Noteworthy News from Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Noteworthy News from Around the Region

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Noteworthy news from around the region

by Jacqueline von Ogden


Kruggel Lawton CPAs is pleased to announce that Cindy Stammich has joined the firm as a staff accountant in their Business Accounting Services group. Stammich has more than 30 years of public accounting experience, with an extensive background in accounting and bookkeeping, monthly/quarterly/annual compilations, and QuickBooks. Originally from Osceola, Ind., Stammich earned her associate degree in accounting from Indiana Vocational Technical College, South Bend, Ind. At Kruggel Lawton, Stammich will focus on providing ongoing and/or project-related outsourced accounting services to clients.


First Merchants Bank announced James Dunne was recently hired to serve as vice president and client advisor. In this role, Dunne will provide customized financial solutions for individuals, families, foundations and businesses. Receiving a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master's in finance from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University, Dunne served as Portfolio Manager for 10 years at BMO Harris Wealth Management … Erin Hott has joined American Community Bank Lending Center in Munster. Hott comes to the bank as a recent graduate from Ball State University with a degree in public relations … First Merchants Bank congratulates John Freyek, vice president, senior relationship manager, on being appointed to the board of directors of Opportunity Enterprises Inc. Opportunity Enterprises, a non-profit organization founded in 1967, strives to help individuals with developmental disabilities reach their fullest potential and live a full, enriching life. Recognized as one of the premier agencies serving those with disabilities, Opportunity Enterprises provides children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), severe physical and mental disabilities, Alzheimer's, dementia, loss of limbs and other delays and disabilities with a supportive environment where they can learn, continually increase their skills, and reach their maximum potential.


A $100 million mixed-use development is coming to Mishawaka. South Bend developer Great Lakes Capital says GrandView will include office, medical, retail and restaurant space. The first phase of the project is GrandView Flats & Townhomes, which will include more than 200 units, and the first apartments will be available by late spring of 2016, and the first phase of the project will be finished in 2017.


The University of Saint Francis Crown Point welcomed new professor Andrea Williams, MSN, MHA, RN, for its Maternal Newborn Nursing. Williams previously taught Medical Surgical Nursing 1 for USF Crown Point, and has gained more than 20 years of varied knowledge in nursing, primarily in obstetrics, including direct patient care, patient education and nursing education … Three Purdue University Calumet faculty members received the university's 2014-15 Outstanding Faculty Awards for teaching, scholarship and service. The recipients are Associate Professor of Political Science Meg Rincker of Frankfort, Ill. (Outstanding Teacher); Professor of Finance Pat Obi of Munster (Outstanding Scholar); and Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Judith Hack of Merrillville (Outstanding Service) … Indiana University Northwest announces the appointment of Karl Besel, Ph.D., as the Assistant Dean and Director of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Besel brings extensive experience working in administrative roles and running non-profit agencies to his position, in addition to his academic experience which includes teaching, research and numerous publications and awards. He comes to IU Northwest from IU Kokomo, where he served as a professor of public administration and health management and also the graduate program director … An information technology veteran with 20 years of versatile experience in post-secondary education joins Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central as vice chancellor of Information Services. The appointment of Tim Winders is announced by both campuses in anticipation of their emerging unification into Purdue University Northwest, subject to approval by the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits both universities. In his new role, Winders will have overall responsibility and oversight for delivery and integration of information technology for both Northwest Indiana Purdue campuses, and will be responsible for effective governance and policies related to access and use of the campuses' information services and technology systems, as well as leadership and implementation of system-wide and regional campus IS strategic goals, strategies, policies and procedures.


