Our readers pick their favorites in dozens of categories.
by NWIBQ Editorial Staff
Businesses across Northwest Indiana all have a single goal – to be the very best at what they do. There are lots of ways to reach that goal from creating a work place that nurtures excellence among employees to making sure the products and services provided are second to none.
The proof, though, doesn’t come from within. It comes from customers and it’s their approval that counts most. Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly‘s annual reader survey helps customers offer a pat on the back. Our readers have decided the region’s “Best” in several categories, and for the companies chosen, it’s a welcome surprise and nice morale boost.
To our readers who took the time to vote, we say thanks. And to the businesses who received votes, we offer our congratulations.
Best Companies to Work For
Winners: Centier Bank; Citizens Financial Bank; Franciscan Alliance Hospitals; Porter Regional Hospital; Community Healthcare System Hospitals.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: 1st Source Bank; Kruggel Lawton & Co., LLC; and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.
Best Meeting Site for Small Groups
Winner: Avalon Manor, Hobart
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Hilton Garden Inn at Notre Dame
Best Meeting Site for Larger Groups
Winners: Avalon Manor, Hobart, and Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Century Center and Palais Royale.
Best Hotel for Business Events
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Hilton Garden Inn at Notre Dame.
Best Convention Site
Winner: Star Plaza, Merrillville.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Century Center, South Bend.
Best Site for a Corporate Retreat
Winner: Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City.
Best Restaurants for Business Entertaining
Winners: Gino’s Steakhouse, Dyer and Merrillville; Gamba’s Ristorante, Merrillville; Lucrezia, Crown Point and Chesterton; Strongbow, Valparaiso; Bistro 157, Valparaiso; Rodini’s, Michigan City; and Giovanni’s, Munster.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Cafe Navarri, South Bend; LaSalle Grill, South Bend; and Ruth Chris Steak House, South Bend.
Best Casino for Business Meetings and Events
Winner: Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City.
Runners-Up: Horseshoe Casino, Hammond; and Four Winds Casino, New Buffalo.
Best Accounting Firm
Winner: McMahon & Associates Certified Public Accountants, P.C, Munster.
“We are very appreciative of the voters who took the time to vote for us as the Best in Northwest Indiana,” says Terry McMahon, president of McMahon & Associates. “It is a tribute to our staff because of the extra effort they provide to our clients every day. We take pride in being No. 1 by Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine.”
Runners-Up: Swartz-Retson & Co., PC, Merrillville; Laciak Accountancy, Valparaiso and Schererville; Prasco & Associates, PC, Crown Point.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Kruggel, Lawton & Company, LLC.
Best Ad Agency for Website Design Services
Winner: Group 7even, Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: AC Inc., Valparaiso; Barbauld Agency, Valparaiso; Morse & Harris Marketing, Michigan City; and Via Marketing, Merrillville.
Best Commercial Printer
Winner: Home Mountain Printing, Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: Reprographic Arts, Michigan City; Lithographic Communications, Munster; Largus Printing, Munster; and Acucraft, Hammond.
Best Bank for Business, Customer Service and Obtaining a Business Loan
Winner: Centier Bank.
Runners-Up: Citizens Financial Bank; Horizon Bank; Peoples Bank; First Financial Bank; JP Morgan Chase; and 5th Third Banks. (Locations across the region.)
Greater South Bend/Michiana: 1st Source Bank.
Runners-Up: Lake City Bank and Horizon Bank.
Best Credit Union
Winner: Tech Credit Union, Crown Point.
“It is an honor and a privilege to once again be chosen the Best Credit Union in Northwest Indiana,” says Michael Hussey, president and CEO for Tech Credit Union. “This only makes us strive harder to maintain this quality of service to our membership.”
Runners-Up: Advance Financial Federal Credit Union, East Chicago; First Trust Credit Union, LaPorte; Teachers Credit Union; and Members Advantage Credit Union, Michigan City.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Notre Dame Credit Union, South Bend.
“It is with great pride that Notre Dame Federal Credit Union operates to serve our members, and bring value to the financial lives of both local and nationwide members,” says Deidre J. Davis, chief marketing officer. “Recognition as the Best Credit Union is a reflection of Notre Dame FCU’s dedication to excellence. We are fully committed to ensuring that our products and services are technologically advanced as well as easily accessible to all our members.
