Don Palmer Bio
Visionary | Founder | Consultant
Business Executive | Board Member | Community Leader
Don Palmer has over 30 years of experience in business, organizational development, entrepreneurship, private equity investing, and service on numerous corporate and non-profit boards.
As managing partner of Honey Creek Capital (honeycreekcapital.com), Don invests in small and mid-market businesses by providing value added services to maximize investment return. This includes strategic planning, management training and advisory role activities. Don is a partner in Equipment Technologies (apachesprayer.com), a middle market agricultural equipment manufacturer (Mooresville, IN), the largest independently owned self-propelled sprayers in North America. It operates out of a 108,000 square foot headquarters incorporating common model parts, resulting in faster production, less inventory on shelves and more affordable sprayers. Distribution is through a direct sales force and independent dealers in North America. He is also a long-time partner in Palmer Truck Group (palmertrucks.com), middle market retail and leasing truck business with eight locations in the Midwest – Indiana/Ohio privately owned company with 500 employees specializing in top quality Kenworth trucks, parts and service. Don is also an investor in Cardinal Equity, Command Equity and Tillery Capital. In 2011-12, Don served as Interim Chief Operating Officer for the Heartland Film Festival – Truly Moving Pictures based in Indianapolis. He played a major role in transitioning the organization to a higher level of excellence through restructuring, funding enhancement, budget accountability and operational efficiencies.
Don was active for 30 years with Palmer Automotive Group, a family-owned, retail automobile business in Indiana. He served as President & Chairman of the automotive division and remains an investor. The company had experienced $75M in sales at three locations, including Chrysler, Dodge and Hyundai franchises, a rental car company, commercial vehicle/in-house leasing businesses, and collision repair. He began his career as a sales representative with Xerox Corporation, and then entered the vehicle business as Controller, Secretary & Treasurer with Kenworth of Cincinnati, a commercial truck company providing sales, leasing, and service. Don is an active owner/investor in a real estate development company; and was an investor/board member in Autobase, a software company serving the retail automobile market. Palmer became the fourth franchisee for JD Byrider, a used car sales/finance business, with two locations in Indianapolis. Palmer’s career service on boards of directors includes:
• Equipment Technologies – Mooresville, IN
• Fifth Third Bank – Indiana; Executive Committee
• Hudson Aquatic Pools – Angola, IN (manufacturer of therapy pools for physical therapy and veterinary market)
• Three Witt Enterprises – fast-growing, 15-restaurant chain in Ohio and South Carolina • Activate Healthcare – Indianapolis (Founding Member & a Managing Partner for on-site employer healthcare and wellness company)
• VRCG, Inc. – Royal Oak, MI (helps auto dealerships and rental car companies become more efficient and profitable)
• Cheeseman Trucking – Fort Recovery, OH (mid-market commercial carrier)
• Ahaus Engineering – Richmond, IN (mechanical engineering firm that designs and manufactures custom products)
• Qualtronics – Columbus, IN (high-quality wiring harness manufacturer)
• World Presidents Organization, Indiana Chapter (Chapter Chair, Education Chair, Forum Moderator)
• Opportunity International – (Treasurer, Marketing Chair, Audit Committee Chair); Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to over two million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 25 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future.
• Opportunity Transformation Investments (Board Member) – OTI is a below-market investment program managed by the Calvert Social Investment Foundation. The fund makes equity, loan and debt securities investments in microfinance institutions (MFIs) worldwide. OTI was created by Opportunity International and invests in the MFIs, part of the Opportunity International Network.
Don’s passion for teaching and education includes service as: Executive in Residence, Taylor University MBA Program; Indiana Wesleyan Entrepreneur in Residence and instructor in strategic management; Indiana University Kelley Graduate School of Business private equity project with Dr. Bill Haeberle and Sophwiki mentoring program; Indiana University Business Alliance (Board member); Northern Kentucky University marketing instructor; Aileron Guest Instructor – “How to be an Effective Board Member” Leadership has been an important component of Palmer’s career and personal life, including co-founding the Indianapolis Faith Leadership Series and the Barnabas Fund (Chair) through the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Don and his wife, Carolyn, are parents of a married son in Indianapolis, married daughter in Rochester, MN, and daughter attending Miami University (Ohio) as a freshman.