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BusINess » Lu Ann Franklin

Posts Tagged ‘Lu Ann Franklin’

Human resources professional brings insight to gaming industry

Mona Vaccarella brings more than a quarter century of experience in executive human resources management to her role as vice president of human resources at Majestic Star Casinos & Hotel in Gary.

As a new member of the BusINess advisory board, Vaccarella says she sees an opportunity to “communicate on very important topics and lend solutions.” The recession has challenged both businesses and individuals, and how they have dealt with a bad economy can provide lessons for the future, she says.

“Management needs to be ahead of the curve, to be proactive. I see my role as helping to promote suggestions about how corporations can be ahead of the curve as we emerge from this recession,” Vaccarella says.

That’s a role that she believes human resources should always play in the corporate culture. “We (human relations professionals) achieve results by being a strategic partner at the table,” she says.
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Airport continues to negotiate with railroads

Negotiations continue with railroads to move tracks for runway expansion at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, while plans for that phase are moving from concept into engineering design.

Members of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority approved the release of funds for those two activities at their meeting Thursday.

The board approved spending an additional $75,000 for the services of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that specializes in railroad negotiations and legal matters. Read the rest of this entry »


Reeling in Illinois businesses

The Indiana welcome sign is shown above Interstate 80/94 looking eastbound from Wentworth Avenue in Lansing. A number of regional groups are cooperating on an advertising campaign to highlight the area's transportation infrastructure, proximity to Chicago, work force and facilities. (Photograph by Jonathan Miano/The Times.)

The Indiana welcome sign is shown above Interstate 80/94 looking eastbound from Wentworth Avenue in Lansing. A number of regional groups are cooperating on an advertising campaign to highlight the area's transportation infrastructure, proximity to Chicago, work force and facilities. (Photograph by Jonathan Miano/The Times.)

Northwest Indiana economic development groups are seizing new opportunities to recruit disgruntled Illinois businesses. But the effort started long before Illinois raised its income taxes earlier this month.

A number of local groups are cooperating on an advertising campaign to highlight the area’s transportation infrastructure, proximity to Chicago, work force and facilities, said Karen Lauerman, marketing and communications director of the Northwest Indiana Forum, a private group that promotes economic development in the region.

“We’re working with our partners to focus on the advantages of Northwest Indiana and the rest of Indiana,” Lauerman said. “We’ll be using a variety of mediums for this significant public relations effort—everything from billboards to social media to specific advertising.”
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Funding needed to maintain Little Cal levee

Now that the basic level of flood protection largely has been completed along the Little Calumet River, funding sources to operate and maintain the levee system continue to be sought.

“This is a quarter-billion-dollar, man-made structure that took us 30 years to build,” said William Baker, chairman of the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, said Wednesday at the group’s first meeting of the year at Munster Town Hall. “When the project was put together (with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1981), there was no money for operation and maintenance.”
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Technology, new products revolutionizing cosmetic medicine

Cosmetic medicine is undergoing a revolution in the second decade of the 21st Century with new less-invasive technologies and products being used in addition to surgery, according to area physicians who specialize in cosmetic procedures.

“Not a day goes by that there doesn’t seem to be some new innovation in any one of the areas of cosmetic medicine, be it surgical, Botox, fillers, lasers and actual cosmetics themselves,” says Laura Hoffman, M.D., a Munster-based dermatology and cosmetic specialist affiliated with Medical Specialists.
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Seth Warren leads revitalization of St. James at Olympia Fields

Seth Warren, CEO of St. James Hospital, spearheaded a revitalization of the two-campus health care facility. (Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Seth Warren, CEO of St. James Hospital, spearheaded a revitalization of the two-campus health care facility.
(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Seth Warren took over the helm of St. James Hospital in February 2008 and has spearheaded a revitalization of the two-campus health care facility that had become a financial liability for the Mishawaka-based Sisters of Saint Francis Health Services Inc.

The President of St. James Hospital and South Suburban Chicago Regional CEO talks frankly about the challenges the hospital faced.

