In recognition of excellence: Best of Business 2019 • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

In recognition of excellence: Best of Business 2019

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Best of Northwest Indiana and greater South Bend/Michiana business awards

The votes are in. Readers of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine have selected the Best of Business for 2019 in Northwest Indiana and Greater South Bend and Michiana.

A total of 110 winners in 52 categories were selected by readers, representing the magazine’s coverage area, which includes Lake, Porter, La Porte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Newton, Jasper, Starke, Pulaski and Marshall counties.

These annual awards celebrate the outstanding service of local businesses in the community.

“It’s a survey that gives our readers a voice and the opportunity to say to businesses ‘you’re doing an amazing job, keep up the good work,’” said Troy Linker, publisher of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine. “It’s a great feeling to inform businesses that they’ve been selected as a Best of Business in their category.”

Linker said business owners and executives appreciate the recognition for the products and services they provide.

“It’s a great morale booster for business owners and their employees,” he said. “Northwest Indiana Business Magazine congratulates all 2019 award recipients for Best of Business!”

Banking / Financial

Best bank for business

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: Peoples Bank

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: 1st Source Bank

Centier Bank President and CEO Mike Schrage
Centier Bank President and CEO Mike Schrage scales down the side of the bank’s Merrillville headquarters as part of the Over the Edge fundraising event in July. (Photo submitted by Centier Bank)

To ensure Centier’s continued success, Mike Schrage, bank president and CEO, recognized the importance of being able to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

“For the first 20 years of my career, I was all about growth, profit and to be the biggest bank in Lake County,” he said. “It was through a personal health event that the bank and I took on a new identity and role for not only Northwest Indiana but for many other communities we now serve.”

Schrage said that, through the years, he learned how important building a positive culture is for an organization.

“Our culture feeds every decision we make and every interaction we have with our clients,” he said. “Because of our ‘not for sale’ promise, we have always been able to focus on our employees first. We hire the best, most talented employees with servant hearts that match our corporate values.”

Best bank for obtaining business loan

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: Peoples Bank

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: 1st Source Bank

Helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams is one of the many areas of expertise at Centier.

Jerry Tomasic, group sales manager and vice president of business banking at Centier, suggests entrepreneurs assemble a team of experts to help manage the administrative side of their business.

“That team should include an attorney, a banker and a CPA who can counsel you as your business starts and grows,” he said.

Tomasic said it also is important for entrepreneurs to follow their passion but be diligent about doing their research.

“Many small businesses start with a passion for providing a particular service or skill to their clients,” he said. “You do your homework by writing a business plan to make sure you can make money sharing your service or skill with clients.”

Tomasic said having a plan ensures entrepreneurs have thought out how to be successful as they start their business.

Best bank for customer service

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: Peoples Bank

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: 1st Source Bank

Centier Bank earns Best of Business award
Centier Bank employees took part in the Making Strides Lake County event in October, which raised $4,655 to combat breast cancer. Centier was recognized in several 2019 Best of Business banking and financial categories as well as a best place to work in Northwest Indiana. (Photo provided by Centier Bank)

Relationship building is important for long-term success, said Chris Campbell, senior partner in lending at Centier.

“We know that if we have that strong relationship as the foundation, we’ll be able to always have a high-service quality,” he said.

“We listen to our clients and put their needs ahead of ours, and our reputation grows as a result.”

Best credit union

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Tech Credit Union
Runner-Up: Teachers Credit Union

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Teachers Credit Union
Runner-Up: Notre Dame Federal Credit Union

Best accounting firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: McMahon & Associates CPAs
Runner-Up: Swartz Retson

Terry McMahon's company earned Best of Business accolade
Terry McMahon, McMahon & Associates CPAs of Munster’s president and CEO said clients are viewed as business partners, so his firm spends time getting to know each client’s specific needs. His firm earned best Credit Union – Best Accounting Firm this year. (Photo by Michelle Hamstra)

Consistency of quality service has been part of McMahon & Associates CPAs of Munster since its beginnings.

