News and Tribune

Business/Money

February 24, 2012

Junior Achievement shows off success stories

Jeffersonville businessman Ned Pfau inducted into Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame

LOUISVILLE — It takes a lot of courage for a youngster to speak in front of hundreds of people, but Cooper Smith, a fifth-grade Silver Creek student and a mayor of one of Junior Achievement’s BizTowns, did just that during the Kentuckiana Business Hall of Fame banquet on Thursday.  

“It makes me feel special and important to know my school supports learning that is fun and realistic. It gives kids like me the opportunities to learn about leadership and the economy,” said Smith, who added that he is very thankful for the volunteers throughout the area who make Junior Achievement a possibility.  

Junior Achievement was established in 1982 and serves almost 50,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at schools throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The kids who participate learn gain a financial education and spend time in the kid-run pretend town of BizTown, where the kids have jobs and learn about budgets.

“Junior Achievement is a great organization, and contributes to compassion. Think about all the volunteers. There are 3,500 volunteers that makes this organization by giving their precious time to children, and giving them more opportunity by teaching and modeling and giving them a sharp set of skills to build a future,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. In addition to learning how to serve as mayor while participating with Junior Achievement, Noe Middle School student Shravan Ravishankar learned how to make a budget to apply in real life.

“It equipped me for any lifestyle. I learned how to manage money wisely and overcome it with confidence and courage to make it through,” said Ravishankar, who through Junior Achievement learned how to save, spend and budget money wisely.  

The idea of Junior Achievement is to instill a lifelong passion for learning and producing strong members in the community. What also produces strong communities are viable businesses, and three area business leaders were inducted into the Kentuckiana Business Hall of Fame on Thursday.

“The nominations are selected through the year, and the selection committee of business leaders are independent of the Junior Achievement. Nominations are based on high standards of business and innovation, and inspire leaders through good work,” said Fischer.

The three inductees during the banquet were the late C. Edwin Gheens, William M. Street of Brown Forman and Jeffersonville native Norman E. “Ned” Pfau, Jr., CEO, Geo. Pfau’s Sons Co.  

Pfau’s Sons Co., is a Jeffersonville-based company that’s known for producing over 150 specialty oils used in metalworking, lubrication, pharmaceutical and specialty feed industries. Pfau took over his father’s company in 1965, right after graduating from Indiana University Kelly School of Business. Some were curious how a 22-year-old would run a company, but Pfau expanded the company from the then 15 product line to the current 150 products, distributed internationally.

However, Pfau is known more for how he operates the business, which has held some of the same customers for 40 years.

“It’s about quality and service. I have always told customers, when do you want the product? Whenever you want the product, we will have it there,” Pfau said during a video presentation during the Hall of Fame dinner.  

Pfau’s recognition is also because of his treatment of his employees.

“Sometimes, it’s past the point of how much you get paid, but how you are treated. The environment from walking in, to the time you leave,” said a colleague during the video presentation.  

When Pfau accepted the nomination into the Hall of Fame, he gave thanks to friends such as Bob Shine and he thanked the Ogle Foundation for what they do in both Indiana and Louisville.      

“I accept this on behalf of all the employees and their families. People are our greatest asset. Thank you for your teamwork and great work ethic,” said Pfau.

In addition, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Harrison County Community Foundation along with Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County received the first Junior Achievement Community Impact Award. The three organizations have contributed greatly to Junior Achievement and continue to do so through financial contributions, volunteering and offering scholarship programs.   

The students learn about financial literacy and turn into great employees.  

“We look forward to investing in the community and our youth who are our future,” said Eileen Moore, treasurer of the Horseshoe Foundation.         

At 6 p.m. March 3, WDRB will air a special 30-minute program about the Business Hall of Fame.  

“Our future lies in the hands of our kids. These programs remind us to ask ourselves if we are doing enough, and if we can do more,” said Fischer.

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