X Years of Talent | Orr Fellowship: Steven Emch
Merillat Flowers (00:01):
10 years ago, roughly half of Indiana's college graduates remained in the state upon graduation. This number was even lower for STEM degrees, as many of these students found opportunities and offers in major tech hubs. It was in the face of this problem that TechPoint launched the Extern program, a 10 week internship program that employs hundreds of college students in roles at local tech companies in this circuit mini-series, 10 years of talent, TechPoint interviews the major players in Indiana's tech landscape from talent organizations to the people who were there at the beginning of extern. We look back at the past decade of Indiana's talent initiative and look towards the future of Indiana's tech workforce.
Merillat Flowers (01:09):
Well, Steven, thanks so much for sitting down with us today.
Steven Emch (01:11):
Yeah, I'm excited to be here. And you couldn't have picked a cooler
Merillat Flowers (01:14):
Spot. Well, I know the backdrop is not, not too shabby today.
Steven Emch (01:17):
Merillat Flowers (01:18):
Well, Steven, I'm so excited for the role that you're starting at the OR fellowship and excited to talk through what you see in, in the future of the position and of the organization. So let's start, for those that might not be so familiar with the OR Fellowship, give us the basics and rundown of what the organization is and what the mission looks like.
Steven Emch (01:34):
Yeah, I appreciate that question. Um, so, or Fellowship, it's actually been around for a really long time. Uh, we're 20 plus years old. We've been doing pretty much the same thing over that, uh, course of time and, uh, or fellowship's mission is to recruit and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders to Indianapolis. And so functionally what that means is we're finding the best and the brightest coming off of, uh, college campuses, both in Indiana and across the state and the nation. Um, and partnering them with dynamic companies in the indie area that are working on meaningful problems. So those can be software companies, insurance companies, finance firm, financial firms, uh, medical companies, all of those companies that are working on meaningful problems that are willing to take on these high potential leaders and develop them in, into the next generation for indie. So, like I said, we've been doing that for 20 years and, um, there's no signs of slowing down for us here. Mm-hmm.
Merillat Flowers (02:34):
Steven Emch (02:46):
I appreciate that. And, or Fellowship. And TechPoint has some close ties. Our board chair, uh, Jim Jay actually helped, uh, role TechPoint into C I C P and then Michael Angel. Yeah. Originally, um, I was an OR fellow, so, um, we think fondly of TechPoint for sure.
Merillat Flowers (03:00):
Well, we certainly choose Sally Reasoner, who's one of the, the creators of exter alongside Mike or fellow alum as well.
Steven Emch (03:21):
I think it's a super exciting prospect, and I think probably to TechPoint and or Fellowship Shame. Um, we've never done this before. Um, you're crossing your 10 year anniversary. Mm-hmm.
Merillat Flowers (04:01):
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I'm really excited about that. And Finalist Day is an excellent first step,
Steven Emch (04:06):
Together biggest event via the trial.
Merillat Flowers (04:08):
Steven Emch (04:42):
That's a really good question, and I think, um, the interesting part of it is that actually nobody knows right now. Um, coming through covid, the power dynamic has totally shifted, right? Mm-hmm.
Steven Emch (05:23):
Um, the community that you're in, and like the Hoosier hospitality here in Indiana is, um, something that I've even experienced. I moved to Indiana five years ago from Arizona, and um, immediately got drawn in and suckered in by that
Merillat Flowers (05:52):
Absolutely. Well, it's a, uh, a good point of the, of the Covid transition and I'm, I'm curious what you and your team learned being out on campus this fall in recruitment season. How do you make Indiana be a compelling place, um, for students to consider?
Steven Emch (06:06):
Yeah. Um, it's not necessarily easy when you're competing with like Colorado Mountains or
Merillat Flowers (07:19):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I think that is a lot of what our team does, uh, out on campus as well with extern and that the community and the idea that you can make an impact in a company here in a way that you might get lost in in other places in the coasts and and stuff. Yeah. But here you can really drive meaningful change and impact Absolutely. Um, and be a contributor, which is Yeah.
