Marty Brown ’06 writes children’s book ‘ABCs in Indianapolis’

Marty Brown’s ’06 first children’s book “ABCs in Indianapolis” is now available for pre-order through Kickstarter until March 1.

“ABCs in Indianapolis” is written and illustrated based on a lifetime spent in Indianapolis, said Brown, vice president of strategy and operations at LDI, Ltd.

The idea behind the book came after Brown realized much of what his two and four-year-old daughters read in books “take them to outer space, tropical jungles, and into the far-off worlds of their favorite characters” but not to where the family lives, plays and explores.

The book, illustrated by Jingo de la Rosa, is designed to be representative of the whole city, and each letter of the alphabet will highlight landmarks in and around downtown, parks, events and other sites throughout the city.

“I wanted books that inspired my daughters to explore and take pride in their hometown,” said Brown, who studied English at Wabash College.

“I wanted to bring to life the people, history and neighborhoods that make Indianapolis special. Many nights, we sing, ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round … all through Indianapolis.’ Now I am proud to create and share books that make my daughters more curious about Indianapolis. We hope you like these books, too.”

To pre-order and learn more about “ABCs in Indianapolis” and its journey to publication, visit

John Penn ’14 named field manager for Chillicothe Paints

The Chillicothe Paints, a collegiate summer baseball team based in Chillicothe, Ohio, has recently hired John Penn ’14 as its new field manager.

“I’m just very thankful and humbled for the doors that have opened up for me to be able to take this role,” Penn said in a news release. “I’m looking forward to a great season. The Paints are a team with high standards and, technically speaking, are the defending champs.”

Penn is currently an assistant coach at Bryant & Stratton Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Prior to joining the staff at Bryan & Stratton, Penn spent two seasons with NCAA DI Old Dominion working with catchers and hitters, two seasons with Iowa Western Community College and two seasons in coaching at NCAA DIII Bluffton University, serving as a graduate assistant.

Penn graduated from Wabash College with a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric. He was a relief pitcher and a member of the 2011 team that won the North Coast Athletic Conference at VA Memorial Stadium.

“I’ve celebrated high school district championships at VA Memorial Stadium and celebrated Wabash’s first NCAC Championship in school history on that field,” Penn said. “I have a ton of memories stretching back to being a little kid going to Paints (youth baseball) camps. It’s all a little surreal that I’m going to be at the helm of a team in a town I grew up in.”

The Paints have made the playoffs eight times and won two championships in 11 seasons since joining the Prospect League as a charter member in 2009. The team will open the 2021 season against the Lafayette Aviators on May 27 at VA Memorial Stadium.

Jake Gilbert ’98 earns AFCA Regional Power of Influence Award

Jake Gilbert ’98 was recently highlighted as one of the best high school head coaches in the nation and was chosen as the midwest region’s winner of the American Football Coaches Association’s Power of Influence Award.  

Jake Gilbert

Gilbert is the Dean of Wellness, Connections and Growth, department head for physical education and best known as the varsity football coach who led Westfield High School to an IHSAA state championship in 2016.

He joined the staff 10 years ago, and previously taught U.S. government and leadership classes at the school.

Coaches who receive the Power of Influence Award are recognized for their impact on their team, as well as the legacy they leave with the school and surrounding community, according to a news release. This award is not based on wins and losses; however, it should be noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success.

“This makes him one of five finalists in the entire country for the national award,” Westfield High School officials wrote in a Facebook post. “This award is the highest honor given to a high school coach. Congratulations, Jake!!”

In addition to coaching and teaching, Gilbert has been a Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor since 2012 and created a Freshman Mentor Program and Life Ready Initiative at Westfield. He’s also hosted Special Olympic football clinics, raised money to tackle childhood cancer, led a mission trip to Haiti and helps support the Indiana Blood Center.

Gilbert and other winners were honored during a virtual AFCA Convention in January.

During his time at Wabash College, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and graduated cum laude with a major in history, Gilbert was an all-conference and honorable mention All-American defensive lineman. He served as an assistant coach for Wabash’s football team from 2006 until 2011.

Matt Marett ’05 joins McTeague Higbee law firm

McTeague Higbee — a law firm dedicated to advocating and protecting the rights of Maine’s working people — recently announced that Matt Marett ’05 has joined its team.

Matt Marett

“We at McTeague Higbee are thrilled to welcome Matt to our team,” managing partner Kevin Noonan said in a news release. “All of us have had the opportunity to work with Matt over several years. Matt is a tough advocate and will be able to quickly roll up his sleeves and help fight for the rights of our clients.”

