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BusINess » Lu Ann Franklin

Posts Tagged ‘Lu Ann Franklin’

Family Express opens new corporate headquarters, training center

Gus Olympidis, president and CEO of Family Express, speaks with visitors on Thursday during an open house for its new Valparaiso headquarters. The new building boasts a fitness center for Family Express employees and a full-scale replica of a Family Express facility for training. (Photograph by The Times.)

Gus Olympidis, president and CEO of Family Express, speaks with visitors on Thursday during an open house for its new Valparaiso headquarters. The new building boasts a fitness center for Family Express employees and a full-scale replica of a Family Express facility for training. (Photograph by The Times.)

Family Express Corp. has made “a monumental investment” in the future of the company and Porter County economic development with the opening of its new headquarters and training center, said Gus Olympidis, company president and CEO.

The 30,000-square-foot facility at 213 South Indiana 49 opened six weeks ago and replaces the company’s 5,000-square-foot headquarters on U.S. 30. The Family Express Corp. building signals a new phase of economic development along Ind. 49, Olympidis said during Thursday’s grand opening.

Although he declined to indicate the amount of the investment Family Express has made in this project, Olympidis said Valparaiso and Porter County provided encouragement and tax incentives for the construction of this new facility.
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SBDC honors small-business owners, advocates

Cliff Fleming, center, poses with LeAnn McCrumb, right, as Fleming receives the Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday during the 19th annual E-Day Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. Jim Jorgensen, left, of the E-Day board of directors, presented the awards at the event. Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet. (Photograph by The Times.)

Cliff Fleming, center, poses with LeAnn McCrumb, right, as Fleming receives the Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday during the 19th annual E-Day Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. Jim Jorgensen, left, of the E-Day board of directors, presented the awards at the event. Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet. (Photograph by The Times.)

Rebuilding Northwest Indiana’s economy after the current recession will take creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, two virtues recognized at Tuesday’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Luncheon.

Twelve people were honored by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and Purdue University Calumet at the 19th annual event hosted by the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.

Rick Rondinelli, of In Touch Pharmaceuticals in Valparaiso, was named Small Business Person of the Year during the E-Day ceremonies. He started his company in 2004 to provide patient medication management through premeasured and individual dosage packaging of prescription medications.
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Pipelines carrying fuel products a fact of life in Calumet Region

Pipelines run above ground along Avenue H near Kennedy Avenue in Griffith. The entire Calumet Region sits on top of hundreds of miles of pipelines carrying millions of gallons of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products every day. The region is a major hub for the transportation of petroleum and natural gas all over the Northern Hemisphere and for production of petroleum products at refineries including the BP facility in Whiting and East Chicago, the Citgo refinery in Romeoville, Ill., and the ExxonMobil facility in Joliet. (Photograph by The Times.)

Pipelines run above ground along Avenue H near Kennedy Avenue in Griffith. The entire Calumet Region sits on top of hundreds of miles of pipelines carrying millions of gallons of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products every day. The region is a major hub for the transportation of petroleum and natural gas all over the Northern Hemisphere and for production of petroleum products at refineries including the BP facility in Whiting and East Chicago, the Citgo refinery in Romeoville, Ill., and the ExxonMobil facility in Joliet. (Photograph by The Times.)

It’s no longer a matter of if an oil spill or natural gas leak could occur in northern Indiana because both have happened here.

According to environmental activists, the questions are when will pipelines leak again and how much damage will they do?

This summer’s four pipeline failures—three resulting in oil spills in the Midwest and a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in California—have created new awareness of what’s running right under the region’s soil.

The entire Calumet Region sits on top of hundreds of miles of pipelines carrying millions of gallons of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products every day.
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Rob Thorgren

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Rob Thorgren originally planned to become a physical education teacher and coach like two of his mentors. “I graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, the study of human movement, at mid-year. There were no teaching jobs to be had during Christmas break,” he recalls.

“My dad asked me if I could help him out with a project for a couple of months until I could get a teaching job. I stayed on with the company because I loved it,” Thorgren says. “I felt like I was contributing something that was important.” The company he has stayed with for the past 11 years is Thorgren Tool and Molding Inc., a Valparaiso-based manufacturing and distribution firm started by his great-grandfather and grandfather in 1946. The company creates injection molded plastic parts for the appliance industry.

“We estimate that every American home has at least four of our parts in it. We make fans and air movement parts for refrigerators and microwaves for almost all the major appliance manufacturers,” he says.
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Marc Nelson

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Music makes Marc Nelson’s world go ‘round, and this 28-year old Valparaiso resident works to nurture that love of the creative arts in others in Northwest Indiana.

His journey has taken Nelson far from the Porter County city where he grew up, and brought him back again. “I lived in Chicago and in Los Angeles,” says Nelson, recording engineer and a partner in The Alley Recording Co. in Valparaiso. “I had two mentors during that time who had a tremendous impact on me.”

