Influential Figures from Indianapolis

Frank VogelFrank Vogel

Named permanent head coach with NBA team the Indiana Pacers in July of 2011, having previously held the role on a temporary basis for the last 38 games of the 2010-’11 season, Vogel is at the age of 39the second youngest coach in the NBA right now, and last year took the Pacers to their first playoff in four seasons. He also appeared on David Letterman’s chat show as a youngster which is a happy coincidence…

David LettermanDavid Letterman

The jut-jawed, fast-talking chat show host actually hails from Indianapolis, and has spent the last 30 of his years entertaining Americans with his witty brand of banter. Over the years Letterman has interviewed countless celebrities, and his irreverent style and occasionally biting sense of humour is often said to have provided the template for British broadcaster Jonathan Ross’s approach to the chat show.

Krzysztof UrbanskiKrzysztof Urbanski

Polish-born but now based in the US, Urbanski is the Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as being chief conductor with the Trondheim Symfoniorkester, and has been described as “one of the most impressive leaders that we have seen since the departure of the unforgettable YakovKreizberg” according to one critic.

Justin OhlemillerJustin Ohlemiller

Vice-President of Trendyminds advertising agency, the company claims to be ‘more connected than Kevin Bacon’ and Ohlemiller himself refers to himself as a ‘political junkie’, having worked as staff writer and press assistant for the Mayor of Indianapolis before joining the office of US Congressman Andre Carson in 2009. Currently, Ohlemiller focuses on client strategy – that and following his team the Indianapolis Colts.

Matthew L HuncklerMatthew L Hunckler

The 25-year-old founder of Verge, a network of entrepreneurs, software developers and business investors, Hunckler’s company makes money through sponsorship deals and he believes the organisation will continue to grow over the coming months and years. “If anything has more leverage than entrepreneurship itself, it’s fueling entrepreneurship as more entrepreneurs happen in Indianapolis and Indiana in general,” he said. “You don’t have to work for somebody else. You can still create value as an entrepreneur.”

Scott A Brenton

Brenton is the Chief Operating Officer of Angie’s List, a company that has 750 employees and collects and distributes information and tools listing the details of plumbers, roofers, painters, and other tradesmen, so enabling members to retrieve information, either online or using mobile phones. Brenton is also on the board at Techpoint, which enables tech-based companies to promote their wares.

Derek EmpieDerek Empie

This Associate General Counsel at Indiana University Health wasn’t always in the business of law; before he made the move to becoming an attorney, Empie was a broadcast sports professional who worked for NBC, ESPN and Turner Broadcasting. But Empie is frank about his reasons for a change of career. “You work a lot of hours, travel all over the place. The pay is really low.” So Empie decided to get a law degree, and when the opportunity arose, he wasn’t afraid to seek a change in career.


Asad is a singer-songwriter with Sound Thought Recordings, a member of the Nu-Soul Collective, and a man whose sound has been defined as “indy-soul”. Citing influences like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Asad intends to “breathe new life” into the music scene, claiming “music is my weapon of choice – what’s yours?”

Whitney ColemanWhitney Coleman

A graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and all time record holder for most points scored for basketball at the Institute, Coleman is now based in Indianapolis, where in addition to working on a PhD, she performs at venues such as Jazz Kitchen, Locals Only, Blue Moon Sunday and Tantrum Lounge. Coleman’s style encompasses both singing and rap, while she is also a self-taught but accomplished musician, playing bass, drums, flute and guitar, largely thanks to the influence of her father – Gregory Coleman Sr, a former guitar player for The Orlons and Sister Sledge.

Tiara Thomas

Singer-songwriter Thomas is another rapper/singer self-taught guitarist who grew up listening to Lauryn Hill, and recently signed to the Board Administration marketing label along with artists like Black Cobain and Mz Sasha. Thomas is currently hard at work on her debut album, Sallie Mae – and finishing her college degree. “I did three years of college, I got all these student loans; at least I’m going to get something from it, I’m going to get a freaking degree!”

Adam LambertAdam Lambert

This American Idol contestant is the first openly gay mainstream pop artist to sign a record contract with a major label in the US, and his Trespassing album reached No. 1 in the Billboard 200 albums chart in May 2012. He has worked withhighly respected songwriters like Lady Gaga, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer fame, and even Justin Hawkins of the Darkness.

Tom Crean

Currently the head coach of the Hoosiers, the men’s basketball team at Indiana University, in 2012 ESPN named Crean as their National Coach of the Year, while Sporting News granted him a similar honour. Crean initially couldn’t bring success to the Hoosiers’, but after three losing seasons the team attracted better players, including the highly rated Cody Zeller, and in the 2011-12 season the Hoosiers beat both the No. 1 and 2 rated sides  en route to a 15 game win improvement compared to 2010-11.

Steve Colton

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