MUNSTER | From municipal leaders and attorneys to innovators using creativity to meet needs in the region, The Times Media Co. is honoring 20 local young people who are standouts in the community.
The Times and its BusINess magazine have named Northwest Indiana's new group of business leaders to watch as part of its annual 20 Under 40 awards.
Since 2005, The Times has honored 20 people under 40 years old who exhibit leadership, are key members in the region's business community and show commitment to improving Northwest Indiana and the region.
"I'm proud that we can honor such an impressive class," said Chris White, publisher of the Times Media Co.
White took over as publisher in August and was able to participate in the selection process during his first week on the job.
"What a great introduction to Northwest Indiana," he said. "This group is doing impressive work throughout the Region, and I look forward to meeting and getting to know them at the upcoming reception."
The group will be honored at an event hosted by The Times and BusINess magazine. It begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Innsbrook Country Club, 6701 Taft St., Merrillville. Tickets are $40 per person. Table and corporate sponsorship are available. For more information or to RSVP, contact Matt Sharp at (219) 933-4308 or email@example.com no later than Wednesday.
Honorees include Blair Milo, who was elected mayor of LaPorte in 2011 at age 28; Joseph Ferrandino, an assistant professor at Indiana University Northwest in Gary who uses mapping to help communities identify public safety issues; Ron Donahue, director of business development for Prompt Ambulance; and Maria Ramos, regional director of marketing and communications for Franciscan Alliance.
Becoming mayor was not part of Milo's intial game plan.
“I have always enjoyed government, but I never anticipated that my role would be in an elected capacity,” she said. “My mom was involved in the school board when I was growing up, so I was able to see how different government entities function. But personally, Hoosier Girls State opened my eyes to just how impactful government can be and gave me a better understanding of the process. Later, when I had the opportunity to work for Senator Lugar, I fell in love with what good, responsible government could mean for people.”
Gary Police Department Cmdr. Peter Sormaz said Ferrandino’s voluntary work towards the betterment of the department is unprecedented.
“The work Dr. Ferrandino has performed over the last year increased accountability and provided a dynamic evidence-based approach to crime in Gary,” he said.
The 2013 class also includes a town manager, a brew pub co-owner, a pastor and an interpretive naturalist. Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist for Indiana Dunes State Park, oversees and manages educational, special event, volunteer and resource management programs.
"My long-term goals involve being able to make as large an impact with a diverse audience as possible," he said. "Our visitors become a family that we see coming back regularly. These folks have been impacted and have come to love and care for the resources we’re teaching about.”