“Notre Dame FCU’s success is best measured by the 55,000 plus members who entrust their financial needs to our institution. The credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ is embedded in our history, and is something we continue to uphold by promoting the values of fiscal responsibility and self-reliance.”
Best Investment and Financial Advisor Company
Winner: Peoples Bank Wealth Management, Munster.
Runners-Up: Centier Bank, Merrillville; Horizon Bank, Michigan City; Lakeside Wealth Management, Chesterton; Edward Jones (Locations around the region) and Oak Partners, Crown Point.
Best Commercial Construction Company
Winner: Larson Danielson Construction Company, Inc., LaPorte.
Runners-Up: Berglund Construction, Chesterton; Tonn and Blank, Michigan City and Hasse Construction, Calumet City, Ill.
Best Construction Company for Commercial Office Remodeling and Expansion Projects
Winner: Tonn and Blank, Michigan City.
“Tonn and Blank is proud to be a member of the Northwest Indiana business community for more than 90 years,” says Jon Gilmore, president.
Runners-Up: Larson Danielson Construction, LaPorte; and Berglund Construction, Chesterton.
Best Commercial Architectural Design Company
Winner: Design Organization, Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: Carras-Szany-Kuhn & Associates, Schererville; Gerometta and Kinel Architects, Chesterton; and Hutton & Hutton, Hammond.
Best Commercial Real Estate Company
Winner: Commercial In-Sites, Merrillville.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: The Bradley Company, South Bend.
“This is certainly a great honor for our leadership team and every individual who is a part of our company,” says Brad Toothaker, president and CEO of the Bradley Company. “As we grow we believe we are improving and making our marketplace a better place to live and work, beyond day-to-day real estate business. We believe each of our people is dedicated to our clients and it’s that dedication that gets us to a point we want to achieve on an annual basis.”
Runners-Up: Cressy & Everett, South Bend; and Holladay Properties, South Bend.
Best Commercial Landscaping Company
Winner: Hubinger Landscaping Corp., Crown Point.
Runners-Up: Lakeshore Landscaping, Valparaiso; RV Property Enhancement, Valparaiso; Tim’s Landscaping, Griffith.
Best Caterer for Business Events
Winners: Strongbow, Valparaiso; Comforts Catering, St. John; and Great Lakes Catering, Michigan City.
Best Corporate Law Firm, Best Law Firm for Business Acquisitions and Mergers and Best Estate Planning Practice
Winner: Burke Costanza & Carberry, LLP, Merrillville and Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: Krieg & DeVault, LLP, Schererville; Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP Hammond; Hoeppner Wagner & Evans, LLP, Merrillville and Valparaiso.
Best Corporate Law Firm
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, South Bend.
Best Law Firm for Litigation
Winners: Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP, Merrillville and Valparaiso; and Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP, Hammond.
Runners-Up: Krieg & DeVault, LLP, Schererville; Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans, LLP, Merrillville and Valparaiso; Blachly Tabor Bozik & Hartman, LLC, Valparaiso and Merrillville.
Best Insurance Agency for a Business
Winners: MacLennan & Bain Insurance, Valparaiso; and General Insurance Services, Michigan City.
“We are humbled to be selected by your readers as the best insurance agency for business,” says Ross W. MacLennan, managing partner with MacLennan & Bain. “The award is a testament to the outstanding staff we have assembled; all of the thanks go to them and their work ethic. We are especially proud to be recognized by our peers in the business community and look forward to continuing the legacy of service we started in 1908.”
“The staff of GIS strive each day to answer the needs of our clients, with the goal that our client looks to us as a trusted advisor,” says Thomas Cipares, president of General Insurance. “Being recognized as the best insurance agency for business each year since 2005 is rewarding to all of us.”
Runners-Up: Michiana Insurance, Michigan City; Fleming, Bates & Barber, Crown Point; Anton Insurance, Chesterton; and Rothchild Agency, Merrillville.
Best Professional Employment Staffing Agency
Winner: Staff Source, Hammond.
“I am extremely honored to be a partner in this great organization that has been voted Best Professional Employment Staffing Agency in Northwest Indiana,” says Dan Kesic, a partner in Staff Source. “My partners and I are proud to have a successful business helping not only the local community we were raised in, but the entire Northwest Indiana region. Our 15 years of experience and commitment to fellow businesses and job seekers is what makes us top choice for staffing needs. It is our passion and commitment to match the right candidate with the right employer so that both parties succeed.
