Development News Feed - LaPorteCountyLife Sun, 15 Sep 2019 21:10:53 +0000 en hourly 1 Ribbon Cutting Crown Point Branch of PFCU 2019 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 19:00:28 +0000 Curtis Hankins Ribbon Cutting Crown Point Branch of PFCU 2019 NIPSCO honors outstanding community contributors at 8th Annual Luminary Award Ceremony Fri, 13 Sep 2019 03:22:46 +0000 Sarah Corn Each year, as the days grow shorter and the long winter nights start creeping into view, NIPSCO hosts its annual Luminary Awards ceremony.

Those honored Thursday evening shine so brightly through their work and dedication that they generate enough inspiration to serve as a beacon, guiding their communities through the cold months ahead and beyond.

The awards themselves highlight notable contributions and successes achieved in the Region, focused around five vital themes— Community Leadership, Education, Public Safety, Environmental Stewardship, and Economic Development.

“NIPSCO is so pleased to recognize organizations and individuals who go above and beyond to make a positive, lasting impact in their respective communities,” said Jennifer Montague, NIPSCO Vice President of Communications & External Affairs. “The work being done in these five key areas contributes to a safer, stronger, and more robust region in Northern Indiana, and we applaud their outstanding efforts.”

This year’s winners, recognized at Thursday’s 8th Annual Luminary Awards were: Lisa M. Daugherty, President and CEO of Lake Area United Way for Community Leadership; Ivy Tech, Valparaiso Campus’ Energy Technology Program for Education; Lake Station Fire and Rescue for Public Safety; NICHES Land Trust for Environmental Stewardship; and NewAllen Alliance for Economic Development.

Luminary Awards 2019

Luminary Awards 2019 49 Photos
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“The recognition is absolutely wonderful,” said Michael Jones, Adjunct Professor at Ivy Tech’s Valparaiso Campus and Energy Technology Program Chair for the last nine years. “We’ve been great partners with NIPSCO now for 10 or 11 years on this program. It’s fantastic that they’ve decided that we are key to their success.”

Students enrolled in the program can pursue one of four different energy technology tracks and become certified in that field in a single year. Once completed, students are able to interview with NIPSCO for open positions through the school, by-passing the general recruiting pool. Over 50 program graduates have found successful careers through this partnership.

Award recipients were chosen by a committee of NIPSCO employees after a lengthy and difficult evaluation process, explained Montague.

As part of the award, NIPSCO will donate $1,000 on behalf of each winner to their preferred charity. The utility company started the Luminary Award tradition 2012, to honor their 100th anniversary.

In addition to the award ceremony, NIPSCO took time Thursday evening to celebrate the culmination of the company-wide annual fundraising program, Charity of Choice. Representatives from local organizations that support seniors around the Region were on hand to accept the generous donation from NIPSCO employees. 

Charity of Choice is an employee-driven program that runs through June and July. NIPSCO colleagues organize events that serve both to raise funds and to provide team-building opportunities. This year they collected over $140,000, which will be distributed to 10 different organizations dedicated to supporting senior residents across Northern Indiana.

The population of aging adults is rising rapidly in Northern Indiana and across the United States. Over 10,000 people a day will turn 65 between now and 2030, explained Megan Clouse, Communications and Development Specialist at Aging & In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana, one of the Charity of Choice recipients.

“These funds mean a lot to us,” Clouse said. “We were in an industry where funding for aging adult services is fairly stagnant. It’s really great to see organizations like NIPSCO shine a light on these vulnerable populations.”

Sara Spruth, Walk Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Indiana Office, another recipient of the Charity of Choice grant, echoed Clouse’s sentiments.

“We’re really thankful to be receiving the funds. They will help with funding research for the prevention, treatment, or a cure for the disease, none of which exist as of right now. They also help to support care and support services and education programs in the community,” Spruth said.

Representing the third Charity of Choice recipient, Sandra Noe, Executive Director for Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana said she was deeply grateful for NIPSCO’s contributions.

“I so appreciate NIPSCO’s support in our community,” Noe said. “They do so much more than what they do for Meals on Wheels and those we serve. They support so many of the nonprofits— they truly make the quality of life in Northwest Indiana better.”
To learn more about the Luminary Awards, Charity of Choice, and the wealth of other NIPSO community service projects, visit

NIPSCO honors outstanding community contributors at 8th Annual Luminary Award Ceremony
Luminary Awards 2019 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 03:17:06 +0000 Sarah Corn Luminary Awards 2019 The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi announce expansion of Four Winds South Bend Thu, 12 Sep 2019 19:00:00 +0000 Four Winds Casino Resort SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Pokagon Gaming Authority, which oversees the management and operations of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ gaming enterprise, is pleased to announce the expansion of its fourth and most recent property, Four Winds® Casino South Bend.  The details of the expansion were highlighted today during a press conference at the property, with members of the Pokagon Gaming Authority and Tribal Council, Pokagon Elders Council, Pokagon Citizens and Four Winds Casinos management also taking part in a groundbreaking ceremony. 

