Spotlight shines awards

Businesses, organizations and individuals receive array of honors

Dino Ramirez
Dino Ramirez, an employer consultant at Ivy Tech Community College’s Lake County campus, was inducted into USA Wheelchair Softball Hall of Fame in August. (Photo provided by Ivy Tech Community College)

Hundreds of businesses and organizations, providing an array of services and selling a range of products, call the Region and Michiana area home.

Occasionally, one or more of these organizations as well as the people who work for them, are either honored by a group, earn special certifications or designations, or receive recognition for providing outstanding service or developing something unique. Here are some recent honors and recognitions received by individuals and organizations in Northwest Indiana Business Magazine’s coverage area, which includes Lake, Newton, Porter, Jasper, La Porte, Starke, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Marshall and Elkhart counties:

Dino Ramirez, an employer consultant at Ivy Tech Community College’s Lake County campus, was inducted into USA Wheelchair Softball Hall of Fame in early August during the World Series tournament at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, Illinois.  

Ramirez was injured in an ATV accident when he was 15, severing arteries and nerves in his right leg, ultimately leading him to undergo amputation. A few years later, he learned about wheelchair basketball, which led to wheelchair softball and then wheelchair football. Ramirez has played third base and right field in wheelchair softball but is known in the sport for his hitting. Ramirez has received numerous individual awards in wheelchair softball and has played on three national championship teams. He also is a two-time Team USA player.


First Merchants Bank recently was recognized by Comparably for Best Leadership Team. This annual award identifies leaders and leadership teams who are driving positive business cultural change. First Merchants Bank was ranked in the top 5% of all financial services companies evaluated for their leadership qualities by Comparably. The is derived from employee sentiment ratings provided anonymously by employees about their leadership teams (CEO, executives, and direct managers) on during a 12-month period. First Merchants operates 126 banking offices across Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. It has 18 locations in Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois, including a commercial lending center in South Bend.

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, which has a Whiting branch, was recognized by American Banker as one of the Best Credit Unions to Work For in the nation. Notre Dame FCU was one of 70 credit unions recognized from a pool of more than 5,000 nationwide, ranking 42nd overall and ninth among credit unions with assets between $500 million and $1 billion.

Interra Credit Union of Goshen is celebrating 90 years of operation in 2022. The credit union recently marked the anniversary milestone by honoring Grady Yoder who was the 90,000th member to join the credit union. Yoder received $290 and assorted Interra merchandise. Interra has more than $1.6 billion in assets and operates 16 branch locations in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, and Noble counties.


Ivy Tech Community College was named in the annual Top 100 ranking of America’s Best State Employers by Forbes. This is the third designation the magazine presented to the college this year. Its other honors include Best Employers for Women and the Best Employers for Diversity. Ivy Tech’s Northwest and North Central Indiana campus locations include, East Chicago, Gary, Goshen, La Porte, Michigan City, South Bend and Valparaiso.

Health care

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recently presented the hospitals of Community Healthcare System with Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement Awards. Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center achieved Gold Plus status. These achievements represent quality care measures met for at least 24 consecutive months or more. The Get With The Guidelines program is designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Community Healthcare System hospitals also received several Target: Stroke honor roll distinctions: Target: Stroke Elite; Target: Stroke Advanced Therapy; and Target: Type 2 Diabetes. These awards demonstrate complex, timely and patient-centered care.

Community Healthcare System’s Patient Financial Services was honored for performance excellence by Crowe LLP, a global public accounting, consulting and technology firm. The Crowe Performance Awards acknowledge top-quality patient experiences regarding revenue cycle operations. Community also received the award in 2021.

Lori Jones of Chesterton and Madisyn Perry of Union Township were each awarded scholarships through the Maria Petti Memorial Scholarship Fund of the Franciscan Health Foundation. The scholarship is available to Porter County and LaPorte County students seeking a career in the surgical field. The scholarship presents awards up to $5,000.

The Auxiliary at Northwest Health – La Porte recently awarded $12,000 in continuing education grants to assist 13 hospital employees in furthering their education. (Photo provided by Northwest Health)

The Auxiliary at Northwest Health – La Porte recently awarded $12,000 in continuing education grants to assist 13 hospital employees in furthering their education. Recipients included: Elaine Bonner, patient sitter; Ashley Brockett, certified medical assistant; Justine Cole, RN;  Stephanie Farmer, LPN; Anne Fountaine, charge integrity coordinator; Adriana Guido-Luna, certified medical assistant; Haley Kahn, case management supervisor; Veronica Posey, pharmacist; Dawn Pozen, certified medical assistant; Courtney Purnell, certified medical assistant; Crystal Risner, RN; Kayla Ritenour-Arnett, clinical medical assistance; and Patricia Rowe, customer service representative.


Seven attorneys from THK Law LLP in South Bend were listed in the 2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in America and the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America. Attorney Eric von Deck was named the Best Lawyers 2023 Insurance Law Lawyer of the Year in South Bend. Other THK lawyers recognized were, Thomas Hall, James Lewis, Greta Roemer Lewis, Malcolm Tuesley and Jennifer VanderVeen.


Lubeznik Arts Festival in Michigan City celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The annual event was hosted in August. Lubeznik Center for the Arts provides access to exhibitions and programs that explore contemporary ideas.


South Bend International Airport achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation for the second year. Under the guidance of GBAC, a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, SBN has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. The program verifies that best practices are in place to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.

Find past business and individual honors on Northwest Indiana Business Magazine’s website.


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