Times Business Hall of Fame

The Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame's 2019 inductees are, from left, Ron McColly, Kenneth J. Allen, Benito Gamba, David Van Eekeren and Daniel Killeen, accepting the Enterprise of the Year for U.S. Steel during Tuesday's induction luncheon.

Four new members were inducted Tuesday into the Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame, and one of the Region's most prominent companies was named Enterprise of the Year.

The Hall of Fame, sponsored by The Times Media Co. and InBusiness magazine, welcomed attorney Kenneth Allen, realtor Ron McColly, restaurateur Benito Gamba, and food industry executive David Van Eekeren as its newest members, and U.S. Steel as the 2019 class' Enterprise of the Year.

Introducing the inductees, The Times Media Co. Publisher Chris White said their induction was "not only because they're successful in their fields, but also because they're innovators and mentors."

"They've shown a commitment to service within the Region," he continued. "They've committed generously of themselves and they've demonstrated a visionary outlook for Northwest Indiana."

Kenneth J. Allen opened his law firm in Valparaiso 25 years ago, practicing personal injury and wrongful death litigation. The Kenneth J. Allen Law Group now has three offices in Indiana and three in Illinois, with 13 full-time lawyers and two part-time. 

Ron McColly built the largest independent residential real estate company in Northwest Indiana and the south suburbs of Chicago. McColly Real Estate today has 23 offices, 470 broker associates and 100 employees. And the Gary native's reach goes beyond marketing and selling homes: McColly Companies includes Community Title, McColly Bennett Commercial, McColly Insurance, McColly Auctions and the the McColly School of Real Estate.

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David Van Eekeren is the third generation of his family to lead Land O'Frost, the third largest producer of processed deli meats in the country. Land O'Frost has plants in Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas, and has continued to add innovative new products to its offerings. 

Benito Gamba was born in the small town of Altomonte, Italy, and worked in restaurants in Switzerland and Germany before coming to the United States in 1977. Gamba opened Casa Venezia in Merrillville in 1988, followed by Venezia Bar and Grill in 2001.

U.S. Steel has experienced a renaissance in recent years that has led it to pledge $2 billion to a company-wide asset revitalization program. The program includes $750 million for Gary Works, the 113-year-old integrated steel mill that stretches seven miles along the Lake Michigan shore. It remains the largest integrated steel mill in North America. 

Meet the Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2019


Assistant Deputy Editor

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.