Success is built one decision at a time
The Northwest Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame is now in its third year and I continue to be amazed by the inspiring work, the level of commitment and the incredible impact that an individual can have on the lives of hundreds of thousands of others.
What would Northwest Indiana be without Joe Morrow, James Dye, Dave Bochnowski, Gus Olympidis and Stewart McMillan? Joe Morrow and his family in effect saved the Northwest Indiana Symphony, which continues its 70-year tradition of top quality classical and popular music programs as well as an extensive music education program. And this was just the most recent example of Joe and Sandy Morrow’s constant commitment, vision and leadership. Joe Morrow has played a significant role with Campagna Academy (Hoosier Boys’ Town), the Hammond YMCA and Community Hospital. As chairman of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, he created and maintains the Joseph T. Morrow scholarship, which is awarded annually to a graduating senior from Gary, Hammond or East Chicago with a career interest in law or banking.
James Dye’s unprecedented talent for building and investment led him to help on two major capital campaigns for Indiana University and St. Margaret’s Hospital. Later he and his wife Betty formed their own foundation, which has been awarding college scholarships for 15 years. The only return on investment James Dye wants is a copy of a diploma, and his goal completion ratio is over 90 percent, a great ROI for Northwest Indiana.
And Dave Bochnowski . . . He is a banker who considers himself a community activist, and he’s right. The Peoples Bank CEO also serves as treasurer for the Munster Community Hospital and on the board of the Community Healthcare System. He is a current board member of the Legacy Foundation of Lake County, a director of the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council, a trustee of the Purdue University Technology Center, and a trustee of Calumet College of St. Joseph.
The story of how Gus Olympidis built Family Express is legendary—he got his first store at age 21 by scraping together $6,000. Today, Family Express operates 52 stores, employs 500 people and reports gross annual revenues of $300 million. The company is principally focused on the art of “building relationships” with customers, community and coworkers, Olympidis says. Its unique culture is powered by its biggest competitive advantage, he says—its people, who are Family Express’s “living brand.”
Stewart McMillan’s father Frank taught him the value of tenacity and how one person can make a difference in many lives. In the early days, his Dad’s company, Task Force Tips, was teetering on the brink of disaster when they got a prepaid order from the Fire Chief in Syracuse, Frank Burke. Now, every year Stewart McMillan presents the Frank Burke Award to an employee who made a difference in someone’s life. Today, Task Force Tips employs 190, and the company is a leader in supplying firefighting equipment throughout the United States and around the world.
On behalf of The Times, I congratulate these pathfinders as they join our honorees from 2007 and 2008. The examples these leaders set will continue for generations to come, and our children will be double beneficiaries.
Bill Masterson Jr.
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