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South Shore Staff

Meet Our Staff

Speros A. Batistatos, FCDME

  • President/CEO
  • 219-554-2226 office
  • Email

It is hard to believe that I began my career in the hospitality industry more than 30 years ago at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana. In 1989, I was selected to lead what is now known as the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. During my first 12 years here, I was able to increase the organization's budget 10-fold and facilitate the construction of the Nation's Premiere Visitors Center.

Before returning to Lake County, I was the President and CEO of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. There I led an aggressive marketing program to support Southern New Jersey's $8 billion dollar tourism industry.

I am a "Hoosier" at heart, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics and Public Policy from Indiana University. I have also completed the DMAI's professional certification program, earning the distinguished designation of Fellow Certified Destination Management Executive (FCDME).

I am a graduate of the 2007 inaugural class of Northwest Indiana's FBI Citizens Academy. I was named one of the "Champions of Diversity" by Indiana Minority Business Magazine. Also, under my leadership, the South Shore CVA was honored as one of the "Top 10 Best Places to Work in Indiana" of small to medium size companies two years in a row by the Indiana Chamber.

In July of 2000, Governor Frank O'Bannon honored me with the "Sagamore of the Wabash," and in January 2008, I was chosen as one of the "Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing" by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), one of the highest recognitions in the tourism industry.

I have served on the Board of Directors for the Travel Industry Association of America in addition to serving numerous local not-for-profit and community boards. I am currently the chairman of the Challenger Learning Center and the Indiana Parenting Institute. I am also a member of the NWI Forum, the Gary Parks Board and the Barden Foundation.

Once the waters of Lake Michigan heat up, you will likely spot me near Wells Street Beach on my waverunner.

Katie Holderby

  • Executive VP/Chief Projects Officer
  • 219-554-2222 office
  • Email

I worked my way through Purdue University as an assistant in both the dean's office and development office at the School of Agriculture. After graduation, I joined the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Chicago as Sales Manager. Recruited by the South Shore CVA in 1993, I served as Director of Sales & Marketing and worked my way up to Senior Vice President of Marketing. I secured more than $10 million in state, regional and national conventions and more than $500,000 in state grants for the Authority and regional marketing organizations.

I left the SSCVA and became the Executive Director of Tour Indiana, where I managed day-to-day operations, provided new marketing cooperatives for membership and produced an annual group tour directory. Simultaneously, I started my own company, The Holderby Network, which contracted service to tourism-related organizations.

I returned to the South Shore CVA in 2006, as the Executive Vice President. I work to develop and implement the operating budget for sales and marketing and SSCVA operations. I also manages the marketing and event staff, oversees the marketing and promotion initiatives of the Authority and acts as a liaison with local organizations and elected officials to promote South Shore events.

I was an Indiana Tourism Council Appointee from 1998-2005, a past president of both Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission and Tour Indiana Motor Coach Council. I currently serve on the board of the Indiana Ballet Theater and the Fair oaks Pork Association. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family in downtown Crown Point at events, shopping and dining at the small unique eateries around the square.

Janis Flutka, CPA, CDME

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • 219-554-2223 office
  • Email

As the Chief Financial Officer, I am responsible for the overall financial health and fiscal integrity of the organization. Budgeting, financial planning, and reporting are my main focus. Experience as a former city clerk-treasurer helped to prepare me for my current responsibilities with this government entity.

My school alma mater is Indiana University “GO HOOSIERS”. With IU’s extensive training, I was able to receive my Indiana State certification for a Certified Public Accountant. I am a member of the Indiana CPA society, a past recipient of the Outstanding CPA in Government Award, and currently service on the Societies Leadership Cabinet.

In 2008, I received my Certified Destination Management Executive certification after completion of the DMAI program.

My favorite activity in the “DA REGION” is attending the Gary South Shore Rail Cats games. The family atmosphere, convenient location, and food are always a winner.

