Despite a record-breaking number of nominations for our annual Business & Industry Hall of Fame (and some very tough decisions about honoree choices) this year is much like the past in certain ways: The 2013 Class are quick to credit others on their team, family members and mentors, who help and support them. Typically the winners have to be assured that accepting this honor will not put them in the spotlight too much. They try not to be too awesome for fear they might be recognized or they might discourage someone else.
We rarely learn about the Hall of Fame winners' accomplishments directly from them. Instead we find out by seeing them in action ourselves, or their employees, neighbors, or friends tell us how they have been inspired by the winner's example.
The 2013 Class of the Times of Northwest Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame is composed of individuals who have proved over and over again the importance of a strong belief in hope and vision of a better tomorrow, paired with the single-minded determination to make something happen today.
Read about Tom Collins, Sr., who has led Luke Co., a Northwest Indiana family business, through expansion and investment with an uncanny vision of the future. He was quick to notice that his industry was in transition to the convenience store business. The County Line Apple Orchard that Luke renovated and retrofitted into a venue and destination --- 40,000-square-feet and hundreds of thousands of visitors--- Tom Collins Sr. will not hesitate to say was an idea from Tom Collins Jr.
Danita Johnson Hughes' work in Northwest Indiana was kept under cover for years, until her books, her speaking engagements and her effectiveness as CEO of Edgewater Systems had to be noticed. Her experience and skill at helping people overcome addiction, supporting their families and rebuilding communities is unrivaled. She has created a strong and caring group of helping professionals and she leads them by example. Naturally, she credits her extroverted husband Chuck Hughes who helped her overcome her reticience to speak in public and publicize the many successes of Edgewater.
Stephen Teibel is the third generation co-owner of Teibel’s Restaurant, which through the years has continued to succeed in a very difficult economic climate. The hospitality industry is notoriously cruel and relentlessly competitive but this family has persistently innovated, renovated and moved forward. Stephen Teibel has also found the time to be an active corporate citizen especially in Meals on Wheels, the Hammond YMCA, the American Heart Association and the Shrine of Christ’s Passion.
Although he is best known as an inventor and a creative problem-solver, Tom Sourlis thinks of himself as a simple craftsman, who is very good at making and fixing things with his hands. He so good at working out the bugs, that he created the company Mortar Net around an innovative material that preserves and protects construction. And once that business was up and running, he took on the challenges of green building and philanthropy, both important to planning for the 21st Century.
Senator Richard Lugar has been a futurist for his entire career. The great architect of unigov when he was Mayor of Indianapolis, Lugar put together a model city that drew businesses and trade from across the world to this state. When he got to Congress 36 years ago, his mission was enlarged. What Richard Lugar originally planned as an approach to transportation and efficiency in the Midwest soon became a worldwide quest for economic development and finally, a bid to save us from ourselves. Much of Senator Lugar's career in Congress has been devoted to dismantling nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Senator Lugar realized in a profound way---and early on--- that security was going to be the single most important driving force for decades to come.
I congratulate these pathfinders as they join our honorees from other years in the Times’ Business and Industry Hall of Fame. The work of this group of leaders will continue to resonate for generations to come and our children will be double beneficiaries. On behalf of all of us in Northwest Indiana and the Times communities, I thank you all for your vision, commitment and contributions.
Bill Masterson Jr.
Publisher, BusINess, The Times Media Co.