“Our business philosophy has always been to provide timely service and meaningful and technical advice,” said Terry McMahon, the firm’s president and CEO. “Providing timely service has been a hallmark of our firm … in the past and in the future.”

McMahon said clients are viewed as business partners, so his firm spends time getting to know each client’s specific needs. “(Having) genuine interest in the client’s business (demonstrates) we can be an important partner in all that they are going to be doing,” he said. “This has helped grow our brand as a reliable partner.”

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Kruggel Lawton CPAs
Runner-Up: Crowe LLP

Best wealth management advisory firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Kotys Wealth Professionals
Runner-Up: Lakeside Wealth Management

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Guidance Wealth
Runner-Up: Korhorn Financial Group

Best business investment firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: Horizon Bank

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Centier Bank
Runner-Up: 1st Source Bank

Business / Services

Best place to purchase office furniture

Northwest Indiana

Winner: HDW Commercial Interiors
Runner-Up: Pulse Technology

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Office Interiors

Best place to purchase office equipment and supplies

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Pulse Technology
Runner-Up: Kemp's Office City

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: US Business Systems

Pulse Technology
Mindy Erickson, left, with Pulse Technology, friend Megan Lamont and former Pulse
employee Ethan Erickson, right, took part in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
event in Chesterton in October. The company was recognized as a 2019 Best of Business
in Northwest Indiana as Best Place to Purchase Office Equipment and Supplies. (Photo provided by Pulse Technology)

Understanding customers’ needs and evolving with them can go a long way, according to Chip Miceli, CEO of Pulse Technology of Indiana in Chesterton.

“You always need to re-invent your company, and if you have the right people, they remain the same,” he said. “Always listen to the customer, give more than they ask for and make them understand you want a partnership with them.”

Best information technology consulting firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Chester, Inc.
Runner-Up: Pulse Technology

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: US Business Systems
Runner-Up: Acruity

Best ad agency/marketing firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Group 7Even
Runner-Up: VIA Marketing

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Vala Marketing
Runner-Up: Villing and Company

Best graphic/web design firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Group 7Even
Runner-Up: SERA Solutions

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: J2 Marketing
Runner-Up: Vala Marketing

Best commercial printer

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Largus Graphix Solutions
Runner-Up: Lithographic Communications

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Zipp Printing
Runner-Up: Lithotone

Best employee staffing firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Staff Source
Runner-Up: Express Employment Services

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Integritas Search
Runner-Up: Express Employment Services

Best local telecommunications firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Midwest Telecom
of America

Runner-Up: NITCO

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Comcast Business

Best local internet provider

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Comcast Business

Runner-Up: NITCO

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Comcast Business

Community / Education

Best company to work for

Northwest Indiana

Co-Winner: Franciscan Health
Co-Winner: Centier Bank
Co-Winner: Staff Source
Co-Winner: Horizon Bank

Craig Dwightchairman and CEO, Horizon Bancorp
Craig Dwight

Craig Dwight, CEO of Michigan City-based Horizon Bank, said for all businesses, regardless of size, happy and engaged employees are the key to success.

“(They) will deliver exceptional customer service, go above and beyond the call of duty, seek new opportunities and regularly make recommendations for improvement,” he said. “Horizon’s success would not have been possible without our competent, hardworking, fun-loving employees. I enjoy coming to work each day because of them—they truly make the job fun, challenging as well as rewarding.”

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Co-Winner: Horizon Bank
Co-Winner: 1st Source Bank

A workforce focused on customers can be effective in helping to stand out in a competitive industry. “We put our customers’ needs and best interest first and foremost in everything that we do,” said Steve Kring, regional president for Horizon Bank in La Porte and Porter counties. “As a community bank, we know local businesses are the fabric of our communities—if we serve them to the best of our abilities, our communities will grow and prosper as well.”