Heather Becerra

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • 219-554-2224 office
  • Email

I began my career in the hospitality industry at the age of 16, working as an usher at the Star Plaza Theatre. After my freshman year at Purdue University in West Lafayette, I moved to Florida for two years. I returned to the region in 1999 and landed a part-time job at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority while finishing my degree. I graduated from Purdue University Calumet with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Human Resources.

My time at the South Shore CVA began in an office support role and I was quickly promoted to Marketing Assistant. I have also held the positions of Sales Manager, Sales & Marketing Manager and Director of Sales & Marketing. After a brief stint as the Director of Marketing for the La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, I returned to the South Shore CVA in October 2005. As the Chief Marketing Officer, I manage the annual marketing budget and the sales and marketing staff. I am also responsible for placing and tracking advertisements and maintaining strong relationships with SSCVA partners and hospitality professionals.

I am a resident of Hobart, where I live with my husband, Tony, and three kids, Nathan, Maverick and Peyton. Some of our favorite things to do along the South Shore include walking along the lakefront and through Festival Park in downtown Hobart and visiting Albanese Candy Factory. We are also frequent visitors at U.S. Cellular Field in nearby Chicago to cheer on our favorite team the Chicago White Sox.

Luke Weinman IV

  • Chief Technology Officer
  • 219-554-2225 office
  • Email

I began my career at WTMX - The Mix 101.9FM in Chicago as an intern. I loved meeting all the celebrities that would come into the studio. I told myself I had to be on-air and pursued a degree in Radio/TV Production from Purdue University Calumet.

I joined the South Shore CVA as the Communications Manager in 2001 and marketed myself as a PR person with video focus and was promoted to Director of Communications. In 2005, I was hired as the Manager of Marketing Technology at the La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is where I found my true passion; making things work.

I realized I loved the Tech World and by late 2005 I returned to the South Shore CVA as the Director of Information Technology (IT). Although I prefer the title "Director of Chaos," my boss says I am the master of the everything with an on/off switch. I currently maintain and implement all of the necessary technology needs the SSCVA has; including web and in-house IT needs.

I currently reside in Hobart, IN (Go Brickies) with my soccer playing son, Luke V, my darling diva daughter, Ladan and the woman who keeps us all fed and clothed, my wife, Kristen.

Andrea Rivera

  • Art Director
  • 219-554-2722 office
  • Email

I began my career with the CVA as an intern in 2001. After graduating from Indiana University Northwest with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I continued to progress in the graphic design field to my current position as Art Director.

I manage the complete visual brand of the CVA through all platforms including print, web and video, overseeing all phases of design and production. This encompasses creating visuals for all CVA departments, (sports and convention sales, marketing, partnership) creating collateral for exhibits in the Indiana Welcome Center, and outdoor signs and banners for special events such as the South Shore Air Show.

I enjoy the arts and have had the opportunity to come out from behind the computer to work hands-on in the "A Christmas Story" Comes Home annual exhibit by sketching, building and painting the scenes alongside our incredible maintenance department. In 2010, I also began curating an annual photography show each fall featuring local talent and local subjects. In 2012, forty-two photographers participated.

I currently reside in Munster with my husband and two sons. We enjoy spending our weekends outdoors enjoying each other and loving life!

Tammy Lambert

  • Accounting Manager
  • 219-554-2953 office
  • Email

I was hired in October of 2006 as the accounting and gift shop manager.

Before coming to the SSCVA, I worked at the Indiana University NW bookstore. I started my career there in 1977 in the shipping and receiving department and by 2000 I had held every position within the bookstore, including a year as the interim manager. Wearing many different hats within that organization prepared me for the many duties and responsibilities that I enjoy at the SSCVA. I particularly love my job because each day is different and rewarding. I often say that I have the best of both worlds working here at the SSCVA. I get to be creative and have fun while fulfilling my gift shop responsibilities but when it’s time to put on my accounting hat and balance a spreadsheet and work with numbers I love that challenge as well!!

