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 | May 27th, 2019 | 1 hr 2 mins
Mark Miles is one of the pre-eminent leaders in modern Indianapolis. Declared a ‘Living Legend’ by the Indiana Historical Society, Mark has managed political campaigns, ran the Pan Am Games in 1987, headed the men’s professional tennis tour (the ATP), was chairman of Indy’s Super Bowl effort, and now is CEO of Hulman and Company. Please join Danielle and me as we ask Mark about his astoundingly successful career.
Episode | May 20th, 2019 | 1 hr 9 mins
Allison Melangton is simply one of the most phenomenal leaders in the history of modern Indianapolis. She’s worked the Olympics, led the Indiana Sports Corporation, and served as CEO of the spectacular Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee. Please listen to “Leaders and Legends” as Allison details her career and some of her biggest challenges. Special thanks to my co-host Danielle Shockey of the Girl Scouts
Episode | May 13th, 2019 | 1 hr 1 min
The passing of Senator Richard Lugar has caused many from the Hoosier State (and beyond) to reflect on the senator’s life and legacy. In a very special “Leaders and Legends” podcast, we brought together three people who knew the senator very well. Please join Gail Lowry, Jim Morris, and Jim Shella for an hour of fun, candid, and informative conversation about the former mayor of Indianapolis and the only six-term senator in Indiana history.
Episode | May 6th, 2019 | 1 hr 8 mins
Tim Swarens is a good friend who had a journalism career that spanned more than 30 years. He covered the Challenger explosion, the execution of Ted Bundy, Indy’s Super Bowl, and RFRA. Tim is unfailingly honest about the big events in Indiana and beyond that caused him to pick up his quill.
Episode | April 29th, 2019 | 57 mins 17 secs
Jim Kittle and Ed Treacy are bareknuckle political brawlers who have fought the good fight for their respective parties since the 1960s. They’ve also been close, close friends during this same time. Listen to them laugh, tell stories, and talk about how important it is to have friends from the other side of the aisle.
Episode | April 22nd, 2019 | 1 hr 9 mins
Marc Allan is a Seinfeld expert, a music expert, and one of the absolute best people you will ever meet. As he celebrates his retirement from Butler University this week, we spent an hour with him to discuss the most memorable encounters of his journalism career. Please listen to one of the most honest and candid reporters in the history of Indianapolis.
Episode | April 15th, 2019 | 59 mins 2 secs
Sherry Seiwert, president of Downtown Indy Inc., is a perfect example of the leadership that makes our city prosper and grow. As Indianapolis is the economic engine for the state, our downtown is the economic engine for our city. Sherry is a life-long resident of Indy, an IPS kid, and a proud Hoosier. Please listen and share our discussion with one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met.
Episode | April 8th, 2019 | 51 mins 31 secs
Shelly Fitzgerald has dedicated her life to helping others. She became a focus of intense media and community scrutiny based on events at Roncalli High School last fall. She was engaging, honest, fun, and funny while joining us for the “Leaders and Legends” podcast. We also are thrilled to welcome Danielle Shockey, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, as an occasional co-host. As noted before, “Leaders and Legends” has partnered with the Girl Scouts for both a title sponsorship and a tantalizing number of cookies.
Episode | April 1st, 2019 | 1 hr 7 mins
Noblesville’s Tom Coverdale was Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1998 and the point guard on Indiana University’s Final Four team in 2002. As we approach the end of the NCAA tournament, let’s listen to Tom talk about the experience of being recruited by Bob Knight, and what it was like on campus when IU fired its legendary basketball coach. Tom also discusses the game in which IU beat a legendary Duke team in the Sweet Sixteen.
Episode | March 25th, 2019 | 56 mins 51 secs
Former prosecutor, former City-County Council President, former chief of staff to Mayor Greg Ballard, Ryan Vaughn is one of the most respected and accomplished leaders in Indianapolis. A proud Ben Davis graduate and current president of the Indiana Sports Corporation, Ryan talks about his career in politics, in government, and how the work of the Sports Corp. is building on the legacy of previous generations.
Episode | March 18th, 2019 | 1 hr 16 mins
John Mutz and Louis Mahern are what bi-partisan friendship and collaboration are all about. Mutz, Republican and former lieutenant governor & Mahern, Democrat and former state senator, take us through their careers, their friendship, and how they’ve seen Indianapolis prosper during the past five decades. Please listen to Louis tell us what it was like to work for recently-departed Senator Birch Bayh. It truly was an honor to be in the company of these incredible gentlemen.
Episode | March 11th, 2019 | 56 mins 35 secs
Theresa Wells-Ditton is one of city’s most well-liked and respected journalists. For more than 30 years Theresa has been a leader for television news. Please listen to this remarkable and life-long Hoosier describe why journalism is more important today than ever and what she would tell President Trump if given the opportunity.
Episode | March 4th, 2019 | 54 mins 24 secs
David Barras is one of the good guys. Today on “Leaders and Legends” we turn the tables on one of Indianapolis media’s best interviewers. Dave retired from WISH-TV not long ago, and all of us in the PR world miss working with him. Please listen to Dave as he takes us through his career and his thoughts on how Indianapolis has changed since he came to Indy nearly 40 years ago.
Episode | February 25th, 2019 | 59 mins 8 secs
'Leaders and Legends’ is extremely fortunate to have local media legend Jim Shella on our podcast. No reporter with whom I ever worked was more knowledgeable about their beat and how their coverage could impact his fellow Hoosiers. Irreverent as always, Jim shares some terrific stories and treats us more than once to his famous laugh. Hope you enjoy our conversation.
Episode | February 18th, 2019 | 53 mins 53 secs
“Stevi Stoesz and Amanda Kingsbury joined the ‘Leaders and Legends’ podcast, and we had a terrific, thought-provoking discussion. These two leaders remain at the forefront of so many important issues facing our city. We are very fortunate to be able to share their perspectives on our culture, our media, and what Indianapolis needs to do to keep growing.”
Episode | February 11th, 2019 | 51 mins 32 secs
A sports journalist in Indiana for 45 years, Bill Benner is one of the most respected and well-liked figures in the history of Indianapolis media. Bill has covered some of our city’s (and the world’s) most popular sporting events, and delighted all of us with this witty and insightful commentary. Join us as Bill talks about his career in the media and how he’s seen Indianapolis grow and change over the years.