Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Around the Region

Stay current with local people, news and events


CLH, CPAs and Consultants was recognized for reaching its 25th business anniversary in 2017 during the Economic Develop Corp. Michigan City’s biennial awards banquet in May. EDCMC recognized local companies, which have made substantial investments in their business during 2016 and 2017 and also honored businesses celebrating anniversary milestones. CLH was one of six businesses recognized at the event.

Kelly Shikany
Kelly Shikany
Craig Draper
Craig Draper
Elizabeth Marks
Elizabeth Marks
Michele Shifley
Michele Shifley
Amanda Herren
Amanda Herren

Lakeside Wealth Management of Chesterton in June restructured its management team to accommodate future growth. Staffing updates include: Kelly Shikany, financial adviser, was named a co-director, wealth management division; Craig Draper, in-house counsel and retirement plan consultant, will continue his role as in-house counsel but will also be director, retirement plan division; Elizabeth Marks, former director of operations, has shifted to director of strategic development; Michele Shifley, formerly director of operations—retirement plan division, is director of operations for both the retirement plan and wealth management divisions; Amanda Herren was named new director of human resources and technology.

Vanta Coda
Vanta Coda

Vanta Coda was named new CEO of the Ports of Indiana. He replaced Rich Cooper who retired July 1 but will remain with the organization through the end of the year. Coda brings 25 years of experience in maritime and multimodal operations on the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Ohio River. He most recently served as the executive director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority managing ports on the Ohio River—Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon, and Lake Michigan—Burns Harbor.


Peoples Bank of Munster in partnership with the Legacy Foundation and Accion, have formed the Small Business Development Pilot Project. The program is designed to promote small business development in low- to moderate-income communities of Lake County, the organizations said in a June 4 joint statement. Turon Cummings of Whiting and owner of Creative ConEcepts, received the first grant through the program.


Chester Inc. of Valparaiso was honored by Chief Buildings for its work on building additions to Polycon Industries in Merrillville and Ratner Steel in Portage. The additions at both businesses helped the companies create a combined 150 new jobs, according to Chester Inc. Chief, which is based in Nebraska and has a location in Rensselaer, annually recognizes outstanding building projects. The awards presented by Chief recognized Chester Inc.’s architectural and construction services division.

Carl Sutter
Carl Sutter

Carl Sutter, an executive with Wisconsin-based McMahon, an engineering and architectural design firm, with an office in Valparaiso, was elected to a three-year term as Region 3 director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Sutter, a senior vice president, leads McMahon’s environmental and infrastructure division.

Bruce Mitchell, a ready-mix driver with Ozinga, which has several locations across Northwest Indiana, took third place June 2 at the 10th annual Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association Mixer Driver Competition. The IRMCA competition tests drivers on a written exam, truck inspection and up to 10 driving challenges. Mitchell has been with Ozinga since 2002 and has 25 years of experience as a ready-mix driver.


Regina Biddings-Muro
Regina Biddings-Muro

Regina Biddings-Muro, a 14-year administrator at Purdue University Northwest, left her post at the college in June to take over as vice president of university advancement at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in early August. Biddings-Muro, an East Chicago native, served as vice chancellor of institutional advancement at Purdue Northwest since 2012, after serving as chief of staff from 2004 to 2011. Under her direction, PNW has increased fundraising each year.

Tatiana Botero
Tatiana Botero

Tatiana Botero, associate teaching professor of Spanish at the University of Notre Dame, was named 2018 Indiana teacher of the year for university-level instruction by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. She will receive the award at a ceremony Nov. 2.

The Ivy Tech Foundation was ranked as the top fundraiser among community college systems nationwide, according to a survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education. At $16.4 million, the amount raised by Ivy Tech exceeds the second-place community college fundraiser by 43 percent, according to the 2017 Voluntary Support for Education (VSE) survey. This is the ninth consecutive year that Ivy Tech has taken the No. 1 spot on the list, the college said in a statement. Ivy Tech, which operates campuses around the state, including Northwest and North Central Indiana, said about 90 percent of the funds raised are used for scholarships, instructional equipment and technology, and educational programs, which means millions of dollars are invested annually to directly enhance student success.

The University of Notre Dame in May announced that it received a $10 million anonymous donation, which will help in its efforts to reduce poverty through evidence-based programs and policies. The funds will go to the college’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO), a research center in its department of economics. The money will support two new faculty positions and grow the center’s Social Innovation Fund, which supports pilot programs that aid in anti-poverty efforts. The search for the two new faculty positions will begin this spring, the university said.