“We are proud to have such a positive impact on the local economy. We love helping businesses grow and individuals grow their careers. Staff Source has an amazing team, clients and employees that have all made the company as strong as it is today.”
Runners-Up: Express Employment Professionals, Valparaiso; Kelly Services, Merrillville.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Specialized Staffing Solutions, LLC, South Bend.
Best Commercial Interior Design Company
Winner: HDW Interiors, Inc. Schererville and South Bend.
“Thank you to the readers of NWIBQ for voting HDW the best!” says Rita Bacevich, president. “We absolutely delight in working with Northwest Indiana businesses to provide business environments that are functional, budget-friendly and great looking.”
Runners-Up: Kramer & Leonard, Chesterton; Design Organization, Valparaiso.
Best Place to Purchase Office Furniture
Winners: Kramer & Leonard, Chesterton; and HDW Interiors, Inc., Schererville.
Runners-Up: McShane’s Business Products & Solutions, Munster; Lincoln Office, Crown Point; Staples, Valparaiso, Merrillville and LaPorte.
Best Place to Purchase Office Equipment & Supplies
Winner: McShane’s Business Products & Solutions, Munster.
“It is such an honor to be voted by our clients as ‘the best of NW Indiana’ again,” says Brian McShane, president and CEO. “Our 92-year-old business is constantly adapting to the changing business landscape, but always providing excellent service by our employees.”
Best Local Telecommunications Company
Winner: MTA, Midwest Telecom of America, Merrillville.
“Being recognized as the best local telecommunication company in Northwest Indiana by subscribers, local businessmen and women in Northwest Indiana just never grows old,” says Cary W. Smith, president.
Runners-Up: NetNitco, Hebron; Tri-Electronics, Hammond; Frontier Communications, Valparaiso; and Comcast Business Services, Valparaiso.
Best University to Obtain an MBA
Winner: Indiana University Northwest, Gary.
“I am delighted that the IU Northwest MBA has been selected as the Best in Northwest Indiana,” says Anna S. Rominger, dean of the IU Northwest School of Business. “The business programs at IU Northwest are accredited by the AACSB International, the premier accrediting agency for the business schools. The MBA provides an excellent education, with highly qualified faculty in a convenient high tech setting. The School of business and Economics at IU Northwest is Chicagoland’s affordable AACSB Business School.”
Runners-Up: Purdue North Central, Westville; Purdue Calumet, Hammond; and Valparaiso University, Valparaiso.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business.
Best University to Obtain an Online Degree
Winner: Indiana University Northwest, Gary.
Runners-Up: Indiana Wesleyan University, Merrillville; St. Francis University, Crown Point; Purdue Calumet, Hammond; and Purdue North Central, Westville.
Best University to Obtain a Technology Degree
Winner: Purdue Calumet, Hammond.
Runners-Up: Indiana University Northwest, Gary; Ivy Tech Community College, Gary.
Best Chamber of Commerce
Winner: Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: Crossroads Chamber of Commerce, Merrillville; Duneland Chamber of Commerce, Chesterton; Schererville Chamber of Commerce; Munster Chamber of Commerce; and Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Hammond.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.
“We are honored to be selected as Best Chamber of Commerce by the readers of Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly,” says Jeff Rea, president and CEO of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce. “Just a year ago, we were recognized by the Indiana Chamber Executives Association as the Indiana Chamber of the Year and were a finalist for national chamber of the year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. We work extremely hard to provide value to our members and the community and we feel these honors reflect the type of work we are doing and the results we are having.”
Runner-Up: Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.
Best Business Leaders and Business Advocates
Jim Jorgenson, attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans; Craig Dwight, Horizon Bank; John Freyek, Citizens Financial Bank; Jon Schmaltz, attorney with Burke Costanza & Carberry; Jonathon Nalli, Porter Regional Hospital; and Mark Maassel, Northwest Indiana Forum.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Jeff Rea and Paul Laskowski, St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.
Best Women Owned Businesses
Group 7even, Valparaiso; HDW Interiors, Schererville and South Bend; Century 21 Alliance, Valparaiso; Morse & Harris Marketing, Michigan City; and Via Marketing, Merrillville.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Winner: Porter Regional Hospital, Valparaiso.
Runners-Up: Community Hospital, Munster; Franciscan St. Anthony, Crown Point; and Franciscan St. Margaret Health, Dyer and Hammond.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Memorial Hospital of South Bend.
Best Health Care Provider for Cardiology
Winner: Franciscan Alliance Hospitals.
