Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Around the Region

Much has happened in Northwest Indiana's business community the past three months. Here are a few bits of information to get you up to date.

Chester Inc. has moved its Agricultural Division from Porter County to North Judson in Starke County. Ag Systems Division was created in 1970 to handle Chester's irrigation sales and distribution business. Today, it serves more than 1,500 systems. The division has 18 employees. … Kemin Industries has opened a mint processing facility in North Judson. Its 7,000-square-foot building has 12 employees and will process 4,000 acres of mint from Starke County farmers

Purdue Federal Credit Union has opened an office at Purdue University North Central. The office will provide banking services to university staff and students and offer banking education seminars. … Scott May has joined Centier Bank as chief financial officer. May has 23 years of experience and most recently worked for a national financial services provider. … 1st Source Bank donated $5,000 to Housing Opportunities in Valparaiso to expand its homebuyer education classes and one-on-one counseling services. … Belinda Smith Caruso has been named mortgage loan originator for the Michigan City office of LaPorte Savings Bank.

VIA Marketing has been honored with a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence for its creative work for Griffith Public Schools. VIA provides marketing solutions that include research, marketing plans, websites, graphic design and public relations.

Powers & Sons Construction Co. of Gary has been included on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the nation's top-grossing black-owned businesses. Powers was listed at 70th and is one of only three industrial and service companies on the list … The Ross Group in Portage, owned by Ross Pangere, has been honored by Ceco Building Systems in Mississippi as one of America's best design-build construction firms. The Ross Group was listed as among the top ten in the nation.

Ground has been broken at Kingsbury Industrial Park south of LaPorte to create an intermodal freight center. CSX Corp. and LaPorte County will develop the site which will include a cold storage warehouse for produce. … Holladay Properties of South Bend has acquired the former AJ Wright building on the city's west side. The 539,137-square-foot building was developed in 2005 as a distribution center. It has 88 loading docks and room for a 300,000-square-foot addition.

The Charter School of the Dunes in Gary is building a $13 million building in the Miller neighborhood. It will open for the 2013-14 school year for 450 students. … Ivy Tech Community College of Northwest Indiana has named Rick Soria as vice chancellor and dean of its Michigan City campus. … Elizabeth Lynn has been named director of Valparaiso University's Institute for Leadership and Service. She is responsible for setting goals and shaping VU's experiential learning, service and vocational reflection. … St. Mary's College in South Bend has received its first U.S. patent on a process to screen for counterfeit medication. The test will be used primarily to Third World countries where counterfeit medication is a problem. … The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.6 million grant to physicists at the University of Notre Dame for continuing research on the first U.S.-based underground accelerator laboratory. … Indiana University's Kelley School of Business has named Elizabeth Acton leader-in-residence. She is a graduate of IU and recently retired as chief financial officer at Comerica Bank. She also was corporate vice president and treasurer of Ford Motor Co. … St. Mary's College in South Bend has received $840,000 in grants to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grants are from the National Science Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation.

The Pokagon Band of the Pottawatomi Indians, which operates Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich., has announced it wants to develop 164 acres southwest of downtown South Bend into a mixed-use project that will include a casino, housing, a multi-purpose facility, health care center and tribal government center.

Bernice Grant has been named chief executive of the U.S. Postal Service in Indiana and district manager for the Greater Indiana District. Grant, a native of Gary, will be responsible for 13,000 employees and 670 post offices. … Valparaiso has broken ground on the Thorgren detention basin project that will improve its ability to remove pollutants from stormwater. The project is funded through grants from Save the Dunes and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Michael J. O'Neill has been named chief administrative officer for Beacon Health System in South Bend. He was chief operating officer of Memorial Health System and has been with the hospital since 1993. … Greg Conrad has been appointed vice president of Beacon Health Ventures, which includes the home health and professional services division of Beacon Health System. … Positron Corp. plans to invest $45 million in Gary to produce radioactive medical imaging isotopes. The Fishers, Ind., company plans to build a cyclotron and manufacturing facility and employ 50 people within five years. … Shannon Hannon has been named administrative director of Indiana University Health LaPorte Hospital. She will be responsible for cardiology services for the hospital. … Steven Eller has been named vice president and chief human resources officer for Beacon Health Systems in South Bend. Most recently he was with Robert Bosch LLC in Farmington Hills, Mich., as vice president of human resources. … Dr. Carl Wynter has joined LifePlex Medical Offices in Plymouth and Indiana University Health LaPorte Physicians. He is board certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. … Porter Regional Hospital has opened its new $210 million hospital. The old hospital in Valparaiso has been acquired by Valparaiso University. … Methodist Hospitals has received the Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. … Dr. Lesley Rhee, has joined the Franciscan Hammond Clinic Specialty Center in Munster. Rhee is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. … Wright Alcorn has joined Methodist Hospitals in Gary as vice president of operations. Most recently he was interim vice president of operations and he previously was with hospitals in Atlanta and Houston. … Porter Regional Hospital has been recognized by the Society of Chest Pain Centers with accreditation as a Chest Pain Center. … Beacon Health System, which includes Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital of South Bend, has been named among the top 5 percent of all U.S. hospital for patient safety by Health-Grades, an independent data provider.