Julie Gardner, assistant professor of biology at the University of Saint Francis – Crown Point, recently was named to the 2018 American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 40 Under Forty list. Gardner also is the director of USF Crown Point’s Medical Laboratory Technician program. ASCP’s 40 Under Forty program spotlights 40 accomplished pathologists, pathology residents and laboratory professionals younger than 40 who have made significant contributions to the profession and stand out as the future of laboratory leadership.


Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago opened its new 15,000-square-foot $6 million landside high-limit slots and table games room, located inside its pavilion area in late May. The new landside gaming area opens as the casino continues its $15 million renovation to its four-level casino gaming floor, which is scheduled to be completed by October. Indiana’s Ameristar is the first Northwest Indiana casino to take advantage of a 2015 Indiana law, which allows the state’s casinos to move a part of its gaming operations to land. The Indiana Gaming Commission approved Ameristar’s proposed gaming transition last November.

Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City announced plans in late May to add almost 15,000 square feet of meeting space. Construction is expected to start before year’s end with a projected completion by fall 2019, Blue Chip said in a statement. Once completed, Blue Chip will have more than 45,000 square feet of rentable event space.


Merrillville-based Cimcor Inc., a developer of security, integrity and compliance software, was awarded the 2018 Fortress Cybersecurity Award in the software category for Organizational Excellence, Threat Detection, Endpoint Detection and Compliance by The Business Intelligence Group. Cimcor Inc. ranks in the top 100 in Cybersecurity Venture’s Cybersecurity 500 list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies.


The Department of Labor in June approved Gov. Eric Holcomb’s waiver request, allowing the recently formed Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to fill the role of the state’s federally mandated workforce development board. The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet launched in August 2017 and leads Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs Initiative, the program that connects residents with the skills and training they need to land high-demand, high-wage jobs. The initiative provides funds to adult workers and Indiana employers to cover costs of training and education. The Department of Labor said in its review of Holcomb’s request that it was, “determined that the requirements requested to be waived impede the ability of Indiana to implement its plan to improve the workforce development system. Therefore, (Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor) approves this waiver for Program Years 2018 through 2020.”

Stefanie Krevda
Stefanie Krevda

Stefanie Krevda has been appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Krevda replaces Angela Weber whose term expired. Krevda has worked in public service and in the nonprofit sector for 10 years. She presently serves as the executive director of external affairs at the IURC. Krevda previously served as chief of staff and interim director of the state of Indiana Personnel Department, special assistant to the CEO/president at Lumina Foundation, and as a legislative and policy aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Health Care

Leigh Morris
Leigh Morris

Leigh Morris was named interim president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana. He takes over for Ann O’Heir who served the role since 2015. The VNA board of directors said Morris will lead the organization while it continues its search for a permanent chief executive. Morris is an adjunct associate professor in the graduate school at Valparaiso University and was president of La Porte Regional Hospital for 21 years. Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana, founded in 1970, serves Porter, Lake, La Porte, Jasper and Starke counties.

Pinnacle Dermatology of Lombard, Ill., in June announced it acquired Skin, Vein & Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Munster. Dr. Ahmad Fathi and his team will join Pinnacle Dermatology. Pinnacle said it is adding an additional dermatologist Dr. Olga Radkevich-Brown to the Munster practice. Fathi was the president and owner of Skin, Vein and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic for more than 30 years. The addition of Fathi’s practice brings Pinnacle’s locations to 21 across Illinois and Indiana. Its other Northwest Indiana locations include Valparaiso and La Porte.

Sameer Ahmed
Sameer Ahmed

Dr. Sameer Z. Ahmed, an oncologist/hematologist with Franciscan Physician Network Oncology and Hematology Specialists, will begin seeing patients at Franciscan Health Rensselaer’s Cancer Center. Board-certified in oncology, hematology and internal medicine, Ahmed completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine and an internal medicine residency at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. He also was a resident at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. He received his medical degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi.

Health insurance giant Anthem Inc. said in late June that it had completed its purchase of Aspire Health, the nation’s largest nonhospice, community-based palliative care provider. Nashville-based Aspire provides services under contracts with more than 20 health plans to consumers in 25 states, including Indiana. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Anthem in a statement said Aspire Health will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anthem, and its associates will join Anthem’s diversified business group. Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. serves more than 74 million people through its affiliated companies, including almost 40 million within its family of health plans.

