Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Around the Region

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


CliftonLarsonAllen LLP of Schererville promoted Eileen Patterson, senior, private; Maneet Mander, senior, health care; Tyler Klukken, transaction services senior, private equity; and Vanessa Vargas, business operations assistant controller, professional services.

CLH, CPAs & Consultants of Michigan City promoted Kylee Fraze Norman from senior manager to director, and Angela Grothaus, Lisa Human and Jeffrey Whittler were each promoted from manager to senior manager. Allison Raymond was promoted from senior accountant to manager; Jacob McVay was promoted from staff accountant to senior accountant; and Katherine Dibkey was promoted from processing specialist to assistant manager of the administrative team.


Peoples Bank of Munster, a Finward company, promoted Diane Dalton to assistant vice president, community development officer. Dalton most recently served as AVP, banking center manager for Peoples Bank’s St. John branch and previously served in the same role at its Gary location. In her new position, Dalton will build relationships with local organizations in Peoples Bank’s Indiana and Illinois markets to grow its presence and reinvest in those communities.

Michele Magnuson was elected lead director of Horizon Bancorp Inc.’s board of directors. Michigan City-based Horizon Bancorp is the parent company of Horizon Bank. Magnuson is former president and CFO and a director of both La Porte Bancorp Inc. and its wholly owned banking subsidiary, the La Porte Savings Bank, an Indiana-chartered savings bank. Thomas Prame was appointed president of the bancorp and bank. Prame most recently served as executive vice president and CEO of community banking at First Midwest Bancorp. First Midwest merged with Evansville-based Old National earlier this year. Gail Bradley was promoted to vice president and regional treasury management officer.

Merrillville-based Centier Bank announced the following staff appointments at its Northwest Indiana operations: Troy Rose was named vice president, trust officer within Centier Financial Partners; and Dakita Jones was named assistant vice president and manager of Centier’s community relations division.

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank announced Mark Heckler will succeed Mark Hoppe as its Chicago region president. Heckler has more than two decades of experience in leadership roles with Fifth Third and the former MB Financial.

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, which has a Whiting location, hired Cristal Alcantar, Tim Gard and Aaron Stokes as its Lake County mortgage loan originators.

Purdue Federal Credit Union hired Colleen Shepherd as community outreach director.

Krystyna Reynolds was named branch manager for Interra Credit Union’s main office in Goshen, and Misty Overholser was promoted to vice president of commercial loan operations.


Stewart Title named Gregory Holtz agency sales manager for the company’s Indiana and Ohio markets, and named Kelli Buckley agency sales representative for its Indiana market. Stewart Title operates four offices in Indiana and 104 independent locations in the state.

Neil Samahon, CEO of Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso, was named Indiana leadership council chair for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Mark Dunn was named vice president of process improvement at Gary-based Performance Plus, a provider of janitorial services.


Amanda Watson was hired as marketing manager for Larson-Danielson Construction Co. in La Porte. She brings more than 16 years of experience in commercial real estate, construction and marketing to the role.

Economic development

The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership has expanded its staff to include: Lisa Buchanan, director, education and workforce solutions; Lori Flotow, manager, office operations; Liz Folkerts, manager, digital marketing and public relations; Taryn MacFarlane, vice president, regional initiatives; and Bianca Tirado, director, strategic initiatives.

Christopher Day is the new CEO of Elevate Ventures, the statewide organization that provides startup resources to entrepreneurs. Day takes over for Chris LaMothe, who left the post at the end of March.

Jennifer Gadzala was hired as grants manager, and Spencer Summers was named marketing and administrative assistant for the Northwest Indiana Forum.


Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon was presented with a Sagamore of the Wabash award, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by a sitting Indiana governor.

Mung Chiang was named president of Purdue University. He will take over Jan. 1 for Mitch Daniels, who had served the post since January 2013 and is retiring Dec. 31.

Tia Robinson-Cooper is the new chancellor for Ivy Tech Community College’s South Bend-Elkhart campus. Robinson-Cooper, a Chicago native and former president of Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California, was selected from a finalist field of three. Robinson-Cooper began her new role July 11.

Dushan Nikolovski, will serve as inaugural director of the Innovation Hub (IHub) at Valparaiso University, a space available to students and community members to collaborate on ideas that could launch a new business.

The Board of Trustees at Indiana University approved the following promotions for faculty at IU Northwest: Alicia Wright to teaching professor and Natasha Brown to associate professor. Both are in the IUN Department of Communication in the School of Arts.

Julianne Wallace was named vice president for mission at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame.


Harbour Trust & Investment Management Co. in Michigan City hired Amy O’Brien as wealth adviser and Stephanie Fekete as tax and operations specialist.


