Robert, who has been hailed as “the great communicator” by influential and award-winning Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully, is the principal of Veteran Strategies. He served his country in the United States Army as a public affairs specialist and broadcast journalist and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
As deputy chief of staff and communications director for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (2008 to 2010), Robert coordinated messaging, briefed the media and led community outreach for numerous high-profile projects, issues and events. Among these was the successful $2 billion initiative by the mayor’s office to transfer the water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group. The plan and its execution earned endorsements from The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Business Journal and Engineering News Record.
In 2014, Robert planned and executed a successful media strategy for the $160 million partnership between the city of Indianapolis, the Capital Improvement Board, and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. In 2018, Veteran Strategies directed the $272 million referenda effort on behalf of Indianapolis Public Schools. Voters passed each referendum with more than 70 percent of the vote.
Current and past clients of Veteran Strategies include Greg Ballard, LLC, Anthem, Ricker’s, The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Indy Eleven NASL soccer, Develop Indy, Mike Pence for Indiana, Marian University, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, Charter Schools USA, Denison Parking, the Capital Improvement Board, Flaherty and Collins, Shiel Sexton Co., Stand for Children, and Indianapolis Public Schools.
Robert’s columns and opinion pieces have appeared in both The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis Business Journal. Additionally, Robert has provided on-air commentary for radio stations such as WIBC and the local ABC, CBS, PBS, and FOX television affiliates.
Episode | March 23rd, 2020 | 1 hr 2 mins
Jamie Merisotis, CEO of the Lumina Foundation, is this week’s guest on the ‘Leaders and Legends’ podcast. Lumina is one of the largest private foundations in the United States. They are a critical engine in driving student access to, and success in, education after high school. We are incredibly fortunate to have Lumina headquartered right here in Indianapolis. Jamie is one of the most talented leaders in the world today—I hope you will listen to our podcast with him.
Episode | March 16th, 2020 | 1 hr 5 mins
On this week’s ‘Leaders and Legends’ podcast, we discuss the career of the man more responsible than anyone else for Indianapolis’ magnificence and transformation: Mayor Bill Hudnut. We are joined by three people who worked with him and knew him as well as anyone: Joe Slash, Lesa Dietrick, and Dave Arland. If you love our city, you will love hearing about how Mayor Hudnut’s leadership made it happen.
Episode | March 9th, 2020 | 1 hr 6 mins
Jeff Smulyan is one of Indianapolis’ most prominent and generous citizens. On this week’s “Leaders and Legends” podcast, Jeff joins us to discuss his career as an entrepreneur, being a proud Hoosier, his love of history, and how he invented the concept of sports talk radio.
Episode | March 2nd, 2020 | 1 hr 11 mins
Judge Sarah Evans Barker not only has received “Living Legend” status from the Indiana Historical Society, but also has served on the federal bench since 1984. She sits down with Danielle Shockey and me to discuss her career, being a Hoosier, and why all the hours I’ve spent watching “Law & Order” don’t make me qualified to argue in her courtroom.
Episode | February 24th, 2020 | 1 hr 43 secs
Michael Browning is one of the most successful and impactful business and civic leaders in the history of modern Indianapolis; but not only that, he is also a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Our conversation with Michael covers his time as a student at Notre Dame where he met Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 campaign and the importance of our city’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Episode | February 17th, 2020 | 1 hr 3 mins
In 2003, Kathy Davis became the first female Lieutenant Governor in Indiana history. On this week’ ‘Leaders and Legends’ podcast, which was recorded at the Golden Ace, we talk with Kathy about her terrific career in public service, the fun she is having as an entrepreneur, and exactly how much brainpower it takes to get degrees both from Harvard and M.I.T.
52: Greg Renoff, Author of “Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal"
Episode | February 10th, 2020 | 1 hr 30 mins
Van Halen’s eruption onto the national music scene began 42 years ago today—on February 10, 1978. Historian and author Greg Renoff penned a history of the band’s early years titled “Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal.” If you are a fan of the band, the time period, or music in general, please listen to Professor Renoff give us the inside story of how Van Halen—and particularly its guitarist—changed music.
Episode | February 3rd, 2020 | 1 hr 7 mins
This week’s ‘Leaders and Legends’ podcast gives you the inside story about how Indianapolis won the right to host a Super Bowl and how things like the Super Bowl Village and the Zip Line became a reality. Our guests are Mark Miles, chairman of the Super Bowl Committee; Mel Raines, VP of Event Operations for the Committee, and the official Mayor of the podcast, Greg Ballard, USMC.
Episode | January 27th, 2020 | 1 hr 13 mins
Eddie White is one of the most recognizable names and personalities in our Hoosier sports and entertainment culture. He joins the “Leaders and Legends” podcast again to discuss his attendance at 26 Super Bowls, tells us stories about the games, and how he developed friendships with celebrities like Whitney Houston. We are very grateful to Eddie for his time and friendship.
Episode | January 20th, 2020 | 55 mins 9 secs
Angela Brown is one of our state’s greatest treasures. A graduate of Crispus Attucks, Angela is an opera singer who has performed all around the globe. She talks with us about her childhood in Indianapolis, her career and travels, and why it is critical to make the arts a part of a person’s education.
Episode | January 13th, 2020 | 1 hr 3 mins
Mike Riley was the campaign director for Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign in Indiana in 1968. He sits down with the “Leaders and Legends” podcast to discuss that campaign and the experience of working with the Kennedys
Episode | January 6th, 2020 | 1 hr 8 mins
Robin Winston and Mike McDaniel were friends while serving as chairmen of their respective political parties and remain friends today. On today’s “Leaders and Legends” podcast Robin and Mike talk about their lives in politics and share some funny stories and great memories. We are very grateful to Jim Shella for serving as co-host.
Episode | December 30th, 2019 | 1 hr 16 mins
We learned a lot about people, places, and events during our “Leaders and Legends” podcasts in 2019. On today’s episode, Chris Spangle talks with your usual host about the podcast, his background, and what we are going to hear about in 2020.
Episode | December 16th, 2019 | 1 hr 5 mins
Congressman Andy Jacobs fought for his country and he fought for his city. He remains one of the shining examples of true public service. On this week’s “Leaders and Legends” podcast, we sit down with three people who knew Andy well—Kim Hood Jacobs, Louis Mahern, and Bill Blomquist—to talk about his career, his military service, and his impact on Indianapolis.
Episode | December 9th, 2019 | 1 hr 6 mins
Paul Okeson and Mike O’Connor served as chief of staff to Mayors Ballard and Peterson respectively. They were known both for their political savvy and also for their willingness to put politics aside to get things done. In this week’s “Leaders and Legends” podcast, we talk to them about the unique challenges they faced and how their time on the 25th floor affected their lives. I love them both.
Episode | December 2nd, 2019 | 1 hr 41 secs
Brian Payne’s impact on our city and its connectivity includes the Cultural Trail, but also includes so much more than that. On this week’s “Leaders and Legends” podcast, we talk with Brian about his love for our city, his championing of the arts, and what’s next for the Central Indiana Community Foundation.