It Didn’t Feel Like Work at the Chamber Network Night

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: October 18, 2013

The Porter County Chamber Coalition Network Night was on the agenda at the Porter County Expo Center on Thursday. Yes, there were people dressed as hotdogs, bananas, angels, demons, witches, cats, gorillas, Flo from Progressive Insurance, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and other interesting identities and alter-egos. And yes, everyone was a-okay with it. This is the biggest networking event in Porter County, and all that took part made sure it was a night where businesses made their mark, and everyone left with new great memories.

The Porter County Coalition is a collaboration between the Duneland, Hebron, Kouts, Portage and Valparaiso Chambers of Commerce. The effort that was taken to put this evening together was quite large and there was months of planning involved.  Normally, you will read about events through my words in articles such as this. But this time I’m taking a step back and let the businesses that attended the Chamber Network Night speak. There were over 120 businesses there, after all, and they were what made the night possible.

“Last year we attended the event as guests to see what it was all about and when we walked out we knew that we had to have a booth this year.  Chamber Network Night is geared toward business to business with all of Porter County so it made sense to jump in.” -Jeremy Carnahan of Impact Solutions

“We participate in the Chamber Network Night to help create awareness about the services and amenities we have to offer. Our Valparaiso and Portage location share a booth so we can provide information to all people from Porter County. This year we are offering a popcorn bar where guests will have the opportunity to  create their own mixture of popcorn. We thought we would do something different then what we did the past as a way to spark up conversation with the guests and build relationships.”-Judy Kukelka of Rittenhouse Portage

“Porter County Parks and Recreation participates because we are able to personally meet and speak with our taxpayers, consumers and all user’s of our Parks!  This gives us valuable feedback on how to move forward in our constant quest to provide the best parks and programs we can.” -Geri Rose of Porter County Parks and Recreation

“Chamber Network Night offers Porter Regional Hospital a perfect venue to spotlight our new occupational medicine program, Health At Work,” shared Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathan Nalli. “Health At Work offers a comprehensive range of job-related medical services and employee wellness opportunities that can be custom-tailored to fit the specific needs of local organizations – exactly who we have the opportunity to reach out and network with at this event.”  -Jonathan Nalli of Porter Regional Health

“We’re a member of the Valpo chamber so this is a great way for us to meet all our business partners in the Porter County community. A lot of people here come out to the Blue Chip so we can let them know what’s new. It’s good networking.” -Kathy Horning of Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa

“It gives me a great chance to interact with people that I don’t see every day so I’ve already made new acquaintances and I’ve seen people who are long time friends.”-Tim Bucher of Buchertech

“This is amazing. We’ve been to a lot of expos in the area, and this is the most fun. We’ve been walking around and meeting so many people, made a lot of new contacts and played some fun games. We will definitely be back next year!” -Amy Miller of County Line Orchard, Wedding and Events Department

“We love to be involved in our community. And anything that will bring our community closer together and help boost other businesses along with our own we want to be a part of.” -Alisa Maniszko of Le Roc Salon & Body Bar

“Chamber Network Night is always one of the most fun networking events of the year. We love seeing people dressed up, we love seeing people enthusiastic about what their different brands and businesses, we really enjoy seeing new faces and seeing people that we already know.” -Wade Breitzke of We Create Media

“Chamber Network night is awesome because you get to see all of these other businesses and we get to tell people about what we do. It’s a very cool event and we’ve been part of it since we joined the chamber 15 years ago so it’s something that we always enjoy doing.”-Eric Brant of Chicago Street Theater

“We came here to broaden our horizons and gain valuable business opportunities and to reach out into the community.” -Ken Beville of Heinold & Feller Tire Co.