Best university to attain an MBA

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Indiana University Northwest
Runner-Up: Purdue University Northwest

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: University of Notre Dame
Runner-Up: Indiana University South Bend

Best university for technology degree

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Purdue University Northwest
Runner-Up: Indiana University Northwest

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Ivy Tech Community College South Bend-Elkhart
Runner-Up: Bethel University

Best university online degree program

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Indiana University Northwest
Runner-Up: Purdue University Northwest

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Indiana University South Bend
Runner-Up: Bethel University

Best minority-owned business

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Chicagoland Popcorn
Runner-Up: Powers & Sons Construction Company

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Linden Grill

Best veteran-owned business

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Veterans' Cafe and Grill
Runner-Up: Cloudbusters

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Indiana Whiskey

Best woman-owned business

Northwest Indiana

Winner: HDW Commercial Interiors
Runner-Up: Group 7Even

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Anna‘s Bread

Construction / Real Estate

Best commercial real estate firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Commercial In-Sites, LLC
Runner-Up: McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Bradley Company
Runner-Up: Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Best commercial construction firm for new construction

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Larson Danielson Construction Company
Runner-Up: Chester, Inc.

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Larson Danielson Construction Company
Runner-Up: DJ Construction

Best commercial construction firm for remodeling or expansion

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Larson Danielson Construction Company
Runner-Up: Chester, Inc.

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Larson Danielson Construction Company
Runner-Up: DJ Construction

Best engineering firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: DVG Team
Runner-Up: Global Engineering & Land Surveying

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Troyer Group

Best commercial architectural design firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Shive-Hattery
Runner-Up: Chester, Inc.

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Epoch Architecture + Planning
Runner-Up: Troyer Group

Best commercial landscaping firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Tim's Landscape Services
Runner-Up: Lakeshore Landscaping

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Foegley Landscape

Best residential real-estate firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: McColly Real Estate
Runner-Up: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Cressy &
Everett Real Estate

Runner-Up: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Best residential home construction firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Olthof Homes

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Place Builders

Best residential home remodeling construction firm

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Apex Construction & Remodeling

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: HM Remodeling

Events / Entertainment

Best restaurant for business entertaining

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Gamba Ristorante
Runner-Up: Gino's Steakhouse

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Cafe Navarre
Runner-Up: Lasalle Grill

Best meeting site for large groups

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Avalon Manor Banquet Center
Runner-Up: Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Century Center
Runner-Up: Gillespie Conference Center

Best meeting site for small groups

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Gino's Steakhouse
Runner-Up: Gamba Ristorante

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Inn at Saint Mary's
Runner-Up: The Brick

Best caterer for events

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Dimitri's Catering
Runner-Up: Comforts Catering

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Cafe Navarre
Runner-Up: Skillet Restaurant & Catering

Best golf course for charitable/business events

Northwest Indiana

Winner: White Hawk Country Club
Runner-Up: Innsbrook Country Club

White Hawk Country Club in Crown Point
An aerial view shows a section of the course at White Hawk Country Club in Crown Point. White Hawk Country Club in Crown
Point was recognized as a 2019 Best of Business Best Golf Course for Charitable/Business Events in Northwest Indiana. (Photo provided by White Hawk Country Club)

When you operate in a competitive industry, Anthony Lopez, general manager of White Hawk Country Club in Crown Point, understands how good service can make a lasting impression.

“We stay in touch with our customers,” he said. “Without them, our business does not exist.”

This means he and his staff regularly review new trends within the industry.

“Our business is customer service and will remain at the forefront,” Lopez said. “The main rule is to listen and follow through, and when able, get feedback and make adjustments— be informed about decisions but don’t be afraid to give something a chance.”

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Blackthorn Golf Club
Runner-Up: Knollwood Country Club

Best photographer for events

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Pete Doherty Images

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Peter Ringenberg Photography

Health / Wellness

Best hospital/hospital group

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Community Healthcare System

Franciscan Health earns Best of Business award
Franciscan Health’s Becky Tilton, left; Danielle Magana, center; and Joan Culver
coordinated the second diaper drive, which collected 20,000 diapers for Northwest
Indiana families. Franciscan was recognized in several 2019 Best of Business health
and wellness categories as well as a best place to work in Northwest Indiana. (Photo provided by Franciscan Health)

Recognizing the human side of health care ensures all patients who seek care from Franciscan Health are treated in a kind, considerate and connected manner, said Dr. Daniel McCormick, president and CEO of Franciscan Health Crown Point.

