News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 3, 2013

Chamber of Commerce hands out annual awards

Servpro is business of year; Wright Pool Service is fastest growing

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — For Chad Overton, owner of Servpro, there are two keys to a successful business.

“Marry an unbelievable woman, because the lows are low and the highs are high, but you always need someone in your corner,” he said. Next, “surround yourself with people a lot smarter than you,” he said, quietly adding, “but never tell them.”

Overton, 38, was recognized with the Small Business of the Year for 2012 honor Thursday, one of four awards presented as part of the Business Recognition Awards from the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon at the Meadows Banquet and Conference Center.

The awards are part of Business Recognition Week, sponsored by Union Hospital, which included a Business Expo held at Hulman Center.

Opened in 1999, Servpro of Vigo County is the largest Servpro franchise in Indiana. The company, a disaster restoration firm, operates two locations and services 10 counties in the Wabash Valley. It is also among the top 25 Servpro franchises in the nation.

Overton praised his 25 full-time employees.

“We don’t meet people that are happy. Your house is flooded, your car caught on fire, but yet these [employees] show up every day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whether that falls on Christmas or what, with a great smile and great attitude,” Overton said.

“They are just wonderful, wonderful people. It is such an honor to be with them,” Overton said as he accepted the award, which exemplifies the spirit of free enterprise, risk-taking, innovation and strengthening community spirit.

The company has supported Chances for Youth, Race for the Cure, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and Indiana State University athletics. Overton is a 1996 graduate of ISU and his wife, Natalie, is a 2001 ISU graduate.

n Another award winner, Jonathon Wright, is a 10-year veteran firefighter for Honey Creek Fire Department, but since 2002 has successfully grown his business — Wright’s Pool Service.

Wright won the fast-growing business award, as he had a 50 percent growth in gross income in 2012 over 2011.

“We started with service and cleanings and regular maintenance. We started [pool] installations about six years ago,” Wright said. “The economy really has not affected us too much. In all honesty, we haven’t seen a major difference or decline. We believe that people are wanting to stay home instead of take a vacation. They want to either add to their backyard or fix up their backyard to do stuff at home. You can use your pool and backyard every day,” he said.

The company now has 10 full-time workers in the seasonal business. Each employee also works elsewhere, said Wright, a 2002 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School. The company currently is renovating Deming Park’s Deming Dipper and a pool at the Landing at Fort Harrison.

Wright said the next step for his business will likely be retail pool supply sales, a move he hopes to make within a  year.

n Col. Donald Bonte of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard, accepted the Green Business award. Over the past six years, the wing’s hazardous waste generation has been among the lowest of all national guard units at less than 1 ton annually, at an annual cost of $2,500.

The wing has installed energy-saving water supply pumps and ventilation motors and participated in recycling, delivering its baled cardboard, plastic bottles and office papers to ISU’s Recycling Center. The 181st has won six Indiana Air National Guard environmental volunteer awards since 2007.

Bonte said the 181st Wing next is slated in 2014 to install a geothermal exchange system, which primarily will be used for cooling for the wing’s facility at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field. The system will use water from a coal mine under the base and is expected to cut energy costs in half. Paul Davis, environmental specialist for the 181st, said a 142-foot hole was bored to reach water, which is 55 degrees, that will be used for the system.

n Mel Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center Inc., accepted a Healthy Workplace Award. Hamilton Center developed a web-based resource from which employees can access information on nutrition, fitness and health. It also has an annual health fair and offers discounted gym memberships and provides an on-site gym.

“We incorporated health foods in our snack machines and conduct weight loss challenges and also provide employees free time, about 15 minutes, where employees can go outside and walk,” Burks said. “In the fitness center, we also provide employees with unbuttered popcorn.”

All nominations were reviewed, with statewide Chamber executives selecting winners. The awards have been presented annually since 2006.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or