A life truly lived, Milt Thompson continues to move forward with success by doing what he’s always done: stay busy!
With a booming baritone and the complete command of a room, Milt Thompson (North Central ’72) is quick to point out one of his most prized accomplishments. It wasn’t being an All-American baseball player at Wittenberg. It wasn’t passing the Bar Exam, or trying his first case. It wasn’t bringing the Pan American Games or Super Bowl to Indianapolis. All of those are resume-defining accolades. But Thompson remembers one thing fondly: becoming one of just two members of North Central’s Counterpoints to earn a spot as just a sophomore!
Washington Township and, by extension, Indianapolis hold a spot very near Thompson’s heart. The sustained success he found in high school gave him the advantages to succeed in life. A tremendous football and baseball athlete, being gifted in performing arts allowed Thompson to crossover various groups of friends to experience the full enrichment of North Central. It was the competition and sports culture that he would take with him for the rest of his life.
“The thought that was always a part [of every activity] was giving back,” Thompson reflects today. “Being able to acquire certain talents and skills and being able to redeliver those in positive ways for others.”
“You have to learn to learn.”
The son of a hard-working father who never indulged the athletic prowess (Thompson recalls him only attending one or two sporting events), it was a push to achieve academically and win in life that fueled Thompson beyond college. After graduating from Wittenberg, he received his law degree from Indiana University, and would use that degree in a variety of different ways. From serving as a deputy prosecutor for Marion County, to negotiating multi-million dollar deals for professional athletes, he’s done it all.
Milt is the president and CEO of Grand Slam – a sports, entertainment, and recreation management consulting firm. He is the co-founder of Play Ball Indiana, a former certified Contract Advisor with the NFL and NBA Players Association, and Board Member of the Indianapolis Indians Baseball Club. He has hosted multiple radio and television programs in Indianapolis dedicated to advancing the understanding of civic responsibility and the sports market.
Well-known for his work in community development, sports and recreation-planning, and in building community collaborations through effective partnerships, Thompson served as President and Interim Director of Big Brothers while merging with Big Sisters to create Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Indiana. He also played a key role in negotiating the merger between the Legacy Fund and the Indianapolis Foundation in 1997 to create the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). Thompson has served on the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, the Tourism Tomorrow Board of Visit Indy, the English Foundation, Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, Crown Hill Board of Managers and the Indiana World Skating Academy Board. He was also General Counsel to the Pan American Games and held the position of Vice President of Indiana Sports Corporation.
It’s a lot to balance, and a schedule that Thompson attacks with passion and a mindset that what he is doing is not work. It is that balance of selflessness and drive that makes Thompson a role model to so many, including North Central students. He’s been the featured speaker at multiple Baccalaureate and Commencement programs, and is a proud member of the North Central Alumni Hall of Fame.
“Make sure that the work you do is a labor of love,” he says. “You retire from a job. You don’t retire from a vocation.”
Thompson isn’t retiring from anything anytime soon.