IBJ’s influential person: Mickey Maurer

IBJ Media co-owner, entrepreneur and community leader

IBJ selected IBJ Media co-owner Mickey Maurer as its influential person before choosing 40 more as influential people of the past 40 years.

Mickey Maurer’s career has been a packed and wildly diverse dance card. The co-owner of IBJ Media and co-founder of the National Bank of Indianapolis boasts an impressive list of non-business accomplishments, including creating the feature film “Diving In,” contributing to The New York Times crossword puzzle, climbing Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, winning a woodworking blue ribbon at the Indiana State Fair, and publishing a book of his own underwater photography.

And none of that has stopped him from making equally significant marks in the worlds of philanthropy and civic service.

An Indianapolis native, he graduated from the University of Colorado with an accounting degree, then earned his law degree at the Indiana University School of Law. Ever the Indianapolis booster, one of the leitmotifs of his business career has been making sure the companies he runs remain in local hands. IBJ Media is locally owned, and The National Bank of Indianapolis is the largest locally owned financial institution in central Indiana.

“It’s developed into a community asset and we’re going to be very careful about what we do with that,” Maurer said of the bank. “We’ll make sure that it’s never owned by an out-of-state conglomerate.”

The reasons for keeping ownership within the city limits are straightforward. Over the years, Maurer has noted how out-of-town companies with branch operations in the city not only donate less to local causes, but also are less likely to pitch in when leadership is needed.

That’s never been the case with Maurer, who, over the decades, has helped out numerous civic, educational and philanthropic groups, including serving as chairman of the Indianapolis Zoological Society and United Way of Central Indiana. In 2005, he became president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., and in 2006 was named by Gov. Mitch Daniels as Indiana secretary of commerce.

In 2008, in recognition of Maurer’s financial generosity and service, IU renamed its law school in Bloomington after him. For his part, Maurer sees his devotion to the school as the repayment of a debt—namely, a $1,500 scholarship he received to attend.

“It was more money than I’d ever seen,” Maurer recalled. “I vowed I would try to repay that. I think the law school got a good return on their $1,500.”

One of his proudest achievements is the debut in 2001 of Mickey’s Camp, a summer gathering of business, artistic and civic leaders that has raised millions for Indiana charities. The goal is to bring together movers and shakers in a casual, summer camp setting to learn a variety of new skills, relax and network.

These confabs have midwifed numerous business deals and civic collaborations.

“There’s a tremendous amount of networking,” Maurer said. “All kinds of recruitment takes place there for boards and committees and business positions. That was something I didn’t contemplate when we put the camp together, but it’s been an extraordinary advantage to being a camper.”

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