Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Around the Region

Learn about people, companies making difference at work and in their communities

Banking

Mike McKean
Mike McKean
Paula Fender
Lauren Zurbriggen
Dana Snyder
Ryan Glassman
Jessica Higareda

Merrillville-based Centier Bank recently announced the following appointments: Mike McKean, loan operations officer; Paula Fender, assistant vice president of credit administration; Lauren Zurbriggen, financial education and community outreach coordinator; Dana Snyder, assistant vice president and business banking officer in Fort Wayne; Ryan Glassman, operations and performance analyst manager at its Merrillville headquarters; and Jessica Higareda, branch manager of the Martha Street location in Highland.

Sam Boufis

Sam Boufis recently joined First Financial Bank in Schererville as vice president of commercial banking.

Business

Deann Patena

Deann Patena was named president and CEO of the Merrillville-based Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce. She took over Jan. 1 and previously served as chairperson of the chamber’s board of directors. Patena replaced Sue Reed who resigned in August. The chamber also elected David Lasser of Commercial In-Sites in Merrillville as its 2020 chairman of the board of directors.

David Lasser
David Lasser

Petar Todorovic was named vice president of operations for Sage-Popovich Inc., a Valparaiso-based aviation consulting and asset management firm, which also has flight operations at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

David D. Wilson, retired and former owner of Monroe Pest Control in Hobart, recently was inducted into the Indiana Pest Management Association Hall of Fame. Wilson is a life resident of Hobart and was the second-generation owner of Monroe Pest Control. He retired in 2000. The company still operates in Hobart and is owned and managed by Wilson’s children, David N. Wilson and Kelly Tichacek.

Economic Development

New members recently were elected to the Northwest Indiana Forum’s board of directors. They include: Sean Dardeau, Porter Health Care Systems; Gil Rynberk, Wintrust Commercial Bank; Anne Van Keppel, Berglund Construction; and Matt Vessely, 1st Source Bank. Board members re-elected to three-year terms include: Bill Baker, Urschel; Dan Botich, Short Elliott Henderson; Anthony Contrucci, Centier Bank; Joe Coar, Tonn & Blank Construction; Greg Dougherty, South Shore Freight; Jim Jorgensen, Hoeppner, Wagner, Evans; Stewart McMillan, Task Force Tips; Pete Novak, Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors; Rex Richards, Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce/Valparaiso Economic Development Corp.; and Linda Woloshansky, Center of Workforce Innovations.

Michele Murday, Northwest Indiana branch manager for EnviroForensics, an Indianapolis-based environmental engineering firm, recently was named chair of the Northwest Indiana Forum’s environmental committee.

Education

Jim Dolen
Jim Dolen
Jeff Lawley
Jeff Lawley
Sue Ellspermann
Sue Ellspermann
Neeti Parashar
Neeti Parashar

Katie Conboy was named president of Saint Mary’s College, whose campus is across from the University of Notre Dame. Conboy’s appointment was announced Feb. 12. Conboy served as provost and senior vice president since 2013 at Simmons University, a women’s college in Boston. She begins her new role June 1.

Jeff Lawley, program chair of the paramedic science program at Ivy Tech Community College’s Valparaiso campus, was named EMS Educator of the Year by the Indiana EMS Association.

Patricia Culligan, the chair and Carleton Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University, was appointed the Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Her appointment is effective Aug. 1.

Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College, was selected by the Aspen Institute to join the 2020-21 inaugural class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship, an initiative designed to support community college presidents early in their tenure to accelerate transformational change on behalf of students. Ellspermann was one of 25 Aspen Fellows selected from more than 100 applicants. Ivy Tech’s Northwest and North Central Indiana campus locations include: East Chicago, Gary, Goshen, La Porte, Michigan City, South Bend and Valparaiso.

Valparaiso University named David Henreckson its next Bonnie and Peter Raquet Endowed Director’s Chair for the Institute for Leadership and Service.

Neeti Parashar, professor of physics at Purdue University Northwest, and Jim Dolen, assistant professor of physics, were awarded a multiyear grant estimated at $526,000 by the National Science Foundation to work on the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, and at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill.

Engineering

Nate Plooster
Nate Plooster

Nate Plooster, was named director of surveying at Falk PLI, a Portage-based engineering firm that provides construction, equipment installation and maintenance services.

Finance

Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews recently joined Mishawaka-based Indiana Trust Wealth Management as vice president and wealth adviser. He has 20 years of experience in the wealth management profession. Andrews will be based in the firm’s Muncie office.

Government

Michael Griffin, clerk-treasurer of the town of Highland, was elected chair of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission for 2020. George Topoll, Union Township trustee, was elected vice chairman. Other officers include: Justin Kiel, La Crosse town council president, secretary, and Richard Hardaway, Merrillville councilman, treasurer. Executive board members include: representing Lake County, Will Farrellbegg, Lowell councilman, and Tom McDermott, mayor of Hammond; representing La Porte County, Sheila Matias, county commissioner, and La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody; representing Porter County, James Ton, Chesterton councilman, and Greg Stinson, Porter councilman. State Rep. Ed Soliday, of the 4th District, will continue serving as Gov. Eric Holcomb’s appointee to the commission. Diane Noll, Wanatah clerk-treasurer, will serve as immediate past president. New commission members include: Bill Carroll, mayor of Lake Station; Sue Lynch, mayor of Portage; Janet Beck, Pottawattomie Park councilwoman; Eric Hull, Burns Harbor councilman; Wendy Mis, Munster clerk-treasurer; David Peeler, Hebron councilman; and Daina Dumbrys, Michiana Shores councilwoman. Mary Tanis, Dyer councilwoman, was re-appointed to the commission.

