Get to Know Kokomo Businessmen
Jeff Stout In Loving Memory
When Jeff and I sat down to talk about the purchase of Cone Palace…. he said: “Tam Tam, it’s already established. All we need to do is build the rapport with staff and treat them like family and get to know our customers on a first name basis.” He then used the analogy….. it’s like the Cheers theme song. Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Stouty told me that is how he has grown the family funeral business to what is today. Building personal relationships and genuinely caring about all the people you come in contact with. Jeff always used the saying…. treat others how you would want to be treated. With the Bible verse, “Do unto others as you would have others to do unto you”. Jeff had a heart of gold and a passion for working. But most importantly, giving back to the staff, customers, and the community to pay it forward was what made him successful.
Thank you for honoring my husband that has proved what success really is! A heart that is dedicated, and not just out for personal financial growth! I am sure Jeff has found a way to work in heaven. I know if he could give one bit of advise today where he may have fallen short serving the community. It would be: Take time to enjoy life. Make time for your family and friends as you’re climbing to the top and growing your business. You get one chance to write your personal story. Only you can fill in the chapters between the dashes. Always be humble and kind and make each day count! Keep smiling! -Tami Stout
Tyler Moore Mayor of Kokomo
“Kokomo has always been known for its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, which is the main reason we are called “The City of Firsts”. Throughout our community’s history there have been men and women who have been trailblazers for our economy, and today’s business leaders are no different. As some dynamic businesswomen were featured in an earlier edition of Kokomo Magazine, it’s an honor to be given the opportunity to help highlight some of the men from our local economy who work tirelessly to continue to make Kokomo a leader in our region of the state. One of those businessmen that specifically comes to mind—and who is unfortunately no longer with us—is Jeff Stout. One thing I learned from my father in our family-owned business is that any successful business is a result of positive relationships both internally within ones company and externally with their customers or clients. Jeff Stout epitomized this practice and perfected it in a way that was in inspiration to so many in the Kokomo/Howard County business community. His legacy lives on in everything he touched and in everyone he met. Kokomo and Howard County’s economy is stronger today because of businessmen like Jeff Stout and so many others through the years. “ –Mayor Tyler Moore
Brad Zeck, North Central Outdoor Power
I grew up here and graduated from Northwestern High School. Starting North Central Outdoor Power was just an off the wind thing. I decided on it one Saturday. I work alongside my wife Dee Dee. We have been married 32 years and she has been the rock in the business since it started. When I have some free time, I enjoy going to tractor pulls. But that doesn’t happen too often. We are much too busy for that!
Dr. Frank Johnson, MD
I’ve been working in Kokomo since 1990. I’m fellowship-trained in sports medicine but these days I’m also doing a lot of knee replacements. So, I’ve had four generations of the same family as patients. I’ve always been a sports fanatic! I really enjoyed donating my services as team physician for Kokomo High School. I got to travel with the football team and both boys’ and girls’ basketball. I did it for 18 years and loved it.
Josh Taylor, Taylored PC
I got my associate’s degree in PC Support from Kokomo Ivy Tech. What I like best is satisfying customers’ needs. I do a lot of virus removal and cleanups, but I also set up both home and business computer systems. What has been great lately, is that I can fix customer’s computers remotely. In my free time, I like to bowl and my wife Katie and I love to visit my in-laws at their RV site.
Larry Barnhart, Backalley Brewing
I lucked into this job. It is my third adult job and I found something I really enjoy. Bicycling has been part of our culture since the 1800s. It’s a great way to get outside, but some people rely on bikes for transportation. Over the years I’ve been very active in the local bike club. I also belong to the Home Brew Club and am involved in Ales for Tails, a fundraiser that benefits the Humane Society.
JR McIntire, Crystal Wand Creations
We came here 18 years ago from Denver. Kokomo is an amazing place and we love it here. We have traveled a lot and seen a lot of different cultures and types of art. Our shop became a cumulation of our loves. We donate time to Kokomo Rescue Mission to help people get back on their feet. Music is a huge love of ours, so we are involved in Rhum Academy of Music.
Doug McCool, McCool’s Flooring
McCool’s Flooring has been in business for 53 years. When I was growing up, we had a little store behind our house. When a customer came, my mom would go outside and greet them. I loved seeing that interaction. Now, years later, I love flooring but it’s the people we serve that makes it enjoyable. I feel that faith and commitment to community go hand in hand, so I’ve served on the board of our church other groups.
Rob Armstrong, Star Building Supply
I bought the business in 2007. I never wanted to be the biggest, but the best at serving others with great quality products. I surround myself with a great staff and we enjoy bringing people’s dreams about a kitchen or deck to a reality. My grandfather was the best teacher I ever had. I could run anything past him. I’m a big believer in giving back and I’ve been involved with organizations such as Rotary, Red Cross and Salvation Army.
