Around the Region • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Around the Region

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Since our last issue in the fall, a lot has happened in Northwest Indiana's business community. Here are a few bits of information from around the region on what has taken place:

Michael J. Purcell has been appointed to the board of directors of American Savings, FSB in Munster. Purcell is president and owner of Perfection Cleaning in Munster. … American Savings, FSB in Munster is taking part in the U.S. Treasury Department's Small Business Lending Fund, which is structured to encourage small business lending through an interest rate incentive program. … Lakeland Financial Corp., parent company of Lake City Bank in Warsaw, has been included in the Sandler O'Neil + Partners All Stars List, which evaluates all publicly-traded banks and thrifts nationwide to identify the top performing small-cap banks and thrifts in the nation. … 1st Source Bank of South Bend has been recognized by the Small Business Administration for closing more SBA loans in Indiana than any other mid-sized bank. 1st Source also ranked first in the number of SBA loans closed in Northwest Indiana. … 1st Source Bank in South Bend will donate $50,000 to support entrepreneurship and venture development in Northwest Indiana. The donation to Elevate Ventures will help it provide business analysis and advice to entrepreneurs. … Peoples Bank in Munster has announced the retirement of Joel Gorelick, president and chief administrative officer. He joined the bank in 1983 as vice president for commercial lending and developed the bank's commercial line which today accounts for 65 percent of its loan portfolio. … Brian Specht has joined American Savings, FSB in Munster as vice president of lending and credit manager. He has more than 20 years of banking experience. … Kim Kniola is president and CEO of First Trust Credit Union in Michigan City. She has been with First Trust for 29 years. … First Trust Credit Union has broken ground for a new office in LaPorte. The project will expand its office from 1,700 square feet to 3,200 square feet and includes drive-through lanes, safety deposit boxes and a new lobby. … James Seitz has been named president of 1st Source Bank in South Bend. He joined the bank in 1980 and most recently was executive vice president for consumer and electronic banking.

SRS Distribution of Texas has acquired Gary-Hobart Roofing and Supply. Gary-Hobart Roofing was founded in 1949 and has 28 employees. SRS has 84 locations in 28 states. … James McHugh Construction Co. of Chicago has hired Munster resident Natalie Pedraza as director of compliance. Most recently Pedraza was with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in Chicago as director of procurement and business diversity. … TradeWinds Services has acquired a building in the 3100 block of East 83rd Place in Merrillville, and begun a $1.25 million renovation. … in St. John, and its owner, Julie Rizzo, were featured on the cable television network DIY and its program, “I Want That.” The program features a homeowner's wish to remodel using recycled granite tiles. … Demolition has been completed at the former Dunes Plaza in Michigan City. A former K-mart building has been torn down to make room for a Kohl's department store. Two other adjoining buildings are scheduled for demolition later in 2013.

Indianapolis based Policy Analytics completed a study of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority that showed the agency since 2006 has had an impact of more than $1.1 billion. … The Regional Development Company in Valparaiso has elected four new board members. They are Michael Schneider of First Financial Bank; William Hasse of Hasse Construction; Bert Cook of Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp.; and Elizabeth Jacobson of the City of Hammond Economic Development. … Sherri Ziller has been named chief operating officer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. Most recently she was finance and grants manager for the RDA. … Mark Maassel, president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum in Portage, has been named Indiana Chamber of Commerce 2012 Volunteer of the Year for his work to enhance the state's economic climate. … Forest Hayes has been named director of the Gary Commerce Department, part of the city's Economic Development Corp. … Thomas Rose Industrial Park in LaPorte has expanded by 137 acres that will be served by Norfolk Southern and SouthShore Freight. … Gary Brownlee has joined the staff of the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center as a business adviser in Porter County. … The Michigan City Economic Development Corp. (MCEDC) has changed its name to Economic Development Corporation Michigan City to more accurately describe its mission. … The long shuttered Sheraton hotel in downtown Gary may soon be demolished. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is accepting bids to demolish the 300-room hotel that closed more than 25 years ago.