The expansion of Four Winds South Bend will feature a 23-story hotel tower with 317 rooms, including 83 suites.  There will also be a spa, convention area, meeting space, a ballroom, lounge, bar & grille, an outdoor roof-top swimming pool, and terraces with spectacular views.  Construction will take approximately 24 months.    

“We’ve been very pleased with the response from the community and the performance of Four Winds South Bend since it opened in January 2018.  The expansion will bring to life a variety of exciting features and amenities we envisioned during our original planning process,” said Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman and President of the Pokagon Gaming Authority.  “Not only is this expansion an important milestone for all Pokagon Citizens, but it also demonstrates our ongoing economic commitment to support the South Bend community including the creation of more than 400 temporary constructions jobs and approximately 100 permanent new jobs to support our ongoing operations.”    

“For the past twelve years, the Pokagon Band and its Four Winds Casinos have established a standard for excellence, not only in the Midwest, but also nationally.  Our casino resorts have consistently been ranked among the best in the country, and we believe these enhancements will make Four Winds South Bend unrivaled in the State of Indiana,” said Frank Freedman, COO of Four Winds Casinos.  “From the design, use of materials and the finish work, Four Winds South Bend will offer a premium resort-style feel and amenities you’ll find at top resorts in the country.” 

Four Winds South Bend currently has 140,000 square feet of gaming space and includes more than 1,400 games, four restaurants, a players lounge, a coffee shop, three bars, a retail outlet, and approximately 4,500 parking spaces including an enclosed parking structure.

Partners supporting the Pokagon Band and Four Winds Casinos in the expansion of Four Winds South Bend include architect, HBG Design of Memphis, Tenn.

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994.  The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its more than 5,700 citizens.  The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana.  Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind.  In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011, Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013 and Four Winds South Bend in January 2018.  The Pokagon Band operates a variety of businesses via Mno-Bmadsen, its non-gaming investment enterprise.  More information is available at, and

Reservations and Information
To make a hotel reservation at Four Winds New Buffalo or for more information on Four Winds New Buffalo, Four Winds Hartford®, Four Winds Dowagiac® or Four Winds South Bend®, please call 1 (866)-4WINDS1, (866) 494-6371 or visit  Additionally, be sure to like Four Winds on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at for information on the latest offers and promotions.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi announce expansion of Four Winds South Bend
Made in La Porte County Wed, 11 Sep 2019 20:44:02 +0000 La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership SAVE THE DATE! On October 4th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. La Porte will host the Made in La Porte County event. This special day allows local firms to showcase their products that are produced, assembled and/or distributed from right here in La Porte County.

It provides an opportunity for local citizens and visitors to view the interesting array of products first hand, all in one location. The event will also provide an opportunity for the local firms to interface with one another on a “business to business” basis.

While this is not a career or job fair, another great feature of the event will be an opportunity for high school and college students throughout the County to get acquainted with the products and associated processes, training, education and potential employment opportunities as they prepare for their futures. This type of exposure can ultimately help build your future workforce. There is NO cost to participate!!!!

Watch for more information!
Or call and ask for applications and information (219) 324-8584

Made in La Porte County
Creatives in NWI – an introspective series Tue, 10 Sep 2019 20:00:58 +0000 GreatNews.Life Throughout the Region, creative agencies and the masterminds behind them are helping local, regional, state-wide, and even global businesses and not-for-profits tell their stories with expert guidance on marketing and public relations strategy and creative direction. At GreatNews.Life, we know how important creative storytelling can be, so we’re here to introduce you to Creatives in NWI – a series highlighting advertising, creative, and marketing agencies in the Region. Meet their leaders, their teams, and learn their philosophies on why they choose to make Northwest Indiana their home for storytelling.

]]> Creatives in NWI – an introspective series True Mtn Marketing emerges as avengers of the industry Mon, 09 Sep 2019 19:31:50 +0000 Stacey Kellogg It all started with a chance meet-up in a bar, between two young men who sort of knew each other from high school and from working in the same industry. And then there was this sports bet that involved a crypto-currency volcano, and before you know it, True Mtn Marketing was born.

But let’s back up.

John White (clean shaven) and Jono Gross (epic award-winning mustache) each worked in the marketing space for different home building companies after high school. Their paths would occasionally cross professionally, and personally. Like the time back in 2017 when they ran into each other at a bar, shook hands, and shared an epic brainstorm over a fine sip of whiskey about what they think marketing really should and could be in the Region.

The next morning, they decided to meet for coffee to see if there was more to be had from that conversation.

“We just knew that we had to iron out this dream,” White said. “It just took off from there.”

