GRIFFITH | Serving the community, working with its leaders and helping make Northwest Indiana a better place is what Lou Martinez said he'll miss the most
The Lake Area United Way President and CEO announced his retirement Wednesday effective March 31, 2015.
“It’s been an honor to have worked for Lake Area United Way for the past 35 years," Martinez said. "It has been a very positive and rewarding career. I am a proud native of Northwest Indiana and am equally as proud of the upward progress of the region over the past several decades.”
It was in 1979 when Martinez was vice president of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act and working with then Lake County assistant attorney John Dull on a project in Crown Point when Dull mentioned an opening at LAUW.
"I took him up on it," Martinez said.
Martinez became assistant director of allocation and held several other positions prior to being named president in 1995.
"It was a unique opportunity afforded to me," he said. "I never imagined being in this kind of position. I really appreciated it and treasured it."
The Rev. Curtis Whittaker, Lake Area United Way Board of Trustees chairman, called Martinez an active and engaged leader in the Northwest Indiana community.
"It will be difficult to replace him," Whittaker said. "The board is being proactive in its selection efforts. We will use an open and transparent process as we search for the ideal candidate.
"To ensure a diverse committee is utilized, we will engage both current and former board members as well as longtime supporters of the United Way. This is an important step in the life of any organization.
"Our goal is to name Lou’s successor by the end of this year.”
The search for his successor will begin this month under the direction of Search Committee Chair Aaron McDermott.
Martinez said he will help with the transition of the new hire.
“Lake Area United Way has a strong Board of Trustees, coupled with an energetic and dedicated professional staff ready to navigate the organization to its next level of success," Martinez said. “I am confident the organization is well positioned to further our mission to create positive and impactful change in the communities we serve.”
Martinez said he'll continue to live in Crown Point with his wife and enjoy retirement by spending time with family and the grandchildren he has in Indiana, Chicago, Atlanta and San Diego.