Graduating from high school in Atlanta and attending DePauw University as a freshman.
When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
To work in sports broadcasting.
Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
I met my wife Amber at DePauw and that day has had the most profound impact on my aspirations and career path. She encouraged me to go to law school, and helped pay for school, when I saw the value of a law degree while working with executives at Turner Broadcasting System who went to law school.
Have you been mentored by (or had any significant interactions with) previous Forty Under 40 honorees?
I have had the privilege of working with about a dozen honorees and have learned something from each of them. The common traits among all of them are their intelligence, hard work ethic and treatment of others. One individual, David Barrett, an attorney with Faegre Baker Daniels, played a special role in my development as an attorney after I moved to Indiana from Georgia in 2005.
Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To be at IU Health as a key contributor in its legal department but recognizing from my past experiences that the future can be full of surprises.
Associate General Counsel, Indiana University Health Inc.
Sometimes your “dream job” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That’s what Derek Empie, former broadcast sports professional-turned-attorney, discovered after several years working for NBC Sports, ESPN and Turner Broadcasting.
“You work a lot of hours, travel all over the place,” said Empie, adding, “The pay is really low.”
While working on advertising and marketing campaigns for Atlanta’s pro sports teams at Turner, he noticed that many of the company’s top executives had law degrees. “It was an asset, no matter what you wanted to do.”
So with the support of his wife, Amber, he enrolled in law school at Georgia State University. A Georgia native, he did his undergraduate work at DePauw University in Greencastle.
As associate general counsel at Indiana University Health the past two years, he provides a variety of legal services concerning contracts, acquisitions, and labor and employment issues. After his first year at IU Health, he received the company’s 2010 Key Contributor Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement and service. He and other attorneys on staff take turns being on call 24/7 for a month at a time.
“During those times you really get the unique legal questions,” said Empie. “You gain a perspective of what physicians really do.” While he may get a 3 a.m. call once a month, “that’s their life.”
Prior to joining IU Health, Empie worked for nearly five years at Baker & Daniels LLP, where he handled a similar variety of legal matters.
Empie’s volunteer commitments include being a member of the NFL Fitness & Football Subcommittee, which is involved in youth football and fitness activities and operated a run/walk event here during Super Bowl week. He is also on the board of Carmel Dad’s Club, which oversees youth sports programs and is on the WFYI Community Relations Advisory Committee.
He and his wife have an 8-year-old son and 6-year-old twin daughters.•