Purdue University Calumet will create its own technology business incubator. The university spent $1 million to acquire Kaplan Commons near 171st Street and Indianapolis Boulevard, and will spend another $1 million to upgrade the former strip shopping center into a technology center. … Holy Cross College in South Bend and Ancilla College in Donaldson have signed an agreement to allow graduates of two-year Ancilla College to enroll easily into Holy Cross College's four-year bachelor's degree program. … Tara Kristoff has been named flight director for the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. … Purdue University North Central in Westville has received a grant from U.S. Steel to fund scholarships for electrical and mechanical engineering students. Eight students received financial assistance: Marion Choucair of Michigan City; Jonathon Jachura of LaCrosse; Kai Justice of Wheatfield; Seth Kampa of South Bend; Matthew Koepkey of Winamac; Alexander Mussa of LaPorte; Tyler Sherrill of LaPorte; and Gregory Steingass of Valparaiso. … The University of Phoenix has closed its Merrillville campus as part of a nationwide restructuring. … The National Science Foundation has given the University of Notre Dame a five-year $6.1 million award for research on the QuarkNet program to mentor teachers in research and help them teach basic concepts of introductory physics. … The Hammond Gaming Advisory Council has awarded a grant to the Challenger Learning Center to offer technology experiences to Hammond first graders in a program called Moonbase Explorers. … Purdue University Calumet has created a Leadership Center to train and empower leaders to influence others in ways that lead to positive change in the region.

New Energy Corp. of South Bend has filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the same time, New Energy idled the plant and laid off 40 workers… Promet Energy Partners of Chicago will open an office in Gary. Promet is a wholesale marketer of natural gas and electricity and serves ArcelorMittal in Northwest Indiana. … Alternative Housing Solutions LLP has opened an office in the Purdue Research Park in Merrillville. The company provides energy consulting services for homeowners and small businesses.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has been named to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Advisory Committee, which helps develop a strong partnership with local government. … The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns has recognized three Northwest Indiana elected officials for completing work to become certified municipal officers. They are Mayor Joe Stahura of Whiting; David Shafter, clerk-treasurer in Munster; and Andrew Kyres, city council president in Crown Point. … The Indiana Metropolitan Planning Organization Council has named the Lake George Pedestrian Bridge connecting Hammond and Whiting as its 2012 Outstanding Transportation Project. The $4 million project joins the lakefront trails of Hammond and Whiting and was funded through the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. … Matt Lake, executive director of Merrillville Stormwater Utility, has received the Excellence in Stormwater Management Award from the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. …Mary Brown, 3rd District Councilwoman for Gary, has been named president of the Women in Municipal Government Subgroup of the National League of Cities.

Two physicians at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center are the first in the Michiana area to complete a thoracic surgery using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, removing tissue from the lung of a patient with fibrotic pulmonary disease. … Healthgrades of Denver, an independent health ratings agency, has given the emergency department at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago its Award of Excellence. St. Catherine also ranks among the top 5 percent of all hospitals in the nation. … Methodist Hospitals has signed a three-year agreement with the Valparaiso Family YMCA to provide physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, wellness education and occupational therapy to patients. … Indiana University Health LaPorte and Starke hospitals have earned the STAR Program Certification, designation both as state-of-the-art cancer rehabilitation centers. … Indiana University Health Starke Hospital has opened a Wellness Center. It will be operated by Heather Skelly, the athletic trainer for Knox High School for 11 years. … Methodist Hospitals' Auxiliary has recognized 137 volunteers for providing more than 38,000 hours of service. At the same time three LPNs received scholarships to complete their RN degrees: Takesha Buchanan, Candance Kapranos and Renita Miller. … Marci Crozier, director of marketing and sales for Franciscan Omni Health & Fitness in Schererville, has been named Indiana Chamber of Commerce 2012 Volunteer of the Year. She has worked for 30 years at Omni and was part of the NBC television show “The Biggest Loser,” where she lost 80 pounds. … Indiana University Health Occupational Services in LaPorte has announced that physical therapist Ron Knickrehm has received the Astym certification, which provides a mechanical treatment option to reduce or remove scar tissue that is causing pain. Physical therapy assistant Amy Kolb received the Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist certification that allows her to analyze and create safe working environments. … Franciscan Physicians Hospital employees Mary Beth Kosiba, Kari Wall and Robin Rossner provided assistance to victims of Hurricane Sandy by driving a load of donated items to the East Coast. … Waldemar Rosario joined the pediatricians at Navarre Pediatrics at Main Street in South Bend. He is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico. … The Indiana State Health Department's Division of Acute Care and the Division of Aging for Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration have granted approval for Great Lakes Personal Care Services of Highland to begin providing in-home care. The company is managed by Linda Coleman Cleveland and Candice Kelly Casey, both of Gary. … Tim Diamond has joined Methodist Hospitals in Gary as chief information officer. Most recently he was chief information officer at LaRabida Children's Hospital in Chicago. … Victor Garcia has joined Methodist Hospitals in Gary as director of critical care and the emergency department. Most recently he was with Methodist Hospitals in Sacramento, Calif. … Marcia Brewer has joined Methodist Hospitals in Gary as director of cardiovascular service. Most recently she was with LaPorte Hospital as director of cardiovascular service. …Wright Alcorn has joined Methodist Hospital as vice president of operations. Most recently he was interim vice president of operations. … Frederick R. Klepsch has received the St. Anthony Health-Crown Point St. Raphael Award which recognizes physicians who have improved patient care through the nurse doctor relationship. … Teresa Roldan has been named senior office manager for the orthopedics and pain management offices of Indiana University Health LaPorte Physicians. … Community Hospital's cardiac program has been named among the 100 best in the country by Healthgrades for the fifth year in a row. … Community Hospital's Oncology Department has received a three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. … Medical Specialists, which has 12 locations in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, has joined Franciscan Alliance. The group will now be called Franciscan Medical Specialists. … Kankakee Valley REMC has awarded Porter-Starke Services Foundation a $5,000 grant to continue its “You and Your Baby” program for first-time mothers. … Eileen Kamerick has been named chief financial officer for Press Ganey in South Bend, which provides services to health care organizations to measure patient experience. …Healthgrades has given Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital of South Bend (both part of Beacon Health System) its Patient Safety Excellence Award. … Sharon Rundle has been named director of quality, patient safety and satisfaction for Indiana University Health LaPorte and Starke hospitals. She has 30 years of experience as a nurse and will oversee infection control for both hospitals. … The Women's Diagnostic Center of Community Hospital has received a three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology for its breast magnetic resonance imaging services. … Melissa Grcich has been named transitional care/care management director for Indiana University Health LaPorte and Starke hospitals. … Teresa Sickmiller is the clinical dietician at Indiana University Health Starke Hospital. She has 20 years of experience. … Amber Burger has been named full-time medical director for Hospice Care in Mishawaka. She is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine. … Nurse Practitioner Kimberly Mendez has received her master of science in nursing is practicing in North Judson as part of Indiana University Health LaPorte Physicians.

