July 15. ( Sign up here!)
After the family farm was hit hard by the economy, Scott (right) was 16 when his father moved the family to "town" (Lisbon, ND). His dad became a real estate agent, and after high school, Scott enrolled in the University of North Dakota. He majored in political science, but said "I always liked the idea of being part of something bigger than me." After graduation, he considered an accelerated PhD program, on track to become a political science professor. He quickly learned that with a poly sci degree, there were only two things you could do with that besides teach-be a lawyer or sell cars. On the fateful suggestion of a former professor, Scott switched up his plans and got his Masters in public administration from IU. He picked the top three schools in the field-Harvard, Syracuse, and IU. "I knew I wasn't getting into Harvard, and I got in at Syracuse and IU." After being smacked with the sticker-shock of Syracuse, he chose the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU. "I had never been to Indiana," Scott recalled. "Culturally, Indiana is not much different than North Dakota, which is nice."
While studying in Bloomington, Scott's interest in city management and government heated up. "I thought it would be really cool to run a city someday." Well, it just so happened that the town of Fishers was about to take on its first-ever intern, and guess who filled the vacancy? Scott's internship turned into a job as budget director by 2008, and then he wore the town manager hat in 2011. But as Fishers moved from town-to-city status, Scott resolved to stay through its transition, then move to a city manager post elsewhere. Instead, no suitcases were packed, as Scott couldn't bring himself to leave Fishers. "I brought a great group of people to work here, and we believed in what we were doing and where we were going," he said. With the support of his wife, Auuna, he set his sights on a mayoral run. "We entered the fray of politics, and it was a tough primary and election. But I don't regret a minute of it!"

So, does he shake hands and kiss babies? Scott absolutely loves his residents-their ideas and even their complaints. "I really enjoy talking about what it takes to run a city," said Scott. He's also a self-dubbed policy and government geek. "Talk to me about how a wastewater plant works or the latest trends in policing," he laughed. He does believe strongly in mixing on the ground with his employees and residents-a true sleeves-rolled-up leadership style. Although he knows his role as mayor extends a level of VIP status, he says he's always mindful of the hard work his employees are doing-and sometimes he joins in. Next time it snows in Fishers, look closely at the guy behind the wheel of a city plow. "I love to plow snow," Steve confessed. "It gets me out with the guys, gives me some 'windshield time,' and I'm helping the residents." (He wants everyone to know that if your mailbox gets hit by a tan Yukon, it's not him!)

When he's not working (though he says he is "never not mayor"), Scott spends time with Auuna and their seven-month-old son, Lincoln, whom he calls "a rockstar." One of their favorite places to travel pre-Lincoln was St. John in the US Virgin Islands, and they plan to go back for some snorkeling-it's a place he calls "beautiful, low-key, never crowded. There's no reason to go anywhere else." Closer to home, the couple likes a house full of close friends, or simply taking off in their Jeep and wandering, especially into downtown Indy. You might spot Scott at his favorite hangout: the bar at the fabled St. Elmo. We asked Scott if he had any plans beyond his next five years as mayor of Fishers, and he said that unlike many politicians, he's not warming up the crystal ball to see what's next in his career. "I didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a political figure. I just know that every day, I'm excited to come to this job, so I don't know why I'd be looking for another one."
Tim Monger's Lightbulb Beginnings
HCED president Tim Monger's career path lit up while working summers for a lighting fixture manufacturer in his hometown of Elkhart. But it wasn't the bulbs destined to adorn manufactured homes that held his interest. His employers-turned mentors inspired his future path in management, local government, and commercial real estate, and he'll share his vision for Hamilton County as moderator for our Future of Fishers event on July 15. ( Don't miss it!)
Tim with Dave Blase, whose story was the inspiration for the movie Breaking Away.

Raised in a family of nine kids (Tim was No. 2), his father was an engineer (yes, Purdue!) for Bendix in South Bend, which made missiles for the Navy in its Mishawaka plant. In high school, Tim played football, and his "glory days" story goes like this: "I tell everyone that I played second string to a guy who went on to play for the Air Force Academy and was All-American." During college at Purdue, Tim was drawn to the Youth Service Bureau non-profit organization in Lafayette, which put young people to work in local government jobs in areas like the parks and recreation department. He developed and managed the industry-supported program, which taught skills and job responsibility to at-risk youth, with private sector funds directly paying the wages. After some time spent as head of the federal employment and training program at the county level, Tim entered the Krannert School of Management at Purdue and earned his Master's in public policy and administration.
In 1983, after he completed his graduate work, Tim wanted to be a city manager. There was just a small problem: Cities in Indiana don't offer that post. "I decided that I could either move from Indiana or find a candidate for mayor, help with a campaign, and maybe become a deputy mayor." He couldn't find a candidate, so he put himself on the ballot. "I ran against a three-term incumbent," he recalled. "That was my first mistake." But actually, it was an invaluable time in his career. "The silver lining was we got Mayor Hudnut to come do a fundraiser, and he went door-to-door with me for my campaign." The two became close friends, and Tim eventually worked as Hudnut's executive assistant in Indianapolis. He also worked with former South Bend mayor Joe Kernan. "I have an affinity for mayors, because I tried to become one."
The balance of Tim's career has been spent working in economic development on both local and state levels, and later, he gravitated toward the site-selection process in commercial real estate. His role as SVP for both Colliers International and Cassidy Turley preceded his own consulting business, Monger Solutions. With his background in scouting locations for corporate real estate clients, Tim's role in Hamilton County is similar-and although the county, and specifically Fishers, has experienced rapid growth, Tim noted there is still much work to be done. "We've done research that shows that site selectors and corporate real estate people don't know about us," he shared. "We're the 'outside sales' for Hamilton County." However, Tim (above with his wife and daughters) is excited about the alliance formed with Hamilton County Tourism and the natural synergy between the organizations. "We do business development, they do tourism. Everything fits under the economic development umbrella."

When he's not helping put Hamilton County of the map, Tim likes to spend time with his wife, Kim Parente-Monger, and take road trips to visit extended family. It was wheels-up for the avid cyclist during a recent trip to Florida. "I hauled my bike down there and rode 140 miles on the Panhandle". He's cruised in Tucson, tackled the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington (several times!), and aspires to take on the Rockies in Colorado someday (you may spot him peddling to his office on non-meeting days). He and Kim have three children: Justin, above, a USAF law enforcement officer in the K-9 unit in Phoenix; Addy, the family thespian who's headed to Ball State next fall to study musical theater, and oldest daughter Angie,whose career path closely resembles some of her dad's. After graduating from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Angie worked in public affairs for the Indiana Attorney General. Just last week, Tim returned from Iowa, where he helped her get to the next milestone: field coordinator for Carly Fiorina's presidential campaign. "I'm most proud of my kids and their accomplishments," Tim said. I wonder if he knows that Carly Fiorina's first job was in a real estate office?

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Friday, July 10,  2015

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