sealPurdue News

May 20, 2002

Indianapolis executive to head Purdue Research Foundation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Joseph B. Hornett today (Monday, 5/20) was named senior vice president and treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation (PRF), a nonprofit corporation affiliated with Purdue University.

Joseph B. Hornett

Hornett (pronounced HOR-net) is currently chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Sport Service Inc., in Indianapolis. His appointment is effective June 10. He will succeed Michelle White, who has served as interim senior vice president and treasurer since Jeffrey Wilson retired June 30 after 36 years with the university and the foundation.

"Joseph Hornett has a broad range of experience and a vision for future growth that promise exciting leadership for the Purdue Research Foundation," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke, who also is president of PRF. "This is a key appointment because the foundation will work closely with our recently announced Discovery Park initiatives in nanotechnology, entrepreneurism, e-business and biomedical technology. Fortunately, PRF has had excellent leadership by Michelle White, so there has been no loss of momentum during this interim period.

"Together, PRF and Discovery Park are part of Purdue's strategic future. They will be vital to Indiana's economic growth and putting science and technology to work solving human problems."

Hornett said he is excited about the opportunities at Purdue.

"Every step in my professional career seems to have prepared me for a role with the Purdue Research Foundation and Purdue University," he said. "The opportunities available to PRF will fully utilize the experience I have acquired in strategic planning, finance, investment management, real estate ventures, new business development and marketing.

"I can't wait to get started."

In addition to directing the foundation's day-to-day operations, Hornett will serve as Purdue's chief investment, real estate and trust officer. PRF owns more than 130 properties and approximately 10,000 acres of Indiana farmland, which are part of its $550 million holdings.

Hornett received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from Butler University. He has been certified by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants in management accounting and financial management.

His current company, Sport Service, is an industry-leading event merchandiser possessing licensing agreements with NHRA, PRCA, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IRL, NASCAR, F-1), 500 Festival, NBC Gravity Games and the 2002 World Basketball Championships.

As COO and CFO at Sport Service since 1999, Hornett has been responsible for the event merchandiser's production operations, licensing agreements, marketing and sales, human resources, finance and accounting, management information systems, and risk management.

During his tenure at Sport Service, Hornett engineered a $1.5 million profitability turnaround, reduced total operating expenses by 10 percent and reduced average inventory by $1.8 million, or 53 percent.

Hornett started his career at General Electric Co. and graduated from its Financial Management Program. He then spent 10 years at Indiana Bell Telephone Co. as strategic planning manager, internal audit manager, group product manager and financial assurance manager.

Hornett was chief financial officer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis from 1989-98 and spent two years as division general manager at Service Corporation International, a national funeral service provider with $3 billion in annual revenue.

The Purdue Research Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that is legally constituted to accept gifts, administer trusts, acquire property, negotiate research contracts and perform other services helpful to Purdue. In addition to supporting research at Purdue, the foundation allows the university to undertake longer term projects and planning than the state budgeting process allows.

In 1961, PRF established the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, where 90 corporate tenants operate businesses that employ 2,500 people.

The foundation opened its first high-tech business incubator in the Purdue Research Park in 1993 after several faculty members made requests for office and lab space. With that goal in mind, the foundation began to provide startup businesses in its incubator with a shared office concept, flexible leases, attractive rental rates, shared office services and access to professional business assistance – including market analysis, networking and financial resources.

A second incubator building was constructed by the foundation, an existing building was converted into a third incubator, and another building was completed to house companies that matured out of the incubator stage.

In eight years, the park's small business incubation complex has launched more than 36 high-tech companies. Many of these companies were started by faculty members to develop Purdue-licensed technologies.

Since 1989, the foundation's total assets have more than tripled in value, and there has been similar growth in the foundation’s investment returns.

Established in 1930, Purdue Research Foundation is one of the first major university-affiliated foundations in the nation to be incorporated.

Writer: J.M. Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Joseph B. Hornett, (317) 852-5794

Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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