A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Melissa Gruber

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Melissa Gruber
By: Jacqueline Ridge Last Updated: February 6, 2019

Melissa Gruber relies on her love of people to success in her job. With strong interpersonal communication skills, a passion for helping others, and a love for the Region, she is making a positive contribution to La Porte County through her work at American Renolit Corporation.

Renolit, a German family-owned company with locations worldwide, is an international leader in manufacturing high-quality plastic films. Globally, Renolit has more than 4,700 employees, more than 200 of them at its La Porte location.

As the Human Resources Manager for American Renolit Corporation for the past 12 years, Melissa Gruber has helped cultivate healthy relationships between employer and employees.

“I came from an accounting background where everything was about the numbers, numbers, numbers. In the human resources role, it gets to be more about the people and how those people make the company better,” Gruber said.

Gruber lends an empathetic ear to Renolit staff, understanding the complex emotions, goals, and skill sets that influence the workplace. She strives to maximize an employee’s potential and personal fulfillment while ensuring that the company goals are attained.

“You have to try to put yourself in the position of the person you’re speaking to and try to see things from their perspective. Their perception is their reality,” Gruber said. “Trying to respond to them from that angle helps me to come up with a solution that’s going to work for both of us.”

While many know Renolit for being a technology-driven company and an international leader in manufacturing high-quality plastic films, employees know Renolit for focusing on their happiness and success. Gruber values this, and the strong connections that she has made with Renolit staff.

“I stay with this company because of the people,” Gruber said. “I really like that’s it’s a family-owned business, and you can see that in the way they treat their employees. Knowing the family is very interested in the employees’ wellbeing is very important to me. I’ve worked for publicly-traded companies in the past where it all came down to the bottom line, so I personally appreciate working for a family-owned company that is genuinely concerned about its employees.”

Gruber’s positive influence extends beyond the office walls. She serves as the President Elect for the Northern Indiana Human Resource Management Association (NIHRMA). The organization aims to bring people in the human resources field together to network and share expertise, and provides professional development. Additionally, Gruber works with the La Porte County Innovation Network, a group that improves workplace skill sets for employees across the county.

Gruber has always been inspired to give back to the Region. Having grown up in Merrillville and moved to La Porte County in 2002, she has developed deep roots within the Region, following her passions with the support of her parents.

“My parents are the most amazing people in the world,” Gruber said. “I know I can count on them 100 percent, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling. When you’re a kid, you think that everyone has parents like that. When you get out in the real world, you see that’s not the case. I was really lucky that my parents have not only been role models for me, but have been a constant source of support.”

Gruber also is a wife and mother of two,and recognizes that she could not continue to make a positive change in La Porte County if it were not for the support of her family.

“My husband and two amazing daughters made my life complete . I have an amazing job, but my family is truly my world.”

Her eldest daughter, Katie, graduated from Purdue University West Lafayette and now lives in Denver. Gruber’s youngest daughter, Krista, attends Ball State.

“I am so proud of both of them,” Gruber said.

Gruber spends her free time with her husband Jim enjoying the amenities La Porte has to offer.

“I really enjoy participating in town events like the Dragon Boat Races and Tour de La Porte,” Gruber said. “I think it’s a great way that the community gets together to give back to other organizations and people.”

While Gruber loves her career, like most, she looks forward to the quieter days ahead while still contributing to the community.

“When I retire some day, I would love to read to students,” Gruber said. “My daughter is a 1st-grade teacher, and I’ll visit their classroom sometimes to read to the them. With some of the students, I could just tell that they didn’t regularly get an opportunity for that. It seemed like they just absolutely loved it, and it is just so much fun for me. When I retire, that is absolutely what I want to do.”