Center Grove entrepreneur looks to take Greenwood to the next level with technology improvements
Technology is the future – and Derrick Christy aims for his companies to lead by example.
A Center Grove High School graduate, Christy founded his first business, Approved Mortgage Corporation, in 1994. In 2000, he constructed a three-story, multi-tenant office building at 107 N. State Rd. 135, Greenwood. That one business has grown into nine different brands, under Christy Ventures.
Christy says business is going well. Distance Learning Systems, an online education company, has classes currently undergoing approval by The American Council on Education. Approved Mortgage merged with A Winterwood Mortgage Group in August 2016, making it the largest mortgage banker in Central Indiana. Dialing Innovations, a technology company, landed its largest client – installing phone systems at Subway restaurants across North America.
Design work is completed for an additional office building to be constructed to the south of the current complex on State Road 135. The new three-story building will be 30,000 square feet, with a similar appearance to the other on the outside but a more modern look on the inside. Christy said this growth and continued success wouldn’t be possible without his amazing team members, for whom the company tries to create a work environment that is comfortable and rewarding.
“We try to cultivate a culture that is unique, a positive environment and fun,” he said. “To give back to the staff, we renovated the kitchen. We bring in fresh fruits and vegetables. We have free Starbucks and teas. It saves money, time and is a nice perk for a company to provide. We did a solar table outside. You plug in your laptops, mobile devices and work out there. We have walking meetings. Studies show you think better when you’re exercising. With the new building, we’re trying to have a courtyard out back, overlooking the golf course.”
Christy said they are also looking to create a solar array with 450 solar panels.
“One of my passions, I’d really like to help Greenwood attract technology companies,” he said. “One of the ways I’d like to do that is to create a solar array on our properties here that would create a green energy source to provide a Tier 3 data center that technology companies want or need. Like with us, Subway depends on their phones working. The only way their phone works is if our computers work. If for some reason our generator doesn’t fire, we want to create a battery bank with solar. It’s a cool thing if we could be the first in Greenwood. For Indiana to be growing, progressive and attracting new or mature companies, it would create an opportunity in Greenwood that doesn’t exist.”
Christy is a member of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and Vistage, a CEO peer group with which Christy said he has grown from a professional perspective. To give back, Christy and his staff get involved with causes throughout the year such as Toys for Tots, Pack Away Hunger and more. They will host a blood drive on July 21.
Here, learn more about our August ICON of the Month, Derrick Christy.
What do you consider your greatest virtue? Integrity
What do you most deplore in others? It pains me to see others who don’t apply themselves or give their best effort in life to get the most out of their passion, mission, career and/or relationships.
What do you like most about living in Center Grove? I enjoy living in Center Grove because this is where I grew up and graduated from Center Grove, so being able to grow and serve the community is a blessing.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? I am right where I want to be or I would have already moved. I enjoy the friendliness of the residents in our community as everyone I interact with is so approachable and close knit.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? I am thankful for the life I have been granted and wouldn’t change anything. I am looking forward to what God has in store in the next chapters.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? I would give more for charity and ministry would be at the very top of my list.
What makes you happiest? I enjoy spending quality time with family on vacation or at dinners throughout the week.
What is your favorite vacation spot? My favorite vacation spot is along the Amalfi coast of Italy.
What do you do with idle time? By choice I don’t make a lot of idle time in my life. I never enjoyed sleeping much; Benjamin Franklin said, “there will be sleeping enough in the grave”. I may read or listen to an audio book about business or leadership in idle time.
What is it that makes you angry? I really try not to allow anything to get me to the point of being angry because I realize this is a negative energy and is a waste of mental capacity that could be used instead for good or accomplishment.
What do you do to escape from reality? I enjoy working out at home or time in the steam room for some absolute solitude. I also enjoy boating; being out on the water is relaxing and tends to remove my mind from work or issues I am thinking through.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Jesus Christ is the love of my life first and foremost as well as my wife, Jeanene. We have two amazing kids, my son Blake is 25 and my daughter, Jena is 18.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire?
What is the quality you like most in a man? I like seeing a man with strong character in the face of adversity that displays integrity and resolve.
What is the quality you like most in a woman? I think women that are intuitive and connect emotionally to positively influence those around them with compassion is a special gift.
What is your greatest extravagance? I would consider my home and vacation home to be my greatest extravagance but I have been intentional with these assets as a part of my overall real estate portfolio.
What are your fears/phobias? Life experiences can sometimes give you silly fears; just once my car came off the tracks in a car wash so I am a little anxious going through the car wash now as a result.
What has been the happiest time of your life? The happiest time of my life would be the day I accepted salvation, the day I got married and experiencing the birth of my children.
Which talent would you most like to possess? There are so many talents I would like to possess but playing an instrument would be fantastic.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.
Which historical figure do you most admire? Benjamin Franklin because of his many accomplishments which has been a positive influence in my life as he is my 7th Great-Grandfather.
What is your greatest regret? There are decisions you make that may be different in the future but that new course is what shapes your life for the better. Benjamin Franklin created a system to track progress in building 13 virtues. I realize I will never master the list but will keep striving.
What tenet do you live by? Another quote by Benjamin Franklin and he had many, “Each year, one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good”. I attempt to be continually improving myself, expanding my intellect and improve my interaction with people.