VALPARAISO │ The Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce honored 21 companies it identified as being major economic generators in Northwest Indiana during a business appreciation luncheon Tuesday at Valparaiso University’s Harre Union.
Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce President Rex Richards said the chosen companies “have a tremendous, positive economic impact on the citizens of Valparaiso.”
Among the companies honored was Hoosier Bat Co. Owner Dave Cook, who said small businesses like his greatly represent Valparaiso.
“I think that what holds this community together – small business,” he said.
John Leetz, president of fellow honoree Indiana Beverage Inc., said his family has been in business in Valparaiso since 1890.
“It’s a great place to call home,” he said. “The chamber and the city of Valparaiso are a great partner. They provide us with a wonderful community to build our business in.”
The luncheon included guest speaker William J. Sheldrake, president pf Policy Analytics LLC, who spoke about trends in the business community.
Sheldrake spoke about post-recession issues including the housing market, reporting that the housing price index is now at the level it was in 2004.
Sheldrake said Indiana’s has the highest share of employment in the manufacturing sector in the nation, just ahead of Wisconsin and Iowa.
“Indiana lost 23.2 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the last recession,” he said. “We are now seeing positive growth in manufacturing employment.”
In addition to Hoosier Bat Co. and Indiana Beverage, firms honored at the chamber event include: ArcelorMittal-Burns Harbor, Blue Chip Hotel and Casino, Chester Inc., Computer Services Inc., Emerson Power Transmission, Family Express, Heat Wagon, Home Mountain Printing, In Touch Pharmaceuticals, Lake Cable, NIPSCO, Opportunity Enterprises Inc., Porter Health Care System, St. Mary Medical Center, Task Force Tips, Thorgren Tool and Molding Co., Urschel Laboratories Inc., U.S. Steel and Valparaiso University.