Chesterton Tribune



Jim Starin installed as Duneland Chamber 2017 Chair

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The Duneland Chamber of Commerce installed the 2017 Board Chair at its annual meeting last week.

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.

Among the 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 said.

“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 run.

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.”

Installed as 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 stopped trying.”

“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 Edible Arrangements.

Mundell “served 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.


Several members were honored with awards at the meeting as well:

* Membership 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 Resale Shop.


Posted 2/76/2017




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