Every business sector has influential players, whether they are in the public eye or wield their influence behind the scenes. In a monthly feature that runs in the first issue of the month through October, IBJ is identifying those people in eight different categories.
This is the second installment in the series and features women and men who are key members of the city’s banking and finance sector. They include bankers, fund managers, venture capitalists, lawyers, financial planners and others who influence the movement and availability of money in the local economy. The names come from our own news staff, peer recommendations and public nominations—a long list, which was peer reviewed and culled to create the list that follows.
John F. Ackerman, 53
Co-founder and Managing Director
Cardinal Equity Partners LLC
Along with Jim Smeltzer, John Ackerman founded Cardinal Ventures in 1993 as a family investment vehicle, following the sale of a family business, Cardinal Communications. The company raised $50 million from 30 successful business entrepreneurs and changed its name to Cardinal Equity Partners in 2008. Cardinal purchases and operates middle-market businesses that are viewed as having the potential for long-term value creation. Locally, Cardinal owns or has a significant ownership position in Aqua Systems, Advanced Physical Therapy, Oak Security Group, Angie’s List and Prairie View Golf Club. The company owns businesses outside the area as well.
Before founding Cardinal, Ackerman worked for Quaker Oats Co., where he managed a variety of brands, including several pet foods, and was promoted to director of consumer marketing for Gatorade Thirst Quencher. He also worked as a commercial lender for the National Bank of Detroit.
Beyond his corporate responsibilities, Ackerman serves on the boards of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, the Junior Achievement Foundation, the Indianapolis 500 Festival and the Educational Choice Charitable Trust Foundation. In the past, he has served in board leadership roles for Conner Prairie Museum and Foundation, the Venture Club of Indiana and the Villages of Indiana, the state’s largest child welfare not-for-profit organization. He is a member of the Young President’s Organization.
Ackerman holds a bachelor’s in business from the University of Michigan and a master’s in management from the J.L. Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. A native of Indianapolis, he is married and has two children.
John C. Aplin, 65
CID Capital Inc.
John Aplin joined CID in 1990 after serving as president and CEO of the Fuller Brush Co. Fuller Brush was acquired from Sara Lee Co. in a transaction led by Aplin. Before joining Fuller Brush, Aplin was founder and president of two investment-banking firms in Kansas City. He has been involved in nearly 200 business transactions since 1984 in industries ranging from food manufacturing to information technology. Before that, Aplin was on the faculty of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and was chairman of the MBA program.
Aplin estimates that he has served on the boards of at least 25 companies. He was involved in the initial public offerings of Endocyte, Acordia and Stereotaxis. He has been active with the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and is a member of the advisory board of the school’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.
Aplin received his bachelor’s from Drake University and his master’s and doctorates from the University of Iowa. He served as a flight officer in the U.S. Navy, where he was a founding member of the Navy’s human resources program, established by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.
Over the years, he has been involved in a range of activities and has been especially active in United Way of Central Indiana and his Lutheran church.
Donald Aquilano, 44
Don Aquilano is anentrepreneur of the first order. He snagged a job with Hewlett Packard straight out of college, leaving home-base in Tucson for Colorado, and became an operations manager. He founded two small software companies, went to business school, and joined Boston Consulting Group, consulting on strategy for global information technology and pharmaceutical companies and then worked for Diago, which owned Burger King, Pillsbury and Guinness, among others.
He moved into venture capital with Fox Group in New York City, where he participated in the early funding of companies such as WebMD. He was recruited to Indianapolis by Gazelle TechVentures, which was being launched by Scott Jones, to be its second managing director in April 2000 and became the sole managing director four months later. Gazelle, a venture capital company, has made a number of successful investments, including Rubicon Technology Inc. Aquilano serves as that company’s executive chairman. Aquilano is also managing director for Blue Chip Venture Co., where he manages investments in software and service companies Aprimo and Knowlagent.
Aquilano is chairman of Rubicon Technology and Weblink International and is a director for Scale Computing and Knowlagent. He is chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Indiana University School of Informatics, a board adviser for Teach for America’s Indianapolis region and for Indiana University’s Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Aquilano has a bachelor’s from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Harvard. He enjoys running marathons.
Dennis L. Bassett, 62
As chairman, Dennis Bassett has led the Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky Region for JP Morgan Chase since 2009. In that role, he chairs the Indiana Market Leadership Team, representing executive management for the state. He rejoined the bank (having been with Bank One from 1998-2001) in 2003 as CEO for Indiana and was promoted to CEO of the Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky Region in 2005.
He launched his banking career at Indiana National Bank, where he began as an account officer and worked his way up to senior vice president. After Indiana National was acquired by National Bank of Detroit, he became senior vice president and manager of NBD’s Indiana Corporate Group. In an era of mergers and acquisitions, he has also worked for First Chicago NBD and Huntington Bank.
Active in the community, Bassett sits on the board of Butler University and the boards of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Indiana Sports Corp., the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Center for Leadership Development and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. He is chairman of Youthlinks Golf Charity and board president of the Sharon L. Bassett Foundation, a foundation named after Bassett’s late wife that aids families dealing with breast cancer and supports breast cancer research.
Bassett holds a bachelor’s from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA from Butler. He is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. Bassett is married to Dr. Sally Brown, former CEO of Ambassadair Travel Club and founder of Ambassadors for Children and Women Like Us Foundation. They have three children.
David B. Becker, 57
President, CEO and Chairman
First Internet Bank
In 2007, David Bec-ker founded First In-ternet Bank, the state’sfirst state-chartered, FDIC-insured Internet bank. He has a history of leading successful startup companies in financial services and technology.
In 1981, Becker founded re:Member Data Services to provide electronic data-processing services to credit unions. He served as CEO of that company until it was acquired by Open Solutions Inc., in 2004. In 1995, he founded VIFI, a company that provided Internet services to financial institutions and corporations; that company was acquired by Digital Insight Corp. in 2002. He also founded and remains actively involved as CEO of three other Indianapolis-based companies: OneBridge, a credit- and debit-card processing firm; DyKnow, which specializes in educational technology for interactive learning experiences; and RICS, which provides inventory control and POS systems for retailers via the Web.
Becker serves on the boards of TechPoint and TechPoint Foundation, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. A firm believer in higher education, Becker serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Informatics at Indiana University and has served on the advisory boards for the Robert C. McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship and the IT Associates Program at DePauw University and on the board at Vincennes University.
Becker is a 2001 recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and the 2002 recipient of the TechPoint Trailblazer in Technology award. He is a Sagamore of the Wabash and has been inducted into the Junior Achievement-sponsored Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of DePauw University.