Business Expo

2003 Business Expo to feature
Olympic flavor, demos, booths

Motivational speaker and former
disabled athlete Craig MacFarlane
will be the luncheon speaker.

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind (April 2003) - The third annual Regional Business Expo, scheduled for April 24 and sponsored by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, this year will kick off with a luncheon at 11 a.m. at Clifty Inn. It will be followed by a commercial fair from 1:30 p.m to 7 p.m. at the Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial Dr. Both events are open to the public.
Motivational speaker and former disabled athlete Craig MacFarlane will be the luncheon speaker as part of the Expo’s “Pursue the Dream” theme. MacFarlane, called “the world’s greatest blind athlete,” is a native of Desbarats, a small town in Ontario, Canada.

Craig MacFarlane

Craig MacFarlane

Blinded at age two, he enrolled in the Canadian School for the Blind at age 6. He attended the school for eight years before transferring into mainstream high school. MacFarlane, 39, said he began wrestling at a young age because it was one of the few sports that provided a level playing field for a blind athlete. Competing mostly against sighted opponents, he battled incredible odds to capture more than 100 gold medals in wrestling and other sports. His impressive list of athletic activities includes wrestling, downhill skiing, water ski jumping, jet skiing, horseback riding, ice skating, snowmobiling, parasailing and golf. At age 19, MacFarlane met hockey great Gordy Howe at a celebrity charity event in Canada. Howe, a 25-year veteran of the Detroit Redwings, was impressed with MacFarlane’s experiences and encouraged the young athlete to share his story with others. He invited MacFarlane to move to the United States to live with him and his wife, Colleen, in Hartford, Conn. MacFarlane accepted Howe’s offer and began his freelance speaking career. For about eight years he traveled around the country sharing his inspiring life story with various groups. MacFarlane was hired by Edward Jones Investments as a goodwill ambassador about 12 years ago and continues to travel and speak throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The late sportscaster Howard Cosell once said of MacFarlane, “I’ve covered the sports beat for nearly 40 years of my life and worked with the great ones first hand – Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, Muhammed Ali, John Unitas, Johnny McEnroe – you name them. But I must tell you the most remarkable athlete I have ever seen, ever known, is Craig MacFarlane.”
MacFarlane said he shares many humorous events of his past, both in and out of the athletic arena, with his audiences. He also tries to impart the sense of pride and dignity he has acquired by overcoming powerful odds to accomplish his goals. MacFarlane credits his success to supportive parents and a strong will to succeed.
“I never wanted people to say, ‘He lost because he’s blind.’ I wanted people to see it as a minor inconvenience, not a handicap,” MacFarlane said during a recent telephone interview.
MacFarlane makes more than 200 public appearances each year. He will appear in Madison as a guest of Edward Jones Investments representative Ann Suchocki. “Craig is a very powerful and inspirational speaker,” said Suchocki. “I had the pleasure of first hearing Craig speak over 15 years ago, and several times since then. He is truly a role model for all ages.”
MacFarlane made his first visit to Madison for Edward Jones about 10 years ago to speak at area schools.
He said he looks forward to returning to the area.

Kelly Garrison

Kelly Garrison

Also featured at the Business Expo will be former U.S. Olympic gymnast Kelly Garrison of Indianapolis, and former U.S. Olympic archers Richard “Butch” Johnson and Rod White. U.S. Olympic archery hopeful Jason McKittrick of nearby Holton, Ind., also will appear.
Garrison, captain of the 1988 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team, will demonstrate some of the skills that made her a champion on the balance beam. As a measure of her innovative spirit, she has four gymnastic skills named after her, more than any other U.S. athlete. She currently lives in Carmel, Ind.
McKittrick is a target archery shooter. He has competed in the sport since age 15 and has won numerous competitions including two first place awards at the 2002 AZ Cup and the 2002 Gold Cup. McKittrick has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue University and hopes to represent the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic games. He has been a member of the U.S. Archery Team since 1997 and has traveled across the nation and to eight foreign countries to compete.
Johnson is a three-time Olympian and member of the gold-medal winning U.S. men’s archery team at the1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He hopes to rejoin the U.S. team for the 2004 Olympics. An archer for nearly 30 years, Johnson spends six to seven days each week practicing the sport. He has competed internationally and is a four-time U.S. National Outdoor Champion and eight-time U.S. National Indoor Champion. Johnson is from Worcester, Mass. He currently resides in Woodstock, Conn.

Ron White

Ron White

White is also a gold medalist with the 1996 U.S. Olympic archery team who hopes to join the team in 2004 for his third trip to the Olympics. White, a Mt. Pleasant, Iowa native, finished fourth at the 2000 Olympic trials, earning a spot on the U.S. Archery Team. He was also a member of the 1995 World Champion Indoor men’s Olympic bow team.
Garrison will give a motivational speech at the expo and will also join MacFarlane, McKittrick, Johnson and White in a “Roundtable of Champions.”
The Business Expo kickoff luncheon will take place at the Overlook Room at Clifty Inn. Luncheon tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce office. Admission is free to the Expo, which will feature children’s activities and a food vendor.
The Business Expo is a showcase for businesses in southeastern Indiana. More than 50 local businesses are expected to exhibit at this year’s event.
“Our expo has a dual purpose,” said event chairman Geoff Walburn, “On one hand it serves local businesses and professions of all trades by allowing them to showcase their products and-or skills. At the same time, it also allows the public to see all that our local businesses have to offer.”
Four-Star sponsors for the event are Ann Suchocki-Edward Jones Investments, WORX-WXGO, WIKI-FM, and the Madison Courier; three-star sponsors are Steinhardt Heating & Cooling and Ivy Tech State College; two-star sponsors are Clifty Engineering Tool & Die Co., Hanover College, Midwest Gym Supply and RoundAbout Madison; one-star sponsors are Madison Precision Products, Froggy Radio, Heritage Community Bank, Hoosier Hills Realty, MIDCOR, Rivertown Chiropractic, Timbers Custom Signs and Vevay Newspapers.

Business Expo Events Schedule
• 11 a.m.: Lunch at Clifty Inn, $25. Call (812) 265-3135, ext. 254 to reserve a ticket.
• 1:30 - 7 p.m.: Booths open at Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial Dr.
• 3 p.m.: Archery demonstration.
• 4 p.m.: Gymnastics demonstration
• 4:30 p.m.: Archery demonstration
• 5 p.m.: Roundtable of Champions (discussion with 5 athletes)
• 6 p.m.: Gymnastics demonstration

• For more information, call (812) 265-3531, ext. 254.

Back to April 2003 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta