Influential person: P.E. MacAllister

Business and community leader

P.E. MacAllister, who died in 2019 at age 101, was a true Renaissance man. A student of everything from archaeology to opera, his myriad achievements included running the heavy machinery dealership MacAllister Machinery Co. and establishing the MacAllister Awards, a national competition for up-and-coming opera singers that lasted from 1979 to 2002.

But he believed his biggest contribution was his role in the decades-long push to make Indianapolis a top-tier city. And it was quite a role. Among other accomplishments, he ran the mayoral campaigns of Richard Lugar and Bill Hudnut; founded the Indianapolis Parks Foundation; and, as a member of the Capital Improvement Board, played a vital role in developing the Hoosier Dome. All in addition to sitting on many government, civic and corporate boards.

“I tell people who marvel at downtown that it didn’t just happen; we made it happen,” MacAllister told IBJ when he received the publication’s Michael A. Carroll Award in 2008. “That’s fruitful work, and it’s a life well spent when you can make that kind of change happen.”

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