The emphasis on professionalism remains critical
Looking over the roster of business leaders that are the focus of this issue, I was struck by the mixture of familiar and unfamiliar names as well as the diversity in age, gender and cultural heritage. Learning their success stories only further convinced me of the versatility and adaptability of the pros that stay in the game. One of the real world benefits of the many challenges that businesses face right now is the opportunity for good leaders to show just how innovative and creative they can be. True professionals inevitably rise to the top no matter what economic conditions surround them.
NWI Forum CEO Mark Maassel embodies professionalism and always has. Maassel, who is already an alumnus of the BusINess Hall of Fame, who played a key role in the long-term building NIPSCO and Northwest Indiana, might seem to be at a point in his career where he could ease up on the 24/7 schedule and his typical intense level of involvement. But at this critical time for the region, he has stepped up again—first as Forum Chair and now back in the daily fray. Thank you, Mark, for all you do. You are certainly, undeniably a person to watch.
A couple of others in this issue were originally honored as a part of our 20 Under 40 awards, like Lynn Eplawy, managing partner at Gary Jet Center, and Pete Novak, executive director of Greater Northwestern Indiana Association of Realtors (GNIAR). Both will not hesitate to say that they never expected to be where they are now. But both agree that when opportunity knocked, they seized it and never looked back. Purdue professor Joy Colwell, who is also a lawyer with a black belt in karate, did not succeed as planned, either. Lots of sweat, no regrets.
The theme running through so many professionals’ career stories—whether they are hardworking entrepreneurs who started their own businesses like Andy Arnold (Precision Control), Erik Schneider (Hometown Appliance and Electronics), Sean Fadden and Tom Hayes (Omni Tobacconists), or like Barry Levin (Levin Tire), Karen Vogelsang (Vogelsang Asset Management), Dr. Rachael Ross (Tatum Family Health Center) and Rob Grill (Gus Bock’s Ace Hardware), who reinvented and evolved established brands—is the constant renewal of initiative and energy.
Every day is a new opportunity and another chance. If the old idea doesn’t work, get a new idea.
The third group of professionals is the people who have made it to the top of the business where they have worked for many years. These folks know the value of teamwork, whether you are the leader or a key player, and they include US Steel Gary Works general manager Sharon Owen, superintendent of Crown Point Community School Corporation Teresa Eineman and NIPSCO customer service chief Debora Owen.
Thank you all for making the time to tell us about how you do, even though it is still kind of mind-boggling. You are the role models who inspire us, you set a wonderful example and you are definitely the people we need to watch.
Bill Masterson Jr.
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