Portage Press
Building a Better Business Community



In This Issue
Chamber News
Community News
The Legislative Lowdown
Community Education
Business News
Business Education
Activities and Promotions
Help Wanted

January 10, 2018


Chamber News
Member of the Week
Congratulations to the Chamber Member of the Week for January 8 -12.  AAA Valparaiso,  John Hanley is proud to have opened the first AAA office in Porter County.  He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, so give him a call and he will be able to save you some money on your insurance needs, which makes a lot of "cents".  Getting the right auto insurance is an important decision.  You can always expect more with auto insurance through AAA Valparaiso.  You can count on John to evaluate your specific needs, apply all the discounts you deserve, and find you the right coverage at the right price.  Call him at (219) 242-8144 or email him at jthanley@AAAChicago.com .

Rise & Shine
Please  join  us for Rise, Shine and Share Portage. This event offers Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce members the opportunity to share their ideas, business strategies and successes, and to exchange business referrals on 1-11-18. The goal of the program is to increase business for our members.
The January Rise, Shine and Share Portage is a collaboration between the  Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce and  Portage EDC. Please join us for a free, informative presentation featuring the  The Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc. The Center of Workforce Innovations will be presenting an educational seminar with topics including: human capital development and improving employer access to qualified workers; how youth are being positioned for  continued education  or training; what initiatives, resources, and incentives are available to employers looking to upskill their current workforce; and how current federal funding cuts related to workforce development will impact local job seekers, employers, and our regional economy.  Register On-line

MidWeek Mingle
We are kicking off 2018 with a Triple Mingle/Ribbon Cutting! The January MidWeek Mingle will be on 1-24 - a celebration of three recent building renovations :   Register On-Line

4:00p- 4:40p @ La Cabana (6510 US Hwy 6, Portage)
4:40p - 5:20p @ Buffalo Wild Wings (6530 US Hwy 6, Portage)
5:20p - 6:00p @ Boost Mobile (6534 US Hwy 6, Portage)

Register On-line

Power Your Potential
The Greater Portage, Duneland, and Hobart Chambers are coming together to offer a morning of  education  and networking to our members on 2-6-18. The morning will feature re gistration beginning at 7:30. After  registration  will be the Keynote Speaker-Leslie Plesac. From there, we will have rotations to three breakout sessions-Speed Networking, Head shots, and a presentation from the South Shore Leadership Center.  Limited seating - reserve your space today!  Register online  or call the Chamber Office, 219-762-3300.Leslie's Bio

Register now for Fishing Show
The Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their 2nd "Fish-On" Portage's Annual Fishing a nd Outdoor Show on February 24th and 25th.  Please see the links below for Fishing Show information.  Forms should be returned to the Chamber Office.  Reservations and Sponsorships may also be completed online. 
  Register On-line

Registration open for Portage Community & Business Night
The Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their 15th annual Portage Community & Business Night on April 19th, 2018 from 4pm-7pm.  Early Bird registration is now open.  click here to register today and save $20  

Space Available for Rent
Office space is available within the Chamber Building for rent. 
The location includes: Private Lobby Area, Private Bathroom, 3 private rooms , Separate Entrance, Snow Removal,  Utilities and Garbage are included. The rent for this location is $650 per month and is roughly 675 sq.ft. If you are interested in seeing the available space please call the Chamber office at 219-762-3300 or stop in during business hours, Monday-Friday 8a-4:30p. 




The Legislative Lowdown

Porter County Council Elects New Representation
Porter County Council
At the Porter County Council's Reorganization meeting Andy Bozak (R) was elected President along with Jeremy Rivas (D) being elected Vice President.  Bozak said his priority as president will be to make sure communication is open and flowing between himself and others both inside and outside county government.  Among the accomplishments he is most proud of is the $30 million loan to cover a major renovation of the North County Complex in Portage; renovation work at the courthouse, county administration center and Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso; and three of the top bridge projects. The council also helped establish a $20 million loan aimed primarily at addressing the severe drainage problems that have plagued the wider South Haven area, he said. The council also provided pay raises of at least 4 percent to county government employees.

