Learn about people, companies making difference at work and in their communities
Megan Applegate, CPA and partner with the firm Applegate & Co. CPAs in Michigan City, was recently among the keynote speakers at the annual Not-For-Profit Conference sponsored by the Indiana CPA Society. Her presentation was viewed by more than 100 conference participants, and included an in-depth discussion on presenting complex financial information and ensuring sound corporate governance practices within not-for-profit organizations.
Muncie-based First Merchants Bank in late September announced that Michael Rechin, who has served as president and CEO the past 13 years, is retiring Dec. 31. He will remain on the bank’s board of directors and will serve as an adviser. Mark Hardwick, now chief operating officer and chief financial officer, will succeed Rechin as CEO. The bank also named Michael Stewart, current chief banking officer, president, while Michele Kawiecki, current senior vice president of finance, will become chief financial officer. All leadership changes are effective Jan. 1. Jadira Hoptry recently was named director of community lending and development.
Merrillville-based Centier Bank promoted Marija Radiceska, mortgage loan officer, to officer of the bank, and named Lydia Post assistant vice president of small business banking for Porter and La Porte counties.
Chester Inc. in Valparaiso, an architectural, construction, technology and agricultural systems company, hired Trent Haldeman as a client development specialist and Mike Radjenovic as an architectural designer.
Bethany Hartley is the new chief strategy officer for the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership.
Jerry Chavez, who had served as president and CEO of the Marshall County Economic Development Corp. since spring 2014, resigned from the post in late September to take another job out of state.
Craig Teetsel is the new vice president for finance at the University of Saint Francis, which has campuses in Fort Wayne and Crown Point. He will be part of the cabinet for college president the Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer.
Sunghee Kim was named university organist at Valparaiso University and assistant professor of church music and organ. Kim has served as visiting assistant professor of music and interim university organist at the college the past three years.
Theresa Kessler, the Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science and professor of nursing at Valparaiso University, has been named a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
J. T. Forbes, CEO of the IU Alumni Association, will temporarily oversee the IU Foundation until the university finds a permanent replacement for the organization’s retiring leader Dan Smith.
Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College, recently joined the Presidents Forum Governing Board, an organization composed of presidents of higher education institutions, foundations and academic support organizations, dedicated to the continuous reinvention of higher education. The forum is an association of 17 college and university presidents and chancellors representing 3 million students.
Kathryn Jenkins is the new senior vice president and general manager at Horseshoe Casino Hammond.
Bill Higbie, president and CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation, recently was appointed to the board of trustees for Northwest Health – Porter in Valparaiso.
Franciscan Health recently welcomed Dr. Sonia Sharma, family medicine and obesity medicine, Hammond Clinic.
Community Healthcare System recently welcomed these physicians to the Community Care Network Inc.: Dr. Carlos Gonzalez, general surgeon; Dr. Ilona Carlos, obstetrician and gynecologist; Dr. Alison Petrovich, internal medicine; Dr. Alok Patel, neurocritical care; Dr. Sherman Chen, vascular neurologist; Dr. Kevin Alexander, podiatrist; and Dr. Sharon Harig, pulmonologist.
Dr. Ippei Takagi, neurosurgeon, joined the practice of Dr. Jonathan Hobbs on the Northwest Health – Porter campus in Valparaiso.
Jon Hunsberger is the new executive director of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau. He replaces Diana Lawson, who is retiring as CEO of the organization on Dec. 31.
Bridget Holt joined the Healy Group in South Bend as a personal account manager in the company’s insurance division.
Attorney Layne Marino, who specializes in franchise law, joined the law firm of Burke Costanza & Carberry in Merrillville.
Merrillville-based Lakeshore Public Media recently was presented with the Cardinal Community Service Award from the Indiana Broadcasters Association. The award recognized the organization’s work to engage in live conversation with community leaders, political figures and law enforcement to discuss events related to the protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Lakeshore PBS aired a program, “Race and Justice: Here and Now,” a one-hour live special hosted by Michael Puente, Northwest Indiana bureau reporter for WBEZ and host of “Off Mic” on Lakeshore Public Radio.
