2011 Forty Under 40: Paul Okeson

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About me...
Paul Okeson
Vice president of business development
Keystone Construction Corp.
Web sites:
On my hip:
Most-used apps:
Word MS office products
Favorite stuff:
Running; triathlons; reading hand-me-down Sports Illustrateds; playing school with daughter Cate; music groups, including The Fray and Living Proof.

As chief of staff to Mayor Greg Ballard for two years, Paul Okeson helped Ballard make the transition from candidate to chief executive. In his current job as vice president of business development for Keystone Construction Corp., he’s helping the company expand into areas such as health care, life sciences and higher-education construction.

But Okeson, who also sits on the Capital Improvement Board, 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee and Indiana Sports Corp. board, likes to talk about a different area of his life: being the “proud father” of a 5-year-old daughter.

“Too often the focus is on material-type achievements,” he said. “Real success comes in making sure you have time to spend with people you care about and you love. Life’s about the human experience, not just dealing with issues.”

That said, Okeson has spent a lot of his work life dealing with issues. Before joining the Ballard administration, he served as chief of staff to Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, as a director at the Indiana Department of Public Health and as branch manager for the Indianapolis planning firm Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates Inc.

In the mayor’s office, he helped make government more efficient. “We’ve been able to honestly balance the budget the first few years of the administration—not spending a penny more than we took in.”

And he’s particularly proud of the Super Bowl Host Committee’s work, especially its effort to revitalize the city’s east side.

“People say it’s more than just a game,” he said. “We wanted to say it’s far beyond that for Indianapolis. It’s about leveraging the sports city we built into revitalizing some areas of our community. Hopefully, that will be a template that can work its way around the city.”•


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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.