Hall of Fame inductees represent diverse industries [The Times, Munster, Ind.] - May 6, 2016

Courtesy of Bloomberg • May 6, 2016

May 11–MERRILLVILLE — From the real estate developer to the health care executive to the construction goods seller to the steel researcher, a diverse group of industries was represented at The Times 2016 Business and Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Tuesday.

Harley Snyder of HSC Inc., JoAnn Birdzell of St. Catherine Hospital, Frank Schilling of Schilling Home Improvement Center and Greg Ludkovsky, of ArcelorMittal, were this year’s inductees at the event at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. In their acceptance speeches, they talked about the ingredients for achieving business success: passion, teamwork, supportive loved ones.

Chris White, publisher of The Times Media Co., which runs the hall of fame, said the inductees prove there are two keys to achievement.

“The first is the strong belief in hope and a vision of a better tomorrow,” he said. “The second is the single-minded determination to make something happen today.”

Snyder, the president of HSC Inc., has developed real estate for thousands of homes in Lake and Porter counties, helped advance the Gary/Chicago International Airport and was the governor’s founding appointee to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

He said his loved ones, friends and colleagues taught him: “It’s not what we take out but what we put back.” For instance, he said, even if the RDA’s work doesn’t benefit him directly, its legacy will last for generations.

“We will have made this a better place to live and work,” he said. “There’s far more good here if we would just take a moment to realize it and recognize it.”

Birdzell, the CEO of St. Catherine Hospital, said she has had three lives in health care: first as a nurse with Methodist Hospitals in Gary, second as an executive with Ancilla Systems, and third as the leader of the East Chicago safety-net hospital she plans to retire from in July.

“I care, you care, we all care about patients who need help and assistance,” Birdzell said.

She helped create Community Healthcare System when she approached the late Donald Powers, then the CEO of Munster’s Community Hospital, about investing in St. Catherine and its sister hospital, St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, to keep them afloat. The three facilities now make up the Region’s largest hospital group.

She also noted she tried to form a managed care company in the 1970s, a now-popular concept that was then ahead of its time.

Her hard work sometimes meant sacrifices at home.

“They have received a lot of late dinners, but they didn’t complain,” she said of her husband, John, and son, Eric.

Schilling, the president of Schilling Home Improvement Center, said he has been driven by a passion for selling construction materials. He credited his wife, Shirley, for taking care of the kids and home while he was working 60- to 80-hour weeks.

“It takes quite a woman to make a company successful,” he said. “We’re very blessed we got the opportunity to serve Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area.”

Schilling is also proud of building the Shrine of Christ’s Passion, an interactive prayer trail in St. John illustrating the last days of Jesus’ life. The attraction was visited by 162 tour buses last year and is to be the subject of an upcoming documentary produced by former Chicago news anchor Bill Kurtis.

Ludkovsky, the vice president and head of global research and development at ArcelorMittal, said in a video he was accepting the honor on behalf of his colleagues, as his job is one you can’t do alone. He tried to put his company’s global reach into perspective.

“Every single car on the road … has our materials and designs,” he remarked.

He said innovation “should be expected in every facet of what we do,” from our jobs to our parenting.

He noted that ArcelorMittal invests millions of dollars in the Region, and its influence goes beyond just its employee base into the communities where they live. He expects that to continue.

“I look at this region with a great deal of hope,” he said.

The Times Business & Industry Hall of Fame’s first Enterprise of the Year award went to Urschel Laboratories Inc., a leading manufacturer of food processing equipment in Chesterton.

President and CEO Rick Urschel tried to make it easy for the audience to understand what the business does.

“About 80 percent of the food you eat every day has been processed on our equipment,” he said, including “the salads you ate today.”

Urschel Laboratories opened a new $80 million, 350,000-square-foot plant in August. The Urschel family donated $3 million to Valparaiso to build an ice rink that opened last year. And the company was sold in March to its 385 employees.

“The employees are what make us the enterprise that we are,” Urschel said.