Top 10 ValpoLife Business Stories for 2013

BusinessArticleImage VLWe posted several hundred positive stories and informational articles to the ValpoLife Business pages this year, our most ever! With GOOD stories across all areas of business LIFE, we covered business development, staff development and motivation, real estate, automotive, legal and job openings!

It’s easy as ever to share your business story with us too! Just send us an email at and we can get started today.

Without further ado (and in no particular order), here are the Top 10 ValpoLife Business Stories of 2013!

Advancing Technology in the Classroom

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Computer screens continue to replace paper, a keyboard replaces pencils, and Google Docs replace a teacher’s inbox as technology continues asserting its place in the classroom. The dream that a computer or tablet could be made available to every child in the Valparaiso Community Schools is no longer a dream but rather a near reality, thanks to a recent grant from the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission.

“The whole idea is to foster 21st century skills,” said Bill Moran, Technology Director at Ben Franklin Middle School. “Our goal is to become more mobile, provide more flexibility, not waste time taking students to the lab and back.” Chrome Books and iPads were purchased with the money, in an effort to see which interface works best for teaching purposes, before a widespread investment is made to outfit every student with their own.

Ideas in Motion Media Announces Upgraded Photo Section through Smugmug

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Ideas in Motion Media announce an upgraded photo section starting December 4th, 2013 on their,, and online communities.

The upgrade will give the web pages a cleaner, more polished look and feel in its’ design, built on a more responsive framework that will be more compatible on devices of all kinds.

A Chamber Well Chosen

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Research has shown that consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local chamber of commerce.

Take that knowledge a bit further and think about what would happen if you joined another local chamber of commerce. You may think that sounds like overkill, but it's quite beneficial – especially if your company does work in more than one community or if you are looking to expand into another community.

Social Media Bootcamp: Getting Your Digital Presence into Shape

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To create and execute great advertising, one must have a video production team, a Pulitzer Prize winning author on hand, super fancy camera equipment, and deep pockets.

No...That’s not true. Not even a little.

You can get the word out about your business, non-profit, event, or idea without spending a lot of money or a lot of time in front of a computer screen. And at the Ideas in Motion Media Social Media Boot Camp is where you learn how.

Patrick Lyp Named to Valpo Leadership Team

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Patrick Lyp has been named General Counsel and Economic Development Director for the City of Valparaiso, announced Mayor Jon Costas. Lyp will provide legal oversight for the city and work to recruit, maintain, and expand businesses and jobs in the Valparaiso area.

“We’re so pleased to have Patrick’s expertise and enthusiasm on the leadership team for Valparaiso. He is an exceptional leader who will use his proven skills and valuable experience to help build our economy and create jobs,’’ said Mayor Jon Costas.

Opportunity Enterprises Invests In Their Own

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In a time where many businesses are struggling to make ends meet, Opportunity Enterprises is thriving from a balanced budget. The company recently took a look at the financial model and cut $150,000 in expenses by changing the business model to reduce and eliminate overhead expenses.

$100,000 was also received in revenue, and the company decided the best use of the money was to invest back in OE. This past July, OE was able to give its employees the first raise in 4 years. “All of this money goes back to our staff and the people we serve,” stated OE CEO and President David Stupay.

Tom TenHove Returns to Northwest Indiana to Arnell Chevy-Kia

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Tom TenHove got his start in the car business in 1983, but credits a big break in his career to joining the Arnell Family in 1988 at Arnell Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Highland, Indiana. When the company purchased their current Burns Harbor store in 1991, he moved with the Arnell family to the new dealership to become the new Sales Manager.

“I was here from 1991 through 2006, 15 really good years,” explained TenHove. “

February 2013 NWITweetup Brings a Packed House to Industrial Revolution

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The NWITweetup saw its biggest turnout yet despite snowy conditions at the February 2013 get-together, held at Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille in Valparaiso.

The tweetup saw many familiar faces meeting up with several new ones, and even some new faces that were slightly larger than normal. Rusty the Railcat of the Gary Railcats, the Valparaiso University Crusader, Arnie the Arnell Chevy-Kia Trunk Monkey, Clippy of Direct Mail ADvantage, and Cravin, the face of Family Express, were all on hand to take photos with those in attendance.

CENTURY 21 Alliance Group is Always Making Positive Connections

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Right down the street from the ValpoLife office resides a business that takes Life in Northwest Indiana seriously. CENTURY 21 Alliance Group of Valparaiso is a full-service brokerage firm that does a lot more than connect people with their future home. Nick Sommer, a real estate and commercial broker and owner of CENTURY 21 Alliance Group told me what the business was all about.

“We are a full-service residential and commercial company based in Valparaiso that operates primarily in Lake, Porter, Jasper, and La Porte counties,” Sommer said. “We work with buyers and sellers in the real estate market and connect them.”

Interview with Bill Hanna of the NWI RDA, Part 1

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Bill Hanna: 2013 was a big year for us. In terms of total construction this is the biggest year the RDA has had. We've had close to 500 jobs created in conjunction with the state here locally through some manufacturing companies, primarily a hand full of those that have chosen to relocate to Northwest Indiana.

The shoreline has been a big focus for us for a long time. It's asset that you can't replicate. I'd like to think in terms of there's a canal or river walk in San Antonio, Indianapolis, places like that, but there's just rarely anything on the planet that can be replicated that looks like the fresh waters of Lake Michigan. Portage the lakefront park that I know you guys talked about before is now I think the busiest federal park in the Midwest, which is a tremendous thing. A former steel site that now is up by the Bass Pro Shop and really is a signature piece for not only Portage but also Northwest Indiana.