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2014 Forty Under 40: Bob Shaver

Lou Harry
February 1, 2014
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shaver_bob_1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Food, glorious (local) food: Shaver admits to being a little nervous moving back home to Indy from Brooklyn (where, he said, “Everyone and their uncle is making bitters in their apartment”). A board member of Slow Food USA, an organization with over 200 chapters around the country, and a proponent of progressive food issues locally and nationally, he was pleasantly surprised with what he found here … although, he added, there’s still plenty of opportunity for change.

For instance? “I’d like to see food waste being addressed more aggressively. One of the business ideas that I’m working on … relates to creating more of a market for this ‘secondary’ food to prevent waste and provide better access to low-income populations to fruits and vegetables.”

Religion + physics = food? After studying religion and physics at Wabash College and attending Yale Divinity School, Shaver realized that “the life of a religious studies academic wasn’t suited to my problem-solving view of the world.” Then he met his to-be wife, a Yale law student, and began hanging out with “people trying to do good things in the world and gaining the skills and professional life that would allow them to do that. It was the first time I felt like I had a group that shared my values and interests.”

AGE 31
Hometown: Indianapolis

Family: wife, Lea; daughters Josephine, 4, and infant Eleanor

Follow, follow, follow: When his girlfriend was offered a Fulbright scholarship to work in Johannesburg, Shaver tagged along. In South Africa, he found work with the Catholic schools office helping teachers in poor townships. When she was offered a position back at Yale Law School, they returned to New Haven, Conn., where he worked with Wellspring Consulting. “I was the only person in the firm who didn’t have an MBA—except one woman with a Ph.D. in rocket science. I was the dumb guy.” But, he added, it was a perfect company through which to be exposed to the ways business is done “in the context of doing good in the world.”

And more following: A move to Brooklyn led to work as director of strategic planning for City Harvest, a NYC hunger organization that distributed millions of pounds of food each year that would otherwise go to waste. And then back to Indy, when she was asked to teach at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. Shaver embraced the move, finding work with KARP Resources, where he is venturing off into to-be-announced entrepreneurial projects. “The theme here,” he said, “is that I followed her around quite a bit.”

Oven-ready: Shaver, a self-proclaimed pizza geek, built a wood-fired oven in his back yard. “Not only is Napolese my favorite restaurant, the folks there are my favorite tech-assistance providers.”•

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