Dennis Tousana was the chief engineer at the Chicago Recording Company and took on Nelson, a self-proclaimed 19-year old “hot head”, as an audio engineer. With Tousana’s tutelage, Nelson says he matured quickly as a professional and as a person.

“By the time I was 21, I was actually 26,” he says. “Dennis was a big, big influence in my life.” The move to L.A. brought Nelson in contact with Bill Schnee, a legendary producer and audio engineer. “He’s in the top three or four in the world,” Nelson says. “He trained me how to work in a multi-tasking environment and to never lose track of what I was doing.”
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Joseph Merry

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

While he was still in high school in Plaistow, New Hampshire, Joe Merry started his career in emergency medical services with the second largest EMS company in the United States.

“I grew up north of Boston and, when I was 18 years old, I started working for American Medical Response,” Merry recalls. “I held various positions in the organization and received a well-rounded view of emergency medical response.”

The expertise Merry gained from his time with AMR included the areas of safety and rescue, billing and communications. He also learned how important community involvement is, he says.

“American Medical Response is very community-oriented. It was hugely important to me in my life,” Merry says. “It was corporate, too, so I learned about corporate organization.”
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Eddie Melton

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Early in life, Eddie Melton envisioned himself working with others to make the community a better place for all ages, but especially for future generations. That vision for his own future has led this Merrillville resident to the various facets of his career and to volunteer activities that bring out the best in others.

Melton grew up in Gary and was the quarterback for Horace Mann High School’s football team. “I went down to Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky after high school,” he says. “But I always knew I wanted to come back and work to better the community and to work with youth.”

Leaving KSU because he needed to financially support his family after one member had a stroke, Melton returned to Gary and started working with programs at Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living, a Gary-based mental health and addiction services facility. He ran an after-school program funded through U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky that brought together young people, mentors and activities.
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Business rises from flood waters

Marketing Representative Michelle Weatherford-Towle gives a tour on the second floor of the new Total Home Health Services facility that recently opened in Munster. The facility on Ridge Road is the culmination of the recovery effort the business has gone through since the flood of 2008. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marketing Representative Michelle Weatherford-Towle gives a tour on the second floor of the new Total Home Health Services facility that recently opened in Munster. The facility on Ridge Road is the culmination of the recovery effort the business has gone through since the flood of 2008. (Photograph by The Times.)

Total Home Health Services not only rose from the flood waters of September 2008, the agency has grown to serve patients in seven Northern Indiana counties and recently opened a sister office to provide home health care in four Illinois counties.

Originally located in the basement of the Munster Med Inn in north Munster, the business lost everything when the nearby Little Calumet River rapidly overflowed its banks on September 14, 2008.

“We put all our computer equipment and records on tables thinking the water wouldn’t reach that far,” recalled administrator Holly Pacholski. Rapidly, however, the flood waters filled the basement and covered much of the Med Inn and Hammond Clinic’s first floor.
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Kevin and David Lee

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Experience is often the best teacher. Kevin and David Lee say that’s true when it comes to the nationwide companies they run—Intervention Services & Technologies Inc. and Sober Solutions, based in Lowell.

The brothers’ expertise in the fields of addiction intervention, treatment and recovery is now internationally recognized. Yet, it was their personal experiences with David’s own decade-long drug addiction and his cycle of repeated treatment and relapse that has made Kevin and David Lee not only credible, but successful. The entire Lee family’s eventual shift in how they reacted to David’s addictions has also shaped the brothers’ drive to educate families about how to be part of the change that’s needed so those addicted to drugs and alcohol can successfully make the journey into sobriety.

“I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic,” David Lee says unblinkingly. “Getting me to agree to treatment was easy. I was in over 20 rehab treatment programs.” But, it wasn’t until his family stopped allowing him to manipulate them, that David says, the message of sobriety finally got through to him.
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David Janney

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

David G. Janney counts among his role models and mentors three men who showed him by their words and deeds that life has purpose. One was his paternal grandfather, Peyton Janney. The second was a Highland Junior High School English teacher he knows only as Mr. Huber, and the third is Ron Millies, who founded the company of which David Janney is now a partner and vice president.

“My grandfather was a structural engineer by degree. It was just his whole outlook and approach to life that impressed me,” David Janney recalls. “He was logical and he had a plan. It worked well, and it was based on what he had experienced.”

Mr. Huber’s contribution to David Janney’s character and work ethic developed over the entire school year.

“When I was in junior high school, I lacked focus. He believed in trying and achieving, and through the year, he got me to change,” Janney recalls.

“He taught me that there is a value to education and a value to hard work.”

Janney says Millies is still his mentor. “I’ve worked under his tutelage and grown and learned.”
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