10 Goshen College Alumni Changing Goshen For the Better

Whatever corner of the world they call home, Goshen College graduates have the skills and desire to make it a better place.

These GC grads are doing it right here in Goshen.

They’ve taken the lessons learned at Goshen College and used them to make Goshen the kind of place they want to live – and make a living. Whether through civic service or starting businesses that are just plain cool, they’ve made the Maple City a better community for everyone.

Here are just a few of their stories.


Jesse and Amanda Sensenig

Jesse (’01)and Amanda (’03) are the owners of Goshen Brewing Company, a family-friendly, farm-to-table brewpub in downtown Goshen. Owning a business like this means the activities in their days are varied, but range from getting to know customers and working alongside an amazing staff, to creating recipes and brewing the beer, to putting on events like concerts and movies on the lawn.

A Goshen College education shaped the Sensenigs’ business in many ways. Jesse earned a social work degree and Amanda earned a psychology degree. They went on SST to the Dominican Republic and learned firsthand about caring for and learning from people who were different from them. At GC, they made lifelong friendships with people from around the world.

“All of those experiences have shaped the values of Goshen Brewing Company, which boasts many GC alumni as staff,” they said. “In particular, we focus on relationships in every aspect of our business, and strive for a feeling of acceptance and belonging, both for staff and customers.”

The Sensenigs believe in the importance of community, and integrate the values of service and stewardship instilled in them from their years at Goshen College.

“We collaborate with other local businesses and practice sustainability in our food sourcing, using both local and organic products whenever possible. GBCo. donates a portion of the proceeds from our Menno-Mighty IPA t-shirts to local organizations, such as LaCasa, Inc. and the Elkhart County Clubhouse. We support local artists, using and selling their merchandise at the brewery. The emphasis Goshen College places on music has affected us as well. We’ve featured musicians playing a wide variety of styles of music on our patio and in several events on a larger stage on the lawn. We’re grateful for the impact Goshen College has had in shaping our worldview and we carry those experiences with us into our business.”

Jesse and Amanda Sensenig operate one of Goshen’s most popular hang-out destinations.
Photos provided.


Ken Hochstetler

Ken Hochstetler is the president and chief executive officer of
Goshen-based Everence Financial.
Photos provided.

Ken Hochstetler (’83) is the president and chief executive officer of Goshen-based Everence Financial. Everence is a Christian-based, member-owned organization that helps people integrate their faith and finances through a variety of financial services.

As a native of Goshen and having grown up in a home along College Avenue, Hochstetler had early exposure to Goshen College. It was the natural place for him to continue his education. At the dawn of the age of personal computers, he was drawn to study business and systems.

“A highlight was gaining global and multicultural awareness during a Study-Service Term spent in Costa Rica,” Hochstetler said. “What I really came to appreciate was the lifelong learning preparation of a faith-based, liberal arts education. I was well prepared to enter the workforce and go on to get a Masters of Business Administration for further technical education. I am appreciative of the opportunity to now give back through service on the Goshen College Board of Directors to help shape the next generations of learners.”

Everence has recently been doing some exciting work to re-envision its digital presence and how it might better meet the needs of its customers locally and across the country.

“I am excited with this project, and how it will better serve future generations in new ways and new places,” Hochstetler said.


Stephanie Honderich

Stephanie Honderich (’06) is a massage therapist and dance instructor who owns and works at GoDance Studio and Giving Tree Massage in Goshen.

Honderich says her education at Goshen College – both in the classroom and out – has been invaluable to her growing to where she is now.

“Problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication, and learning to reach outside of my comfort zone are all things that I learned as a student there,” she said. “Perhaps most important, I developed a deep appreciation for the value of community.  I strive every day to enrich the community of Goshen.”

Honderich is working on some ideas to build GoDance’s Latin Tuesdays in the new year.

“Latin dance (Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, and Merengue) is popular in our area, but we’ve struggled to build a community around it at GoDance,” she said. “I feel strongly that these dances can build bridges in our community.  I plan to advertise through Radio Horizonte as well as host one of our Tuesday night dances at one of Goshen’s newest venues, The Elephant Bar.”

Stephanie Honderich owns GoDance Studio and Giving Tree Massage.
Photos provided.


Julia Gautsche

9 Goshen College Alumni • The Good of GoshenJulia Gautsche (’75) is a certified women’s health nurse practitioner and certified nurse-midwife, and also a member of the Goshen City Council.

Gautsche earned a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing at Goshen College, and has been working in nursing since graduation. Her GC experience also factors into her public service.

