Conexus Indiana names new board of directors chair, members

January 7, 2019

Denny Oklak, Conexus Indiana Board Chair

INDIANAPOLIS (January 7, 2019) Conexus Indiana today announced the addition of four new leaders to its Board of Directors and a new board chairperson. The Conexus Indiana Board of Directors now includes 15 statewide members from industry, civic and academic institutions who will guide the organization’s mission to accelerate, promote and grow Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics economy.

Dennis (“Denny”) Oklak, former CEO of Duke Realty, will serve as Conexus Indiana’s Board of Directors chairperson and steer the organization’s work following a strategic planning process in 2018.

New Conexus Indiana Board of Director members include Andrew Baker, vice president for government relations at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis; Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Scott Brand, senior vice president at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA); and Kim Ryan, senior vice president of Hillenbrand.

“Conexus Indiana gains insight and direction from industry leaders who are on the front line everyday creating jobs, globally significant products and navigating economic pressures,” said J. Mark Howell, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “With the addition of Denny, Andrew, Elaine, Scott and Kim to our board, we gain additional perspective from their careers and community involvement, all of which makes our work increasingly impactful for continued statewide industry success.”

Oklak served as chief executive officer of Duke Realty Corporation from April 2004 until his retirement in December 2015. Duke Realty, a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT), is one of the largest owners and developers of commercial property in the United States.

Prior to becoming CEO, he served as president and chief operating officer. Oklak joined Duke Realty in 1986 and served in various roles throughout the company, including executive vice president, chief administrative officer, vice president and treasurer. He served on the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) board for 13 years and has served as the organization’s chairman and sat on its executive committee.

Baker has direct accountability for building effective relationships with key government, industry and community stakeholders within Indiana. Previously and during a more than decade-long spell in Rolls-Royce’s Reston, Virginia offices he served as vice president, government and environmental affairs where he was responsible for securing congressional funding on behalf of the Rolls-Royce fuel cell systems business. Previously, Baker served for four years within Rolls-Royce’s defense aerospace business development function in the U.K. where he was responsible for leading a variety of market development activities. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in business administration and a master of science in sales and marketing from Loughborough University. Outside of his responsibilities at Rolls-Royce, Baker sits on several Indiana-based boards and has served as president of the British-American Business Association, a transatlantic business association based in Washington D.C. representing over 200 business members.

Bedel was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017 to serve as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the state’s lead economic development agency. Prior to serving the state in her current role, she served as president, chief executive officer and chief compliance officer of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., a role held since she founded the company in 1989. Bedel is an author and a nationally recognized speaker on financial issues. She was inducted into the Indiana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and was recognized as the 2015 Women Business Owner of the year by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Brand has held the position of senior vice president of quality control, production control and materials management at SIA since April 2017. In that role, he oversees all quality, ordering, and logistical activities in the production of Subaru Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Ascent models. Prior to that, Brand was vice president of quality control and vice president of manufacturing and held various management and senior management positions in materials management, production control, and manufacturing since starting with the company in 1989 as a professional staff associate. Brand is a Trustee of Vincennes University and serves on the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership Board of Advisors, as well as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Ryan serves as senior vice president of Hillenbrand, Inc. (NYSE: HI) and president of Coperion, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hillenbrand, where she also oversees Hillenbrand’s Rotex business. Hillenbrand is a global diversified industrial company whose businesses design, develop, manufacture, and service highly engineered industrial equipment around the world. Hillenbrand also owns Batesville, which is a recognized leader in the death care industry in North America. Previously, Ryan served as president of Batesville and, before joining Hillenbrand, as senior vice president, North America for Post-Acute Care of Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc., including during a spinoff of the Hillenbrand entities. Prior to that, Ryan held a series of senior management roles within Hillenbrand’s former parent company and its subsidiaries. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of publicly held Kimball International (NASDAQ: KBAL), an Indiana-based manufacturer of office and hospitality furniture and systems.

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to www.ConexusIndiana.com.