Community News
Free Reading Screening
Brain Balance
Brain Balance Achievement Center is offering a Free Reading screening for your child.
Come to our center on January 11, 18 & 25th from 5:00 pm-6:30 pm to experience a tour and receive a FREE Reading Screening and Eye Tracking Evaluation for your child. Please RSVP by calling (219) 850-4839. Walk-Ins are also welcome!
https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/locations/valparaiso/ 

NLMK Distributes Holiday Blessings
NLMK
Holiday Blessings are abundant thanks to  NLMK Indiana. Portage IN, 46368 !! NLMK, the  Social Responsibility Committee at NLMK , and employees of NLMK brought Christmas early to three non-profit  organizations, including  Gab riel's Horn Ho meless Shelter . (Pictures are Joe G. and H.B. of NLMK along with Mignion Kennedy-Executive Director and Ron Necco-VP and Jessica Bailey-Board Member of Gabriel's Horn). The Social Responsibility Committee has also spearheaded a food drive, coat drive, and adopted 43 children and 10 families from an area Angel Tree. 

Bonner Updates
Bonner Senior Center
The Bonner Senior Center offers different activities each month. Coming in January there will be bingo, rock painting, blood pressure testing, and much more. Please see the calendar of events and the menu

Board Seeks Community Member
Portage Township Education Foundation
As a Portage community member, you have an exciting opportunity to support the Portage Township Schools!  Consider becoming a Board Member for the Portage Township Education Foundation!  The Portage Township Education Foundation provides funds for the Portage Township School (PTS) employees who submit grants.  These grants provide unique learning experiences for students which are not able to be funded through the typical school budget.  The funding for these grants largely comes through our fundraising efforts. Please send your name, email, phone and occupation to the Portage Township Education Foundation (PTEF) at ptefinfo@portage.k12.in.us.  We hope you can join us! 
 
Indiana Tourism Bureau Encourages Organizations to Apply
Indiana Dunes Tourism
Indiana Dunes Tourism is offering grant money to people and groups who plan to bring visitors into the county by building new attractions or by organizing festivals, events, meetings, conventions, or sports tournaments during 2018.  Grants are available to for-profit, nonprofit, and government entities.
A total of $50,000 is available to be awarded in 2018. Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism bureau of Porter County, is specifically looking to support endeavors that will bring visitors from outside of the Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County areas, fill hotel rooms, and have a positive economic impact on local businesses and attractions.
In 2017, Indiana Dunes Tourism awarded grants to Gears of Hope Duneland Tour, Fish-On Annual Outdoor Show, Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, Taltree Acorn Concert Series, Northern Amateur Golf Tournament, Prairie Music Fest, Chesterton European Market, and many others.
The grants can be used for such things as construction of new attractions, as well as advertising, printing, and promotional expenses that bring visitors to Porter County and encourage overnight stays. The funds can also be used to develop brochures, websites, and other tools that encourage visitation.  Those interested in the 2018 grant program should visit:   indianadunes.com/grants .

Community Education
Give It Up, Quit Smoking Class
Portage Township YMCA
St. Mary Medical Center's Quit Smoking Class will be on Wednesday, January 17th.  Join Jonathon Guerrero, PharmD, BCPS, for an informative discussion about how to stop smoking. Find out about treatment options including lifestyle modifications and home remedies, medications, alternative therapies, current guidelines and recommendations. For more information please contact Health and Wellness Coordinator Danny Gonzalez, RN, at 219-764-7217.  Flyer

Business News
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens and Purdue University Northwest annouce $12 million partnership
Purdue Northwest
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens Foundation's Board of Directors; Damien and Rita Gabis, the founders of Taltree Arboretum & Gardens; and Purdue University Northwest (PNW) today announce a unique partnership in which the Taltree Arboretum & Gardens Foundation and the Gabis family will donate the arboretum and its more than 300 acres to the university.
PNW will continue to operate the property, to be renamed Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest, as an arboretum for public, educational, conservation and recreational use.  The gift to the university is valued at approximately $12 million. It is the largest donation in the history of the PNW campuses to date. Read More

A New Direction in a New Year!
ISBDC
The Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) will continue to provide business advising and counseling for anyone wanting to start a new business, or grow their existing small business, but will do that on an appointment basis in 2018 instead of on the third  Wednesday morning of each month as in the past.  Bill Gregory, Business Advisor with the SBDC, will be available to meet with clients or prospective clients at the Chamber office, at their convenience and by appointment. There is never a charge for these services.
 If you are interested in meeting with Bill, call the Chamber office, call Bill directly at 219-742-2351, or email him at bgregory@isbdc.org  to schedule an appointment.