Scott Leigh has been named Beacon Medical Group‘s executive director of procedural & surgical specialists. Leigh received his bachelor's degree in public health and his master's degree in health administration from Indiana University, and brings more than 23 years of experience working with physicians and physician groups. He served as chief operating officer of Urology of Indiana in Indianapolis; other medical group management positions include roles at the Care Group in Indianapolis, the Ohio Heart Health Center and Riley Hospital for Children … St. Mary Medical Center recently welcomed the surgeons of Great Lakes Orthopedics & Sports Medicine PC to its orthopedic surgery program. Keith Pitchford, DO, orthopedic surgeon, brings more than 16 years of practice to St. Mary Medical Center. Pitchford earned his medical degree and completed his residency at Midwestern University, completing a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Illinois. Jennifer Bayer, MD, orthopedic surgeon, earned her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Michigan … Rodney Morris has joined Methodist Hospitals as director of public safety & security. Morris previously served as senior director for public safety & security, parking & transportation at the University of Chicago. Morris holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA in psychology from Trenton State College in New Jersey, is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Security & Safety, the American Society of Industrial Security, and the International Parking Association … Indiana University Health President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel F. Evans Jr. announced his plan for retirement. Evans will relinquish his role as president but will continue to serve as the statewide health system's CEO until May 1, 2016. As part of the succession plan, current IU Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dennis M. Murphy will be promoted to president of the organization, effective immediately, and become CEO as well on May 1, 2016. Murphy will continue to serve as COO until a successor is named … Porter Health Care System welcomed Jeannette Colon Marin, MD, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology care and will be joining Dr. Kurt Wiese‘s practice in Valparaiso. Porter Health Care System has named Linda S. Kiger as its new director of health information management. Kiger brings more than 25 years of experience in acute healthcare to her role, where she is responsible for managing policies and procedures related to healthcare information services throughout the system and serves as assistant privacy officer … Mary Ann Hansen has been appointed to director of imaging services at Methodist Hospitals. Hansen has been an employee at Methodist Hospitals for over 35 years, serving in a number of staff and leadership roles, with her most recent position being that of manager of ultrasound services and advanced obstetrical services outpatient clinics …. Ginny Kevorkian, MBA, PRC, manager of market research and Planning at Beacon Health System, was named to the board of directors of the Marketing Research Association. Founded in 1957 and based in Washington, D.C., the Marketing Research Association is the leading and largest U.S. association of the opinion and marketing research profession. Kevorkian, who has been with Beacon Health System for 18 years, holds a master's degree in business administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and double bachelor's degrees in Spanish and literature from Purdue UniversityLarry Moser has joined Methodist Hospitals as director of facilities. Moser previously served as a contractor in this position and most recently with ABM as a contract director of facilities at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, NY. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Association of Facility Engineers and the American Society of Hospital Engineers … Community Hospital Medical and Dental Staff elected new officers for a two-year term effective July 1. David Robinson will serve as president, Terrence Dempsey, MD, as vice president and Howard Marcus, MD, as secretary. In his position as president, Dr. Robinson will provide leadership for the 600 medical and dental physicians on staff at Community Hospital. Terrence Dempsey, MD, is a general surgeon on staff at Community Hospital since 1997 and Howard Marcus, MD, is an obstetrician/gynecologist on staff at Community Hospital since 1995 … Beacon Health System welcomes Luiz Pantalena, MD, Ph.D., Dermatologic Surgery, to its growing list of physicians providing care at Beacon Medical Group Specialists, Ireland Road in South Bend.


Barb Radecki of Gibson has been promoted to Senior Account Manager in the Business Group. She specializes in commercial property and casualty accounts and is responsible for servicing business clients, including making policy changes, issuing certificates of insurance, auditing, and renewing insurance programs for small business owners … David Walters, risk advisor at Gibson, has been named to Insurance Business America‘s annual Young Guns report, a list recognizing young professionals who have made a difference in the insurance industry. Walters joined Gibson in 2011 and specializes in the health and human services niche. Honored as a member of the 2015 Michiana Forty Under 40 Class, Walters has held numerous leadership roles in community organizations, including sitting on the advisory council for the Young Professionals Network of South Bend/Mishawaka, chairman for the Northern Indiana Workforce Board, and mentor of the Insurance and Risk Management program at Indiana State University. Jennifer Kasznia, of Gibson, has been promoted to senior account manager for the Surety Bonding team. Kasznia is responsible for the day-to-day service needs of surety, license, and miscellaneous bonds, and her responsibilities also include reviewing contractor job specifications and other service needs as required … Ellie Meyers is joining Gibson as an Account Manager in Commercial Risk Management. Meyers is responsible for the day-to-day service needs of clients and works to obtain information and answer questions regarding coverage and policies. Her responsibilities also include making policy changes, issuing certificates of insurance, and other service needs as required. Prior to joining Gibson in 2015, Ellie worked in the financial services sector for several years, most recently with KTRADE as a retirement analyst. Karen Corning is joining Gibson as a client manager in the employee benefits practice. Corning is responsible for providing renewal and service management for employee benefits clients including overseeing renewals and enrollments, maintaining policy data, the creation of employee communication materials, and conducting employee open enrollment meetings.


Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants announced the appointment of John Inserra as the company's president and chief operating officer, effective this fall. Inserra will guide the company's operations as Cooper's Hawk continues to undergo robust expansion. Throughout his career, Inserra has held senior leadership positions in upscale hospitality brands, including The RitzCarlton Hotel Company, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group, and most recently as the chief operating officer of The ONE Group, leading the international restaurant brand, STK. As a Chicago native, John has served on the board of directors of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and was on the inaugural board for Got2Run, a non-profit organization aimed at health and wellness programs for students … White Lodging is pleased to announce Michael Israel as the general manager for the Hampton Inn Merrillville. Israel brings over six years of hospitality experience to his new position.


Scott D. Smith has become an Ameriprise Financial private wealth advisor. Smith, with an office in Mishawaka, is one of approximately 10 percent of the nearly 10,000 Ameriprise financial advisors to achieve this status. A managing partner of Hilltop Wealth Solutions, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., Smith is focused on providing advice and financial solutions for clients with high asset levels and is knowledgeable on a variety of topics and strategies including retirement, tax and estate planning, insurance and asset management.


Nearly 20 attorneys from Barnes & Thornburg LLP's Elkhart and South Bend offices were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2016 and Lawyer of the Year lists. More than 150 lawyers throughout Barnes & Thornburg's 13 offices had more than 275 listings in a number of legal practice areas. In addition to the Best Lawyers recognition, Philip J. Faccenda Jr., South Bend office managing partner, was also named on the “Lawyer of the Year” list. The attorneys who made this year's Best Lawyers list, including their primary practice areas, are: Elkhart- Glenn E. Killoren – Corporate Governance Law, J. Scott Troeger – Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Timothy A. Weaver – Elder Law; South Bend- Timothy J. Abeska – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Construction, Richard J. Deahl – Corporate Law, Robert G. Devetski – Insurance Law, Philip J. Faccenda Jr. – Government Relations Practice; Public Finance Law (Lawyer of the Year), Alan B. Feldbaum – Public Finance Law, Joseph R. Fullenkamp – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Jeanine M. Gozdecki – Employment Law – Individuals; Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Labor Law – Union; Litigation – Labor and Employment, Michael D. Hardy – Banking and Finance Law; Financial Services Regulation Law, Timothy D. Hernly – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law, George E. Horn Jr. – Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Tracy D. Knox – Commercial Litigation, Brian J. Lake – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Gerald F. Lutkus – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – First Amendment; Litigation – Labor and Employment, Laura Seng – Health Care Law, John C. Smarrella – Corporate Law; Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Michael B. Watkins – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy.


MPI Products LLC, located in Knox, Indiana, a leading fineblanking service provider in North America, has received Ford Q1 Supplier status, Ford's highest distinction for supplier quality. MPI Products has been addressing manufacturing challenges with innovative solutions for more than 45 years. Q1 Status acknowledges suppliers for superior quality and delivery, and the ongoing implementation of an effective quality system. Achieving this status is a lengthy process, but once received, is an acknowledgement that MPI is a supplier that stands among the best in the world, qualifies for consideration of Ford ‘s World Excellence Award, and gives MPI a preferred status for new sourcing with Ford. MPI will receive a flag to display at the company's plant, as well as a certificate.


Taltree Arboretum & Gardens of Valparaiso selected Stephanie Blackstock as its next executive director. Blackstock has been with Taltree since 2010 serving in a number of capacities, most recently as interim executive director since January, 2015. Blackstock's career has always been in non-profits; she began her work with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and holds a bachelor of science degree with a focus in psychology and a master of business administration with a focus in human resources.


Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) announced the recipients of the company's fourth annual Luminary Awards – recognizing leaders and organizations for their outstanding commitment to strengthening local communities. Created in 2012 in celebration of the utility's 100-year anniversary, recipients have demonstrated outstanding commitment in five key areas: Education, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Development, Emergency Response and Community Leadership. The 2015 recipients are: Community Leadership Award – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Education Award – Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning, Environmental Stewardship Award – Porter County Career and Technical Center, Economic Development Award – Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Public Safety – Tri-Town Safety Village. NIPSCO is also making a $1,000 contribution to each award winner's charity of choice.


The South Shore Line (Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District) and Bank On NWI (Bank On Northwest Indiana) announced a new partnership. Designed to help the South Shore's unbanked and underbanked passengers take advantage of the South Shore's mobile app and ticket vending machines, the new alliance also assists area residents in achieving financial stability and independence as they gain access to essential banking services and financial education. Bank On NWI, launched initially with the FDIC in 2008, as a community collaboration made up of local financial institutions and community based organizations. Currently, residents can access financial services and education with eight participating partners: Centier Bank, First Financial Bank, First Midwest Bank, 1st Savings Bank of Hegewisch, Peoples Bank, Regional Federal Credit Union, First Merchants Bank, and Woodforest National Bank. Joining these financial institutions in their mission to help families obtain financial stability are Lake Area United Way, Northwest Indiana Community Action, 2-1-1 and many other community organizations … The board of directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority approved a $317,197 grant to the Porter County Regional Municipal Airport that will provide matching funds for $12.6 million in runway and equipment improvements. The board's approval is contingent upon Porter County authorizing a like amount as part of a package of local and state matching funds. The $317,197 each from the RDA and Porter County would be combined with $634,394 in state funding to provide a 10 percent local match to access $11.4 million in federal funds. The total $12.6 million from this combination would be used for rehabilitation and reconstruction on runway 9-27, which is in danger of falling below minimum service levels, and to complete a High Intensity Runway Lighting Rehabilitation project which would replace lighting components that are beyond their service lifetime. The board also accepted for review a request from East Chicago for $12.935 million for Phase II of its Waterfront Revitalization Initiative. This grant would be used for lakefront and marina district construction; reconstruction of ground routes to and from the harbor; and bridge, ramp and intersection improvements.

Steel consortium eager to grow and contribute to improved competitiveness

After a year of organizing and planning, the national Steel Manufacturing Simulation & Visualization Consortium, based in Northwest Indiana, is ready to move forward to help American steel producers compete more favorably worldwide.

Driving the consortium is Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), steel producers and suppliers, as well as industry-related associations. By employing the CIVS research facility's cutting edge technologies, the consortium seeks to identify ways to make steel production more efficient, competitive and sustainable. “We are eager to begin identifying and advancing research projects that will benefit the domestic steel industry,” Consortium and CIVS Director and Professor Chenn Zhou said. “The mission of our consortium is to support the competitiveness of the American steel industry by using simulation and visualization technologies as research tools to make steel manufacturing more viable across its value chain.”

Northwest Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky added, “I applaud the leadership of Director Zhou and Purdue University Calumet for the investment of their time and ability to ensure that our domestic steel industry remains the most technically advanced in the world. These are difficult days for the American steel industry, but the actions of this initiative give me confidence that our institutions of higher learning, our domestic workforce and our producers remain committed to manufacturing steel in America.”

A $480,000 federal planning grant was awarded to Zhou as CIVS director in June, 2014 to launch the consortium, one of 19 funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to advance U.S. manufacturing technology. Supported by more than 15 companies and organizations, it also is the only consortium dedicated to furthering domestic steel industry competitiveness and sustainability.

Charter members who enroll in the consortium will participate in the research selection process. Steel producers already enrolled include AK Steel, ArcelorMittal, Nucor, Steel Dynamics Inc. and SSAB. Several other producers and suppliers are in the enrollment process. Benefits for charter members include discounted and fixed membership fees for three years. Additionally, charter members will participate in industry-led decision-making, accelerated innovation, value-added solutions, rapid access to research results, and leverage of CIVS technologies and funding agencies. The consortium plans to launch its first group of projects in January. Consortium membership and other information can be obtained by visiting, or contacting Director Zhou by phone (219) 989-2765 or online at


The title for Michelle Layman was cited incorrectly In the summer issue's “Women in Business” profile. She is the operations manager for Ultimate Refining at the Whiting Refinery. Her husband's name is Jack (not former).


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