A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Brenda Coleman

A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Brenda Coleman

Brenda Coleman, Vice President of International Magnaproducts, Inc. (IMI), has spent over four decades championing her father’s legacy of providing high-quality magnetic products to the international marketplace. Empowering her commitment is her love for giving back to the community. 

“We are a small company with only six employees, but we maintain a significant industry presence,” said Brenda Coleman. 

Brenda Coleman, a Valparaiso native, has worked for IMI since the beginning of its 41 years of operation. Her early career began part-time while at Valparaiso High School in 1983. She moved to working full-time after graduating from Concordia University Ann Arbor in 1988. 

IMI is a family-owned business started by Brenda Coleman’s father, Donald Coleman. The company gained traction after Donald Coleman discovered the profitable market of slicing magnets after the cost of cobalt was inflated. Donald Coleman first started a magnet slicing facility in Indianapolis in 1977 before selling and rebranding as IMI in Valparaiso a few years later.   

The business focuses on the sales of magnets to a variety of domestic and international industries such as medical, automotive, aerospace, and defense. It also provides customers support in the areas of design prototyping, magnetization, demagnetization, and testing.

Brenda Coleman became vice president after the passing of her father in September of 2022. Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, Brenda Coleman takes pride in leading her team. 

“We still paid everyone full-time. At the time, that was unheard of,” said Brenda Coleman. “We had our workers in two days a week. I was always here, but two days a week they were helping, especially with the automotive and medical industries.” 

Brenda Coleman believes the success of guiding her company is promoting a healthy work-life balance. 

“I believe in a work-life balance,” Brenda Coleman said. “It’s important that more companies are now doing that. If your employees are happy, then that makes business better. We go above and beyond because we want a happy relationship with both our employees and our customers.” 

Brenda Coleman dedicates time to focus on various projects in her own work-life balance. 

Donald Coleman is remembered for more than his entrepreneurship. He was an Aviation Storekeeper First Class for the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. His service to the nation is a catalyst for Brenda leading numerous community-wide initiatives.

Brenda Coleman is a proud chaplain at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2511 in Porter and is a big supporter of VNA Hospice NWI, especially following her father’s palliative care. 

“I’m really involved with the military. My dad was very proud of his service,” Brenda Coleman said. “I was president of a motorcycle riding chapter up here called Bomber Girls LRC - Valparaiso for four years. We helped send care packages, cards cooking materials, and holiday packages to troops.”

Brenda Coleman helped lead the expansion of the non-profit Bomber Girls, LRC from its founding chapter in Savannah, Georgia to its emeritae chapter in Valpo. A favorite memory she shared is of a young boy named Hunter Reynolds, now a sophomore at Indiana University (IU) Bloomington, who assisted the charity by making dog beds for military working dogs overseas. 

Her involvement expands to other nonprofits, such as Hilltop Neighborhood House and Habitat for Humanity. Brenda Coleman and the Bomber Girls collaborated with Habitat for Humanity in building a home for the first female veteran in Porter County. 

Brenda Coleman is also the vice president of Women in Bloom, Valparaiso, a non-profit committed to benefiting women by helping them realize their true potential on a personal and professional level. 

“We put the fun in fundraising. We've done a variety of fundraising events such as an Oktoberfest and then a bourbon and barbecue event. Our focus was on raising funds to provide scholarships for female high school seniors,” Brenda Coleman said.

As the new year begins, she is most excited for the VFW Post 2511 NWI Chilli Challenge on January 28, along with leading another year at IMI. 

“It’s great that you can give back. You can give your heart and say, ‘Hey, I really cared,” Brenda Coleman said. “That’s what I think about volunteering.”   

For more information about International Magnaproducts, Inc. visit magnetsim.com/