Members and supporters of the Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce continued the positive momentum the city has seen recently by taking advantage of a great networking opportunity at “Home for the Holidays,” the annual Chamber holiday party presented by Horizon Bank.
Some 150 people gathered at the bank’s Michigan City headquarters Thursday night for what Bill Gertner, assistant vice president of Horizon Bank, called the “event of the year for the Chamber.”
In fact, Cindy Pressinell, marketing director of Horizon, said several people have indicated to her that this is the “best event of the year.”
Gertner, the primary organizer of the yearly event at Horizon, said “it’s great to be able to bring people together this time of year for a perfect networking opportunity.”
Tom Cipares, chairman of the Michigan City Chamber board and General Insurance Services, said all business after hours events help build the community through strong networking.
“This way we all know one another and understand everyone’s point of view,” he said.
Dede Chapman, executive assistant at the Chamber, said at least 12 business after hours events are organized each year for premier members of the Chamber, of which Horizon is one.
“We have at least one a month,” she said.
Tim Haas, owner of Haas and Associates Consulting Engineers LLC, is a member of the Chamber board and always supports the Chamber through events such as these.
“It’s good to see friends, support the Chamber and have a good time,” he said.
Catering for the event was provided by Great Lakes Catering and Lively Libations.
“Ed Kis and Great Lakes Catering are always a great draw,” said Ken Behrendt, president of the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission.
“This is a great turnout, as big of one I’ve ever seen,” added Behrendt, who has been at the holiday gathering every year for at least the past decade.
“The Chamber had a big year and Horizon Bank always does a great job.”
A pair of giveaways were drawn from a pack of business cards members and supporters compiled at the start of the gathering. Taking home a night at the Blue Chip Casino was Joni Troy of T.I.K.I.S. Consulting and winning a pair of tickets to see Phantom of the Opera was Ryan Quealy of Integrative Flavors.
Charlie Roberts, AVP Business Banker at Horizon, said the bank gets “a lot of support from the local business community and this is a great way to wrap up the year.”
“This is a great way to give back to the community and see so many people come together for a united vision.”
Roberts is the chief planner of Friday night’s 4th annual Ugly Sweater Social organized by the Northwest Indiana Leaders at Shoreline Brewery. The event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m., is another way to bring professionals between the ages of 21 to 39 together to network and come together for another common goal.
The event, Roberts said, “continues to grow every year.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gertner added.
A trophy will be awarded to the participant with the ugliest sweater.
Roberts said young professionals will play “a vital role” in carrying out some of the goals mentioned during Wednesday’s Michigan City NOW meeting.
“It is going to be our responsibility and our job to carry out that mission,” he said.