IBJNews

2014 Forty Under 40: Luke Phenicie

Lou Harry
February 1, 2014
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
phenicie_luke_1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

FBI bypass: Growing up in Tipton, Phenicie didn’t have a clue about the investment world. “I wanted to get into the FBI. That seemed the cool thing to do,” he said. “And the way you do that, I was told, was through an accounting degree.” Since he was putting himself through school, he opted for a state school, Indiana University. “The FBI wasn’t in the cards, but I found the investment banking world.”

Investment decisions: He spent a few years with a private-equity firm in New York before going back to the University of Chicago for his master’s. During his second year, he landed a job at HKW, which meant working in Indianapolis while driving up to Chicago every weekend to finish his degree.

Promotions: Phenicie joined HKW in 2004 as an associate, was promoted to vice president, then principal, then to partner at age 32—the youngest in the firm’s history.

Early acquisitions: “The first investment I made at HKW was a company called C&J Energy Services. It was doing roughly $6 million in earnings and we invested more capital in the business and then sold it for just under four times our money. We did well.”

Public perception: “Some people think you buy a business and try to take money out and that sort of thing. But the best investments we’ve made are ones where we’ve grown the employee base and grown the asset base. We invest capital in private business and grow them. And we have the management teams of all of our companies invest alongside us. When we sell, they get gains just like we do. If we do our jobs right, everyone makes money and everyone’s happy.”

AGE 37
Hometown: Tipton

Family: wife, Jenni; sons, Max, 7, Hank, 6, and Judd, 4

Outside the office: Phenicie has participated in 10 Ironman triathlons. “When I started in investment banking, I expected to work long hours, sometimes through the night. It was getting to a point where I wasn’t very healthy.” After a week of all-nighters, he headed home, where he knew he’d only have a few-hour break. He picked up his running shoes, ran four miles and said to himself, “I should start doing this again.”

Thoughts about “Shark Tank”: “[In my work, I] look for passion and hard-working, intelligent people with a high degree of integrity. It’s foolish to think you can make a sound investment decision in a 10-minute television segment.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Dixon Creek companies owner
    I am very proud to have as my son in law. I am sure Luke will continue to have great success .In evevery thing he does. By the way it was Chicago not New York.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT