Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) entered the new decade with the
election of its 2020 officers and Executive Board members, and bestowed its
award for meritorious service to one of its long-standing members who has
had nationwide impact.
meeting, the Norman Tufford Award for exceptional dedication and service to
NIRPC was presented to Beverly Shores Town Council Member Geof Benson.
Benson has served as a NIRPC Commissioner since 2008, and served as chair of
the Commission in 2012 and again in 2018. He recently served as president of
the National Association of Regional Councils, where he is extremely active
on the national level.
“There was no
hesitation or debate in selecting Geof for this award,” said Ty Warner,
NIRPC’s executive director. “It was obvious to the selection committee that
Geof has been an example of regional service, and espouses the ideals this
award seeks to encourage.”
Norman Tufford was
the first executive director of NIRPC from 1966 to 1985. The award named in
his honor recognizes NIRPC Commissioners and staff who have demonstrated
outstanding leadership and service to the region.
Benson’s role as executive director of the Dunes Learning Center is further
evidence of his commitment to Northwest Indiana, helping young people come
to appreciate the region’s natural assets and environment.
Also during the
meeting, Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin was elected NIRPC chair
for 2020. Griffin served in this capacity previously in 2017.
for 2020 was Union Township Trustee George Topoll. Justin Kiel, LaCrosse
Town Council President, was elected as secretary; and Merrillville Town
Council Member Richard Hardaway treasurer.
Members elected to
the Executive Board included Lowell Council Member Will Farrellbegg and
Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, representing Lake County; LaPorte County
Commissioner Sheila Matias and LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody, representing
LaPorte County; and Chesterton Town Council Member James Ton and Porter Town
Council Member Greg Stinson, representing Porter County.
State Rep. Ed
Soliday, R-Valparaiso, continues to serve as the Governor’s appointee to
NIRPC. Wanatah Clerk-Treasurer Diane Noll will serve as immediate past
Welcomed onto the
Commission as newly-appointed representatives of their respective
jurisdictions were Lake Station Mayor Bill Carroll; Portage Mayor Sue Lynch;
Pottawattomie Park Council Member Janet Beck; Burns Harbor Council Member
Eric Hull; Munster Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Mis; Hebron Council Member David
Peeler; and Michiana Shores Council Member Daina Dumbrys. Dyer Council
Member Mary Tanis was also re-appointed.