As a child, Paul Chaney Sr. was impressed by an aunt who served in the U.S. Army and traveled the world. His family often visited the aunt at different duty stations, which gave the young boy a glimpse into a world he wanted to enter.
“I was always fascinated with the order and discipline that the military provided,” Paul said. Not surprisingly, Paul joined the military before graduating from Brebeuf Prep High School in Indianapolis. “Since I couldn’t swim or didn’t have good enough vision to fly, I decided on the Army because I enjoyed what I saw along with the camaraderie.”
At home on leave after basic training in 1983, Paul met Susan, the woman who would become his wife. “We started dating, and were married nine years later,” he said. “We have now been married for 24 years with two adult children (Paul Jr., 29, and Peyton Alexis, 21) and one grandson (Kyler, 3).”
Paul chose to attend Indiana State because it has an excellent ROTC program. “It was part of the Simultaneous Membership Program, which allowed me to engage in school along with ROTC plus drill with an active reserve unit.”
A graduate of Northwest High School in Indianapolis, Susan said she decided to attend Indiana State “because it was a smaller university that offered my major” and “was close to home so I could go back home frequently to visit my family.”
Susan graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s in fashion merchandising. Paul graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s in finance and earned an MBA from Webster University in St. Louis in 1998.
After serving in the military from 1983 to 2009, Paul retired as a lieutenant colonel with two Bronze Star medals. The first was earned during Desert Storm for meritorious service in support of mission critical duties dealing with the flanking maneuver used by the military to invade and defeat the Iraqi army.
The second Bronze Star was awarded for exceptional meritorious service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom while serving as the embedded team trainer to the Afghan Army Commander of the 5th Battalion. “The Afghan unit I worked with was essential to the country’s first presidential election and subsequent inauguration,” Paul said.
Today, the Chaneys live in Madison, Ala., where Paul is district business manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, overseeing a team of nine sales professionals. Before that, the Chaneys lived in St. Louis where Paul worked in pharmaceutical sales after leaving active duty in the Army.
“I have worked in a myriad of divisions from antibiotics to central nervous system and now in the diabetes division,” he said. “I love what I do … When I hear patient success stories, I am completely satisfied, knowing that we have done our jobs.”
Susan is owner of Pinky’s Classy Creations LLC, an online retail story that specializes in personalized custom gifts for special occasions. “I was nicknamed ‘Pinky’ by my husband due to my sorority colors (Alpha Kappa Alpha) which are pink and green,” Susan said. “Also pink is one of my favorite colors.”
Being her own boss and being able to create unique crafts as well as design new and different garments is what she enjoys most about owning Pinky’s, Susan said. “My ISU major in textiles prepared me very much for my job. It taught the textile science and the purpose behind selecting the perfect fabric. I also learned how to design my own patterns as well as marketing my products.”
The Chaneys are also partners in Chaney Real Estate Advisors LLC, where they own and actively manage 22 rental apartment units consisting of duplexes and multi-family buildings. Both credit State with giving them the foundation to be successful business owners.
“In addition to learning about business at ISU, I really enjoyed meeting many new friends that have become my lifelong friends,” Paul said. “In addition to ROTC, I was involved with my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. I was also in a business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi and worked at the registrar’s office. I served two terms as an election commissioner during the SGA elections.”
Living in the St. Louis area for more than 18 years, the Chaneys were active in their community. Paul mentored and guided youth though his fraternity’s Kappa League, also known as the Guide Right program. He coached AAU track and worked tirelessly to get academic and track scholarships for students. He served as a Big Brother for more than five years and developed a scholarship endowment at Indiana State for an underprivileged student from Indianapolis. In 2014, he was honored with the Jefferson Award for his work.
In Alabama, the couple is members of the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and involved in the American Diabetes Association Walk. Despite their busy schedule, the Chaneys return to Indiana State at least four times a year, including every Homecoming.
A strong supporter of education, Susan said she would encourage young people “to be all they can be and that the sky is the limit. Surround yourself with positive individuals. If you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up. However, to accomplish this, you must give 110 percent in all that you do.”
Active in the Indiana State University Alumni Association, Paul will assume the role of association president on July 1, 2016. “The blessings that Susan and I have received have been an opportunity for us to reach back and help those that need the same helping hand that was afforded to us,” Paul said. “My motto is ‘Each One, Reach One.’”