“During my junior and senior years at GC, I was introduced to the legislative process during ‘Mock Convention,’” she said. “Many thanks to professors Mervin Helmuth and Ida Gross for coming up with this unique way to study the legislative process. My interest continued in this area of public service and I also serve as an elected member of the Goshen City Council.”

Since her time at Goshen College, Gautsche has served her community – including its tiniest members – in another way, as well.

“Twelve years ago, I and two other midwives at Fairhaven OB-GYN, Rachel Johns and Nancy Loewen, and our office manager, Gail Schrock, had a dream of opening a freestanding birth center in Goshen to serve women and families from Elkhart and surrounding counties,” she said. “…It has now been 10 years since Goshen Birth Center (state and nationally accredited) open its doors to our first birth center family, and to date the Fairhaven midwives and staff have provided care to 727 mothers, babies, and families.”

“Midwives know that labor is powerful and believe that women are strong,” she said. “We know that a positive birth experience empowers both women and their families.”


Ben Hartman and Rachel Hershberger

9 Goshen College Alumni • The Good of GoshenBen (’01) and Rachel (’99) own Clay Bottom Farm, a behind-the-scenes farm for Goshen’s own Kelly Jae’s, Venturi, Constant Spring, Goshen Brewing Co., Dutch Maid Bakery, and the Maple City Market. They also sell their produce at the Goshen Farmers Market. Ben has also written two books on applying “lean thinking” to small-scale, local agriculture.

Ben and Rachel’s Goshen College experience factors into the day-to-day operation of Clay Bottom Farm.

“Goshen College always encouraged cross-collaboration, and I think that success in today’s workforce depends on your ability to stretch yourself, learn new things, and become a multi-disciplinarian,” Ben said. “To say I’m a farmer is too simplistic. I’m a businessperson, mechanic, communicator, field biologist and more, all mashed into one job.”

Ben also pointed out that GC stressed servant leadership.

“When we make decisions on the farm, it’s not just about what can make us the most money, but we also ask, ‘What does the community need? How might we fill that need?’ he said. “We sometimes make decisions that line up with our values even if they don’t make the best business sense.”

The duo just recently finished moving Clay Bottom Farm to within Goshen city limits, and Ben plans to build a new greenhouse this winter.

“This will allow us to better serve our customer base in Goshen,” Ben said. “For instance, if a restaurant runs out of salad, we can quickly harvest a fresh crop and get it delivered within minutes. This gives us advantage over trucked-in food from far away.”

Ben also just finished writing “The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables,” an in-depth manual showing how to use the latest tools and techniques to run a successful farm.


Anna Mast

Anna Mast (right) poses with the former bakery owner, Rachel Shenk.
Photos provided.

Anna Mast (’08) runs Anna’s Bread, which specializes in wood-fired, European-style sourdough breads. Anna’s Bread features pastries that are hand-laminated and lunches and breakfasts that are locally sourced and employs three to seven Goshen College students regularly.

“I was an art major with a jewelry focus and a women’s studies minor,” she said. “I started working at the bakery, when it was Rachel’s Bread, right before I began college, and worked there all four years. I think that was probably the best combination of college and work I could have hoped for. I know that Goshen shaped me into a stronger woman, a critical thinker, and a far more compassionate person.”

In October, Anna’s Bread switched its usual lunch menu to offer meals inspired by the Harry Potter series.

“It was a way to keep the staff from getting bored, and definitely brought some new creative energy into the kitchen,” Mast said, adding that she’s looking forward to the Christmas season.

“(The season) always demands more celebratory breads and desserts, so I’m excited to get to make Stollen, Panettone, lots of boozy dried fruit cakes, Buche de Noel and Christmas cookies,” she said.


Diane Woodworth

9 Goshen College Alumni • The Good of GoshenDiane Woodworth (’83) is the superintendent of Goshen Community Schools.

“I would say that Goshen College’s motto ‘Culture for Service’ could not be more appropriate for what I’m doing now!,” she said. “The travel experiences I had at Goshen College, and in the years since then, have helped me to be a more compassionate leader for a very diverse population of students and staff at GCS.”

Woodworth also feels that GC’s core values are ones she holds personally.

“…To be Christ-centered in my work, even in a public school setting,” she said. “To instill in our students and staff the desire to be lifelong passionate learners; to lead this school corporation as a servant leader who is willing to do whatever it takes to support staff, provide opportunities for students, and listen to families in our community; to provide in our schools a culture where conflict finds resolution through the work of caring, compassionate peacemakers; and lastly, to provide educational pathways to our students, such as New Tech and International Baccalaureate, that encourage students to think beyond themselves and graduate ready to be responsible, global citizens in a global society.”