Krishnaveni Gorantla
Krishnaveni Gorantla
Robert Clemency
Robert Clemency

Community Hospital in Munster recently welcomed Drs. Robert Clemency and Krishnaveni Gorantla to Community Care Network Inc. The CCNI physicians of Community Healthcare System are affiliated with Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. Clemency, a podiatrist, is board certified in foot, reconstructive rear foot and ankle surgery and completed his residency at Franciscan Alliance, Midwestern University. He received his medical education from the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Clemency has offices in Munster, Schererville and St. John. Gorantla, an obstetrician-gynecologist, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She completed an internship at the University of Illinois Hospital and her residency at St. Joseph Hospital. Gorantla’s office is in Munster.

Munster-based Community Hospital marked National Nurses Week by honoring two of its nurses for their commitment to patient care. Mary Puntillo, a clinical nurse educator received the 2018 Nursing Excellence Award and Grozda Vranic, a patient care technician in the Family Birthing Center, was presented the 2018 Patient Caregiver Excellence Award. Vranic, a Crown Point resident, has worked at Community Hospital for more than 13 years. Puntillo of Highland has worked for Community Hospital for more than 35 years.

Amanda Arredondo, a registered nurse at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, was presented with the 2018 Nursing/Caregiver Excellence Award. A total of 16 nurses at St. Catherine were recognized during National Nurses Week, though Arredondo was chosen for the top honor. Arredondo, a critical care nurse in the Intensive Care Unit for six years, began her health care career as a nurse fellow at St. Catherine Hospital. St. Catherine is part of Community Healthcare System. Other nursing excellence honorees were: Katie Cruz, 6 West; Sharon Gutierrez, Stephanie Daniels, Vera Moore, Natasha Hudak, Lisa Luna, all 5 West; Jennifer Rarick, ICU; Madeleine Lim, intermediate care; Rebecca Kraus, endoscopy; Adrienne Walker, post-anesthesia Care; Stephanie Hamilton and Nina Stur, case management; Juanita Woodfaulk and Mayra Manriquez, acute rehabilitation; and Shannon Lowden, nursing administration.

Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams

Dr. Jessica D. Williams is the newest member of Porter Physician Group’s Northwest Indiana Cardiovascular Physicians practice in Valparaiso. Williams was raised in Gary and completed additional pre-medicine courses at Indiana University Northwest. Williams earned her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. Williams completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Williams is fellowship-trained in cardiovascular disease from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and is board certified in both internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.


ArcelorMittal USA’s impact on the country and Northwest Indiana remains strong, according to its latest corporate responsibility and sustainability report. The company has issued the report annually since 2009 to showcase its contributions to the economy as well as the community. ArcelorMittal has a presence in 14 states and employs about 18,000 people in those facilities. Highlights of the 2017 U.S. report include:

  • Achieved a best on record lost time injury frequency rate of 0.95, which includes full-time employees and contractors at ArcelorMittal USA LLC facilities, Monessen and AM/NS Calvert, a 23 percent improvement over 2016.
  • Produced more than 15 million tons of raw steel and invested $246 million for the ArcelorMittal USA business unit and $99 million for joint venture AM/NS Calvert to enhance production capabilities and improve efficiency.
  • Contributed $10.6 billion in total economic impact, including more than $2.1 billion in employee wages and benefits alone at ArcelorMittal USA LLC facilities and AM/NS Calvert. This does not include expenses related to active and inactive pension and retiree health care.
  • Implemented 36 energy projects with enough energy savings to power 12,400 homes for a year.
  • Contributed $8.3 million in total community investment, including cash grants, employee donations and company matching gifts. Approximately half was in support of education, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
  • Donated more than 3,550 hours of time by employees to local nonprofit partners through ArcelorMittal-sponsored volunteer projects and increased skills-based volunteerism in STEM by 22 percent since 2016.

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal is a global steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries. In 2017, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $68.7 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 million metric tons.


Goodwill Industries broke ground June 4 on its Gary campus at the corner of Ridge and Clark Roads. Goodwill said the $8 million project will bring 100 jobs to Northwest Indiana and almost $9 million in annual economic impact to the community. The new store is expected to be completed by Spring 2019. Goodwill’s 105,000-square-foot Gary campus will feature an Outlet Store and The Excel Center, a free high school for adults 18 and older, as well as a Community Career Center, offering free job search assistance for anyone seeking employment. The Outlet Store will replace Goodwill’s Gary Clearance Store.

