Chamber of Commerce installed the 2017 Board Chair at its annual meeting
Assuming the gavel
for the year is Jim Starin of Starin Marketing.
Starin took a
moment to review the Chamber’s achievements in 2016 and to look forward to
the year to come.
highlights: a total of 60 new members joined the Chamber last year, which
enabled the organization to exceed its goal of closing 2016 with 475
members. Assisting in the recruitment were 100 volunteers who beat the
bushes for new members as well as the consultancy Membership 180, Starin
“We also continued
and increased our partnership with the Duneland Schools,” Starin added,
“including the eighth-grade Reality Store, the New Teachers Reception,
partnering with Chesterton High School to populate a new job shadowing
program, and most recently starting to work with the College and Career
Center for the 21st Century Leaders grant.”
Among the Chamber’s
various events in 2016, three in particular proved hugely successful, Starin
noted: the Corkscrew & Brew festival, whose limited ticket issue of 500 was
sold out days before the event; the European Market during its May through
October run; and the Mistletoe Market in December, the biggest ever in its
Under his tenure in
2017, Starin said that the Chamber will offer two large education events and
at least four smaller ones, “to respond to the request for education for our
members”; will work to vitalize active outreach to both new and long-term
members with a Buddy Program and “more one-to-one communication with board
members”; and will “endeavor to merge the talents of the board and staff for
great efficiency, focus, and success.”
Chair-elect was Paul Boyter, McColly Real Estate; and as Membership Chair,
Kirk Futrell, Lakeside Wealth Management.
Also in the
meeting, Chamber President Maura Durham bid farewell to three board members,
the first a very special one: the late Jo Winey Babcock.
“Jo had a quiet
strength that emanated from her,” Durham said. “She could give you
confidence with just a squeeze of the shoulder. She was a positive thinker
who refused to dwell on the negative. Jo made it to our board retreat and
although she did not have the strength to climb the sand dunes, she cheered
everyone on from the start to the finish. She never gave up and never
“We lost Jo Winey
Babcock to her battle with cancer this past year, but I believe the angels
gained one heck of a woman around their board table,” Durham added.
Also leaving the
board were Scott Mundell with Franciscan Alliance and Ann Licnerowicz with
over 10 years on the board and is still going strong as Treasurer,” Durham
said. “You will find him scraping, painting, and planting for those less
fortunate on Rebuild Day.”
Licnerwicz, for her
part, “made it her Chamber priority to attend the open houses and ribbon
cuttings of our new members whenever possible,” Durham said.
New Board Members
Meanwhile, five new
board members were introduced: Ryan Smiley, Boys and Girls Club of Porter
County; Rose Charo, Centier Bank; Kirk Futrell, Lakeside Wealth Management;
Nicole Caylor, Running Vines; and David Hiestand, Hiestand Law Office.
These five joined
three others who were named to the board in October to fill empty seats:
Albert Miller, Raymond James & Associates; Dr. Nicky Ali Jackson, Purdue
University Northwest; and Joe Grossbauer, GGnet Technologies.
were honored with awards at the meeting as well:
Committee Member of the Year, Nicole Van Duyn, American Cancer Society.
* Ambassador of the
Year, Jim Kristoff, State Farm Insurance.
* And the 12 2016
Members of the Month: Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa; Winey Insurance Agency;
Duneland Education Foundation; Epic Limo; Porter County Parks and
Recreation; Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center; Sweetville
Featuring Designer Desserts; Centier Bank; Modern Woodmen of America; Hilton
Garden Inn; Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, Tony Krupinski; and the Duneland