Bryan Langley was appointed senior vice president of defense development at the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Stephen Cox, who took over as Indiana state fire marshal in October, was named executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Jennifer Richardson was appointed executive director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development.

Bob Grennes was named commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Cameron Clark retired as director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at the end of March. Clark served the post since 2013 and previously served as the agency’s chief legal counsel for two years before being appointed director.

Health care

Zhijun George Guo
Zhijun George Guo
Muhammad Alghanem
Muhammad Alghanem
Thomas Shin
Thomas Shin
Sandra Wischmeyer
Sandra Wischmeyer

Staff at La Porte Hospital and Starke Hospital who went above and beyond for patients were honored for their work by being selected Colleagues of the Year for 2019. The award honors system employees who were nominated by patients and their peers for providing excellent, compassionate care and service to the community. The winners include: Lisa Sites, financial counselor — Colleague of the Year, Starke Hospital; Evelyn Nevorski, respiratory therapist — Colleague of the Year, La Porte Hospital; Chris Atherton, regional director, cardiology services — Clinical Manager of the Year for La Porte and Starke hospitals; Karen Jedrysek, director of human resources — Non-Clinical Manager of the Year for La Porte and Starke hospitals.

Community Healthcare System recently welcomed several medical professionals to the Community Care Network Inc., which is affiliated with Community Hospital in Munster and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. They include: Dr. Joseph Danavi, cardiologist; Dr. Barbara Diakos, OB/GYN; Dr. Rose Diakos, OB/GYN; Dr. Neal Shah, internal medicine practitioner; Dr. Ted Vellos, urologist; and Robert Watson, board-certified chiropractor, who specializes in sports science and rehabilitative medicine.

Franciscan Physician Network recently hired the following physicians in Michigan City: Dr. Zhijun George Guo, neurologist, Franciscan Medical Pavilion; and Dr. Muhammad Alghanem, family and geriatric medicine, Coolspring Health Center.

Franciscan Health Michigan City opened a bariatric services office at Woodland Health Center, 8865 W. 400 N., Suite 125, in Michigan City. The staff includes bariatric surgeons Dr. Thomas Shin, who is bariatric program medical director, and Dr. Sandra Wischmeyer.

Hospitality

AJ Buchanio
AJ Buchanio

Merrillville-based White Lodging named AJ Buchanio the company's corporate research and
development chef.

Law

Elkhart-based Kruggel Lawton CPAs, an accounting and business advisory firm, named Shaun Mawhorter, a partner in the firm’s tax practice. She has more than 25 years of public accounting experience.

Marketing

Ryan Zerfas
Ryan Zerfas

Ryan Zerfas recently joined Mishawaka-based marketing firm Blackwood Creative as vice president of customer success. He will focus on maintaining relationships with clients.

Nonprofit

Alisa Hecimovich, vice president of American Precision Services Inc. in Gary, was appointed chair of the advisory board of The Salvation Army of Lake County.

Lake Area United Way recently presented St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, part of Community Healthcare System, with two Serving Together Achieves Results (STAR) awards.

The Heart of Service Award was presented to Tracy Sharp for her contributions to reduce infant mortality and raise healthier babies in Northwest Indiana.

The Best Volunteer Effort honor went to the St. Catherine Hospital human resources staff, led by director Dianna Myers, for organizing a hospital-wide shoe drive, which collected 260 pairs of shoes. They were delivered to Washington Elementary School in East Chicago to help students and families in need.

Real Estate

John Phair
John Phair
Tim Healy
Tim Healy

John Phair, who has served as president and CEO of South Bend-based Holladay Properties for 20 years, stepped down from the post in January. Phair now serves as chairman and chief development officer. The company named Tim Healy, its chief operating officer, president and CEO.

Retail

David Sisk
David Sisk

was named president of Michigan-based SpartanNash’s military division, which is a distributor of grocery products to U.S. commissaries. SpartanNash purchased Martin’s Super Markets Inc. of South Bend in November 2018. Martin’s operated 21 supermarkets and employed about 3,500 people.

News

The dining and entertainment venue Amish Acres in Nappanee near Elkhart was sold at auction Feb. 5 by Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc. for a cumulative total of $4,425,200. The property and buildings had been owned by the Peltcher family for 50 years who retired at the end of 2019. The auction featured 16 tracts, which included one segment that contained the Round Barn Theater, a 400-seat restaurant, a pair of historic log cabins and other buildings. This tract was purchased by John Kruse of Auburn, Jason Bontrager of Elkhart and former congressman Marlin Stutzman of Middlebury for $1.55 million.

Mishawaka-based Zipp Printing has acquired CEM Printing of Niles, Mich. Zipp expects the combined operations will grow the company by about 20%.

Click here to read more from the April-May 2020 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.

Author

  • Larry Avila

    Larry is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience working with daily newspapers and business-to-business publications around the Midwest. Avila is a Michigan native and a graduate of Central Michigan University.

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