“The predominance of Franciscan Health as the Region's choice for health care clearly emphasizes our strong connection to our patients through our understanding of the need to provide care to the people of Northwest Indiana and not just patients,” McCormick said. “Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with the person you are caring for while you deliver the science and expertise to the patient.”

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Beacon Health System
Runner-Up: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center

Best health care facility for cardiology

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Community Healthcare System

McCormick said his hospital has grown significantly through the years and continues to expand. “Our health care delivery system continues to grow to provide the type of care and the level of care expected by today’s consumer of health care and is always evolving to meet these demands,” he said.

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Beacon Health System
Runner-Up: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center

Best health care facility for cancer treatments

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Community
Healthcar
e System

Patrick Maloney, president CEO of Franciscan Health Dyer, Hammond and Munster, said being diligent about operations hasn’t affected innovation.

“For Dyer, Hammond and Munster, we have been consolidating programs across our campuses to lower the cost of health care and to be able to provide centers of excellence,” Maloney said. “We continue to see growth at our Munster facility, and we will continue to grow to meet that demand.”

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Goshen Health
Runner-Up: Michiana
Hematology
Oncology

Best health care facility for orthopedics

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: South Bend Orthopaedics
Runner-Up: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center

Best health care facility for mental health

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Community Healthcare System

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Oaklawn Mental Health
Runner-Up: Beacon Health System

Best health care facility for urgent/immediate care

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan ExpressCare
Runner-Up: Community Healthcare System

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
Runner-Up: Beacon Health System

Best health care facility for physical/occupational therapy

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health
Runner-Up: Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: McDonald Physical Therapy
Runner-Up: South Bend Orthopaedics

Best fitness/wellness facility

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Franciscan Health Fitness Centers
Runner-Up: Community Healthcare System

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Beacon Health System
Runner-Up: Eastlake Athletic Clubs

Legal / Insurance

Best law firm for corporate law

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Burke Costanza & Carberry
Runner-Up: Krieg DeVault

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: SouthBank Legal: LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Runner-Up: Barnes & Thornburg

John LaDue with SouthBank Legal: LaDue, Curran, Kuehn in South Bend said the firm’s strategy of focusing on high-quality legal work and counseling for clients, taking care of staff and protecting the company’s culture all factor into the company’s success.

“We want to help our clients grow their businesses, and in turn, we continue to grow our firm,” LaDue said. “This focus requires continuous improvement, creativity, agility and teamwork—both internal teamwork and collaboration with our clients.

Ensuring work quality is preserved also means maintaining a positive and healthy work environment for staff.

“(We) focus first on what we do best: providing high-quality legal services and advice for our clients,” LaDue said. “(We) take care of our teammates, and finally, (we) have fun. We truly enjoy working together as a team to help our clients.”

Best law firm for business acquisitions and mergers

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Burke Costanza & Carberry
Runner-Up: Hoeppner Wagner & Evans

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: SouthBank Legal: LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Runner-Up: Barnes & Thornburg

Best law firm for litigation

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Burke Costanza & Carberry
Runner-Up: Eichhorn & Eichhorn

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: SouthBank Legal: LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Runner-Up: Barnes & Thornburg

Best law firm for estate planning

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Burke Costanza & Carberry
Runner-Up: Eichhorn & Eichhorn

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: SouthBank Legal: LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Runner-Up: Barnes & Thornburg

Best insurance agency for business property and liability coverage

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Pinnacle Insurance Group of IN
Runner-Up: General Insurance Services

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Healy Group
Runner-Up: Gibson Insurance Agency

Best insurance agency
for business health and life coverage

Northwest Indiana

Winner: Pinnacle Insurance Group of IN
Runner-Up: 1st Source Insurance

Greater South Bend/Mishawaka

Winner: Healy Group
Runner-Up: 1st Source Insurance

Click here to read more from the Apr-May 2019 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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