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Scecina alumni share advice with business students

Gregg Neidlinger '79 talks to students in the Business Management class. 

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications 

Gregg Neidlinger '79 was the most recent speaker at Scecina's Business Management class.

The Business Management speaker series is now over a year old, and 14 people, mostly Scecina alumni, have now shared their business insights and acumen with current Scecina students.

Gregg Neidlinger's father was the late Larry Neidlinger, who was a longtime administrator, teacher, and coach at Scecina.

Gregg Neidlinger is regional sales manager for TT Electronics, an electrical/electronic manufacturing company based in England. Besides explaining his sales and business, he also shared tips about being prepared for college and the workforce, leadership and guiding principles. For example, one of his tips was: "I never lose ... I either win or learn." 

Joe Caito '63 and Kate (Jeffers) Schreiber '91 were the first two Business Management speakers. Though Mr. Caito and Ms. Schreiber graduated from Scecina years apart, they share a common bond as entrepreneurs and businesspeople. 

After Mr. Caito graduated from Scecina in 1963, he and brother Phil Caito '61, started to build what became a thriving business delivering fresh produce. 

As a Crusader with more than five decades of business experience under his belt, Mr. Caito was a fitting choice to be the first speaker. Mrs. Schreiber ‘91, who has been building a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise for five years, was the second speaker for the class. 

The Business Management class is an advanced-level business course that focuses on the opportunities and challenges of managing a business in the free enterprise system. 

Mr. Caito shared insights about leadership, innovation, and management. 

He and his brother started their business in Downtown Indianapolis in the early 1960s. The business grew and became Caito Foods LLC, a company specializing in fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing to customers nationwide. Caito Foods reported sales of more than $700 million in fiscal 2016. In January 2017 the sale of Caito Foods to Spartan Nash was finalized in a deal reported to be worth more than $217 million. Spartan Nash, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a grocery retailer-distributor. 

“Several students came up after class to ask Mr. Caito some of their business-related questions,” said business teacher Pam Brake. “I think they really liked hearing from someone who has actually been successful in real life doing some of the things that they are just beginning to learn about.” 

Kate (Jeffers) Schreiber '91 spoke to the class about operating a franchise. She and her husband, Ben, own a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise. 

Mrs. Schreiber and her husband, Ben Schreiber '91, started their franchise five years ago. Bricks 4 Kidz is nationwide franchise with the motto “We Learn. We Build. We Play.” It offers camps and afterschool workshops that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) by teaching kids how to build with Legos blocks. Students even use robotics and build creations with moving parts. 

The Schreibers started the second Bricks 4 Kidz in Indiana. 

Mrs. Schreiber, a former teacher, said she decided to build the business methodically, only offering afterschool programs. It took a lot of time, persistence, and energy in the beginning. The business, which expanded into summertime camps, now the business is profitable, she said. 

Mrs. Brake said it’s been especially helpful for students to know that the speakers are alumni of Scecina Memorial High School. 

“They’re someone successful who comes from a background similar to theirs,” she said. “They appreciated the time they took to be with them and look forward to hearing more from other Scecina alumni.” 

Over the past year, students have heard presentations on management, leadership and innovation from these guest speakers: 

  • Mike Beltrame ’67 – co-owner of Beltrame Leffler Advertising
  • Sheila (Barton) Bosron ’60, DDS 
  • Kate (Carrico) Broshears ’06 – vice president of external relations at Ascend Indiana
  • Joe Caito ’63 – co-founder and former co-owner of Caito Foods
  • Ron Jones ’57 – founder and owner of Bar-B-Q Heaven
  • Gregg Neidlinger, regional sales manager, TT Electronics 
  • Joe McDonald ’69 – senior vice president, F.C. Tucker Company
  • Chris Phillips ’93 – facility optimization advisor – Indiana Trane
  • Kate (Jeffers) Schreiber ’91 – franchise co-owner Bricks 4 Kidz
    Rick Smith ’69 – former president of wholesale commodities at Entergy Corporation
  • Mike Spitzer ’60 – founder and owner of Spitzer Enterprises
  • Bob and Laura Stark – co-owners of Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza

Bob and Laura Stark, Ben Schreiber and Mike Beltrame now are helping teams of students develop business plans for their imaginary businesses.

The Business Management class at Scecina receives financial support from the Scecina Business Connection (SBC), a networking group made up of alumni, parents, friends, and businesses. 

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