When he became Dean of Butler University’s Lacy School of Business in 2014, Steve Standifird wanted to get to know the Indiana business community. He quickly learned that the heart of that community can be found in the state’s more than 500,000 closely held businesses, which employ over 2.5 million Hoosiers.
Armed with that knowledge, he flew east to see Franchon Smithson ’73, MBA ’74, the former CFO of the $16 billion New York-based private equity General Atlantic. Over breakfast in a Connecticut restaurant, they sketched out the concept to create a center for closely held business. Standifird returned to Indianapolis determined to find a partner—not a sponsor. He approached Evansville-based Old National Bank knowing their strong support for the region’s closely-held businesses. Old National Bank was immediately drawn to the idea and a partnership was born: Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business.