Chesterton Tribune



Jennifer Gadzala named NWI Influential Woman

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The Town of Chesterton’s own Jennifer GadzalaÑMS4 Operator, Special Projects Coordinator, GPS guru, grants writer extraordinaireÑhas been named one of Northwest Indiana’s 12 Influential Women.

Specifically, in the Economic Development/Government category.

Gadzala was honored last month at the Northwest Indiana’s Influential Women awards gala at Avalon Manor in Merrillville.

Twelve women were named Influential, another 12 Up & Coming.

Gadzala’s honor comes as no surprise to her colleagues in Chesterton town government. Although her primary job, as MS4 Operator, is administering its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programÑa federally mandated initiative aimed at reducing the release of pollutants into receiving watersÑGadzala wears many hats.

Over the years she’s painstakingly digitized and mapped nearly every storm and sanitary sewer in Chesterton, every manhole, every piece of identifiable and locatable piece of infrastructure under the ground and on top of it. Since 2016, sheÑalong with Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg and Town Engineer Mark O’DellÑhas taken the lead in writing the hugely successful applications for Community Crossings state infrastructure grants, to the tune, to date, of $1,140,147.91, which have funded 50 percent of a variety of high-profile, big-ticket re-paves and other projects.

Gadzala was also the brains behind the crowdfunding campaign last year which raised more than $70,000 in additional funding for the boxcar restroom project in Thomas Centennial Park, and has been a mover-and-shaker on the Chesterton Branding Leadership Committee.

More recently, the Town Council liked Gadzala’s chops so much that members gave her one more hat to wear: that of Special Projects Coordinator, a part-time gig whose brief is the implementation of projects to “enhance Chesterton’s economic, beautification, and vitalization goals.”

O’Dell was pleased, then, and proud, to announce Gadzala’s recognition at the Town Council’s meeting Monday night. “Jennifer’s helped us a lot with all these projects,” he said.

“Congratulations, great job,” said Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

“Nicely done,” concurred Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th.

“The reason Jennifer is such an asset to the town,” Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting, “is because of the different qualities she possesses. She can be working on an MS4 project one day and then be looking for and securing grants the next. She is very good with doing research on projects or solving problems within the town. Jennifer’s computer skills are excellent. For example, the Community Crossings grant procedures for submitting all documentation have changed every year, requiring large amounts of data to be submitted in a particular format in order to receive the grant.”

Ed Surgener, Retiring

O’Dell had one other piece of news on Monday: the retirement of long-time and highly respected Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Ed Surgener.

Surgener has worked for the town for a dozen years, since 2007, but it’s only been over the last eight years that the Building Department has begun tracking his activity with hard numbers, O’Dell said.

And for Surgener, those numbers are huge.

Between 2010 and 2018, Surgener investigated 1,888 violations; responded to 406 written complaints; issued 91 citations and 42 stop-work orders; and traveled 101,683 on-the-job miles.

“He will surely be missed,” O’Dell said. “He was a great employee.”



Posted 10/17/2019




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