Tim Healy Named COO of Holladay Properties
Holladay Properties
Holladay Properties is pleased to announce that Tim Healy has become the firm's first Chief 
Operating Officer (COO). Mr. Healy has been leading the Portage/Chicago/Northwest Indiana office for the past 17 years and has been a Partner of Holladay since 2003.  "Please join me in congratulating Tim on the new chapter in his life - and the life of Holladay Properties," said John Phair, President & CEO of Holladay. "He earned it!."  The COO position is a new one for the South Bend, Ind-based commercial real estate firm. After doubling the volume of new development over the last five years, as well as increasing property management services and new hotel development activities, the position will provide valuable assistance to the CEO and additional leadership for all of Holladay Properties' offices.  "I'm very excited to be taking on this new role within Holladay," said Healy. "I've been here for over 17 years and have loved being a part of the amazing growth this company has achieved and I'm eager and honored to help lead Holladay Properties' continued growth for many years to come."  Mr. Healy's duties as COO will include oversight of Human Resources and Benefits, IT, as well as facility needs throughout the company. He will also provide valuable assistance to Holladay's investor relations, reporting processes, and capital management.

Ryan Smiley Named President & CEO
Boys & Girls Club of Porter County
As previously announced, two thriving local Boys & Girls Clubs organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County (BGCPOCO) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana (BGCNWI) will be merging into one organization, serving more kids and expanding its transformational programs and services.  Ryan Smiley, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, will continue to lead the merger, as the newly appointed president & chief executive officer (CEO) of the new organization.  Smiley officially will assume the new responsibilities when the merger is complete on January 1, 2018. With the merger, the new organization will be in the top 2% of all Boys & Girls Clubs in the United States based on the number of facilities and members served during the school year.  The combined organization is expected to serve more than 10,000 youth and teen members annually throughout Northwest Indiana. Smiley has served as interim president & CEO of BGCNWI since October of 2016, which serves members at six Clubs in Lake County.  Both organizations are experiencing historical growth under Smiley's leadership.  "We are serving more kids today than at any time in our collective and storied histories," Smiley said. The average daily attendance of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana has increased 40% since last October and active membership has grown by 1,046 youth in the past year under his leadership.  Read More

Business Education
Rise & Shine
Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce
Please  join  us for Rise, Shine and Share Portage. This event offers Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce members the opportunity to share their ideas, business strategies and successes, and to exchange business referrals. The goal of the program is to increase bus iness for our members.  
The January Rise, Shine and Share Portage is a collaboration between  the  Greater  Portage Chamber of Commerce  and  Portage EDC . Please join us for a free, informative presentation featuring the  The Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc.  The Center of Workforce Innovations will be presenting an educational seminar with topics including: human capital development and improving employer access to qualified workers; how youth are being positioned for  continued education  or training; what initiatives, resources, and incentives are available to employers looking to upskill their current workforce; and how current federal funding cuts related to workforce development will impact local jobseekers, employers, and our regional economy. 
Register On-line

How to Get High-Paying Clients
SCORE
Date: January 11; 1 pm Eastern
Why work for low-paying clients when, for the same amount of work, you can have high-paying clients?
In this lively and valuable webinar, USA TODAY's small business columnist Steve Strauss will show you how and where to find bigger, better and higher-paying clients and customers. 
Additionally, you will learn how to:  Pitch to high-paying clients;  Convince them to say yes;  Leverage them into even more high-paying clients.  Join for what is sure to be a great way to make more money in 2018!
Register Online

Introduction to Quickbooks Online
ISBDC
 
When:  1 to 4 p.m. Friday Jan. 12 
Topics: Verifying payroll totals, prepping printers, processing W-2 forms and copies, State & Federal form checklist, verifying vendor data for reporting as well as processing 1099-Misc forms and copies.

Workshop 2: Detect and Correct
Clean up year-end reporting and find mistakes.
 
When: 9 a.m. to noon Friday Feb. 9 
Topics: Analyzing reports, error detection, fixing the Dirty Dozen Errors and improving productivity. Practical tools and tips are included.
 
Workshop 3: Closing the Books
Closing the books is a vital component of bookkeeping. This time of year creates reliable data for planning, analysis and decision-making throughout the year.
 
When:  9 a.m. to noon Friday Feb. 23
Topics:  Establishing closing procedures, setting up user security, verifying balances, making journal entries & other adjustments as well as archiving & securing QuickBooks data.
 