Carolyn Kolbe has been named senior service specialist for Gibson's property and casualty practice. … Kim Valentine has joined Gibson as a client manager in the employee benefits practice. … General Insurance Services in Michigan City has announced that DeShawn Gordon and David Gately have joined the firm as personal lines and commercial lines agents. … General Insurance Services has announced that Laura Yates has joined the firm as a personal lines agent in its Valparaiso office. Kathy Henrich has transferred to the commercial lines team, where she will work with commercial and business clients.

Ice Miller LLP has been named among the 2012 “50 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers. Ice Miller was recognized for its attention to family-friendly policies and business development initiative that retain women and advance them into leadership positions. … Barnes & Thornburg has been named by U.S. News as one of the “Best Law Firms” in the nation. The firm has offices in Indianapolis and South Bend. … 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.

Indiana Flame Service has begun a $14 million expansion to upgrade its technology and equipment at its Burns Harbor and Gary locations. The company designs and installs custom cutting equipment in slab mills and provides custom equipment for the automotive and manufacturing sectors. … AM General in Mishawaka has laid off 400 workers until at least March. … SolaRover, which is manufactured in LaPorte, donated one of its specialized solar-powered electric generators to emergency operations in New Jersey to help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. … Curtis Products of South Bend, a tube bending company, will consolidate its four locations and 300 employees around the city into the former Bosch Building just south of downtown. … ITR America has announced a $6.2 million expansion at its Hobart distribution center. The company distributes heavy machinery equipment and parts. The project includes a 100,000-square-foot building near the North Wind Crossing Business Park. … Kiemle-Hankins, an industrial repair and maintenance business in Gary, is moving to a larger location in Crown Point. … Indiana Long Carbon, a part of ArcelorMittal Steel in East Chicago, has reduced the work hours for 155 employees from 40 hours to 32 hours a week. … Huhtamaki Inc. has announced an $8.5 million expansion at its specialty packaging operation in Hammond. The project will allow the factory to use more recycled paper. … Safety-Kleen, which has a plant in East Chicago, has been acquired by Clean Harbors of Massachusetts. The deal is worth more than $1 billion and includes 200 Safety-Kleen locations. The East Chicago plant has 80 employees, all of whom are expected to retain their jobs. … Hearthside Food Solutions in Michigan City has begun construction on a $16.5 million expansion that will provide a new baking line for peanut butter products. Hearthside employs 425 people. … RACO, an electrical box junction manufacturer, is moving from South Holland, Ill., to a new office in South Bend's Ameriplex complex. … Land O'Frost of Lansing, Ill., will move its headquarter to Munster. The company produces pre-sliced and pre-packaged lunch meat and will invest $6.4 million in the move to Indiana. … Urschel Laboratories in Valparaiso, an international food processor manufacturer, will move its headquarters to a 160-acre site in Coffee Creek Center in Chesterton. The project includes a 350,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. … Monosol has announced a $39 million expansion in LaPorte. The project includes 50,000-square-foot building and $34 million in new equipment to produce water soluble film.