After a couple of months, the co-founders of True Mtn Marketing had a name and a logo, and knew their core purpose – to offer TRUE value to those needing productive, results-oriented websites. (More later on how they expanded to other divisions). True Mtn’s name, they said, is derived from the desire to convey their authenticity as humans, and their love for the mountains in the west, particularly Colorado and California. They sealed the deal (unofficially) by signing the whiskey bottle that started it all.

“We’re helping business owners win and selling them what they need, not just large packages,” Gross said.

The team is true to their clients. True to value. True to culture.

When clients call, they answer. And when you meet them, you’re not going to encounter the Mad Men- style marketing execs in starched suits and ties. Their conference table at the office in St. John doubles as a ping pong table, and music is always playing in the background.

White presents in a causal pair of loose-fitting khakis or jeans and a T-shirt, many times with a trusty trucker-billed cap that may or may not be his signature look. He’s the casual, outgoing, practical CEO of the group who can take big ideas and whittle them to reality, always steering clients to the most value for their money, and the best service.

When Gross walks into a room, his mustache pretty much enters first. The award-winning stache is classic Sam Elliot in the middle and then curls wildly at each edge – right in line with one of the friendliest smiles you’ll encounter. He’s usually wearing whatever he can do backflips in (no joke), and a cowboy hat or ball cap is almost always the lid. Wildman Jono is his social handle, and it reflects True Mtn’s crazy idea guy – the one who is going to inspire clients to think big, try new marketing tactics, and set convention aside. He skates, snowboards, hikes, highlines, backflips, and mushes sled dogs – maybe even all in one day. If adventure is to be had, Gross finds it.

The two young men back in 2017 were pretty sure their ideas on marketing meshed. But before they started a company together, they needed to know if they would mesh as co-founders. So they set off on a multi-day trip exploring the five Great Lakes. Needless to say, it went well.

While they contemplated how to fund the startup, Gross made a little sports bet and won. The prize was a nice chunk of bitcoin, right at the time of the crypto-currency bubble. It exploded, he quit his job, and the company was born.

Gross managed it solo for about a year while White planned to make his exit from his job at the time. By 2018, True Mtn Marketing launched a new division, Mtn Digital, designed to help companies be strategic and thoughtful about digital advertising, which can be a huge drain on finances with little return unless you’re savvy. Mtn Sites – their initial launch for website building – was founded on a similar pretense.

“We get calls from people who want websites and need help because their current services are treating them poorly. They’re getting billed for every little change that needs to be made, and there isn’t really any feedback on whether they are getting a return on their investment,” Gross said.

“That’s where we come in,” White added. “We primarily help small to medium-size businesses, and we are here to be their marketing experts so they can focus on running a business.”

White said a big focus for the team now is re-educating companies on what marketing really should be, and helping them to comfortably ditch tired ideas that aren’t creating value for them, or their customers.

Service sets them apart. So much so that the True Mtn team takes a hit for clients on the front end.

“We’re building effective websites with no upfront cost. We kind of lose in the beginning to help our clients win in the end,” Gross said. “We can’t tell you how many people come to us who have been burned in marketing. They paid for something and got nothing in return.”

The team offers weekly reporting on website and digital marketing efficacy, and constantly works with clients to tweak their online presence as web and social algorithms fluctuate alongside company needs.

“We have a 100% retention rate with clients so far, and the biggest complaint we’ve had from someone is that they have only grown their business 10%,” White said.

Their advice to those looking for marketing support: Don’t pay for a consultation, don’t purchase digital advertising and search engine optimization (Google ads, for example) unless you know exactly what you’re getting into, and mobile optimization on web is everything.

Most recently, True Mtn launched their third division – Mtn Design – focused on graphic design, print, and branding. It paints a picture they hadn’t quite expected in just two short years. 

“Our story just keeps unfolding. It’s crazy. We’re sharpening our spears here in Northwest Indiana and have big plans to expand to the west,” Gross said.

The company serves more than 100 clients across the U.S. and into Canada, and plans to hit the Chicago and the burbs next with a heavy push.

True Mtns also has grown in staff. Rich Christakes is their business lead, taking care of all things financial. Matt Barbur is the company’s social media nerve center. Nathan Bower heads up Mtn Design backed by 17 years of solid marketing industry experience. Together, the True Mtn team is full of hustle, grit, authenticity, passion, and drive – all fueled by the high of seeing their clients win big in an area where many lose hard.

The True Mtn team sets conventional competition aside and is known to collaborate with marketing and content agencies across the Region. The philosophy is reflected in Region Hustle – a modern group for Northwest Indiana business owners entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and individuals looking to succeed. Region Hustle was created by True Mtn Marketing CEO John White and local realtor Alex Nickla. Details on the next one can be found here. To connect directly with the experts at True Mtn, visit the online at  

True Mtn Marketing emerges as avengers of the industry
Hasse Construction Company, Inc. spearheads foundations for walking beam furnace project at ArcelorMittal Mon, 09 Sep 2019 05:34:42 +0000 Kayla Belec For the last two years, Hasse Construction Company, Inc. has been performing construction on an ArcelorMittal project designed to produce a higher quality steel more efficiently right here in the Region.

