A grass roots business exchange, formed by a small group of Purdue University alums, will this week usher in a new football season and new head coach with a pep rally in downtown Indianapolis. Friday’s Boiler Tailgate on Monument Circle is expected to draw swarms of black and gold clad Boiler fans, cheerleaders, the Purdue pep band and appearances by the team and dignitaries including Purdue President Mitch Daniels. The group’s first Indy tailgate in 2013 attracted a crowd of more than 5,000 and the expectation is for a larger crowd this year. It is the latest in a series of events put on by the Boiler Business Exchange of Indianapolis, which was formed in 2013 to engage the business community in raising the profile of the university in Indianapolis. "My goal was, within four years, to have a couple hundred members," said former Boilermaker football great Pete Quinn, one of the group’s organizers. "Literally, we have 2,500 members now."
Quinn says the BBE roster includes lots of star power. "I think about 700 of the names on the list have the title of CEO, COO, president or partner," said Quinn, who adds the success of the group could lead to expansion in other markets. "Several business people in Chicago have expressed interest in creating a Boilermaker Business Exchange," said Quinn, who identified Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami as other future potential targets.
In addition to Friday’s pep rally, the group will later this month induct the second class of its BBE Business Hall of Fame, a partnership with Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. The class will be inducted at the Krannert Leadership Speaker Series in at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis September 28.
This year’s class includes some big names: Sonny Beck, CEO of Beck’s Hybrids in Atlanta; Bill Bindley, chairman of Bindley Capital Partners; Maria Crowe, president of Manufacturing Operations at Eli Lilly & Co.; Tim McGinley, founder of House Investments; and Brian Reichart, president of Elwood-based Red Gold Inc.