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

December 20, 2017

Chamber News

Happy Holidays from the Portage Chamber
Happy Holidays from the Portage Chamber

Member of the Week
The Member of the Week for December 18-22, 2017 is Computer Education Institute.  Computer Education Institute, Inc. or CEI is a full-service computer training organization specializing in hands-on learning.  Growing for more than 25 years, CEI is the largest training center in Northwest Indiana.  Through a staff of 12, two on-site classrooms and two off-site classrooms, we have trained over 85,000 students.
CEI is a Microsoft Office Specialist testing site.  Their mission statement is to provide a quality product/service that exceeds the expectations of their students, no exceptions.  They teach a range of classes that start with the very basic computer user and extends to the very advanced MCITP student.
Not only does CEI do training, but also Office Automation, Application Development and they offer Technical Support.  Call the office at 219-926-5740 to schedule an appointment with their programmers or technical support personnel.  They are located at 100 W US Highway 20, Porter IN  46304  Phone them at (219) 926-5740 or email them at cei@cei-edu.com

Shop Local and Win!
This year to enhance your holiday shopping experience, the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) is proud to sponsor "Shop Local and Win!" just for shopping local. From November 25, 2017 through December 24, 2017  spend a combined total of $200.00 (excluding gas/diesel) or more at GPCC Member businesses,  submit by mail:copies of receipts along with entry by January 3, 2018 and receive a $10.00 Chamber gift certificate  **Limited to the first 50 entries**  Entry Form  Businesses  print this flyer  and encourage your patrons to participate. Member businesses can be found  here

Office Closed
In celebration of the holiday season the Greater Portage Chamber of  Commerce will be closed on:
Friday, December 22
Monday, December 25
Monday, January 1

Space Available for Rent
There will soon be office space available within the Chamber Building for rent. 
The space will be available on December 8, 2017. 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. 

Community News
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

Evening with Santa Exceeds Attendance Expectations
Portage Township YMCA
On Friday, December 8, 2017, the Portage Township YMCA hosted their Annual Evening with Santa. Despite ticket pre-sales falling behind sales in year's past, Cathi Srednoselac, Youth & Family Programs Director for the Y, was blown away by this year's attendance. "This was one of our biggest years with approximately 400-425 people attending" said Srednoselac. While dinner is offered for a minimal fee, not everyone eats dinner and attendance estimates were based off how many meals were served at the event. An Evening with Santa began seven years ago as a family-friendly fundraiser for the Portage Ys Preschool Academy. According to Srednoselac, "We do this to have affordable family fun with the magic of Christmas. Seeing the kids faces light up when they visit Santa or get a prize after playing one of our many games is what it's all about. We try to offer a variety of activities including dinner, games, crafts, pampering in the Peppermint Palace, and make your own Sundae Bar for hands-on food fun. Thanks to our local Portage 16 IMAX, we even serve popcorn. Families can enjoy the event without breaking the bank." Read More

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 .
Drop Off Site to Close
Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction
Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle. The drop-off recycling located at Willowcreek Middle School will soon be moving, it will be relocating by the end of day Dec. 29th. The district operates six other drop-off locations that residents can use until a new Portage site is located: Boone Grove Fire Department, 319 West 550 South, Valparaiso; Burns Harbor Street Department, 310 Navajo Trail; Chesterton, 1600 Pioneer Trail (Strack & VanTil); Hebron Municipal Building, 125 N. Main St.; Kouts Town Garage, 406 S. Kouts St.; and Valparaiso, 2168 W. U.S. 30 (Strack & VanTil).  Read More 

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
A New Direction in a New Year!
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

New Customer Specialists at the Valparaiso AAA office
AAA of Valparaiso
AAA would like to welcome two new Customer Specialists to the Valparaiso Office. Please welcome Abby Gunning and Sara Braun. Abby is a future elementary school teacher who attends Indiana University Northwest. She loves to read and spend time with her family and friends. Sara is the proud Mom to a 6 month old Golden Retriever named Hemi and a 3 month old German Shepherd named Daisy. She loves fast cars, her doggies, and her whole family loves AAA. If you would like to become a AAA Member or would like to apply for our 0% Credit Card for your Holiday shopping, please call us at (219) 242-8144.

Business Education
20 Things No One Tells Millennials About Entrepreneurship
Date: December 28, 2017; 1pm Eastern
With the successes of Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, it's easy for millennials to become enchanted by the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. Their dreams are becoming reality-according to recent studies, millennials are starting businesses at younger ages than previous generations. 
However, millennials should know the harsh truths about entrepreneurship before starting a company.  In this webinar, Ashley Williams, CEO and founder of RIZZARR, will share eye-opening truths that she learned as a millennial entrepreneur in hopes to empower millennials looking to start a company.  You will learn how to: Create a plan of action to move forward with your idea;  Surround yourself with the best possible team;  Test your idea in the market;  Develop the perseverance needed for success.
Register Here

Easy Tax Planning and Organizing for Small Business
Date: January 9; 1pm Eastern
Tax season is upon us, and it's not too late to learn new strategies for planning, organizing and filing with ease.
Martha O'Gorman, CMO of Liberty Tax, will talk about the simple tools and tricks that make filing your small business taxes a breeze.
This session will help you:  Analyze the past year, and see what tax related processes can be improved;  Understand what you need and don't need for filing;  Learn new tips and tools to help you stay organized throughout the year.
Register Online

How to Get High-Paying Clients
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
We continue to partner with Accounting Made Simple on this online application workshop. Using the online version of QuickBooks allows users to handle all of their accounting needs and access data from anywhere online.
Key Objectives: Getting started and setting up, navigating QuickBooks online, recording transactions, reporting tools and expanding usability. 
When:  9 a.m. to noon Fridays  Jan. 12 a nd 19
Where: Purdue Technology Center of NWI, 9800 Connecticut Drive, in Crown Point 46307
Cost: $100 for the two-part workshop. Pre-registration is required.
Register Online
More information: Email northwest@isbdc.org or call (219) 644-3513.
The workshop does NOT contain any information for users of Desktop applications QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise Solutions or QuickBooks for the Mac.

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
Assembling Teams Now!
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is hosting a Team Callout and Kickoff meeting on January 10th at 6pm at Willowcreek Middle School. The 2018 Relay for Life in Portage will be held Friday, June 8th
-Saturday June 9th. Teams participating in the event can range from just a few to 50 or more  participants. All proceeds help fight cancer through the American Cancer Society.  If you or someone you know is interested p lease pass this flyer around to friends, family, businesses you patronize, clubs, and organizations you are members of.  The goal is to have the room filled with team members, survivors and caregivers and to spread our enthusiasm to all the teams.  One way to help spread the word is to invite friends to our Facebook page @RelayForLifePortage. 

"Don't Get Scrooged"
Members Advantage Credit Union