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Former commerce chief lands at local company

August 4, 2010

A former state commerce secretary has relinquished his partnership at a local law firm to help lead an Indianapolis-based home-medical-equipment supplier.

Nate Feltman, 40, stepped into his new role on Monday as president of Home Health Depot Inc., while remaining in a reduced capacity at Baker & Daniels LLP.

Feltman recently represented the city of Indianapolis and its $1.9 billion plan to transfer water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group. The measure, approved by the City-Council on July 26, still needs the blessing of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, a process that could take months.

Feltman will continue to be involved in the approval process but will spend much of his time co-managing Home Health Depot along with CEO David Hartley.

Hartley, a longtime friend of Feltman’s, bought the 12-year-old firm in 2004 and since has reinvented the company. It has grown from a single office in Greenwood to 12 locations in Indiana and Illinois—increasing annual revenue from $300,000 to more than $6.7 million.

Adding to the wave of demand for Home Health Depot’s services: More elderly Americans are foregoing long-term-care facilities and choosing to remain at home.

Feltman is taking on the newly created president’s position, in part, to search for acquisition partners.

But, he cautioned, “we’re going to be careful not to grow too fast, where we somehow lose that extra focus on the patient.”

As the state’s commerce secretary from 2007 to 2008, Feltman concentrated on growing and retaining businesses in Indiana. But what really interested him was becoming a business owner.

“I’ve always had the desire to be involved in a business and do it as a shareholder in a company,” he said. “It was just the right opportunity and one that I couldn’t pass up.”

Feltman has known Hartley since they were in high school—Feltman at Penn High School in Mishawaka and Hartley at Jimtown High School in Elkhart. They later reconnected while Feltman attended the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, graduating in 1994.

Following law school he spent four years overseas in Moscow, working for international law firms Baker & McKenzie and Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Feltman later practiced at Chicago-based Altheimer & Gray and then Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis.

He joined the Indiana Economic Development Corp. in 2005, as its executive vice president and general counsel. He was named commerce secretary after Michael S. Maurer stepped down from the job at the end of 2006.

Feltman holds bachelor's degrees in business and political science from Indiana University and a master's in Russian law from the Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
 

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