Profiling entrepreneurs, manufacturers, fitness-oriented executives.
Our cover story for this issue profiles the 2014 Entrepreneurial Excellence award winners, many of whom started from humble beginnings to become a class of their own. For example, Ridgeway Petroleum Inc., named Family Owned Business of the Year, evolved from supplying home heating oil to operating gas stations today. Once an offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, Dave Smith says he runs his business like a football team. Larry Kondrat of Calumet Testing Services Inc., who was named Small Business Person of the Year, began his career right out of high school in 1978. The company has been growing under his leadership ever since, with such milestones as the launch of the Calumet Welding Center, addressing training needed for the growing demand for welders in the workforce.
The Small Business Advocate of the Year, Dr. Subir Bandyopadhyay, knows the challenges facing small business owners and new startups. His calling is helping others to clear the hurdles. The Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Bob Urschel, began working in the family business before he graduated high school, and today his company has a customer base throughout the United States and 100 other countries. His son, Rick Urschel, has now taken the lead in the family business as president and CEO.
Aspiring and small business advocate, Julie Olthoff, named Women in Business Champion, now can be a voice for women as the newly elected District 19 state representative. She says to have been running a campaign while operating a business was an experience of its own.
We are beginning to see the emergence of more women as elected officials. We just need to get more women into CEO positions, and pursue potential legislation to ensure equal gender compensation in the workplace. As a successful small business owner, be prepared for years of hard work and lots of stress to manage.
Speaking of women’s health, we picked the top five health issues from heart disease and breast cancers to mental health issues that women face in the workplace. Taking care of yourself first is essential. Read the full story inside this issue.
We also talked with area executives about how they stay fit. Mark Hackler, president of Valparaiso University, gets up early for a 90-minute workout after checking his emails. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. breaks up his exercise routines with a variety of sports-related activities.
Though manufacturing is stable in the greater Northwest Indiana region, the hiring of workers is not. Our writer, Jerry Davich, examines the trends in manufacturing hiring and profiles four of the region’s best. Construction activity looks strong in 2015, and area construction companies talk about current projects and those in the works.
Our departments this issue include a touching Making a Difference story about Roger Hayward, the challenges of bringing the first TEDx conference to Northwest Indiana, and economist Michael Hicks’ take on Northwest Indiana for 2015.
On a final note, we are truly grateful for our readers and advertisers who help make this magazine a leading voice in the counties we serve. We wish you a very successful 2015, and enjoy our current issue!
—Glee Renick-May, Publisher