A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Drew Sarkisian

A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Drew Sarkisian

Drew Sarkisian, owner and operator of the Valparaiso-based erosion control and landscaping business Modern Edge LLC, is a driven individual who loves her family, her community, and her job. As the president of the Tri Kappa Iota social sorority chapter in Valpo, she leads the organization in its community enrichment projects. Sarkisian hopes to set an example for future generations of women and inspire them to pursue their aspirations.  

“I want my professional career to demonstrate to other females, especially my daughter, that you can work in whatever field you choose, even if it isn’t considered a ‘normal’ job for a woman,” Sarkisian said. “I'm very proud to be a woman working in the male-dominated erosion control and landscaping industry. The fact that I am successfully operating a business in a field like this pushes me harder and makes my job more exciting.” 

Sarkisian is a Valpo native and is deeply proud of that fact. While attending Valparaiso High School (VHS), she participated in theatre, choir, and athletics. After graduating in 2005, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in communications with a specialization in public relations at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Fort Lauderdale. Sarkisian returned to Valpo after graduating from NSU in 2009 before moving to Chicago to join a paralegal studies program at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower campus. She went on to graduate from the program in 2012. 

After Sarkisian moved back to Valpo, her friends began asking her to help plan their weddings and other events. Realizing she had a passion for event planning, Sarkisian founded the event consulting firm Suore Events. Suore assisted clients in several states with the planning of weddings, fundraisers, and corporate events. During this period, Sarkisian struck up a romantic relationship with fellow VHS alumnus Matthew Woods, and the pair soon married. Woods was in the landscaping and horticulture industry, and Sarkisian quickly developed an interest in the business aspects of the field. At her suggestion, she and Woods established Modern Edge in 2012. 

Although Modern Edge was primarily involved in concrete curbing and small commercial landscaping at its start, today it specializes in erosion control and landscaping. In 2016, Modern Edge was registered as a women’s business enterprise and a disadvantaged business enterprise. With this status, Modern Edge is able to secure valuable highway jobs with entities like the Indiana Department of Transportation. As the sole owner of Modern Edge, Sarkisian manages the business aspects of these projects and relishes every minute of it. Unfortunately, the prominent role she plays in her company has brought Sarkisian in contact with a lot of prejudice. However, she remains undaunted and employs several strategies to successfully navigate these situations. 

“People are often shocked by the fact that my husband does work for me,” Sarkisian said “Humor and sarcasm are essential tools I utilize when I deal with prejudice. You have to be able to take whatever they throw at you in this industry because if you cry about it, they win. I don’t fit the stereotypes that people in this industry attribute to women. My parents raised me to stand my ground no matter what, so that’s what I do. I've been able to deal with my colleagues’ prejudices by demonstrating that I belong in this field just as much as they do and that I can work just as hard as anyone else.”

Almost six years ago, Sarkisian was asked to join the exclusive Tri Kappa Iota chapter by her friend Kaye Frataccia-Seibert. This invite-only organization has engaged in charitable activities in Valpo for 121 years. In 2023, Sarkisian was elected as the chapter president, making her the youngest woman in the chapter’s history to hold the office. As president, Sarkisian has instituted several innovations, one of which was to put on the first gala in Tri Kappa Iota history this past February. Sarkisian is proud to be a member of Tri-Kappa Iota and looks forward to contributing to the organization’s legacy further. 

“Tri Kappa Iota is absolutely amazing,” Sarkisian said. “Our chapter is the second-largest in the state, and it’s full of awesome women who come from so many different ethnic and professional backgrounds. Our members are stay-at-home moms, full-time working mothers, corporate employees, and teachers. We want to promote charity, culture, and education in our communities however we can. We give back 100% of the proceeds we generate to Valpo. I owe a lot to my community, and participating in Tri Kappa Iota is my way of giving back.” 

Sarkisian’s hobbies include singing, volleyball, shopping, and watching musicals and plays. However, spending time with her family is the hobby she enjoys the most. Sarkisian’s love for her family is matched only by her love for her hometown.  

“Valpo is my heart,” Sarkisian said. “I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn’t lived here. It’s given me so much. When I look at the world we live in today, I realize just how fortunate I was to grow up in a place like Valparaiso, Indiana. Our community gives me a deep sense of safety and is the only place I would want to raise my daughter. I love this city and I love the people here because they make this wonderful community all that it is. I think Valpo is amazing, and if I can be part of the reason why it becomes even more amazing, that makes everything I do totally worth it.”

Sarkisian continues to find fulfillment in her work and hopes to motivate women of all ages and walks of life by sharing her story. She is excited to be a featured guest speaker at GreatNews.Life’s All About the Girls event on June 20.