By Jay Siskin
INDIANAPOLIS — From Greenwood, to Franklin, to Uzbekistan, to a job in the governor’s office, there’s no doubt Franklin College alumnus Brad Rateike is going places.
So just what does a guy who has done so many things do now? Something brand new, of course. Rateike’s current gig is founder and owner of BAR Communications, located in the heart of the Circle City.
But he didn’t get there overnight – and the journey was half the fun.
Rateike is a Johnson County native – more specifically, he’s from Greenwood. He graduated from Center Grove High School and attended Franklin College.
“The small school feel really worked for me as a student,” said Rateike. “I wanted to go to a school that gave me an opportunity to be involved in a lot of things, and Franklin was exactly that.”
After he graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in English, Rateike decided to join the Peace Corps and eventually landed in Uzbekistan where he worked as a non-governmental development volunteer.
“Values I learned while there are flexibility and problem-solving,” he said, “A lot of us operate on a to-do list. You keep them manageable in the Peace Corps, but when you walk out that door, in your assigned apartment or if you’re living with a family, it’s a different ball game.”
Rateike reminisced on his time overseas when he had to use those two values. He said it’s like living in a different world.
“When I was there, I had to figure how to get food, money. Sometimes the bank ran out [of money],” he said, “You wake up and realize, ‘Oh wait, that wasn’t a dream.’ You have to adjust. It’s not like living at home.”
When he left the Peace Corps in 2005, Rateike found a new path he never dreamed he would walk on. Thanks to his friend, Eric Holcomb, that path led him to becoming the deputy secretary and policy director for former Gov. Mitch Daniels.
“I owe Eric Holcomb a lot of credit,” he said, “We got to know each other through email and I needed a job after I got back [from the Peace Corps]. He told me, ‘[Mitch Daniel’s campaign office] needs to add a second person to the press office,’ and I interviewed.”
Rateike was in charge of media outreach to local, state, national and international media outlets, while also working with state agencies and stakeholder groups on initiatives to advance Daniels’ legislative agenda.
Today, Rateike’s role at BAR Communications goes beyond the title of ownership. He manages public relations strategy and directs message development for corporate, government and nonprofit clients and businesses in the Midwest. Some of BAR’s most high-profile clients include the city of Fishers, AT&T, Wal-Mart, WGU Indiana, and Pfizer.
Rateike credits his motivation to start BAR Communications to his time while working with Daniels.
“I learned so much from [Gov. Daniels],” said Rateike, “He expects the best out of himself, so he expected the best out of me and everyone else. He made me push myself everyday.”
Jay Siskin is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.