(INDIANAPOLIS) — Entrepreneur John Thompson made his way from the tough housing projects of Baltimore to find great success in Indianapolis as the chairman and CEO of four businesses – including Thompson Distribution and First Electric Supply – and as an investor in a variety of endeavors.

In recognition of his accomplishments and passion for mentoring the next generation, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has named Thompson the state’s 2019 Dynamic Leader of the Year. He is the fifth recipient of the award. Last year’s honoree was businessman and investor Jim Hallett of KAR Auction Services in Carmel.

“John Thompson embodies all the qualities of a vibrant and forward-thinking entrepreneur, and he’s been highly engaged on public policy initiatives that impact the state’s prosperity and future,” remarks Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “His energy, expertise and history of accomplishments are a powerful combination.”

When Thompson moved to Indianapolis to be vice president of Mays Chemical Company (in 1984), he had only planned to stay in Indiana for a few years. But his experience at Mays Chemical – both professionally and within the community – changed his mind. In 2001, he launched Thompson Distribution. Additionally, he owns and operates First Electric Supply, CMID Engineering and BC Countertops.

Thompson also helps attract businesses to the state by serving on the Indiana Economic Development Corporation board of directors.

Another passion is devoting his time and talents to the Crossroads of America Council, Boy Scouts of America (he’ll become president in January and participated in the Boy Scouts as a child). Among numerous other roles is serving on the Eskenazi Health Foundation Board as its current chair.

“My areas of interest in giving back time, talent and treasure are health, education and welfare – not welfare in terms of a welfare system, but the welfare of people,” Thompson offers.

“A big component of that is economic development, training and skill enhancement. That’s how you help people. You teach them how to fish. You only give them fish while you’re teaching them to fish. You don’t give them fish perpetually. We’ll provide you with services for free while we’re developing skills in you and then you’ll use those skills to improve your own welfare.”

Thompson will be honored at the Indiana Chamber’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner, presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, on November 7. Activities are held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis and will also include presentation of three additional awards: Republic Airways and LIFT Academy Community of the Year (Plymouth), Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year and Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year. The winners of the last two awards will be announced September 17 and 24, respectively.

Democrat political strategist Donna Brazile and Republican commentator Dana Perino, two prominent political voices at Fox News with links to the White House, are teaming up to keynote the dinner. Seating is limited. Tables of 10 start at $1,650; individual tickets are $165 each. Either can be purchased online at www.indianachamber.com/ad or by calling (800) 824-6885.

The event’s opening reception sponsor is PNC. The speaker sponsor is OneAmerica.

Corporate sponsors are AT&T Indiana, CBRE, French Lick Resort, NIPSCO, Tilson and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors are AECOM Hunt; Community Health Network; Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont; Eskenazi Health Foundation; Fineline Printing Group; IGT Indiana; Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Indiana Wesleyan University; Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick; KERAMIDA Inc.; Markey’s Rental & Staging; MCM CPAs & Advisors; Pacers Sports & Entertainment; Plymouth Foundry, Inc.; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; UPS; Vectren, A CenterPoint Energy Company; WFYI Productions; and WGU Indiana.

Additional sponsorships for the Indiana Chamber’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner are available by contacting Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876 or [email protected].

Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897 or [email protected].


The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”