Born: Muncie, Indiana
Occupation: I’m a business banker. It’s commercial lending, loans and depository relationships with locally owned businesses. Every bank has a different title, so I usually just say commercial lender.
Family: Wife, Katie Greiner, works at Watts Family Dentistry and coaches volleyball at Columbus North High School, no children. Mother Jan Harris, campaign coordinator for United Way. Father, Doug Harris, works at Centra Credit Union.
Hobbies: Sports are my hobbies. I’m a recreational sports fanatic. All through college, I did flag football and softball and since I’ve moved back home, I’ll pick up a hockey stick and do some rec hockey. Out of college I managed the ice rink here in town.
● Why and when did you move to Columbus?
I moved to Columbus in 2000 because my dad works for Centra Credit Union. It’s funny because when you move into town at that age everybody always asks what Cummins job your dad has.
● What are you involved in with the community?
The Columbus Young Professionals, which I am the current president of, is really my business and social connection, and it’s a good contact with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. I also serve on the board of Sans Souci, the low-cost, no-cost thrift store here in town. Out of college, I worked there for a summer helping out. When I moved back to Columbus full-time I saw a need to serve on the board there, and I’ve been there for about three years now. I also help out with the annual United Way campaign. Working with businesses on a full-time basis, I have contacts so I help out on the fundraising drive. The reason I like staying involved is that I realized being the husband of a high school sports coach, you find that from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every night or on weekends she’s at practices or tournaments, so you have some time. Also, as some CYP members have transitioned out, we’ve found that there are participants in the community who want to improve it and they take active roles. There are also young professionals who come in, do their work, eat lunch and then head out to whatever community they live in. So, in my role I am trying to encourage community involvement.
What was your first job?
My true first job, I worked at a concession stand at a local pool. But that summer, me and a buddy started our own lawn mowing company. It was a cash cow job. I still have the receipt somewhere from my first $1,000 saved. Mowing, you can get 20 bucks a yard and at that age, what are you really spending money on? Now, I’ve been guilty of paying someone a couple of times myself.
What primary lessons did you learn from that job that have helped you today?
With the mowing, it was the customer appreciation and attention to detail. Essentially, someone is giving you 20 bucks and saying “go mow my lawn.” You think you know what you are doing, because you’ve mowed your parent’s lawn, but you’ve got to make sure you are paying attention to the edging and the blowing of the grass and not missing spots. The sales part of it was important, too. We just went door to door with some flyers and knocked and asked and that’s an uncomfortable thing for a kid to do.
What are the biggest leadership lessons you have learned?
When it comes to leadership, even in that job, I had a partner. So, I learned, for your own success, you need the help of your peers and co-workers. It’s effectively working with them and even your bosses and subordinates to make sure you are all working toward the same goal.
How did you develop your leadership capabilities?
I think it has a lot to do with my parents and my wife. My parents have always been in leadership roles and have always been very involved in the communities. They really promoted it. When I took this job, which is a very community-involved job, I had a conversation with my parents. They pointed out that since I was going to live in the community full-time I needed to take on roles that are helping the community. Having a wife who coaches volleyball, you see her interaction with the kids and the teachers and (community involvement) kind of becomes your table-top conversation.
What are some of the examples that demonstrate the level of community involvement in Columbus?
Leadership Bartholomew County really opened my eyes to all of the leadership needs in Columbus and how they are getting filled and what roles in the community fit your skill set. Some people look for a board they can get into to put something on their resumes, but with Leadership Bartholomew County, you see that it’s really about becoming a part of your community. You realize how great this community is and what it has to offer, but you also see how many people it takes to make it that way.
What advice do you have for people who want to become more involved?
Find what you like about Columbus and pursue that. Every interest has some kind of organization behind it that is supporting it. If you have the time, Leadership Bartholomew County goes a long way toward teaching people to not only be leaders, but how to get involved in the community in which we live.