Chesterton Tribune



Heather Ennis to leave Chamber for CEO slot at NWI Forum

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After not quite six years as executive director of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce--during which time she spearheaded a renaissance in the Chamber, oversaw a boom in membership, and introduced numerous initiatives--Heather Ennis is moving to pastures new.

Today the Northwest Indiana Forum announced that its board has named Ennis the organization’s new president and CEO.

Ennis will be the first woman to helm the Northwest Indiana Forum, the region’s economic development arm. She will assume her responsibilities early in April.

“Heather brings an excellent set of skills to the position,” Forum Board Chair Jill Ritchie said in a statement released this morning. “We look forward to her leadership in carrying out the Forum’s mission to foster a positive business climate and attract investment and quality jobs in harmony with the environment.”

The Forum’s Managing Board of Directors approved Ennis’ hire on Friday, after the Search Committee noted that her “experience with organizational operations, capital investments, community partnerships, and business attraction/retention will add to the depth of expertise currently on staff,” the statement said.

“I am honored to be selected for this position and look forward to working with the Board, members, and staff in moving the organization and Northwest Indiana forward,” Ennis said. “This is an amazing opportunity to build upon the many accomplishments of the Forum.”

Two past presidents of the Chamber told the Chesterton Tribune that Ennis was instrumental in the Chamber’s recent growth and new prominence.

“While we don’t want to see her go, after five and a half years Heather Ennis is leaving the Duneland Chamber in the best financial position in its history,” said Jim Anton of Anton Insurance Agency. “I’m very proud to have been a member of the team that selected her and to have served as president during her time as executive director.”

“Heather Ennis is an asset and that Chamber has some big shoes to fill,” Anton added. “She’ll be missed at the community level but Duneland businesses just gained a champion on the regional level.”

“I wish Heather great success in her new employment,” said Chuck Parkinson of Harris Welsh & Lukmann. “She brought the Chamber to new levels of service to its members. While she will be missed, I am hopeful that the Chamber can continue to experience growth based upon the programs she implemented.”

Ennis has previously served as a member of the Northwest Indiana Forum Economic Development Committee, the Porter County Economic Development Alliance, and the Porter County Jobs Cabinet.

“Her passion for community building and economic development stems from her husband and young son and a commitment to raise her family in Northwest Indiana to strengthen the region for the next generation,” the statement said.



Posted 3/3/2014