Marett has more than nine years of experience handling a variety of different legal matters, and is a litigator well versed in the complexity of the Workers’ Compensation process.

He will work in McTeague Higbee’s Workers’ Compensation division and handle complicated bodily injury claims.

While at Wabash, Marett was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, the Pre-Law Society, The Bachelor, Young Democrats, Alpha Phi Omega and Wabash Crew. He majored in psychology and minored in English and speech.

Marett earned his law degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law in 2010, graduating with cum laude honors in the top 5% of his class.

Clay Koehler ’08 appointed as Centier Bank’s assistant VP of Small Business Banking

Clay Koehler

Michael E. Schrage, Chairman and CEO of Centier Bank, recently announced the appointment of Clay Koehler ‘08 to assistant vice president of Small Business Banking in the Lafayette area.

Koehler started at Centier in October 2020. He is a seasoned financial advisor, with experience working several years in small business/private banking.

“I am passionate about helping small businesses in the Greater Lafayette area and bringing excitement to the team,” Koehler said in a news release. “It’s important to me that clients receive the best financial tools they need to be successful, and I’m committed to providing them with what they need.”

While at Wabash, Koehler majored in political science and minored in history. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University.

Houston Mills ’85 featured in exhibit honoring Black aviators

Houston Mills ’85, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, will be featured in a special exhibit in Louisville in honor of Black History Month.

Houston Mills ’85, Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, speaks to the press after piloting the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Louisville.

Bowman Field, Louisville’s general aviation airport and one of the nation’s longest continuously operating airports, will host the exhibit, “The Sky’s the Limit: A Celebration of the History of Black Achievement in Aviation,” until Feb. 28.

The attraction will showcase specific members of the Black aviation community, along with their achievements, according a news release from the Regional Airport Authority. It will highlight how these men and women got their start in aviation, adversities they experienced, and the ways they overcame those obstacles to rise to greatness.

“The Louisville Regional Airport Authority is excited to open this exhibit celebrating Black History Month,” said Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “It showcases the extraordinary achievements of these Black men and women from the early days of aviation through the age of space travel, including efforts today to introduce our young people to the opportunities in aviation. We hope the stories of these pioneers and leaders inspire a new generation of aviation professionals.”

Mills, a former board chair of the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, told that the exhibit is well-timed.

“Our community has just experienced difficult reminders about social justice and equity, so this year’s Black History Month is particularly important,” Mills said. “It’s fantastic that the LRAA is showcasing these inspirational aviation heroes and the great things that happen when opportunities are available for people of all races.”

Houston Mills (front) ’85, and Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, with co-pilot Neal Newell.

Over the last year, Mills has been making headlines for his aviation work.

In December, he piloted the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. From there, the vaccines were distributed to all parts of the country, with frontline health care workers expected to be among the first group this week to receive doses.

“I was very humbled and honored to have been selected to be the pilot of this first flight,” said Mills, who co-piloted a Boeing 757 airliner with Neal Newell, a former U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot. “What this flight represents is the beginning of the end. This historic moment is about hope.”

Over the Super Bowl weekend, Mills was also featured in a short story CBS Sports ran recognizing contributions by essential service workers during the pandemic.


As a first-generation college student from Indianapolis, Mills was an English literature major and political science minor, pursuing a pre-law degree at Wabash College. He was recruited to the College to play basketball by longtime coach Mac Petty H’82.

During his time at Wabash, Mills also joined Lambda Chi Alpha, Sphinx Club, and was actively involved with the Malcolm X Institute.

Clayton Highum ’16 hired as McGowan Insurance Group’s account executive

Clayton Highum

Clayton Highum ’16, was recently hired as the commercial account executive for McGowan Insurance Group located in Indianapolis.

Highum previously served in commercial underwriting and production at FCCI Insurance Group.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, where he majored in rhetoric and minored in economics. As a student, Highum was a member of the varsity swimming and diving team, Business Sequence, 1832 Society and Student Senate, among other activities and societies.

Steve Coomes ’79 named to Extensia Financial’s Board of Directors

Extensia Financial, a credit union service organization focused on commercial real estate, recently announced that Steve Coomes ’79 will be one of four new leaders joining its Board of Directors.

Steve Coomes

Coomes is a retired financial services and operational leader with more than 30 years of financial institutions experience, most notably in the credit union environment.

