by KELLEY SMITH – Staff Writer, The News-Dispatch Mar 26, 2018
Photos courtesy of Crosscurrent Media
Local professionals gathered to celebrate a “Century of Success” at the Stardust Event Center at the Blue Chip Casino Saturday during the Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce’s centennial gala.
Chamber President Mary Jo Orlowski said the “Century of Success” theme is derived from the vast progress Michigan City has made in the 100 years since the Chamber’s inception, and for that which it is bound to make in the next 100 years.
This year’s gala was a celebration of that progress and of Michigan City’s successes.
“Anytime you reach an anniversary milestone, it is cause for celebration,” Orlowski said. “As you arrive at those markers, you should also take the opportunity to thank those that stood alongside you as you moved forward, reflect on the events that transpired as you traveled onward and take time to plan for what comes next.”
Four of the Chamber’s longest-standing members were honored Saturday for their continuous service: NIPSCO and The News-Dispatch, each of which has been with the Chamber since 1939; Horizon Bank, which has been a member since 1947 and the Michigan City Paper Box Co., which celebrates its 100th year of partnering with the Chamber in 2018.
Representatives from all four spoke briefly to the attendees, which numbered approximately 300. NIPSCO’s Don Babcock got the crowd going with a cheer, and encouraged them to continue to be Michigan City’s “yay-sayers” before making a toast.
Pamela Zylstra, daughter of the late Burton “Bud” Ruby, for whom the Chamber’s current facility is named, spoke as the guest of honor about how proud her father would have been of the people in that room and of their accomplishments. Ruby was the CEO of Jaymar-Ruby Inc., longtime board president for the now defunct Memorial Hospital and one of the most vocal supporters of Michigan City and its Chamber of Commerce. He died in 2014 at age 95.
Orlowski invited the Chamber members and past and present board presidents, directors and other leaders in attendance to reconvene for a special reception at the North Pointe Pavilion in Washington Park on June 14 – the anniversary of the date the Chamber was incorporated. On that day, the Chamber will unveil its Centennial Art Sculpture, which was sponsored by the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission.
“From our humble beginning in 1918, when a group of businessmen gathered together and discussed the need to create an organization that would watch out for the interest of business, promote commerce and industry and advocate for a community that is welcoming of business, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Orlowski said, “to the 350- plus-member-strong organization that we are today in 2018, we have remained true to our focus and are looking forward to our next ‘Century of Success.’”