Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. has announced the winners of its third annual Luminary Awards. The honors recognize community leaders and organizations in areas including economic development, emergency response and environmental stewardship.

September 26, 2014

News Release

Merrillville, Ind. — Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has announced the recipients of the company's third annual Luminary Awards – recognizing leaders and organizations for their outstanding commitment to strengthening local communities.

The Luminary awards were created in 2012 in celebration of the utility's 100-year anniversary. Recipients have demonstrated outstanding commitment in five key areas: Education, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Development, Emergency Response and Community Leadership. The 2014 recipients are:

• Education Award – Michigan City Area Schools

• Environmental Stewardship Award – South Shore Clean Cities

• Economic Development Award – John Davies, Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana

• Emergency Response Award – The City of Kokomo's Emergency Response Team

• Community Leadership Award – Mayor Jon Costas, City of Valparaiso, Ind.

“We are proud to recognize these inspiring leaders and their contributions throughout our region and the state,” said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. “This year's recipients are a driving force behind the positive changes taking place each day, and we are fortunate to have them within our communities.”

NIPSCO is also making a $1,000 contribution to each award winner's charity of choice. Winners were announced in conjunction with a community reception held Thursday evening.

Award Winner Bios

Michigan City Area Schools – Education Award

Michigan City Area Schools – led by Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins – are recognized for their exceptional efforts in preparing students for future careers. The school corporation's K-5 Magnet School was selected as just one of 44 schools nationally to pilot the newest STEM curriculum, Project Lead the Way. The school system has also maximized opportunities for vocational educational by partnering with organizations such as The Regional Council of Carpenters, the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City and Ivy Tech to offer students a new Construction Technology program to prepare them for Apprenticeship positions.

One of the more recent and innovative programs supported by this award winner is the creation of an Energy Academy, which is a joint venture with NIPSCO and the A. K. Smith Area Career Center to prepare students for high demand jobs in the electronics, energy and the utility industry – the only initiative of its kind in Indiana.

South Shore Clean Cities – Environmental Stewardship

South Shore Clean Cities, under the direction of the Executive Director Carl Lisek, has experienced great success in achieving its founding principle that “motivated individuals working together can best accomplish our nation's environmental objectives.” They have advanced the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, along with other technologies, to reduce petroleum consumption – resulting in cleaner air across the 18-county area they serve, while reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

The most compelling sign of this organization's success has been its ability to bring together environmental groups, communities and business and industry to achieve environmental improvements which benefit all who live and work throughout northern Indiana.

John Davies – Economic Development

John Davies, who serves as Managing Director of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, has devoted himself to his organization's mission of “discovering, encouraging, celebrating and honoring our most innovative people.” Davies has been a tireless and unrelenting force in helping to restore the culture of northwest Indiana to one that is known for its creativity and innovation.

As the unparalleled point person for discovering the hidden innovators and entrepreneurs in Northwest Indiana, Davies has conducted well over 200 interviews and helped build the Society of Innovator's membership to almost 300 in the past 10 years.

The City of Kokomo's Emergency Response Team – Emergency Response

The City of Kokomo and its Emergency Response Team is being recognized for its response to the devastating tornado that caused widespread damage on November 17, 2013. The tornado's devastation that day was extensive, and Mayor Greg Goodnight and the City of Kokomo's Police, Fire and EMA personnel rose to the challenge to protect life, property and respond to the needs of residents.

Mayor Jon Costas – Community Leadership

Serving as the Mayor for the City of Valparaiso since 2004, Mayor Jon Costas and his achievements are synonymous with the word “leadership” across the region and the state. Mayor Costas demonstrates a dedication to strengthening the local community and providing outstanding direction for continued growth, revitalization and sustainability within Valparaiso and beyond.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has served the energy needs of Northern Indiana since 1912. Headquartered in Merrillville, NIPSCO is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With more than 821,000 natural gas customers and 468,000 electric customers, NIPSCO is the largest natural gas distribution company, and the second largest electric distribution company, in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers primarily in seven states. More information about NIPSCO is available at

Source: Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

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