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Centier Bank announced that longtime Senior Partner
Bob Buhle will retire after a 30-year career serving the family-owned bank based in Merrillville. Buhle leaves a professional legacy as an innovative leader and guiding the bank through a period of “immense technological change” in the banking sector, ultimately leading to rapid growth for Centier.
Horizon Bank announced James D. Neff as the president of both Horizon and Horizon Bank effective January 1st, 2018. Neff has worked in banking for 39 years and has been with Horizon since 1999. “
Mr. Neff has been an integral part of Horizon’s executive management team since 1999 and a major contributor to Horizon’s success,” said Craig M. Dwight, Horizon Bank chairman and CEO.
Staci Kroon recently became president and chief executive officer with BraunAbility, a world leader in wheelchair vans, wheelchair SUVs & wheelchair lifts based in Winamac. Former CEO and President, Nick Gutwein retired at the end 2017. Kroon also served as executive president of Eaton Business Systems, a division of global manufacturer Eaton Corp. PLC.
Ms. Kroon has held numerous business, manufacturing and plant management positions. Her experience includes General Manager of the Heavy Duty Transmissions business in North America, Director of Business Development, Business Unit Manager and Manufacturing Operations Manager for Eaton’s automotive business.
The Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce has announced Todd McWhirter as its new director of membership and finance. With over 19 years of experience in finance, McWhirter will work to grow and retain chamber membership in addition to various financial responsibilities in his new role.
McWhirter has previously worked with Charles Schwab & Co., the Biltmore Family Office, LLC and Harbour Trust & Investment Management Company. He’s also held positions in financial planning, investment advice and team management. During his previous roles with the chamber, McWhirter served on the retention and expansion committee and organized a chamber luncheon that recognized renowned La Porte baseball player Ron Reed.
RQAW Corp. added Trent Montemayor as a project manager in the firm’s water-resources department. Montemayor is a board-certified environmental engineer and has worked in wastewater collection, treatment-center design and construction projects throughout Indiana and Michigan. Montemayor developed the 20-year master plan for Hobart’s southern corridor and presented the plan at the 2014 Indiana Water Environment Association Annual Conference in Indianapolis. Montemayor is a member of the Water Environment Federation and the Indiana Water Environment Association.
Matt Simoncini is retiring from his role as chief executive officer with Lear Corp, a major automotive supplier in Hammond. For more than 100 years, Lear has made automotive parts, including seats, for over 400 vehicle nameplates and is one of Hammond’s largest employers. Simoncini has served as CEO, president and as a director of Lear since 2011 and will stay on until the end of February to train his successor, Ray Scott.
On Nov. 17,
Veronica Tobon, assistant principal at Valparaiso High School, was named by the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) as the 2017 District Assistant Principal of the Year for Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties. Tobon was elected District Assistant Principal of the Year by her peers. Each of the 12 districts in Indiana honor an assistant principal each year. One of the 12 winners will be elected as the State Assistant Principal of the Year at the annual luncheon.
Ivy Tech Community College has announced three top administrators for its two campuses in NWI. Lora Plank was named vice chancellor of academic affairs by Valparaiso campus chancellor Aco Sikoski. Plank has been with Ivy Tech for nearly 25 years and has also served as dean of health sciences, interim dean of nursing, adjunct faculty member, and surgical technology program chairperson. Peter Linden, chancellor of the Michigan City campus, announced Robert Jeffs will serve as vice chancellor of academic affairs and
Arelia Bradley as vice chancellor for enrollment services and student success. From 1987 to 1995,
Robert Jeffs served as executive dean of the Valparaiso, Gary and former Hammond campuses of Ivy Tech. He was responsible for opening the East Chicago location before becoming chancellor of the Muncie region in 1995. Prior to her new role,
Arelia Bradley served as associate admissions director for Ivy Tech in Michigan City. She also worked for Southern Illinois University and Everest College for 10 years as an academic adviser and admissions manager.
Bishop Noll Institute has promoted Jessica Omelanczuk to dean of students from her previous Spanish teaching position in the school. BNI Principal Lorenza Jara Pastrick says the role of principal has changed over the years and believes Omelanczuk’s new position better suits the instructional needs of Bishop Noll’s administration.
Omelanczuk earned her bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and her bachelor of science degree in psychology from Loyola University in Chicago. She also has a master’s degree in education. Ms. Omelanczuk is the sponsor for the Multicultural Club and Spanish National Honor Society.
After more than 25 years of service with the Porter County Public Library
Jim Cline has retired from his position as director. Cline served as director for 10 years.
The East Chicago Public Library hired
Marla Spann as its new director to oversee both the main library
on Columbus Drive as well as the Robert A. Pastrick Branch on Chicago Avenue. Spann graduated from East Chicago Roosevelt High School in 1985 and has a master’s degree in library science.
The Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium has announced
Linda Woloshansky will serve as treasurer of the groundbreaking partnership of 13 Workforce Development Boards that formed Revitalize Midwest Economy.
Woloshansky also serves as president and chief executive officer of the Center of Workforce Innovations. The Northwest Indiana Workforce board is part of the consortium. Participation in the Midwest Consortium, will benefit job seekers in our urban communities such as Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and Michigan City.
The City of Valparaiso has named Nate McGinley as the director of Valparaiso’s public works. McGinley will replace Matt Evans, who resigned for a position in the private sector. In a press release, Mayor Jon Costas stated, “Nate’s management experience and positive work ethic make him a great fit for our leadership team.” McGinley has worked for the city for over 10 years, most recently serving as project manager for the engineering department.
