2015 Good Life Awards Brought Recognition and Applause to NWI’s Most Positive People

By: Kyle Hovanec Last Updated: August 14, 2015

Good vibes were all around as the 4th Annual Good Life Awards spent a few hours giving special recognition to some special people from all over Northwest Indiana.

To see more photos from the event, please click here.

“I made a bet six years ago that people would be interested in good news on the front page,” said Ideas in Motion Media CEO and Publisher Chris Mahlmann. “I made a bet that if we focused on what's right, we could make an impact on the future.”

Among the special guests speakers was Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer, who mentioned that after speaking to Congressman Pete Visclosky, he feels optimistic about the future of Northwest Indiana.

“Congressman Visclosky has never been more optimistic about La Porte, Porter and Lake County than now, we are the future of this region,” said Meer.

Six Good Life Awards were given out to those who went above and beyond their initial call of duty to spread Idea in Motion Media’s mission of spreading and sharing positive news and stories across Northwest Indiana.

This was also the first year that the Good Life Awards was held at Blue Chip Casino’s “It’s Vegas Baby” venue. Due to an increasing number of attendees with each year, and the number of people interested in the event, this larger venue was necessary to fit the growing number of people.

As in previous years, the six award trophies were designed by Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille Owner Mike Leeson, whose blend of handcrafted artistry created a visually striking award that has become a trademark of the Good Life Awards. The ladies of Ideas in Motion Media were dressed up in style thanks to the generous help and talents of Catherine’s Bridal Boutique and Le Roc Salon & Body Bar.

Proceeds from this year’s event benefited the Lake Area United Way, United Way of Porter County and United Way of La Porte County. Each of these organizations were chosen for the positive impact they have made across the NWI region and their support towards the dozens of agencies they assist and support.

"Thank you to all of you," said President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lake Area United Way Lisa Daugherty. "The United Way is mobilizing the caring community to save lives every day."

"The United Way is one of the only organizations that has a handle on what is happening in the community," said Executive Director of the United Way of Porter County Kristie Pate. "I'm very blessed to be part of the La Porte community. We are a problem-solving community."

The three United Way representatives shared a few details on their new initiatives and why the audience should continue to support the United Way, but also gave thanks to Ideas in Motion Media for focusing on all the positive things happening throughout the community.

“You had a vision and you made it happen,” said United Way of Porter County President Sharon A. Kish. “I hope one day you can make a documentary on all of the great and positive stories that have come from the region.”

Once the United Way leaders shared their stories, the awards ceremonies began as Mahlmann once again took the stage.

The first award went to Heather Ennis of the NWI Forum, who was chosen for her continual push to break with the traditional mode of business and communication and guiding the development of young leaders.

“I just want everyone to know that I think there's more good news than bad news, and we need to keep telling the good,” said Ennis.

The second award was given to Cindy Berchem of the La Porte Family YMCA for her tireless work that lead to the growth of the Michigan City YMCA, a positive beacon for the community that is expected to make an impact for many years to come.

“It's a great honor to come together and make a difference in the community,” said Bercham. “The strength of a YMCA always comes from its community.”

The third award went to Celina Weatherwax, the Director of Communications for US Congressman Pete Visclosky. She was chosen based on her being a key reason that Ideas in Motion Media was able to connect with Congressman Visclosky early on in the company's development.

“Thank you for making NWI a great place to live, but also a wonderful region for people to grow,” said Weatherwax. “There is a willingness here to make a dynamic difference.”

The fourth award was awarded to Jack Hines, Owner of Hines Plumbing, who was chosen for his understanding and desire to see small business succeed and help other small businesses work together to build success.

“I want to thank my team and coworkers who have worked hard to earn this award, I am very thankful,” said Hines.

The fifth award went to Paul Schreiner, Executive Director of Project Neighbors, who was chosen based on his endless contributions to the community and his mission to leave the world a better place.

“It’s been my privilege to do the work I’ve done. People are hungry to help their community and it’s just fun to have so many people get their hands dirty and help out,” said Schreiner.

The last award of the night went to Ideas in Motion Media’s Executive Team Leader Jenny Craig-Brown, who was chosen for her endless hard work and hours she puts into the company, and her strong leadership skills that guide the company on a daily basis.

“This support is so amazing, you’re all amazing and you all contribute to the greatness that helps me,” said Craig-Brown.

“We get to do this every day,” said Malhmann closing the show. “Every day I open my email and see good emails. I get to meet nice people who introduce to me to other nice people. I’m in a business that is truly incredible.”

Sponsors for this event included: Rittenhouse Senior Living, Catherine’s Bridal, d.cohn Communications, Horizon Bank, Task Force Tips, NIPSCO, St. Mary Medical Center, Purdue North Central, Porterfield Family Chiropractic ,Group 7 even, the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City Indiana, Steindler Signs & Graphix, Le Roc Salon & Body Bath, Albano’s Vila, Lakeshore PAWS, Century 21 Alliance Group, Indiana South Shore Convention & Visitor’s Authority, Regional Federal Credit Union, Sage-Popovich Inc., and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation.

3rd Annual Good Life Awards:
Story | Photos | Fundraiser Recipients: Positive Approach to Teen Health, La Porte County YMCA
Winners: Brett Fuller (Managing Editor at Ideas in Motion Media), Dave Kasarda (La Porte County YMCA), Darlene Cohn (owner of D. Cohn Communications), Dave Sisk (United Way of La Porte County), Bert Cook (executive director of the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation), Loretta Finnegan (mother to Chris Mahlmann).

2nd Annual Good Life Awards:
Story | Photos | Fundraiser Recipients: Portage Township YMCA, United Way of La Porte County
Winners: Blair Milo (Mayor of La Porte), Donna Flanagin (owner of Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service), Nancy Simpson (Portage Township YMCA Marketing and Fund Development Director), Mary Koselke (owner of Blackbird Cafe), Tom Steindler (owner of Steindler Signs), Dr. Tom Cavanaugh Jr. (former owner of Cavanaugh Orthodontics, father-in-law)

The 1st Annual Good Life Awards:
Story | Photos | Fundraiser Recipients: Valpo Schools Foundation, Porter County Career & Technical Center
Winners: Jon Groth (Porter County Career & Technical Center), Olga Velazquez (former Mayor of Portage), Jonathan Nalli (former CEO of Porter Health Care), Ivan Bodensteiner (IIMM landlord, Valparaiso University Law Professor), Cathy Brown (owner of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream), Natalie Mahlmann (IIMM Accountant, Powerhouse behind the idea).