Alisa Hecimovich, vice president at American Precision Inc. in Gary, was selected as the Lake County representative to the Ivy Tech Foundation board of directors.
Indiana Face Mask in Rensselaer and Custom Cut Door LLC in Elkhart were among 20 statewide recipients receiving a share of $2 million in Manufacturing Readiness Grants. The program was announced by Gov. Eric Holcomb in May as part of the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement program designed to stimulate manufacturing investments in Indiana.
Northern Tool + Equipment, a Minnesota-based supplier of high-quality tools and equipment, opened a new location at 8205 Broadway in Merrillville in October, which employs 20 people. It is the retailer’s fourth Indiana location.
Developers of the Rauner Family Veteran Apartments, established by A Safe Haven Foundation, a $20 million, 75-unit apartment housing project for low-income, senior and disabled veterans, broke ground in Hobart in late August. Former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, gifted $1 million to A Safe Haven Foundation to support the project, which is expected to open by spring 2021.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced in late August that Elkhart-based Marson International, a tube fabrication firm, plans to invest $2 million in its plant at 3230 Magnum Drive to install new equipment, increase production and improve operational efficiencies. The move is expected to create up to 25 new jobs by the end of 2023, the state said.
The transformation of Franciscan Health’s former Michigan City hospital site began in November. System officials expect work on the renovated Homer Street campus to be completed by fall 2021. Work includes demolition of structures built before 1986. The remaining facilities will be remodeled and used for new Franciscan services, including behavioral health, drug and alcohol treatment, healthy and nutritious foods, and elder care services.
Tom & Ed’s Autobody, which operates locations in Schererville, Merrillville, Crown Point, Burns Harbor and Cedar Lake, acquired four east-central Indiana body shop locations in Anderson, Pendelton, New Castle and Greenfield operated by Riley & Son’s. The Riley & Son’s name will be retained.
The University of Saint Francis is expanding its Crown Point campus. The college broke ground on the $7 million building addition in late September. The college said the project will add 19,000 square feet of academic space to its current operation at 12800 Mississippi Parkway and will double the university’s footprint in Crown Point.
Purdue University Northwest opened a new research center in Hammond in September to help students explore new innovations for manufacturing. The David Roberts Center for Innovation and Design is on Indianapolis Boulevard, a few blocks west of the PNW Hammond campus.
Chicago-based Midwest Truck & Auto Parts announced in late September plans to move into a 125,000-square-foot facility at the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads Business Park in Merrillville. The new facility gives the company operational efficiencies to meet growing demand. Midwest plans to be fully operational in Indiana in 2021. The facility will employ up to 150 people by the end of 2024, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Jeff and Robyn Walsworth, operators of Firehouse Subs shops at 71 Silhavy Road in Valparaiso and 6536 U.S. Highway 6 in Portage, were one of seven Axe Award recipients recognized by Firehouse of America for 2020. There are more than 500 Firehouse Subs franchisees in the U.S. The award recognizes high-performing franchisees throughout the Firehouse Subs system and their commitment to the community.
Porter, La Porte and Starke hospitals, and their affiliated physician and medical offices, will operate under the name Northwest Health. In a Sept. 30 announcement, health system representatives said Northwest Health combines the resources of the Porter, La Porte and Starke hospitals “in a comprehensive system of in-person and telehealth services in more than 30 primary and specialty locations across the (Region).”
Aquagenics Technologies of Naperville, Illinois, will spend $10 million and bring as many as 100 new jobs after it relocates its headquarters, research and development and manufacturing operations to the former 530,000-square-foot Joy Manufacturing site on Woodland Avenue in Michigan City, according to the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City, IN. The company expected to close on the property and begin moving its operations to Michigan City before the end of 2020.
Merrillville-based Centier Bank broke ground in early October on a new branch at 9621 Wicker Ave. in St. John, which is expected to open in late spring.
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