Justin Roberts, DDS
I decided to become a dentist after I shadowed my sister, who is a dental assistant in Shelbyville. When I can fix a problem and see patients walk out the door in such a better state, it’s wonderful. My wife Marsi and I have five children and are licensed foster parents. We have a hobby farm where we raise goats that the kids show in 4-H. The COVID pandemic has been a setback but I feel those that fight against fear, come out ahead.
Brian Mast, Ace Automotive
I graduated from Eastern High School and worked at McGonigal’s for many years. I became involved in Ace Automotive when a mechanic approached me to partner with him. I took over the company in 2006. I treat other people the way I want to be treated, so I was proud we were named in the 2019 Best of Kokomo for our breaks and service. When I’m not working, I enjoy barbecuing with my family and going to races.
Ken Broniak, KB Print Company
I graduated from Kokomo High School and went on to Kokomo Ivy Tech. Currently I’m finishing up a second degree in Cypher Security which I should be done with in December. My hope is to expand the business by offering some IT consultation for our customers. My wife Kasey and I enjoy spending time with our kids at home as well as going on family vacations. I don’t want to take anything for granted because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Shawn Hilton, Comics Cubed
I’ve been involved with comic books since second grade. My parents considered my reading to be poor so my dad bought me comic books. I couldn’t wait to see my tutor so I could read the words in the comic books. Comics Cubed will have its 10th anniversary this September but we have developed a community on Facebook as well. We have live shows that are interactive. We treat customers like extended family. We know names and what they are interested in.
Troy Caldwell, Caldwell Monument
My grandfather started Caldwell Monument in 1947, but I never planned on working in the business. I ended up falling in love with it and have traveled all over the country to earn certifications and learn from others. However, I won’t force my family to be in the business because I wasn’t forced! I enjoy being a mentor through Preserve Marriage Ministry. Family and church are very important to me.
Terry Tracy, All Pro Plumbing
Here’s what some of our team members had to say about Terry’s leadership:
Becky: I appreciate Terry because no matter what, he always gives a smile, a word of encouragement and helps find a solution. He pours himself into his family, All-Pro team and business. What an example!
Mike: Terry is a stunning example of a man that one should strive to be, both in business & personal facets of life. There are very few men who can compare to his kindness, ambition, leadership & willingness to teach.
Josh: His leadership has helped push me to be a better man and to be a stronger person.
James: Terry’s patience by far has been something great to witness, he is much more than just a boss but a great mentor, role model and leader.
Kristina: His compassion and unwavering faith in both his own potential and that of all those around him encourages me daily to become the best version of myself not only in the company, but in all aspects of my life.
Todd Jordon, Kokomo Toys & Collectibles
I was born and raised in Kokomo. My biggest influence was from my grandfather, Hugene “Gene” Jordan. I do everything I can to mimic the same work ethic he had. We are a proud supporter of We Care, Rescue Mission and Civic Theater. I’ve traveled all over and this community is by far one of the most caring, hardworking and resilient people you will find in the world. I’m happy to live, work and raise a family here.
Mike Martino, Martino’s Italian Villa
I’m from Kokomo and went to Northwestern High School and then Ball State. There were a couple of teachers from high school that made an impact on me. They encouraged me to be persistent and do the right thing. The best part of my job is the great clientele and the staff that are instrumental in our success. I love being outside and I really want to hit the Nickel Plate Trail this year, especially the bridge over 931.
Brian Pearcy, Farm 2 Fork BBQ
I’ve always been passionate about barbecue and I’m not afraid to try out of the ordinary stuff. I wanted to bring something to the Kokomo community that people couldn’t find anywhere else. In 2020, we will move to a new location at Southway Boulevard and 931. We’ll have an expanded menu, indoor seating and be able to serve beer and wine. In my free time I’ve enjoyed being a Freemason for the last five years.
Steve Rector, Edward Jones
I grew up in the Muncie area. Pam Meier-Fisher, a teacher in middle school, impacted my life by believing my abilities. In 2020 we want to partner with the local Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. We hope to raise awareness and lead some fundraising activities such as Walk to End Alzheimer’s. My wife and I have a blast leading premarital retreats for Preserve Marriage Ministry. We are a collection site for Toys for Tots and I mentor through Bridges Outreach’s Project 30.
Andy Hardie, The Hardie Group
The best thing about Kokomo is the people! They are so loving and generous along with being resilient and having a sense of pride for our community. I am one of quadruplets and my parents were in the real estate business. They are the most giving and humblest people anyone could meet. I stay busy in many organizations but I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m the board chairman of Bridges Outreach and on the boards of Rescue Mission and HUDDLE.