The walking beam furnace installation project is well underway at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, with Hasse Construction performing all civil scope. An 80-inch hot strip rolling mill houses the foundation for the two new walking beam furnaces, each with a capacity for 500 tons per hour (tph). The walking beam furnaces (WBF) represent a $140-million investment for ArcelorMittal to enhance the quality of their product and are part of the company’s Action 2020 improvement plan.

The WBFs will produce higher quality steel for customers and downstream facilities by the process of slabs being “walked” through the furnace rather than being pushed. This strategy eliminates the potential for surface defects.

John Hasse, project manager for the WBF venture, said that the project stands for an important mark of continued progress in the Region and in the country.

“This project is helping to keep steel mills competitive in the Region,” Hasse said. “In this age of excess capacity of steel on the worldwide market, anything we can do here in the states to make our mills more competitive is good for the United States, good for the local economy and employees, and hopefully keeps that mill open for a long period of time as an efficient producer of steel.”

Hasse Construction Company has been doing a lot of work with steel mills recently, as there’s been a surge of reinvestment in the industry within the last two years. No stranger to working with ArcelorMittal, Hasse described a few of the overlapping values the companies share.

“We have common goals of working competitively, working safely, and creating a quality product,” Hasse said.

The WBF project has been an exciting challenge for the family-owned construction company, now in its third generation of operators. Hasse said 15,000 cubic yards of concrete and 2000 anchor bolts have been installed to help move the product along.

“We had to install our anchor bolts with incredible accuracy and within tight tolerances. The multiple furnace structures that will be eventually placed on anchor bolts that were manufactured in Europe, must fit up with all of these anchor bolts,” Hasse said.

Hasse Construction Co. has been keeping track of the project on their Facebook page and website. Be sure to follow their progress and explore some of their others. The walking beam furnace project is expected to finish in the last quarter of 2020.

Hasse Construction Company, Inc. spearheads foundations for walking beam furnace project at ArcelorMittal
FanDuel Sportsbook at Blue Chip Casino Fri, 06 Sep 2019 22:54:27 +0000 Naphtalia Ruth FanDuel Sportsbook at Blue Chip Casino Sanlo Inc. Receives Tax Abatement to aid Business Growth Wed, 04 Sep 2019 18:11:32 +0000 Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, Indiana Tax abatement important for local manufacturer’s expansion

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. – Michigan City cable designer and manufacturer, Sanlo Inc., a subsidiary of Central Wire Industries, a Canadian Company, was approved for a tax abatement at Michigan City’s Common Council on September 3rd, 2019.  Receipt of the tax abatement will allow the company to expand as needed and retain their business here in Michigan City.  

Mayor Ron Meer stated, “The business climate in Michigan City is the best I have seen in a long time and my administration will continue to promote business friendly policies and reinvest in our community to retain current companies and the local jobs. This is a fast-growing company that will continue to create more jobs for our residents.”

Sanlo has increased employees from 55 to 88 in the past 3 years and is investing over $800,000 in new and rebuilt equipment. This will allow for continued expansion and capacity in the Michigan City factory and allow them to enter new markets.

Economic Development Corporation Michigan City (EDCMC) Executive Director Clarence Hulse said, “EDCMC is proud to partner with existing businesses to help them grow and continue to call Michigan City home. We are happy to assist global companies that chose to expand in Michigan City and retain the local investment and jobs.”

Since 1957, Sanlo has been supplying cable and assemblies for a wide range of commercial and OEM applications for all industries including aerospace, construction, security, agriculture, office furniture and industrial supply.

“Sanlo would like to thank the Common Council for approving our request for a tax abatement. This will allow us to further invest in our employees and our facilities in the coming years. We appreciate the help that the Economic Development Corporation has provided through this process. Finally, thank you to all our employees who have built a great company that serves our community” said Luke Vandercar, General Manager of Sanlo, Inc.

Companies looking to expand their business may call the EDCMC at (219) 873-1211 for more information. For more information on Sanlo, visit


Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, Indiana is committed to growing and attracting new industry and business to the community as well as strengthening existing business. EDCMC services, programs, and one-on-one assistance clearly provides the optimum business environment — a place where commerce and industry can prosper and grow. EDCMC merges the right mix of resources, including: city government officials, residents, and the expertise of business leaders. Exclusive incentive packages and unique natural resources make Michigan City the place to build or expand. For more information, call (219) 873-1211 or visit

Sanlo Inc. Receives Tax Abatement to aid Business Growth