Tracy Freeze has wanted to be the president of the local chamber of commerce
since she was 14 and learned, from her hometown J.C. Penney’s general
manager Ron Sather, how that personage can make a difference in the
On Wednesday, at the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s annual
membership meeting at Sand Creek Country Club, Freeze fulfilled her
Freeze, of HMS Midwest, was formally installed as the Chamber’s 2013
President, succeeding Mary Fox of Kramer & Leonard’s.
In her acceptance speech, Freeze recalled how Mr. Sather spoke to her
fifth-grade class about “community and how we could make a difference,” how
he had been the local chamber president “for as long as she could remember,”
and how he put in 16- and 18-hour days at the Penney’s.”
What Freeze learned, she said, “was that if you have a job, then you do it,”
and “if you did it well, then you could hold other positions that could help
to affect others.”
So it is that Freeze will serve this year as Chamber President.
Freeze has chosen two initiatives in particular to pursue during her tenure.
The first: the creation of a committee to “evaluate the feasibility of our
existing building,” the old New York Central passenger depot at 200 Broadway
which the Chamber leases from the Town of Chesterton.
“We are a growing organization and with growth comes the need for more
space,” Freeze said. “We love the history and the charm that our existing
offices shares with all our visitors, but how to bring this space up to
snuff from a technological and efficiency standpoint will be aspects that we
will need to look at.”
Freeze added that, in 2011, the Chamber established a capital improvement
fund “for just this kind of project.”
The second initiative: the diversification of economic development in
“Our board will also continue to support our local school administration and
municipalities to ensure that we are seeking economic development from all
types of industries so that we can grow our community in diverse and
respectful ways,” Freeze said. “Diversity will prevent us from having all
our eggs in one basket and respectfulness will remind us that we have a
beautiful gift in our National Lakeshore and that we have many people that
have put in many years of effort to make us the great community that we
Freeze also announced the imminent launching of a new Chamber program,
called the Business of the Month, which will recognize “hard-working and
committed members,” culminating in a Member of Year recognition. “Be on the
lookout for more details regarding these exciting new member benefits,” she
Finally, Freeze concluded her remarks by welcoming Urschel Laboratories Inc.
to Duneland. “We are thrilled that Urschel Labs is making Chesterton its new
home,” she said. “Please let us know at the Chamber if there is anything
that we can help you with during your transition to the community.”
Fox, for her
part, took a moment before passing the gavel to review both the Chamber’s
and Duneland’s 2012 accomplishments.
The latter, Fox
noted, include a number of high-profile openings, ground-breakings, and
announcements. The Franciscan Alliance, Porter Regional Hospital, and the
Addison Pointe nursing home all officially opened their doors to business
last year, as Duneland begins to consolidate its position as a ground-zero
for cutting-edge health care in Porter County.
Town of Chesterton, in partnership with Porter County, broke ground on the
Ind. 49 utility corridor project, which when completed promises to open up
new commercial development opportunities along Ind. 49 between the Indiana
Toll Road and Porter Regional Hospital.
And of course,
in December, Urschel Laboratories made its game-changing announcement, that
it will be re-locating its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility
to Coffee Creek Center in Chesterton, Fox said.
In addition, she
observed, Seven Peaks has said that it intends to open a new water park on
the grounds of the old Splash Down Dunes on U.S. Highway 20 in Porter.
Fox also noted
that in 2012 the Chamber unstopped two new revenue streams, including the
electronic sign on the west side of Ind. 49 just south of East Porter Ave.
And its progressive dinner was a spectacular success.