Jeff Cardwell, Founder and President
Jeff was born on December 7, 1959, in Morgantown, Kentucky, and was raised in Indianapolis. He is a graduate of Ben Davis High School. Paying his way through college, Jeff earned his college degree at Indiana Wesleyan University. Continuing his education, Jeff received his real estate sales license in 1984 and his brokerage license in 1986. In 1996, he was accredited by the Residential Sales Council as a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), a distinction awarded to only 4 percent of realtors nationwide. He is an active member of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS (MIBOR) and the National Association of REALTORS.
In 1976, Jeff began his career in the lumber industry. At the age of 18, he became the youngest person ever to serve as manager for that same company, which was founded in 1945. Today, he serves as president and CEO of Cardwell Do-it Best Home Center. In 1980, Jeff launched his first independent business venture in the residential construction business. Four years later, he founded a real estate firm serving both residential and commercial clients. Another milestone occurred in 1986, with his first real estate development of a residential community. The following year, he developed his first commercial office complex.
In October 1994, Builder/Architect Magazine named him “Builder of the Month.” Later that year, he was named “Builder of the Year” by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. As the “Builder Sponsor” of the 100th home built by Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Indianapolis area, Jeff also was presented with the “Golden Hammer Award.” In 1998, Jeff built the first prototype of the Do-it Best hardware store, a new retail concept now being built around the world. Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Do-It Best Corp’s world headquarters serves more than 3,700 independent members in more than 52 nations, with $3+ billion in annual sales. The new concept propelled Do-it Best Corp to dominance in the hardware industry among independent store owners.
In June 2000, Jeff went on his first mission trip, traveling to El Salvador. It was during that trip that the idea for creating “World In Need” (WIN), a not-for-profit charitable organization, was born. Jeff, along with four other men, established the organization on December 19, 2000, to serve those in need. On January 13, 2001, a devastating earthquake hit El Salvador, killing several thousand people and leaving more than 1 million people homeless. In less than 90 days, World In Need provided more than $2 million in emergency relief supplies to the earthquake victims.
In 2000 and 2004, Jeff served as an Alternate Delegate to the National Republican Convention and a National Delegate in 2012 and 2016. On September 4, 2001, Jeff launched the “People Helping People” radio network, which aired weekly on several radio stations in Central Indiana. In 2003, he was commissioned a “Kentucky Colonel” by Governor Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky, commissioned an “Honorary Colonel” by Governor Bob Riley of Alabama and presented with a United States “Congressional Salute” for his community service. He has also been elected several times to serve as a State Delegate to the Indiana State Republican Convention.
In September of 2005, Jeff led a first response team of volunteers to assist the survivors of “Hurricane Katrina” delivering more than 2 million pounds of donated relief items within the first 60 days after the storm. That year, Jeff traveled to Pattaya, Thailand for the third ‘Global Summit on Peace through Tourism.’ With more than 60 nations represented, Jeff presented his views on traveling with a purpose and the new concept of worldwide “voluntourism.” In late 2005, Jeff was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Fuller Center for Housing which was founded by Millard Fuller, former Chair and founder of Habitat for Humanity International. During his tenure as Indianapolis City-County Councilmember from 2007 - 2011, Jeff was named “Honorary Consulate” to the Republic of El Salvador in 2009. In May of 2011, Jeff received the “Spirit of Independents’ Award” from the North American Retail Hardware Association for his humanitarian work at home and abroad.
Jeff continues to pursue his passion to alleviate poverty around the world through The People Helping People Network which has expanded to nearly a dozen countries. Jeff resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Cheryl. They have three children: Shanne Masuccio-Juss, Sara E. Marshall Jeffery C. Cardwell. They have three grandsons: Nathan Juss, Henry Juss, and Joshua Marshall.