Jesse Harper, born and raised in Valparaiso, has announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination this year for Center Township trustee. Over the years, Harper has lived in Los Angeles and New York City, working in acting and production, and now owns a media company and commercial production business in NWI. He recently graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law and has expressed his desire to help those most in need in the township.
John Parsons, vice president at the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has announced his retirement after 25 years of service to the South Shore Line. After running the railroad office for the Indiana Department of Transportation, Parsons began his work for NICTD in 1992. Parsons’ career spans four decades in transportation management, including his role as vice president of planning and marketing.
Porter-Starke Services has named
Matthew J. Burden the new president/CEO. Burden will replace current President/CEO Rocco Schiralli, who will remain with Porter-Starke as chief strategy officer, taking a leadership role in strategic planning. Burden served as executive director/CEO at Swanson Center since 2009. His psychology background includes cognitive neuroscience research related to public health. Burden also serves on the board for the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers.
Dr. Douge Barthelemy will be transitioning to another health care center after more than forty years as a pediatrician with the Maternal Child Health Care Clinic in downtown Gary. Due to a loss of state funding, the clinic closed at the end of 2017. Barthelemy will see patients at Marram Health Center in the city’s Glen Park neighborhood.
Steve Lunn is resigning as CEO of Porter Healthcare System for a position as regional vice president for American Physician Partners in Nashville. Lunn said in a statement that the decision was a difficult one. “I know this is the right decision for me and my family to relocate closer to family in the South and explore this new opportunity,” Lunn stated. Since his arrival at Porter Healthcare in March 2014, Lunn has worked to broaden programs and improve services. Lunn also served on the board of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and the Porter County Community Foundation.
Johnson Ivancevich LLP of Merrillville has promoted Arthur Johnson II to managing partner. Johnson’s responsibilities include client caseload and overseeing day-to-day business operations. Johnson specializes in civil and business litigation, as well as labor, employment and construction litigation. Johnson was nominated and selected as legal counsel for the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable, an association comprised of business leaders from around the region. In 2010, Johnson was nominated and selected by Indiana Lawyer as one of Indiana’s fifteen Up and Coming Lawyers in Indiana.
The Merrillville Town Council unanimously selected attorney Joe Svetanoff to provide legal services and representation to multiple panels within the municipality in 2018. According to Councilman Shawn Pettit, Svetanoff will represent the Town Council, Redevelopment Commission, Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. Previously, both attorney John Bushemi and attorney Bill Touchette represented the various panels, but both have recently resigned from their positions. The Merrillville Town Council also reappointed Pete Guip to serve on the police commission and selected Barbara Ghoston to continue serving on the stormwater management board.
Shannon Burhans of Portage has been named the Portage Township YMCA’s new president and chief executive officer. Her predecessor, Amber Alexander, resigned in August 2017 to take a position with a YMCA in Arizona. Burhans, formerly a YMCA board member and vice chairperson, volunteered to help manage the daily operations under interim CEO Larry Hemdal from August until she was named the new CEO.
Munster’s Theatre at the Center has announced Six new community members have volunteered to join the board of directors: Regina Biddings-Muro, Pat Binkley, Katie Fesko, Mike Palmer, Dave Shafer and Ginger Watts. The 18-member board oversees the 310-seat theater for The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, NWI’s only professional theatre.
Richard Allen, a 23-year Gary police veteran, was sworn in as the new chief of police with Gary’s Police Department in January. Former chief Larry McKinley stepped down from the position but will stay on with the department. Allen is a lifelong resident of Gary and graduated from Roosevelt High in 1983. He joined the Gary Police Department after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983 to 1987. Allen has served in various areas of the department, including patrol, community policing, crime scene investigations, internal affairs division, and served as commander of the supportive services division. He announced Brian Evans, Special Operations Commander, will serve as his deputy chief.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. was given permission by the Lake County Council to fulfill a position within the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. The position was left vacant after the departure of Mark Back, the sheriff’s spokesman under former Sheriff John Buncich. Martinez hired Emiliano Perez Jr., an East Chicago city councilman and career firefighter, as the department’s new director of public relations and health care administration for the county jail.
Capt. Mike Kellems, known as the face of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office, is retiring after 31 years. Kellems has taken a position as Manager of Safety and Security for the Duneland School Corporation in Chesterton. While serving the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office, Kellems served as a jail deputy, patrol deputy, DARE Instructor, School Resource Officer, Detective, patrol supervisor and was a former commander of the Warrants Division. He graduated in 1983 from the Howe Military Academy and in 1989 from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy’s 98th session. He also has a degree in Criminal Justice from Vincennes University.
Several new officers have been elected to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors to take office January 1, 2018. Saba Mohammed of Envision Real Estate Services in Merrillville will serve as 2018 GNIAR president. BruceAnn Singleton of McColly Real Estate in Valparaiso will be the president-elect, and Craig Frendling of Berkshire Hathaway Executive Realty in Schererville was elected treasurer. Members of the Board of Directors will be: Suzanne Tucker, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Valparaiso; Christopher Deutscher, Christopher Michael Properties, Michigan City; Valerie Rosenblum, McColly Real Estate, Valparaiso; Judith Rooney-Davis, Century 21 Affiliated, Portage; and Barb Morgin, Morgin Realty, DeMotte.
Brooke Allen, community engagement director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, is resigning from her position at the end of January 2018. Allen oversaw the organization’s social media, executed graphic design projects and managed business partnerships and group businesses. Allen has a bachelor’s degree in English from Purdue University and was an English and journalism high school teacher for East Porter County Schools.
Kailey Davenport will take over as community engagement coordinator for IDT.