“Porter Starke Services is always interested in being part of the community and this event is part of the community. You get to network with all of the professionals and we can get our message out.” -Elliot Miller of Porter Starke Services

“We look forward to this event all year long. We love to educate the general public and our business partners about the benefits of banking at a credit union.”  -Jan Zurek of Midwest Family Federal Credit Union

“I think this is a great opportunity to be with all businesses in Porter County and really show off what we do to the community. It the one time for us to let our hair down and have fun as an organization.” -Kevin Kosek of REGIONAL Federal Credit Union

“We’ve been doing this every year since they started it. We enjoy just coming out and networking with everybody.” -Denny Dalka of Culver’s of Valparaiso

“It's a great way to reach out to the community to let them know that we're, and to come have fun with us!” -Bethany Coberg of Fred Astaire Dance Studios

“We've been doing this event for several years. It's really fun to get out and talk to a lot of businesses that we wouldn't normally be able to talk to, and to socialize on a more personal level.” -Cassy Dickerson of NITCO

"We’re excited to be a part of the Network Night because we’ve now grown in Porter County with more locations, most significantly the Valparaiso Health Center. This event helps us forge strong partnerships and share resources with business community. As a hospital it is important for us to provide not only health services, but information and education about health care to businesses and their employees." - Jane Powers of St. Mary Medical Center

“We're excited to be here tonight because we like that the way the chambers come together so we can meet people from other areas. It's the best chance for us to get out in the community and meet the other chamber members.” -Stephanie Heyer of Taltree Arboretum and Gardens

“The Extra Mile is excited to be here at the Chamber Network Night! It's the most fun chamber event of the year and we can network with people, and this year we are really proud to be partner with Brooks and we're letting everyone walk around in some Brooks shoes.”-Heather Henderlong of Extra Mile Fitness Company

“It's a lot of fun and a great networking opportunity!” -Eric Beschinski of Horizon Bank

“We're always excited to be at the chamber events because it gives us a great opportunity to mingle with the folks of Valparaiso and all the businesses owners. A lot of people don't know that we're just located right down the road seven miles. We do a good job and make a good product, and we want people to know about us.” -Tom Steindler, Jr. of Steindler Signs and Graphix

“We always love participating in the Chamber Network Night! We meet so many great people and we've got a chance to really get out and have a good time with everybody, and introduce First Trust Credit Union.” -Laurie Franke-Polz of First Trust Credit Union

“This event is great because there are so many people who come out, and we are able to get the word out about the LaPorte Savings Bank. Our Chesterton Branch is off the beaten path, so it's great to meet people out from other parts of the county.” - Stephanie Stout of LaPorte Savings Bank

“Franciscan Alliance is privileged to be part of the 2013 Chamber Networking Night. It offers yet another excellent opportunity for us to expand our business relationships and enhance those we already have in this growing and vital community. ” -Joe Dejanovic, Regional Vice President of Marketing and Communiations at Franciscan Alliance

Click here to find out more about the Chamber Network Night 

Grand Sponsor: Citizens Financial Bank

Business After Hour Sponsors: Citizens Financial Bank, Porter Health Care System

Sponsors: 1st Source Bank, Absolute Apparel and Promotions; Anton Insurance Agency, Inc.; Blachly Tabor Bozik & Hartman LLC; Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa; BMO Harris Bank; Burke Constanza & Carberry; Centier Bank; Coco’s Canine Cabana; Comcast Businesses; First State Bank of Porter, Franciscan St. Anthony Health, General Insurance Services, Inc.; Great Lakes Office Furniture, Inc.; HMS Midwest LLC; Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP; Horizon Bank; Ideas in Motion Media; IU Health La Porte Hospital, The Kotys Group; Kramer & Leonard Office Products; LaPorte Savings Bank; Methodist Hospitals; Metro Recycling; NIPSCO; NITCO; Peoples Bank; Post-Tribune; Purdue University North Central; Rainbow International of NWI; REGIONAL Federal Credit Union; Rittenhouse Senior Living; Scannell Wealth Management Group; Shelter Insurance -Donette Heinze; St. Mary Medical Center; Teachers Credit Union; The Times Media Company; Uzelac & Associates, Inc.; Vic Volom CLU, CFP - Northwestern Mututal Financial Network

Click here to see the photos from the entire night!