What a Place • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

What a Place

Region's innovators and leaders leave their mark.

Northwest Indiana is quite a place, and inside this issue you'll find out why. It's populated with innovative, caring people who love living here and want to make it a great place to live.

The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana announces its 2012 Fellows and like those before, it is a diverse group of educators, entrepreneurs, business people, and in one instance, a hobbyist.

What makes them special is that they don't see themselves as anything special. All went out of their way to explain they were simply doing what they loved when someone else noticed what they were doing and nominated them.

There are the research and development teams at ArcelorMittal and the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation at Purdue University Calumet. There are entrepreneurs such as Gregg VanDusseldorp Sr. of Omnitech, Gene Smotkin of NuVant and Gus Olympidis of Family Express. There are educators like Pearl Prince of Gary's Frankie Woods McCullough Girls Academy and Dr. Neal Haskell of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer. And there is Realtor Olga Petryszyn of Valparaiso, whose love is developing hybrid hostas that are now planted in gardens across America.

It's a group that reflects the diversity of Northwest Indiana, not only in its population, but in its economy and the dedication of its workers.

We also pay tribute to one of the region's stalwart industries. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is marking its 100th anniversary this year. We take a look at some of the notable highlights of this company that is such a part of the fabric of Northwest Indiana.

Inside you'll also find the results of our annual readers' poll which ranks the region's top CEOs and Community Leaders. They are true leaders in every sense of the word. They lead by example, both in the workplace and in the community.

The region's environment also gets a close look. A generation ago, Northwest Indiana's air and water was, in a word, awful. Today, both are cleaner than they have been in decades, thanks to companies that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars making improvements.

Environmentalists are pleased with the effort and four longtime environmental activists hand out grades to companies and the environment.

The region's banks are doing well, having avoided the mortgage lending crisis that hammered big national banks. And the region's hospitals are on the leading edge of technology that make diagnosis more accurate and surgery more precise.

There's a lot to learn inside. Sit back, relax and read–with our thanks.

–Rick A. Richards, Editor


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