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School wasn’t always comfortable for Evan Meadows

School wasn’t always comfortable for Evan Meadows.

An entrepreneur by the age of seven, Meadows knew he wanted to own and run businesses.

By the time he was in high school, Meadows, an Odon, Indiana native, had trouble relating to his peers because while they were thinking about sports and video games, Meadows ran a produce market and lawn care business.

It wasn’t until Craig Lindvahl, Executive Director of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship came to talk to his school at North Daviess High School did Meadows realize that there might be other students in his community who thought like he did.

As part of the first Midland Institute CEO program in Daviess County, Meadows said, “If it weren’t for the CEO program and FFA, which I was President of, I might have dropped out of school,” Instead of going to school, Meadows felt like he could just run businesses.

Meadows said at the time, he was also burnt out on running the produce and lawn care company because of staffing issues. While he kept the produce business afloat, Meadows stopped working on lawns.

“That was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made,” he said.

While in the Midland Institute CEO program, Evans worked with like-minded students who not only learned how to sell a product effectively, but were also exposed to the behind-the-scenes of local businesses.

“The fact that we’d get to go in and see the operation of several businesses, is what did it for me” he said. “CEO class gave me the initiative to start a business again. Hearing everyone talk about the trouble and successes they’ve had, helped me get back in it.”

While in the Midland Institute CEO program, Evans met another student who was interested in journalism. After graduation, Evans hired his peer, and the two began a free publication, “Striving for Success.” Evans said without the CEO program, the publication would not have taken off.

Evans used contacts made through the Midland Institute CEO program to sell advertisements in the publication, and within six months, the publication was profitable.

Now, two years out of high school, Evans is an integral part of his community by owning seven businesses and sitting on the town board. Evans still owns the lawn care and produce market, but he’s also taken on two concession stands, which keep him busy five months out of the year, the publication and Beamon’s Salad Dressing.

Evans said Beamon’s Salad Dressing has been a staple in Southern Indiana since 1947, but in more recent years, operations of the product had died down and the company was almost non-existent. Evans contacted the owner, and for a reasonable amount purchased the recipe for the salad dressing, branding and packaging.

Within the following year, Evans, who learned how to network and talk to people through the CEO program, contacted grocery stores that used to carry Beamon’s Salad Dressing. Nearly 50 to 60-percent of the grocery stores took the product back almost immediately.

Evans said he enjoys owning businesses because the success or failure of the organization depends on him.

“If the company fails, that’s on me,” he said. “And if it succeeds, then it’s because of something I did or someone I hired.”

Evans is excited to rejoin the Midland CEO program on June 12 when he, along with several other Midland Institute CEO alumni, will talk about the CEO program during the alumni panel before the 2nd Annual Midland Institute Trade Show in Effingham, IL.

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