All workshops will be at:  Purdue Technology Center of NWI, 9800 Connecticut Drive, in Crown Point 46307
Cost: $60 for 1 workshop, $110 for 2 workshops and $165 for all 3 workshops.
 
More information : Email northwest@isbdc.org or call (219) 644-3513.
Register Online

Numbers Don't Lie
Centier Bank
Numbers Don't Lie:  Culture...  How the "Softer-Side" can Impact Your Bottom Line!  Chrisanne Christ, Centier Bank and Craig Menne, General Insurance Services.  January 17th.  See Flyer

The Fundamentals of Selling B2B
SCORE
Date: January 16th; 1pm Eastern
Early and mid-stage businesses live or die on their ability to close deals consistently and predictably.  In this session, you'll learn a powerful framework and methodology for B2B selling from author, serial entrepreneur and investor Joe Abraham.
You'll discover:  How to "read" people using a behavioral framework and pre-determine buying tendencies and hot buttons;  What to say - and what NOT to say - in networking and selling situations;  The secret weapon to get more referrals quickly from trusted advisors and influencers
Register Online

Is Your Workplace Safe?
SCORE
Date: January 18; 1pm Eastern
Safety and risk reduction are critical for organizations of all sizes.  They can save lives and limbs-PLUS, add to your bottom line!  In this webinar, learn how to create and implement a safe workplace culture compliant with the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety Health (OSHA) standards.
You will learn:  OSHA requirements and how to meet them;  How to set up a safety committee or appoint a safety coach;  How to manage accident investigations;  Available technology options;  Where to find free resources

Digital Marketing Trends in 2018
SCORE
Date:  January 23; 1pm Eastern
Digital marketing is changing thanks to widespread ownership of smartphones, ever-increasing data and video streaming, combined with a cultural desire for digestible and personalized content. Do you know which trends will impact YOUR organization in 2018? 
Join us as we explore the top trends that small businesses should be paying attention to and some simple ideas for incorporating them into your overall marketing strategy.
By the end of this session, you'll have a cutting edge on: Marketing Automation; Content Marketing; Video; Mobile
Register Online

Uncover the Untapped Revenue in Your Business
SCORE
Date:  January 25, 2018; 1pm Eastern
What do Starbucks, Disney and Apple have in common with your small business? After attending this session, you will all use a similar method for taking your business to the next level.
During this webinar, Jeremy Weisz unveils a step-by-step blueprint of identifying the untapped revenue lying dormant within your business.
You will discover how to: Use predictable methods of generating more revenue while creating a consistent flow of clients;  Quickly shift from one-client-at-a-time work, to serving many clients at once;  Ethically "borrow" from big name companies so your product offerings match theirs;  Effortlessly convert prospective clients into your higher-level offerings;  Position yourself as a top, trusted expert, and make it easy for customers to say "Yes." 
Register On-line

5 Biggest HR Mistakes Small Businesses Make (and How to Fix Them) 
SCORE
Dates:  February 1st; 1pm Eastern
Understandably, as a small business owner, you are singularly focused on increasing sales and servicing customers. But with growth often comes the need to hire - and along with that, the burden of complying with complex federal, state and even local employment laws. 
It's a burden that can be tempting to ignore, until your business is faced with a government investigation or an employee lawsuit. And then it's too late.
This workshop addresses five potentially crippling HR mistakes small-business employers make every day:  Treating independent contractors as if they are employees;  Not properly verifying employees' eligibility to work in the U.S. (I-9);  Not paying employees correctly;  Practicing or allowing 'accidental' discrimination or harassment;  Not displaying mandatory employee postings 
We'll explain the related regulations in simple terms and provide practical tips to help you comply.
Register On-line

2018 Vision Project
South Shore Leadership Center
Dates: February 6th and 7th
February 6th Cocktail Party - 5pm-7pm - TBD
February 7th All Day Event - 8am-5pm - Halls of St. George

This program invites experienced and seasoned leaders to join a cohort of individuals to discuss and delve into regional assets and the issues we face. The event will discover initiatives and recommend actions to advance the Region. Participants can expect a series of high-level presentations offering inspiration and benchmarks from around the United States. Presenters may include: Governors, Mayors, CEO's for Cities, Venture Capitalists, Futurists/Scientists, Technology Leaders, National Foundations/Philanthropies, Faith Leaders and more.

