30 faces of tourism

2013-08-04T00:00:00Z 2013-12-23T16:12:23Z 30 faces of tourismTimes Staff nwitimes.com
August 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

To celebrate its 30th anniversary in July, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority honored 30 individuals who have had significant impacts on the hospitality and tourism industry along the South Shore.

  • Bill Wellman, senior vice president of communications for Whiteco Industries Inc.
  • Laura Ostergren, owner and operator of Serenity Springs.
  • Marci Crozier, contestant on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and regional director of marketing and sales for Omni Health & Fitness.
  • Michael Flannery, head of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Purdue University Calumet.
  • Frank Schilling, who built the Shrine of the Christ's Passion in St. John.
  • Bethany (Albanese) Shelhart, of Albanese Candy Factory.
  • Alice Pickford, owner of Wells Street Beach.
  • Chareice White, director of government, community and public relations for Majestic Star Casino and Hotel in Gary and Fitzgeralds Casino Hotel in Tunica, Miss.
  • Jack Mix, chef/owner of Comfort’s Catering & Restaurant in St. John.
  • Leon Wolek, organizer of Leon’s Triathlon.
  • Tom Collins Sr., chief executive officer of Luke Oil.
  • Steve Teibel, owner and operator of Teibel’s Family Restaurant in Schererville.
  • Judi Brown, director of administrative services at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.*
  • Gordon (Big Daddy) Biffle, owner of popular restaurant Big Daddy’s BBQ in Gary and Hammond.
  • Josh Halpern, president of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers.
  • Matt Valuckis, owner of V as in Victor, a Hobart-based creative agency, and Mr. Pierogi at the Whiting Pierogi Fest.
  • U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, whose Marquette Plan is designed to make our region more attractive to current and future residents, businesses, and visitors.
  • Karen Maravilla, owner of It's Just Serendipity in Hammond, and Raymundo Garcia Jr., manager and operator of El Taco Real in Hammond.
  • Tyler Carter, owner/operator of Chick-fil-A in Merrillville.
  • Rohit and Dipti Patel, who owning multiple hotels along the South Shore as well as in other states.
  • Benito Gamba and family, of Gamba Ristorante.
  • Bob Nickovich, chief executive officer and secretary to the board of the Lake County Parks and Recreation Board.
  • David Uran, mayor of Crown Point.
  • State Sen. Earline Rogers, who filed the first bill to create casino gaming in Indiana.
  • Russ Adams and Nancy Adams, who owned and operated Strongbow Inn Restaurant from 1995 to 2013
  • Peter Kaiafas, who helped open Avalon Manor Banquet Center.
  • John Loxas, who opened Dynasty Banquets and Johnel’s, among other area businesses.
  • Nada Karas, who with her husband opened Lucrezia.
  • Nicole Bissonnette, head chef, restaurant and catering manager for her restaurant, Bistro 157, and her catering and event planning business, Venue by Bistro.
  • Joe Frasca, vice president/general manager of White Lodging’s Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.

*This story has been changed from the original, to reflect Judi Brown's current employer.

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