The United Way of Porter County’s annual golf outing raised more than $57,000 through the support of more than 50 businesses and 140 golfers, who sold out the event. Rain failed to hinder participants who ventured out to the Valparaiso Country Club, which featured a party on the Green theme. This year’s tournament winners were:

  • Scramble winner: Robert Scheller; Merrillville Assistant Chief of Police Jim Donahue; Natalie Achten and Larry Achten (Lake Porter Physician Group team)
  • Peoria winner: Chris Mallonee, Chuck Lager, Scott Oostman and Damian Rico (The Times Media team)
  • Mens’ Longest Drive: Tom Gurgess (Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits team)
  • Mens’ Closest to Pin & Longest Putt: Jason Topp (Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans team)
  • Ladies’ Longest Drive: Natalie Achten (Lake Porter Physician Group team)
  • Ladies’ Closest to Pin: Ahna Dunn (NITCO team)
  • Ladies’ Longest Putt: Judy Kukelka (StoryPoint team)

Last year, United Way supported 65 safety net programs impacting more than 69,000 Northwest Indiana residents.


Members of the leadership team for the new $17 million Hammond Sportsplex and Community Center have been named. Hammond native James Taillon was named the center’s general manager, and Kymberli Roberts of Hammond was named assistant general manager basketball/volleyball. Taillon is a graduate of Morton High School and Vincennes University where he played baseball for two years. He most recently served as co-owner, president/CEO of Tailco Beverages. Roberts is a graduate of Morton High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Indiana University Northwest in 2013 and later earned a Master of Science in sports administration from Valparaiso University. The new 135,000-square-foot sportsplex is expected to be completed by September.


Carrie Snyder
Carrie Snyder

Carrie Snyder, owner of Sky Zone Mishawaka, was recognized as Wow Franchise Partner of the Year for her consistency in bettering her guests’ experiences by actively engaging with the community. Snyder owns three franchise locations. She opened her first site in Fort Wayne in 2013. Snyder’s other location is in Holland, Ohio, near Toledo.

Indiana Dunes Tourism and Visit Michigan City LaPorte on May 9 honored businesses, organizations and individuals for providing outstanding service to the community and visitors.

The Recognition of Service Excellence or ROSE Awards recognize those who go the extra mile to make Porter and LaPorte counties great places to live and visit. The program takes place annually during National Travel and Tourism Week. Indiana Dunes Tourism ROSE Awards recipients included:

Attraction of the Year: Eagle Aircraft
Community Improvement Award: Kouts Downtown Park
Conservation Award: Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Festival of the Year: Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival
Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill and Tavern
Hospitality Professional of the Year: Debbie Garner, Expo Center
Hotel of the Year: Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, Valparaiso
Legislator of the Year: Karen Tallian; Chuck Moseley (Portage); Ed Charbonneau (Valparaiso); Mike Bohacek; and Scott Pelath (Michigan City)
Newcomer of the Year: The Port Drive-In
Partner of the Year: Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, Portage
People’s Choice—Hotel of the Year: Riley’s Railhouse
People’s Choice—Restaurant of the Year: Industrial Revolution
Food Wars Winners: Northside Diner and Woodfire Meat Market Deli Mexican and Greek
President’s Choice Award: Fuji Japanese Restaurant
Professional of the Year: Maura Durham, Duneland Chamber of Commerce
Putting Porter County on the Map: National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Recreation Location of the Year: Sammie L. Maletta Public Marina
Retailer of the Year: Old World Market
Shining Stars: Danielle, Spring House Inn; Ronnie, Industrial Revolution; Nathan, Industrial Revolution; Jessica, Don Quijote Restaurant
Unity Award: Nancy Moldenhauer, Green Drinks
Unity Award: Ed Kis, posthumously
Unsung Hero: Gabis Arboretum
Volunteers of the Year: Dave and Sandy Keammerer


Gary/Chicago International Airport was among six Indiana airports awarded a share of $16.8 million in infrastructure grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation in June. The funds are part of a $677 million first allotment of $3.2 billion in grants through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program for airports across the country. Gary/Chicago International is receiving $4.75 million for runway rehabilitation. Other Indiana airports receiving funds include:

  • Anderson Municipal – Darlington Field: $2.7 million, runway rehabilitation and lighting
  • Fort Wayne International: $5.4 million, runway rehabilitation
  • Eagle Creek Airpark, Indianapolis: $2.8 million, taxiway construction
  • Kokomo Municipal: $360,000, taxiway rehabilitation
  • Paoli Municipal: $832,500, runway extension

USDOT said the 241 grants awarded nationally will fund 346 infrastructure projects that include runways, taxiways, aprons, and terminals. The project will improve safety and efficiency in the nation’s system of airports.