“Extensia Financial is excited about the collective talent these industry leaders will add to our company’s Board of Directors,” Sundip Patel, Chief Executive Officer, said in a news release. “Their combined expertise in corporate strategy, credit union operations and growth, and financial institutions leadership will be of great value as AVANA Companies and Extensia navigate a planned trajectory of significant growth.”

Coomes was the president and CEO of United SA Federal Credit Union in San Antonio, Texas, and retired in 2014.

He has a master’s degree in finance from Butler University and a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, where he majored in biology and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega. He also holds the Certified Chief Executive Designation from the Credit Union Executives Society of Madison, Wisconsin.

Jacob Burnett ’15 selected as an Executive Editor for University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Jacob Burnett

Jacob Burnett ’15, a Wabash Rhodes Scholar and political science major, has been selected to serve as an Executive Editor for Volume 170 of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review – the oldest and one of the most cited law journals in the country.

“If I had to capture what it is like to work with The University of Pennsylvania Law Review in one word, it would be: exciting,” Burnett said. “The Journal publishes some of the most groundbreaking legal scholarship that scholars, practitioners, and students are producing.”

Burnett, who is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and works as a research and teaching assistant, previously served as an Associate Editor for The Journal and was selected to serve in the new role after submitting a written application to the outgoing board.

“I applied for the position specifically because I enjoy working directly on Law Review pieces, and as an Executive Editor, I believed I would thrive when working directly with authors and incoming Associate Editors,” he said. “The substantive scholarship is fundamental to the success of the Journal, and I hope to play a key role in ensuring that the Law Review publishes well-edited, thoughtful, and excellent pieces.”

Burnett, a native of Mishawaka, Indiana, was active at Wabash College through Moot Court, Student Senate, The Bachelor, Wabash College Democrats and Pre-Law Society, among other activities and organizations. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi and Lambda Pi Eta honor societies.

Jacob Burnett gets a congratulatory hug from Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Jessie Mills during a reception in 2014 to celebrate Burnett being named a Rhodes Scholar.

In 2014, Burnett was one of 32 students in the nation to be named a Rhodes Scholar.

He graduated from the University of Oxford with a master’s degree in global governance and diplomacy and criminology and criminal justice.

“Growing up in poverty and watching my mom do God’s work to lead my family through class oppression has always inspired me to work hard and keep moving forward,” Burnett said. “My journey is one that could not have happened without her, who I look to for strength and tenacity.”

The alumnus said he’s thankful for the Wabash professors he had who were integral to his success.

“Specifically, Professor Scott Himsel and Dr. Robert Horton wrote me letters of recommendation for my law school application process,” Burnett said. “They have always been great mentors to me and have guided me along my journey.

“Without Wabash, I don’t know if I would be where I am today! It taught me how to be excellent at what I do and to have fun along the way with amazing colleagues and friends.”

Francisco Huerta ’14 selected as a Distinguished Teacher

Francisco Huerta ’14, a ninth-grade world history and reading teacher within the Noble Network of Charter Schools, was recently selected as one of 14 new educators to join into its Distinguished Teacher program.

Francisco Huerta

The Noble Network of Charter Schools includes 18 nonprofit charter public schools that prepare roughly 12,000 students for college success each year with excellent teaching, rigorous academics, and comprehensive wraparound supports.

“This is the highest honor that an educator can receive within our network,” Huerta, an Eli Lilly Scholar who majored in psychology and minored in religion and economics, told Wabash Magazine.

The Distinguished Teacher program provides an industry-changing approach to celebrating and rewarding teachers who are achieving an exceptional impact with students, according to a news release. Among other benefits, each winner receives $10,000 annually for as long as they remain teachers at Noble. 

“We launched the Distinguished Teacher program in 2018 following years of prior research on how to best identify, celebrate, reward, and learn from Noble’s most impactful educators,” Constance Jones, CEO of Noble, said in the release. “This year, we’re delighted to announce 14 truly outstanding teachers who both cultivate and lead transformational classroom spaces that empower our students to live exemplary lives.”

Distinguished Teachers applied for the program by submitting written narratives and a portfolio of artifacts including comprehensive data. Finalists then participated in classroom observations and debriefs, student surveys, a panel interview, and reference checks over the course of several months.

“The final round was an hour-long panel interview akin to the Wabash Senior Comprehensive Exam,” Huerta said. “It was an incredibly stressful process.”