In middle school, and probably trying to avoid being beaten up by high-schoolers. (My school was K-12.)
When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
All I knew was that I wanted to go to Notre Dame. Only issue is that I ended up being put on a wait list for admission—so I went to Butler instead and ended up loving it.
Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
I was fortunate and honored to serve in Bart Peterson’s mayoral administration, but that run came to an end when we lost the election in 2007. I had served in government and politics for seven years—the entire length of my professional career. So I was forced to adjust and apply my experience and skills in the private sector. Ultimately, I’ve been able to have the best of both worlds.
Have you been mentored by (or had any significant interactions with) previous Forty Under 40 honorees?
I’ve been privileged to work with a few. My prior boss, Congressman Carson, and Trevor Yager.
Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To have my own tech blog.
Chief Communication Officer, TrendyMinds Inc.
Justin Ohlemiller made his name in government, working his way up from writing letters and proclamations for Mayor Bart Peterson to become his deputy chief of staff. He experienced a similar trajectory with U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, for whom he served as communications director before managing his local office and handling constituent services.
Now Ohlemiller uses his expertise in developing and implementing strategies for clients of the advertising agency TrendyMinds.
“I see this role as the culmination of all the other roles I’ve had,” he said. “Working in public service, I really enjoyed going home at night feeling like I was a part of something that made a tangible difference in someone’s life. In the private sector, I really like the diverse work and client base that comes with working at an agency. Every day is different. Every project provides a new and unique challenge. It’s forced me to push the limits of my creativity.”
Ohlemiller also lent his experience to local Super Bowl organizers, sitting on the traffic and parking committees and serving as a volunteer in the speaker’s bureau and on the media relations team.
The chance to participate in the Super Bowl activities fit with Ohlemiller’s interests outside of work. When he’s not with his wife, Pam, and 7-year-old stepdaughter, he likes to watch sports (he’s a big fan of the Colts and of his alma mater, Butler University). He also likes reading about and researching mobile technology.
“Someday, I’d like to either have my own tech blog or be the chief editor at an existing blog,” he said. “I once had a former boss tell me that there were two types of employees he wanted on his team: great lawyers and great writers. I don’t have a law degree and don’t plan to get one. So I’ve focused on trying to become the latter.”•