Jackie Trump has joined Gibson in South Bend as a service specialist in the property and casualty practice. She will provide administrative assistance and project coordination for the commercial insurance team. … Angel Karabalaeali has joined Gibson in South Bend as a client manager in the business and private client group, specializing in commercial property and casualty accounts. … Bill Cerney has joined Gibson in South Bend as a client executive, surety practice leader and member of the construction team. He is responsible for overseeing in-house analysis and financial statement underwriting. … Tara Buch has joined Gibson in South Bend as a service specialist in the employee benefits practice. She will provide administrative assistance and project coordination for the employee benefits team. … Debra Roberts of Gibson in South Bend has received the Associate in Insurance Services designation from the Insurance Institute of America. … Nikki Bicknell of Gibson in South Bend has received the Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding designation from the Insurance Institute of America. … Miguel Salazar has joined Gibson as a client executive in the employee benefits practice. He is responsible for new business opportunities and consulting with employers to provide an analysis of their existing employee benefit programs.

Robert F. Parker, a partner with Burke Costanza & Carberry, has been named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Parker is only the third actively practicing attorney in Northwest Indiana to achieve Fellow status. … Patrick B. McEuen has joined the Portage law firm of Rhame and Elwood. He will concentrate on personal injury and civil litigation. … Carly Brandenburg, an attorney with Eichhorn & Eichhorn LLP in Hammond has been named Northwest Indiana's 2012 Up and Coming Woman of the Year in Law. She is a native of Valparaiso and is a graduate of DePaul University and Indiana University School of Law.

North American Composites Co. will open a 50,000-square-foot office in Mishawaka to handle is chemical products distribution. More than $1.2 million in improvements and equipment are being added to the building. … BP has announced it will shut down a portion of its Whiting Refinery in the fourth quarter in order to complete work on a $3.8 billion expansion and upgrade. … Schafer Gear Works in South Bend has acquired the assets of Dana Holding Corp.'s leisure, all terrain and utility vehicle axle and differential business. The acquisition includes the 120,000-square-foot building in Fredericktown, Ohio and a 30,000-square-foot building in Blacklick, Ohio. … Dickten Masch Plastics has acquired Nyloncraft Inc. of Mishawaka. The two companies produce complimentary injection molding products used in the automotive, boating and recreational vehicle industries.

Legacy Foundation, Lake County's leading philanthropic partner, has announced the promotion of Barry C. Tyler Jr. to program officer. He will be responsible for grant program administration, statistics record-keeping, and public relations. Tyler most recently was community initiatives officer with Legacy. … Dennis Morgan, president, CEO and founder of Family & Youth Services Bureau in Valparaiso, is retiring after 40 years of service. Taking over will be Lisa Jordan, a 16-year veteran of the agency. … The United Ways of Lake and Porter counties have begun their 2012 fundraising campaign with a goal of $6.5 million. That's up by $200,000 from last year. The Lake County effort is led by Aaron McDermott, president of Latitude Commercial Real Estate, and the Porter County campaign is led by Dave and Linda Rose of Horizon Bank. … The non-profit Daughters of Penelope have opened a three-story, 50-unit low-income apartment complex in Mishawaka. The project was made possible with $5.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Spero W. Valavanis, president of Design Organization Inc., has received the Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning Alumni Society 2012 Award of Outstanding Achievement. … Julie Bieszczat has been named president of Barney Enterprises. She joined the company five years ago after spending 10 years with Delta Faucet. Bieszczat is a graduate of DePauw University and Eastern Michigan University. … Kurt Smith has been named manager of engineering and surveying work for Duneland Group in Chesterton. DG provides engineering and surveying services throughout the Midwest. Smith has 25 years of experience in the business and most recently was with DLZ Industrial Surveying.