CareEnroll, a company that assists consumers in enrolling in health care plans and maintain coverage, announced June 19 it will expand its LaPorte-headquarters and Fishers-based satellite office. The company, which was founded in 2015 by Phil Woods, plans to hire up to 197 new workers by the end of 2021, according to a press release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. CareEnroll has hired more than 80 full-time employees since it opened, and is hiring customer service representatives and auditors for its LaPorte and Fishers locations. According to the IEDC, the company will invest more than $3 million to renovate and update its 14,400-square-foot headquarters at 1900 W. Severs Road in LaPorte. Updating also will include new equipment and software. The IEDC offered CareEnroll up to $1.5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s plan to create new jobs in Indiana. LaPorte County also offered workforce development training assistance to the company, IEDC said.

State and local officials on June 13 dedicated the new Phase I St. Joseph Energy Center natural gas fueled power generating plant at 54745 Walnut Road in New Carlisle. The plant is about 15 miles west of South Bend. It began generating power in April and can produce 700 megawatts of electricity, which is enough energy to serve 500,000 homes. The first phase of the project, which represents about $700 million in investment, took about six years to complete from planning to construction, according to plant representatives. Energy generated by the plant is delivered into the nation’s power grid through PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization, which serves 13 states in the northeastern U.S., Washington, D.C., northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Representatives for the plant said the project did not receive any assistance from tax incremental financing or any state tax benefits. The plant’s developers paid for installation of 3miles of sewer line to the city of South Bend and built a $10 million water treatment plant, which was given to the town of New Carlisle. The plant today employs 21 people with average annual salaries of $92,000, according to plant representatives. The St. Joseph Energy Center project consists of two phases. The second part also involves construction of a 700-megawatt natural gas fueled power plant, which still is in the planning stage, according to company representatives. The plant is owned by Ares EIF Group, a New York-based investment organization, and Toyota Tshusho, part of the Toyota group of companies, which operates in several business segments, including energy plant development.

Minnesota-based Polaris Industries Inc. announced May 30 that it will acquire Boat Holdings LLC of Elkhart, owned by the Vogel family. The all-cash transaction is valued at $805 million. Boat Holdings brands include Bennington, Godfrey Pontoon Boats, Hurricane and Rinker. Boat Holdings is the largest producer of pontoon boats in the U.S., one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the marine industry, according to Polaris. Boat Holdings generated about $560 million in sales in 2017.

Rockwell Automation, a Milwaukee-based Fortune 500 company specializing in industrial automation and information, announced June 5 it plans to consolidate operations from Champaign, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn., to Indiana. A statement from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said the move combined with Rockwell’s projected growth could create up to 231 new jobs in Indiana by the end of 2023. Rockwell plans to invest more than $16.4 million to renovate and equip a 369,000-square-foot facility at 4255 S. 500 E. in the All Points at Anson development along I-65 in Whitestown about 30 minutes northwest of Indianapolis. The state said Rockwell plans to be fully operational in Indiana by spring 2019 and will partner with Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel, a logistics company, to operate the facility. The IEDC will offer Rockwell up to $1.75 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. The incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is not eligible to receive incentives until Indiana residents are hired, the state said.

New electric vehicles produced by California-based SF Motors could start rolling off assembly lines at the former AM General production plant in Mishawaka before year’s end. The company is investing $160 million into the plant and expects to create up to 467 jobs by 2020, with at least 200 positions being filled before the end of this year. AM General, a heavy vehicle and contract automotive manufacturer, is best known for producing the rugged Hummer sport utility vehicle as well as the Humvee. SF Motors will renovate and equip a 675,500-square-foot manufacturing facility, which served as the former AM General commercial assembly plant at 12900 McKinley Highway in Mishawaka. The vacant facility will be equipped to manufacture at least two lines of its first electric vehicle models and serve as the company’s primary U.S.-based manufacturing plant. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is expected to provide SF Motors Inc. up to $3.847 million in conditional tax credits and up to $500,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The IEDC also offered up to $653,000 in conditional tax credits from the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit program, which encourages companies to invest in former industrial facilities requiring significant rehabilitation or remodeling. St. Joseph County also is considering additional incentives. Founded in 2016, SF Motors has headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., with facilities in China and Indiana, and research and development facilities in the U.S., Germany and China.

Click to read more from the Aug-Sep 2018 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine!


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