Goshen Community Schools has a major undertaking in the works – the possible construction of a new school for students in grades five through eight. Community meetings have been part of the process.

“There are differing opinions, so it will be our job to meet with community members to explain the work of the facilities committee, to hear their concerns and opinions, and to eventually make a final determination of what kind of school GCS should build, that all members of the community can feel good about and support,” Woodworth said.


Byron Shetler

9 Goshen College Alumni • The Good of GoshenByron Shetler (’83) is the chief technology officer and “alpha geek” at Hertzler Systems Inc. His responsibilities include product direction, systems design, and occasional programming. He also assists with some of the more complex (and fun!) integration projects at customer sites.

“I think the broad range and mix of classes (math and physics combined with a liberal arts education) that I experienced at Goshen College assist me today in being able to translate hard science into usable and understandable information for end users,” Shetler said. “Computer hardware and software have changed significantly since I began programming in the early 1980s and I give credit to my Goshen College education for the flexibility and adaptability that has been needed to stay in front of these changes.”

Shetler’s current projects include automating the data collection analysis for a medical device manufacturer in Ireland, and the complete automation of 24 jet engine work cells for a well-known international company.

“I enjoy figuring out how to connect to various devices and machinery,” he said.

Shetler notes that his empathy for users helps in designing software that is usable and understandable from a non-technical point of view.

“I am told that I am the rare programmer that can carry on a conversation with normal humans!,” he said.


Adam Scharf

Adam Scharf (’02) is a member of the Goshen City Council and a third-generation GC alumnus. He runs Red Tail Farm (just a few short blocks from the Goshen College campus) and the renovation and property management business Rethinking Buildings. He and his wife Anna also operate Blank Space, a downtown Goshen venue for meetings, events, and projects.

Scharf said Goshen College is a place where he had a broad-based education emphasizing the value of people, working in their service and nurturing relationships regardless of the task at hand. He also keeps in mind a lesson from another GC alumnus, his late grandfather, Paul King (’41), and elementary school teacher, gardener, and carpenter.

“His shop projects were shaped out of wood, but formed around relationships,” Scharf said. “Whether it was building a swingset for me and my brother, a table for my mother (Jan King Stair, Class of ‘73) or boat pier for my uncle (Delmar King, Class of ‘69), each project had a larger purpose. In these cases respectively: playing, eating, and fishing together with his grandchildren and children.”

A sense of community and relationships factored into one of Scharf’s recent projects: restoring a 1935 English three-bay threshing barn.

“Gone are the dirt floors and roof leaks; new are sturdy support beams, restrooms and dressing space,” Scharf said. “The spirit of community gathering and celebrating continues and grows in a space that Goshen-connected folks inspired toward the service of people and their relationships.”

Adam (’02) is a member of the Goshen City Council and a third-generation GC alumnus.
Photos provided


Phoebe Brubaker

Phoebe Brubaker, designer/owner/grower of Flowers By Phoebe.
Photos provided.

Phoebe (‘03) is the designer/owner/grower of Flowers By Phoebe, a floral business that is focused changing the conversation about fresh cut flowers in Michiana.

“Although we love the variety of blooms that the international flower trade has to offer, we know that seasonal and local is best for the environment and the local economy,” she said. “We are dedicated to sourcing the majority of the blooms we sell from local farms during the growing season of April through November.”

Phoebe was a history and theater major at GC, and said the intersectionality of those studies helped to shape her into the fledgling entrepreneur she is today.

“My degree in History has been invaluable in helping me to ask good questions, to challenge assumptions, and to do quality research,” she said. “My theater degree taught me about designing on a large scale and for a specific audience.  It also taught me about working with a limited budget and thinking creatively and collaboratively with other artists to solve problems.  It was also my introduction to a community of people that is open and encouraging to those who are willing to try something new.”

Flowers by Phoebe is developing three different plots on its farm, adding perennial shrubs, spring bulbs, and potentially a field tunnel and/or greenhouse to extend the growing season into the cold weather seasons.

“Our farming efforts are supported in a large part by our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members, loyal customers who act as investors by buying a share of each season’s crops ahead of time,” Phoebe said. “We are also exploring expanding our CSA distribution area beyond just Goshen and are looking at distribution sites in Granger, South Bend, Syracuse and Warsaw/Winona Lake.”

The End!

Editors • Scott Weisser, Liz Shenk
Web Design • Ben Stutzman

Do you have a story you want to tell?

Do you have a story to tell about someone who contributes to Goshen’s greater GOOD?

We invite you to share!