Pathfinders Advertising and Marketing of Mishawaka has been recognized by Travel Weekly magazine for its marketing strategy to promote travel from South Bend to Ireland for the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game on Sept. 1. … Advanced Imaging Solutions in South Bend has received the Elite Dealer Award by The Week in Imaging, an online information and news publication for imaging technology, supplies and services. … Sara Zwolski has been named account manager for Villing & Co. in South Bend, a marketing and communications firm. … The Chicago Sun-Times, the parent company for The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, may close its suburban offices, including the Post-Tribune in Merrillville, as a cost-saving measure. … Jennifer Pinkepank has been promoted to marketing and research manager for CBRE/Bradley and Bradley Residential Management in South Bend.

Lake Area United Way has presented its Calvin E. Bellamy and R. Gary Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award to John Beebe for his community service on behalf of the organization and organized labor. … Lake Area United Way has donated $5,000 to the United Way of New York City to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. … The $100,000 fundraising goal set by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Indiana has been reached. The project was supported by Northern Indiana Public Service Co., which has pledged $1 million to support the club in accomplishing its Tolleston project for a new building in Gary. … BMO Harris Bank has been recognized by Lake Area United Way with its Community Spirit Award for the bank's financial support in the 2011-12 community campaign.

Donna Garwood, managing broker for Re/Max 1st in LaPorte has retired. Garwood spent 22 years with Re/Max, beginning in 1990 when she purchased Re/Max Towne and Country. She sold the firm in 2010 and has worked as managing broker for new owner Dan Kelly. … Century 21 Alliance Group in Valparaiso has recognized Linda Zyla and Sandra Schaffer with individual Pacesetter Gold Awards, while the entire firm received the Pacesetter Gold Award for overall sales. … Valparaiso Partners has announced that the former McGill Manufacturing building in downtown will be renovated and be home to new business offices. … The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors has elected officers. They are Betty Daniel-Lanie of County Wide Properties, LaPorte, president; Edith Cothran of McColly Real Estate, Schererville, president-elect; Joe Wszolek of, Portage, treasurer; and directors are Martha Brubaker of Re/Max Affiliates, Valparaiso; Chuck Dellorto of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Highland; Saba Mohammed of Century 21 Heritage, Merrillville; Bill Port of Re/Max Results, Schererville; and Nina Wiseman of McColly Real Estate, Crown Point.

Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland has partnered with other region attractions to offer special passes. Among them the Chicago Wolves, South Bend Silver Hawks, SouthShore RailCats, Zao Island, Washington Park Zoo and all parks owned by Seven Peaks. … has unveiled a new web site to promote the sports business in Northwest Indiana. The web site is operated by South Shore Sports, a part of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in Lake County. … South Bend's Anthony Travel has received two 2012 Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly magazine for its work in getting fans to the Notre Dame-Navy football game in Dublin, Ireland.

Ground has been broken in Gary by TravelCenters of America, which operates TA and Petro Stopping Centers, for a travel center on Grant Street near the Interstate 94 exit. The project will provide 340 truck parking places, a 237-seat restaurant, a six-bay service facility and 15 lanes of diesel fuel on nearly 29 acres. … Conexus Indiana, an independent analysis firm, has released a report showing that airports in Lake and Porter counties contribute more than $144 million to the local economy. … Work has begun to eliminate pollution in the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun dredging the century-old canal of sediment, which is rated at among the most polluted in the country. … Frontier Airlines has begun four flights a week from South Bend Regional Airport to its hub in Denver. … The Gary Jet Center has received the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, one of 15 employers to receive the honor which recognizes the support given to employees who serve in the National Guard or military reserve. … The Federal Aviation Administration has given a $63,900 grant to the Griffith-Merrillville Airport to support construction of a new taxiway. … Amtrak has announced it may eliminate Hoosier State route, which serves Dyer and Rensselaer between Chicago and Indianapolis four times a week. … The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has given a $30 million grant to the Gary Chicago International Airport for a project to extend its main runway from 7,000 feet to 8,900 feet. The $160 million project includes relocating several rail lines.


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