Salena Scardina is the new executive vice president of external engagement for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Health care

Munster-based Community Healthcare System hired the following personnel: Dr. Shawn Kumar, Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center; Dr. Meaghan Misiasz, Community Care Network; Dr. Adam Whittington, dermatologist; Dr. Shawn Naranjo, obstetrician/gynecologist; Dr. Timothy Yovankin, psychiatrist.

Franciscan Health hired the following personnel: Dr. Nancy Gamarra Flores, Hammond Family Health Center; Hilary Benway and Victoria Pryzdia, physician assistants, Munster Cancer Center; Dr. Jagdeep Sabharwal, cardiologist; and Mohammad El-Ahmad, nurse practitioner, Munster cardiology; Dr. Bryan Boyer, orthopedic surgeon, Coolspring Health Center. The health system promoted Robert Blaszkiewicz to manager marketing and communications for its northern division, and named Lauri Keagle media relations and communications specialist.

Northwest Health welcomed cardiologists Dr. Maya Kommineni and Dr. Sammi Dali. Kommineni sees patients in Michigan City, Valparaiso and Portage. Dali will see patients in Valparaiso and Michigan City. Dr. Alexandru Marginean, cardiologist, joined Northwest Medical Group.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi hired Dr. Gregory Wallin and Shanta Clark, a physician’s assistant, for the Mshkiki Community Clinic in Benton Harbor, Michigan.


Chris Eberhardt, a landscaping architect with Arkos Design in Mishawaka, was certified by the State Board of Registration for Architects & Landscape Architects.


James Muhammad, who has led Lakeshore Public Media since 2013, resigned as president and CEO to become president of the University of Southern California Radio Group. His last day with the Merrillville-based organization was Sept. 7. The organization also elected Gary Wilson chair of its advisory board and Bill Karrow vice chair.


Campagna Academy in Schererville promoted LeKeesha Edwards to chief operations officer. She has more than 30 years of human service sector experience.

Chris Abler was named vice president of the Excel Center, a tuition-free school, operated by Goodwill Industries of Michiana Inc.

Kris Arizmendi Choinacky was named executive director of the South Bend Alumni Association, an organization that supports education in South Bend schools by funding extra- and co-curricular activities that are not tax funded.


Brian Singleton, chairman and CEO of TruVista, was appointed to the board of directors of Elkhart-based Surf Broadband Solutions.

APL nextED, which produces an academic operations platform serving higher education institutions, appointed Stewart McMillan, former CEO of Valparaiso-based Task Force Tips, to its board of directors.


Jon Hunsberger, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, earned the Certified Destination Management Executive credential. The program is designed to prepare destination organization professionals to become more effective organizational and community leaders, and to identify and respond to the constant change and increasing competition in the industry.


University of Chicago Medicine broke ground Aug. 3 on its new $121 million, two-story, 130,000-square-foot micro-hospital and outpatient center on a site at I-65 and 109th Avenue in Crown Point. UChicago Medicine said its Crown Point project is its first in Indiana. It is projected to open by spring 2024 and employ 150 medical and nonmedical staff. UChicago estimates its Crown Point facility will see 110,000 patient visits annually.

Parlor Doughnuts opened June 18 in Valparaiso. The shop at 255 Morthland Drive is a craft doughnut and coffee concept, which was founded in Evansville in 2019. Parlor operates 16 shops in nine states and offers franchise opportunities as well.

Michigan-based Electric Last Mile Solutions filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company, which has a major presence in Mishawaka, had been reviewing its products and commercialization plans as well as focusing its workforce on production. Its review also included the feasibility of meeting previously announced production targets. The bankruptcy filing follows a leadership restructuring in February. Shauna McIntyre, an auto industry veteran, was appointed interim CEO and president. McIntyre said bankruptcy appeared to be the best option after company leadership determined there were too many hurdles facing the business moving forward.

SpartanNash is again among the best companies to work for in the country. The Michigan-based grocer and parent of South Bend-based Martin’s Super Markets, was named among the National Association for Business Resources’ 2022 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation. The company has been featured in the listing for 10 consecutive years.

The Salvation Army combined its operations in Lake and Porter counties and operates as The Salvation Army Northwest Indiana Area Command. The move is part of a broader reorganization by The Salvation Army Central Territory, which it calls Project Advance, to use resources more efficiently.

The Hilb Group, a Virginia-based insurance brokerage firm, has purchased Howe-LaGrange Insurance Agency in La Grange and the Reick Insurance Agency in Kendallville.

John Butor, who along with his fiancé, Lea Glines, both life residents of Lowell, are the new owners of Loven Oven Pizzeria at 1000 E. Commercial Ave. in Lowell. The couple first met at the restaurant, which opened in 1994, when both worked there as teenagers.

Click here to read more from the October-November 2022 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.


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