“Our financial picture was bleak. We were averaging a $20 million loss per year. At the same time our reputation suffered, and our satisfaction scores were not stellar,” Warren says. As a third generation hospital administrator, Warren grew up learning about health care’s organizational and financial aspects. His mother, a registered nurse, also taught him to focus on patient care, he says.

Warren honed his skills during tenures at hospitals and as a consultant before joining SSFHS in 1998. He has continued to rise through the SSFHS ranks, starting as manager of operations at the order’s St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers in Beech Grove, Indiana. His career with the Sisters of Saint Francis Health Services Inc. has taken him to other Indiana-based SSFHS hospitals in Mooresville, Michigan City and Crown Point as director of operations, executive director, CEO and president.
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Economic recovery slow to emerge

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin/The Times.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin/The Times.)

“We didn’t get into this economic crisis overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight.”

David Bochnowski pulls no punches when discussions turn to the local, state and national economic situations.

“Community banks, traditional bankers in communities across the country, did not engage in the practices that caused the meltdown of our financial system,” says the chairman and CEO of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank. “That was caused by the practices of unregulated mortgage originators and mortgage brokers.”

The consequence of this upheaval is the deepest, longest-lasting recession in American history, he says.

“This is taking much longer, and we haven’t seen the rapid recovery of other recessions of the past, particularly those of the 1980s, when we emerged stronger,” Bochnowski says, adding that changes will come slowly if current circumstances are any indication.

During his recently-completed tenure as chairman of the government relations committee of the American Bankers Association, Bochnowski had a unique perspective on the recession and how the federal government is handling it.
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Duo brings Five Guys restaurants to northern Indiana

Besides the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Schererville, the Donald Doan/Chris Wolf partnership has two others sites: in University Mall in Mishawaka and across from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. (Photograph by The Times.)

Besides the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Schererville, the Donald Doan/Chris Wolf partnership has two others sites: in University Mall in Mishawaka and across from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. (Photograph by The Times.)

A simple menu of American favorites, a casual dining atmosphere in a busy but easily accessible location, free peanuts and toppings, and a friendly staff—it’s a winning business model that appealed to two young men from Chicago who were roommates at the University of Notre Dame.

Now the duo of Donald Doan and Chris Wolf is experiencing that success in Five Guys, a burger and fries restaurant franchise started in 1986 by a father and his four sons in Arlington, Va.

“Five Guys is the fastest growing franchise in the U.S. with over 700 stores open all over the country,” Doan said.
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Ivy Tech trains students for careers in culinary arts, baking, and restaurant and hotel management

East Chicago-Ivy Tech Culinary Intro to Baking class. Students Shawn Harvey  (left) from East Chicago and Dawah Yisrael (right) of Chicago measure 3 ingredients for oatmeal cookies. (Photograph by The Times.)

East Chicago-Ivy Tech Culinary Intro to Baking class. Students Shawn Harvey (left) from East Chicago and Dawah Yisrael (right) of Chicago measure 3 ingredients for oatmeal cookies. (Photograph by The Times.)

The hospitality industry demands well-trained, skilled employees, and Ivy Tech Community College answers that call with degree and certificate programs at three of its Northwest Indiana campuses.

Accredited by the American Culinary Federation, Ivy Tech’s Hospitality Administration Program emphasizes the techniques of such hospitality leaders as The Ritz, Escoffier, Statler Hilton and Marriott, says Rick Soria, Dean of the School of Public & Social Services.
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NWI casinos show mixed results

Northwest Indiana casino revenues were a mixed bag in October, according to revenue figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission released Tuesday.

Horseshoe Casino in Hammond posted a gain of more than 3 percent in revenue and nearly 9 percent in admissions over October 2009. Part of those gains could be attributed to a successful World Series of Poker circuit event at the Hammond casino during October, said Dan Nita, Horseshoe senior vice president and general manager. “We saw a 64 percent increase in participation in this tournament over last year,” Nita said.

Majestic Star I and II in Gary continued to show positive growth in both areas last month. Majestic Star I gained $1.13 million, or 13.7 percent, more in revenues compared with a year ago, while Majestic Star II saw an uptick of more than $700,000, or of 9.5 percent, in revenues. The two casinos share admission numbers, which increased more than 21,000 visits over October 2009 figures.
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