“We’re gratified that our efforts to provide the best cardiovascular care in Northwest Indiana and beyond are recognized by the folks we serve,” says Gene Diamond, CEO of the Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region. “It’s a tribute to our outstanding physicians and staff that their teamwork produces excellent outcomes and highly satisfied patients.”
Runners-Up: Community Hospital, Cardiology Associates, Munster; Porter Regional Hospital, Valparaiso; and Center for Cardiovascular Medicine, Valparaiso.
Best Health Care Provider for Treating Cancer
Winner: Porter Regional Hospital Cancer Center, Valparaiso.
“Porter Regional Hospital’s Cancer Care Center captures the essence of a fully integrated center by having the diagnostics and treatment capabilities in one location,” says Karen Keltner, manager of marketing and communication. “This allows for an efficient patient experience while expediting the ability of Porter’s clinical teams to collaborate and provide real-time, multi-disciplinary expertise.
“We appreciate the good news about the award.”
Runners-Up: Michiana Hematology Oncology, Michigan City and South Bend; Franciscan Alliance Cancer Care; and Community Hospital Oncology Center.
Best Health Care Practice for Treating Spine, Joint and Back Pain
Winner: Lakeshore Bone and Joint, Chesterton.
Runners-Up: Midwest Interventional Spine Specialists, Munster; Center for Orthopedic Medicine and Bone & Joint Specialists, Merrillville.
Best Occupational Health Practice
Winner: WorkingWell-Franciscan Alliance.
Runners-Up: Health At Work, Valparaiso; Comprehensive Care, Gary and Griffith.
Best Urgent/Immediate Care Clinic
Winner: Franciscan Hammond Clinic, Hammond.
Runners-Up: Care Express, Chesterton; Immediate Care Center, Schererville; and Franciscan Urgent Care, Crown Point.
Best Health and Wellness Fitness Facility
Winner: Franciscan Omni Health & Fitness, Schererville.
Runners-Up: Fuel Fitness, Schererville; YMCA, Valparaiso, LaPorte and Portage; Fitness Point, Munster.
Best Automobile Dealer for Business Executives and for Corporate Leases
Winner: Schepel Buick GMC, Merrillville.
“Every time Schepel Buick GMC Cadillac is honored with special recognition, I give the praise and credit to my staff,” says owner Tom Van Prooyen. “We are blessed to have people in our organization that treat all our customers like they’re family.”
Best Residential Home Builder
Winner: Olthof Homes, St. John.
Best Home Remodeling Company
Winner: Above The Board Construction, Chesterton.
Best Golf Course
Winner: Sand Creek Country Club, Chesterton.
“Sand Creek Country Club is honored to be voted as the Best Golf Course by the readers of Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly,” says Mike Misheck, general manager and COO of Sand Creek. “The Sand Creek Country Club management team shares a common passion for the highest quality of products and services for our members and guests. Sand Creek is always striving to present pristine conditions on the greens and grounds while preserving the ecology of our green space every year.
“This recognition for the readers of Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly confirms the hard work and dedication that our team has put forth every day to make Sand Creek Country Club the premier family oriented club in Northwest Indiana.”
Runners-Up: Briar Ridge, Schererville; White Hawk, Crown Point; Lost Marsh, Hammond; The Brassie, Chesterton; and The Course at Aberdeen, Valparaiso.
Best Golf Course for Charitable/Business Outings
Winner: Briar Ridge Country Club, Schererville.
Runners-Up: White Hawk Country Club, Crown Point; Innsbrook, Merrillville; The Course at Aberdeen, Valparaiso; and Lost Marsh, Hammond.
Greater South Bend/Michiana: Blackthorn.
Best Executive Vacation Getaway
South Haven, Mich.; Orlando, Fla.; Traverse City, Mich.; New Buffalo, Mich.; and Cancun Mexico.
Best Executive Men’s Clothing Stores
David’s, Valparaiso; John Cicco’s, Merrillville; Men’s Warehouse, Merrillville; and Zandstra’s Store for Men, Highland.
Best Executive Women’s Clothing Stores
Ann Taylor, Lighthouse Place, Michigan City; Judee’s, LaPorte; Seasons On the Square, Valparaiso; and Fashion Affair, Merrillville.
Best Spectator Sports
Gary SouthShore Railcats; Chicago Bears; Chicago Bulls; University of Notre Dame football; and Chicago Blackhawks.