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Chris King is Impacting His Hometown Community

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Chris King

Young Leader: Civil engineering alumnus Chris King, past-president of the Shelby County (Indiana) Chamber of Commerce, will receive the county's Citizen of the Year Award on February 23.

Chris King is proving author Thomas Wolfe wrong: You CAN go home again.

The 2002 civil engineering alumnus has returned to his central Indiana roots to help make Shelby County and Shelbyville a model for community development, workforce training, and educational programs creating the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Those efforts have led to the 35-year-old being named one of the Indianapolis Business Journal's 2016 Forty Under 40 and earned him Shelby County's Citizen of the Year Award, which he will receive later this month.

King is a part owner and executive vice president of Runnebohm Construction Company, an industrial and general contractor in Shelbyville. Since 2012, he has led many of the company's community economic development projects in Franklin, New Castle, and Shelbyville. Each project has helped attract jobs and millions of dollars in community investments.

"I believe you need to make the community in which you live a better place," says the Fairland, Indiana native. "If you give back, it ultimately is better for your community, employees, and companies."

King recently completed a year-long presidency of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, following stints leading the Mainstreet Shelbyville organization and being a member of the Shelby County Development Board. In these roles he launched the first county-wide career fair and was a driving force in Advantage Shelby County, a program starting in 2016 that will make enrollment in a two-year college free to the county's eligible high school graduates.

Earlier, King brought Rose-Hulman together with leaders of the City of Shelbyville and Shelby County to form Innovative Model: Positioning Communities for Transformation (IMPaCT), a relationship that has provided technical expertise to local businesses, nurtured community entrepreneurial startup activities, and encouraged local school students to explore STEM careers.

"I always intended to return and make a difference in my hometown area," says King, who lives in Fairland with his wife, Laura, and 2-year-old daughter. "A Lilly Foundation scholarship afforded me the opportunity to attend Rose-Hulman. Then, while in college I had valuable internship opportunities each summer near Shelbyville. I have never forgotten my good fortune and have wanted to give back to help others that need a little encouragement to realize their own dreams."