Chesterton Tribune



NWI Forum meets at casino, elects officers, reviews year

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The Northwest Indiana Forum elected 11 members to serve on its Board of Directors during its annual meeting held Thursday at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. The organization also highlighted its successes in 2015, while looking forward to this year and beyond.

New board members include Kelly Credit, of Porter Health Care Systems, Gus Olympidis, of Family Express, and Rex Richards, of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, eight members were re-elected to three year terms: Don Babcock, of NIPSCO; Speros Batistatos, of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority; Brian Boilek, of First Midwest Bank; John Diederich, of Peoples Bank; Larry Fabina, of ArcelorMittal; Tom Keilman, of BP Americas; Dewey Pearman, of the Construction Advancement Foundation; and Mark Tade, of U.S. Steel.

In 2015, the Forum:

* Participated with local economic development organizations, elected officials and the state in a variety projects helping to attract over 980 jobs to Northwest Indiana. The Northwest Indiana Forum responded to and developed 52 leads for attraction or business expansion/retention.

* Hosted more than 100 site selector, broker and developer meetings to show Northwest Indiana’s advantage in location, logistics, business climate, value, workforce and other metrics.

* Spearheaded plans to get more industrial building product into the Northwest Indiana market. The Forum convened a panel of experts during a June event which showed how Northwest Indiana needed more shell building development to compete with the rest of the Chicago market.

* Actively participated in the legislative effort to continue funding for the RDA.

* Played a leadership role with the RDA, NIRPC, NICTD, One Region the Regional Cities Initiative.

* Co-hosted the first Regional Manufacturing Day event with Center of Workforce Innovations and CIVS at the new Urschel facility in Chesterton.

* Revamped the Northwest Indiana Forum Strategic Plan.

* Grew its membership by six percent.

“2016 promises to be even more exciting,” said Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Heather Ennis. “One month into the New Year, the Forum has hosted members of the Indiana General Assembly along with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann at our reception in Indianapolis. We’ve bought together over 40 brokers, developers and site selectors to meet and hear Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith tout the great economic value of doing business in our state and we have advocated at the state house for change of the urban enterprise zones deadlines.”

The Forum is a private non-profit regional economic development and environmental organization, comprised of business leaders in Northwest Indiana. For information, contact Raeann Trakas, Director of Marketing for the Northwest Indiana Forum, at or (219) 763-6303, ext. 181.





Posted 2/1/2016




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