Manufacturing education leader Robert Koch receives Andre B. Lacy Vanguard Award

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 30, 2020) Conexus Indiana today honored Robert Koch, chairman of Koch Enterprises Inc., fourth-generation business owner and community and education advocate, with the Andre B. Lacy Vanguard Award.

The annual award, named after local philanthropist and business leader Andre B. Lacy, honors Hoosier leaders who champion the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, model civic and philanthropic leadership, and demonstrate visionary perspective that challenges the status quo.

“Conexus Indiana is thrilled to bestow this honor on Bob Koch, a stalwart in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing community for the last 58 years,” said J. Mark Howell, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “Not only has Bob expanded his own company into one of the largest privately owned companies in the state, he also has dedicated his life to ensuring members of his community have access to quality education, services and opportunities.”

Koch Enterprises was founded by Bob’s great-grandfather in 1873. Bob joined the company in 1962, became president in 1980 and chairman in 2012. Since he became president in 1980, the company’s annual sales have increased from $75 million to over $1 billion.

Bob and Andre were contemporaries, colleagues and shared many similarities in their professional successes as well as in their commitment to community leadership and philanthropy.

“Over the years I have been fortunate to receive a number of awards but this one is really special to me and will be treasured the rest of my life,” Koch said. “Indeed, Andre was a good friend and good source of help and inspiration for me.”

J.A. Lacy, president and CEO of LDI, Ltd. and Andre’s son, added: “Like Bob, Andre presided over a family business during a time of significant expansion and success, championed an uncompromising focus on customer needs and had an interest in education that ran deep. My dad embraced an abundance mentality and believed in giving freely without expectation of return. He was confident a rising tide lifts all boats and endeavored to be a catalyst for action in this regard. Bob shares this philosophy, and I am delighted that he is being celebrated for his leadership, contributions to elevating Indiana’s prominence in the global economy, and his influence on the future of our state.”

Outside of his company work, Koch is passionate about improving education in Indiana. He is founding member and president of the Signature School in Evansville, Indiana’s first public charter high school and regularly ranked one of the best high schools in the United States. He has served on a number of boards dedicated to higher education, Independent Colleges of Indiana and Southern Indiana Higher Education and currently is a Life Trustee at University of Evansville

Koch graduated Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1960. He received a Master’s in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962. He has an Honorary Doctor of Technology from Vincennes University and an Honorary Associate of Science from Ivy Tech State College.

He has been recognized as a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governors O’Bannon, Daniels and Holcomb. In 2002, he was chosen as the Indiana Business Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, then in 2006 was inducted into the Evansville Business Hall of Fame.

Koch is married to Cynthia Ross and they have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Koch joins an esteemed group of Andre B. Lacy Vanguard Award winners including F. Joseph Loughrey, former president of Cummins Inc., and a founding member of Conexus Indiana, and Cathy Langham, president and CEO of Langham Logistics Inc.

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to