Very few people understand Northeast Indiana more than Don Steininger. A lifelong resident, Don is a successful real estate developer whose philanthropic and civic support speaks to his passion for the region.
He may have started Steininger Development in 1986, but his work ethic, sense of civic responsibility and philanthropic efforts reaches back to his hometown of Auburn, IN.
During his high school days, Don’s math teacher took a special interest in him — she understood that he was more capable than what he was letting on. From there, his path took him to the University of Akron, where he graduated in 1966. In 1973, he earned his JD from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, where he says he learned to think and reason, to be organized and strategic. After graduation, he joined the firm of Snouffer, Haller and Colvin, where he found a mentor in the legendary real estate dealmaker, Bob Haller.
In 1977, Steininger opened his own law firm specializing in commercial real estate. His first project was a deal to build a restaurant for an Arby’s franchisee.
Less than a decade later, he opened his own development firm where he’s closed deals with some of the nation’s largest retailers and restaurant franchises, including Marshalls, Meijer and Buffalo Wild Wings, as well as regional financial institutions and corporate entities. He’s been part of corporate and advisory boards for Lakeland Financial, Brooks Construction and Lutheran Hospital.
And if that were the end of the story, that would be enough for most people. Thankfully for Northeast Indiana, Don’s passion — outside of golf — is giving his time and resources to the community.
Don’s held positions on the boards of United Way of Allen County, the AWS Foundation, public television station WFWA, the YMCA of DeKalb County, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and the Fort Wayne Art Museum. When president of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Don shepherded a 50-percent match of a $2 million Lilly Endowment grant for riverfront development.
Currently, he is a member of the Fort Wayne/Allen County Capital Improvement Board and president of Headwater’s Junction, Inc. – a multipurpose railway park estimated to generate $60 million in economic impact.