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Public Statements

Recognizing the Northwest Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame's Class of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Speaker, it is with deep respect and admiration that I rise to commend five exceptional business leaders from Northwest Indiana who were recently honored as the Northwest Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame's Class of 2012. Created by The Times and BusINess magazine, induction into the Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame is determined by a panel of local civic and business leaders. While there were many deserving nominees, the individuals selected as the 2012 Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame inductees are: Milford Christenson, Wil Davis, Linda Woloshansky, Tom Gryzbek, and Steve Pangere. For their many contributions to the enhancement of Northwest Indiana, these honorees were recognized at a ceremony that took place at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana, on Friday, March 9, 2012.

Milford Christenson, of Highland, is the president of Christenson Chevrolet. For decades he has been a leader in the philanthropic community of Northwest Indiana. Milford served in the United States Army during World War II as a member of General Patton's Third Army and earned a Bronze Star for his service. A 1947 graduate of Indiana University, he is a proud member of the Indiana University Alumni Association. In 1951, Mr. Christenson and his family purchased a Chevrolet dealership in Griffith and, twelve years later, moved to their current location on Indianapolis Boulevard in Highland. Christenson Chevrolet was named Indiana Dealer of the Year by Time magazine in 2001. Milford Christenson's story is proof that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Wil Davis, of Gary, is the owner/operator of the Gary Jet Center, located at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. A Brooklyn native, Wil graduated from Cornell University and later entered the United States Navy. After serving on active duty during the Vietnam War, Mr. Davis joined the Navy Reserve and served until 1987. In 1989, he visited the Gary Airport, and one year later, Wil and his wife, Jean, along with two partners, purchased a small regional airline and moved its base of operations to Gary. Since then, he has developed the Gary Jet Center into a growing and thriving business, which is a tremendous benefit to the citizens of Northwest Indiana.

Linda Woloshansky, of Ogden Dunes, is the president and chief executive officer of The Center of Workforce Innovations in Valparaiso. An East Chicago native, Ms. Woloshansky graduated from Andrean High School and Indiana University. Linda learned early on that good employment opportunities allow people to obtain a better quality of life. Her career has been dedicated to the service of others by improving the educational attainment, workforce viability, and economic development of Northwest Indiana.

Tom Gryzbek, of Dyer, is the president of Franciscan Saint Margaret Health in Hammond and Dyer. Mr. Gryzbek earned a degree from the University of Illinois in 1974. Mr. Gryzbek has also earned a master's degree in business administration from Indiana University Northwest and a law degree from DePaul University College of Law. Soon after graduating, he joined the former Saint Margaret Hospital as a suggestion plan manager. Tom has since made his way up the ranks of the organization, serving in numerous capacities, including executive vice president and chief operating officer of Saint Margaret Mercy. In 2004, Tom was deservedly appointed to his current position. He also serves the religious community of Northwest Indiana as a Gary Diocese deacon at Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish in Merrillville.

Steve Pangere, of Crown Point, is the president and chief executive officer of The Pangere Corporation and Culver Roofing Incorporated, both located in Gary. The Pangere Corporation was founded by Steve's grandfather, John Pangere, who opened the company in Gary after arriving to the Calumet Region from Greece in 1905. Steve Pangere hopes his sons, Nick and Tony, will someday take over the company, making it a fourth generation family business. Steve Pangere has managed to lead a successful corporation while battling the effects of progressive vision loss due to Rod-Cone Dystrophy. He is an advocate and an inspiration to the visually impaired and has contributed to many worthy causes around the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region.

Mr. Speaker, the lives of every citizen living in Northwest Indiana has been enriched because of the selfless good work of these five extraordinary individuals. I ask you and my distinguished colleagues to join me in commending these outstanding leaders on their induction into the Indiana Business and Industry Hall of Fame. These individuals are most deserving of being named the Class of 2012, and for their leadership and commitment to the Northwest Indiana community, each of them is worthy of our respect and admiration.

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