In business as in sports, there are players and then there are the Hall of Famers who rarely come along.

Five accomplished local business leaders will be inducted next month into the Northwest Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame, in recognition of their business acumen, leadership and community involvement. The Times Media Co. and its BusINess Magazine sponsor the annual awards ceremony.

They will also be recognized by Gov. Mike Pence, who will serve as keynote speaker for the event.

The 2014 Hall of Fame class features Thomas Katsahnias, former general manager and chief operating officer of Inland Steel in East Chicago; Jim McGill, former owner of McGill Manufacturing Co. in Valparaiso; Fred Halpern, a co-owner of Albert's Diamond Jewelers in Schererville and Hobart; and Adela Ortega, the owner of Professional Locomotive Services in East Chicago. Entrepreneur, author and director of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center O'Merrial Butchee will receive the inaugural public service award and also will be inducted.

The BusINess and Industry Hall of Fame induction program is now in its seventh year. The Times Media Co. started the Hall of Fame to honor people who have made significant contributions to business and industry in Northwest Indiana, and demonstrated substantial involvement in the region and its communities.

"These Northwest Indiana leaders have not only achieved in their own field, they also have shown the dedication and determination to care deeply about the future of our communities and the legacy of their leadership," said Times Media Co. publisher Chris White. "This group, more than any others before, have had second acts in their lives."

Honorees have demonstrated leadership, innovated, displayed visionary outlooks for Northwest Indiana, shown personal commitment to community service, and shared personal or corporate wealth with philanthropic causes. They may also have supported education or environmental stewardship.

Last year's Hall of Fame class included Tom Collins Sr., CEO of Luke Oil in Hobart; Danita Johnson Hughes, president and CEO of Edgewater Systems of Balanced Living in Gary; Tom Sourlis, chairman and founder of Mortar Net USA Ltd in Burns Harbor; and Stephen Teibel, co-owner of Teibel’s Restaurant in Schererville. U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

The class of 2014 induction ceremony luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. April 4 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. The public is welcome to attend. Tickets cost $35 per person, and corporate sponsorship of tables are $350.

Contact Debbie Reilly at (219) 933-3329 or debbie.reilly@nwi.com to make a reservation and purchase tickets.

For more information or to buy tickets online, visit www.nwi.com/halloffame.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.