The theme for 2018:  Developing the Region as a Tourist Destination - What This Really Means!
 
Depending on what you would like to attend, make sure to purchase a ticket for both days or just the main event on February 7, 2018. 

The cocktail party will kick off the excitement for what attendees are about to learn. Appetizers and cocktails will be served, and we will give you a sneak peak into your day long program on February 7, 2018, Your day will start with 8am breakfast, followed by lunch at noon, and many fascinating experts touching on the topic of tourism in between. Register Online

Activities and Promotions
Comedy Show February 2nd
Friends of Portage Township Foundation, INC
The Friends of Portage Township Foundation, INC will be hosting a Comedy Night on Fri day, February 2nd at Shenanigans (6121 Melton Rd, Portage). Doors will open at  6:30pm and the show will begin at 8:00pm. Tickets are $25 per person or $200 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased: online, Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce, Portage Township Trustee Office, and the Portage Township Park Department.    Flyer

Cabin Fever
Portage Athletic Boosters
Portage Athletic Boosters will be hosting Cabin Fever on February 24th at Woodland Park in Portage at 7pm-10pm.  If you are interested in attending, please see flyerRead more and donor form

2018 500 Club Tickets are on Sale
Portage Township Education Foundation
The Portage Township Education Foundation is selling tickets for the 2018 500 Club Tickets. The 500 club offers ticket purchasers 36 chances to win! The cost of a ticket is $50 and each month three winners are drawn to win- one winner for $500, one winner for $150, and one winner for $100. The winners are then put back in the pot to win again! The drawings are held the 2nd Tuesday of every month beginning in January. Winners are contacted via phone or email. Please complete this form and submit it to ptefinfo@portage.k12.in.us . When you support the education of our children....EVERYBODY WINS!

Help Wanted
Hiring Lifeguards
YMCA of Portage
We are excited to launch our brand new Aquatics Program and need YOU to teach the life-saving skill of swimming. NOW HIRING LIFEGUARDS - INSTRUCTORS.
Qualified Applications:
-  Must be at least 16 years of age & have a valid work permit if under 18 years
-  Be certified in CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, Basic First Aid and Emergency Oxygen Trained.
-  Have a current YMCA Lifeguard Certification or equivalent, -
-  Ability to maintain certification-level of physical and mental readiness
-  Demonstrate lifeguard skills in accordance with YMCA standards
-  Must demonstrate knowledge of strokes and techniques.
Please apply by submitting employment application & resume to Apply@ymcaofportage.org or submit a completed employment application and resume to the Portage Township YMCA.

Sales Manager Needed
Holiday Inn Express
Under minimal direction and reporting to the Director of Sales and the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, the Sales Manager performs and executes account development of each hotel managed by Amerilodge Group.  The Sales Manager will work with the Director of Sales and the General Manager to uncover new account potential and current account saturation to increase REV/PAR for each individual property.  In addition, the Sales Manager will assist the Director of Sales and the  Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the planning and execution of various marketing opportunities. It is every employee's duty and passion to see that all guest needs will be handled in an efficient, gracious and professional manor. More Information

Sales and Catering Manager
Country Inn & Suites and Affordable Suites of America
Responsible for soliciting, selling, organizing, and finalizing all arrangements for BTS accounts, group blocks, meetings, and catering functions. Responsible for generating group rooms from multiple market segments, booking social/corporate/catering, and securing corporate transient accounts, with the full understanding of all rooms and food and beverage practices for Country Inn & Suites Portage and Affordable Suites of America Portage by performing the following duties.

Caregivers Needed
ComForCare
ComForCare is a home care agency located in Portage, IN. We are growing fast and looking for new caregivers to join our team. We have clients 24/7 and also look for those who can do live-ins. 
We have clients all around the area an are in need of those who can fill small shifts, large shifts and weekend shifts. We are hiring, Companions, CNA's and Home Health Aids. Flexible hours 3-12 hour shifts available.
If you have experience and think you would be a good fit, please apply and we will contact you if we feel you would be a good addition to the team.  Apply online or stop in the office to fill out an application, 3391 Airport Road, Portage Indiana or call 219-462-2400.

Now Hiring
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile is now seeking applicants to fill one full time position and one part time position. The individual must be 18 years or older. Must have a valid driver license. The individual should be out of high school. Please bring your resume to Boost Mobile, 6534 US Hwy 6, Portage