Heritage Place at LaSalle Square, a 72-apartment senior living complex in South Bend, has opened. The project took four years from concept to opening. It is owned by the Sterling Group. … Great Lakes Capital Development Group has begun a $4 million renovation of the former Wells Fargo building in downtown South Bend. The six-story building has been renamed the Citizen's Bank & Trust, after the building's original tenant in 1913. … Traditions, the state's first green-certified apartment complex, has opened in Burns Harbor. The project was developed by In Good Company of Merrillville. … H.J. Umbaugh and Associates has moved its accounting operations into the third floor of the IronWorks building in Mishawaka. The firm is the first tenant in the 17,000-square-foot building that opened in 2008. … Eddy Street Executive Sites has announced the relocation of CenterX to the business complex in South Bend. CenterX offers accessible low-cost e-prescribing software to healthcare providers. … Century 21 Alliance Group inValparaiso has added two real estate agents to its staff. They are Adam Skingley and Amanda Higgins. Skingley is a U.S. Navy veteran and began his real estate career one year ago. Higgins is new to real estate and is a graduate of Indiana University Northwest.

Strack & Van Til will soon open a supermarket in Cedar Lake. The company is building a 50,000-square-foot store at 133rd Avenue and Parrish Street. … Hoosier Daddy BBQ Sauce, produced by Kim Foy of Dyer, has been picked up by the Chicago Bears for its pulled pork sandwiches at Soldier Field. … Jewel-Osco has closed its Michigan City store but the building will be taken over by Lakeshore Foods Inc., which will open an Al's Supermarket there by the end of October. The store will have more than 70 employees and is one of six operated by Al's in LaPorte and Porter counties in Indiana and Berrien County, Mich. … The three-screen LaPorte Cinema has closed after three years of operation. It had been operated by Cinemajestic, but when that company pulled out of the project, owner Neal O'Connor, who is based in California, said he made the decision to close.

IV Diagnostics, a Valparaiso biomedical research company specializing in cancer detection, was showcased recently by the Indiana Venture Club. At the event, company officials met with venture capitalists and other investors. … The Hammond INnovation Center is opening a second building in downtown. The original office was 9,000 square feet and new office is in the 30,000-square-foot former Harris Bank building on Hohman Avenue.

Janis Flutka, chief financial officer of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority has been appointed to the Indiana CPA Society Leadership Cabinet. She will provide input and feedback on programs, services, policies, legislative, legal and professional issues. … The LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced that the annual Great Lakes Superboat Grand Prix brought more than $7 million to the local economy … The South Bend Silver Hawks report that attendance for 2012 at Coveleski Stadium was up 68 percent to 189,575 for the season. That put the team in 11th place among the 16 teams in the Midwest League. … The LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced that the week-long Pyrotechnics Guild International convention held in LaPorte County pumped more than $3 million into the economy.

Gary Jet Center has received the 17th annual Secretary of Defense Freedom Award for its support of the National Guard AND Reserves. The center has 17 employees at Gary/Chicago International Airport. … Schepel Buick GMC has been named the 2011 Dealer of the Year by General Motors. … Canadian National Railway has cut back its investment in the Kirk Yard project in Gary from $165 million to $141 million. The railroad is keeping its locomotive repair operation in Illinois. … Muller Acura has opened a dealership in Merrillville on U.S. 30. The company moved into a new 30,000-square-foot $10 million building. Muller also has a dealership in Chicago. … Gates Automotive Group has begun construction on a used car dealership in Granger. The 30,000-square-foot building will have room to display 72 cars inside and on a lot outside. … The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to dredge the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in 2013. The port has been dredged only once since it opened in the 1960s. … AM General in Mishawaka has received the go-ahead from the Defense Department to complete work on a prototype Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. AM General, which currently manufactures the Hummer, is one of three companies chosen to create the prototype, which will replace the Hummer. …The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority has awarded a $12.2 million contact to Railworks Track Service of LaPorte to move rail lines near the runway to allow it to be lengthened. The work is expected to be completed in 2013. … The Federal Aviation Administration has given a $143,344 grant to Porter County Regional Airport to help it create a growth and development plan for the next 20 years. … The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a $63,900 grant to the Griffith-Merrillville Airport to promote its development efforts for the future.

Jim L. Stanley has joined NiSource as executive vice president and group CEO for Northern Indiana Public Service Co. He succeeds Jimmy D. Staton, who will now be executive vice president and group CEO for the company's natural gas and transmission business. … NiSource Inc., the parent company for Northern Indiana Public Service Co., has been added to the 2012 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. To qualify for the list, companies are reviewed on economic performance and their environmental and social strategies.


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