Steven Emch (07:40):
Yeah. Plus, and this isn't, um, to two my own horn, but it's just like, by way of example, like I said, I moved here five years ago. Yeah. Um, started in a software company called Lessonly, which has the ties to or fellowship as well. Um, from there I went to the state and worked in innovation entrepreneurship, and then now here I am at OR Fellowship and like, uh, been able to increasingly give back and have an impact in each of those roles in bigger and more meaningful ways. Um, and that's just in five years. And, um, while that's my story, it could be anybody's if they're willing to come here and put in work and like I said, work hard and be good to people. Indiana really responds to that and, um, I've not been turned down once for a coffee meeting for any sort of networking, like people are willing to help as long as you're willing to ask.
Merillat Flowers (08:22):
Yeah. It's a really unique component of, of life here in Indy, which as is neat for two transplants to be able to say that and be testaments to it. So it's awesome. I, along those lines, you know, what do you think the legacy of the OR Fellowship has been in, in attracting and retaining talent now for the city?
Steven Emch (08:40):
Yeah. And I, I think that's a really compelling question. And one, uh, um, we were just talking before this about, um, how do you look at the history of what or Fellowship and Extern have done and all Tech Points programs and say, what are the outcomes of that? And like, what are the specific, specific things we can point to? Um, well, right now that can maybe be anecdotal, but, um, we have, uh, or Fellowship alumni that are in meaningful positions around, um, the state. And even if they believe here, they still are going off and doing great things in other places. So, um, the legacy has been consistent output of incredibly high quality candidates that, um, want to do meaningful work and have an impact wherever they're at and have an impact outside just themselves. Like people that make it into, or fellowship. We have a lot of bars and hoops for them to jump through. Um, similar to extern, I'm sure, but one of the biggest, most consistent traits of the people that come through is a character. And so I think, I would hope that the output is high character, hardworking people that are willing to make places around them better. Yeah. So
Merillat Flowers (09:42):
Well said. Thank you. That's a great thing to hope for. Yeah. Um, what do you see as the, the state's biggest opportunities for growth? Kind of imagining we're sitting down 10 years from now, again, where do you hope we are?
Steven Emch (09:56):
Yeah, that's another good question. Um, coming from my previous life, uh, working at the state specifically in innovation entrepreneurship, there's a just a ton of activity. Um, I think there's the onshoring of all the activities specifically in manufacturing that's previously been, uh, in China and other places, um, that that really caught some movement during Covid as the supply chain got so disrupted. Um, I think people are getting a little disenfranchised with the coast again with like the employee employer dynamic and being able to live other places. Um, I think Indiana has, um, some real opportunity to make a name for itself. Um, and you're seeing some of that and, uh, the semiconductor companies planning, um, deep roots here in like not inexpensive ways. Um, no Fab is cheap
Merillat Flowers (11:05):
I love that. Yeah, that's great. What about for the, OR Fellowship in particular? What do you think is on the horizon as you're taking the reigns of the organization? Yeah.
Steven Emch (11:14):
Um, that's the part that gets me the most excited right now. Um, a finalist day has been, um, something we've been working towards, I'm three and a half months in now, so it's something we've been working towards in that the entirety of that time,
Merillat Flowers (12:31):
Awesome. I, I'm glad Steven, I can't wait to watch it continue to, to unfold. And same. Glad to be in partnership with you. Yeah,
Steven Emch (12:38):
Merillat Flowers (12:38):
Awesome. Well, thanks for chatting with us today. Yeah,
Steven Emch (12:40):
No problem. Appreciate it.
10 years ago, roughly half of Indiana's college graduates remained in the state upon graduation. This number was even lower for STEM degrees, as many of these students found opportunities and offers in major tech hubs.
It was in the face of this problem that TechPoint launched the Xtern program, a 10 week internship program that employs hundreds of college students in roles at local tech companies.
In this Circuit mini-series, X Years of Talent, TechPoint interviews the major players in Indiana's tech landscape from talent organizations to the people who were there at the beginning of Xtern. We look back at the past decade of Indiana's talent initiative and look towards the future of Indiana's tech workforce.
In this episode, we sit down with Steven Emch, President of the Orr Fellowship. Orr Fellowship is a nonprofit organization that matches exceptional graduating college seniors with full-time employment at Indianapolis area companies. He talks about Orr's rich history in Indiana's tech sector, his vision as the organization's new president, and TechPoint and Orr's future of collaboration.