Jack Laurie Group has been a part of the Fort Wayne business community since 1950. In that time, the company has grown from fewer than 10 employees to more than 400, and though it has expanded to Indianapolis and Lafayette, the family-owned business has remained rooted in Fort Wayne.
Though often known for its commercial flooring services, the company actually consists of six divisions: commercial floors, residential floors, specialty surfaces (like basketball courts), interior contracting, United Flooring (a union division), and cleaning services.
The goal, said Business Development Manager Kathryn Gentz, is to be a “one-stop-shop,” and make the remodeling process more fluid for the customer. This business model relies on building relationships with customers–making Greater Fort Wayne Inc. a valuable partner.
“Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has been incredibly helpful because of all of the things that fall underneath them, like Leadership Fort Wayne,” Gentz said. “It’s been wonderful to interact with people that I might not have known.”
Leadership Fort Wayne (LFW) has been an important part of Jack Laurie Group’s development. The company has been sending employees through the program (and its previous iterations) for as long as Gentz can remember; Gentz herself is a member of the current class.
As a member, she’s been introduced to areas of Fort Wayne that she was unfamiliar with, whether through a tour of Fort Wayne’s historic downtown, or visits with various grassroots nonprofits.
“You learn all about our city and our surrounding areas through Leadership Fort Wayne,” Gentz said. “And how we can do things better–personally, professionally, and in the city.
She’s also had the opportunity to collaborate on projects with other members of her LFW cohort, identifying needs and working together to address them. Past collaborations have included corridor beautification, and the recent project “LOVE Fort Wayne.” Gentz’s team is working to bring a bike-share program to the community. While LFW has allowed her to invest and connect in the community, it’s also been beneficial for Jack Laurie Group.
Having a strong connection to the community, driven by GFW Inc., helps businesses attract not only local talent, but also people who are looking to move somewhere they can put down roots–something Gentz knows a little bit about. She moved away from the city for a while, but came back to invest in a place she is proud to call home.
“People want to live here and stay here because they know that the city isn’t just great today, but it’s going to be great in 20 years,” she said. “What’s cool for me as a young business person is that I can help make it that awesome city.”