I was born and raised in Crown Point, home of the Lake County Fair. I have memories of attending the fair with my father as a young girl, helping him (actually playing) in the republican booth in the industrial building and later as a teenager learning how to make change at the hot dog stand which was run by the “Young Republicans”.

Today I not only enjoy attending the fair with family and friends but I also love working the gates collecting the admission fees as a Tri Kappa member. Tri Kappa is a philanthropic organization that I am proud to be a member of since 2002 and was recently appointed “corresponding secretary” for 2013-2015.

Andy Collins

  • Video Production Manager
  • 219-554-2177 office
  • Email

Genius. Brilliant. Mastermind. All of these are labels I have bestowed upon myself. As far as the accuracy, I am unsure. But one time my mom said I was really handsome!

Here at the CVA, I get the privilege of being creative and solving problems using video. Working in media development and video production has allowed me to use my visual problem solving skills to further our product. From internet videos to commercials, I get the opportunity to use the part of my brain that allows me to have fun and be creative.

I studied at Purdue University Calumet and received a degree in Communications. It was there that I really made the most of being a student. I was a lab instructor in the Radio/Television Studio, a teaching assistant and was honored as the 2006 Student of the Year in Broadcasting.

While in school, I worked at Digital Source Productions. It was there that I cut my teeth by shooting corporate video and weddings (the answer is NO. I will NOT shoot your wedding for you). Additionally, I worked in freelance production and have served a bevy of clients ranging from TLC to ESPN.

Though I was raised on the mean streets of Crown Point, I currently live in Highland with my main squeeze (a term of endearment for my wife) Rachel. In my free time I like to care of my lawn, fill my head with useless factoids and trivia, watch movies that are terrible and dominate the world via a RISK board.

Barb Mack

  • Group Housing/Services Coordinator
  • 219-554-2423 office
  • Email

I am a 1990 graduate of Elmira College in New York, I have a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Prior to working at the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, I spent 11 years working in the hospitality industry, either at a hotel, convention and visitors bureau or as an independent contractor.

In 2007, I began working as a part-time Group Housing Coordinator. My primary responsibility is to assist incoming individuals and groups with their lodging needs, which means working closely with our local hotel properties, and the SSCVA sales staff.

I live in Valparaiso with my husband and two children. My spare time is consumed mostly with driving kids to and from volleyball and basketball practices and/or games and tournaments. However, we do manage to squeeze in some visits to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore each year, as well as, Deep River Water Park. Our favorite local festival is the annual Valparaiso Popcorn Festival because it’s amazing to see the creativity that goes into making floats primarily out of popcorn.

Megan Langel

  • Partnership Sales & Development Manager
  • 219-554-2176 office
  • Email

As the first Hospitality and Tourism Management degree through the employee entrance of the South Shore CVA, I received my Bachelor of Science from Purdue University Calumet. During school, I gained hotel experience as a Guest Service Representative at Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. After school, I began coordinating weddings at Meyer's Castle in Dyer and An Urban Affair in Chicago.

Hired at the SSCVA in May 2008 as part-time Assistant Housing Coordinator, I have since worked my way up in the organization holding such titles as Housing & Events Coordinator, Partnership & Housing Manager, Sales Manager and Partnership Sales & Development Manager.

My current responsibilities include prospecting new and maintaining current partnership. I ensure partners know all the marketing initiatives offered by the authority and receive all benefits for which they choose to participate. Acting as the liaison between the SSCVA and our membership allows me to be aware what is happening in the community and brainstorm new ways to promote it.

In my spare time, I enjoy keeping my niece fashionable and visiting with family and friends. In the summer, I have the best of both worlds: living in the Midwest and having a beach in my backyard. I take advantage of this by regularly reading in the sand at the Dunes State Park and jet skiing on Pine Lake in La Porte. When football season rolls around, you can usually find me at "The Big House." Go Blue!

Jennifer Rush

  • Manager of Digital Marketing
  • 219-554-2724 office
  • Email

At the South Shore CVA, I handle our online presence including managing our websites and email marketing campaigns. I've learned so much about our area since I began working here, and I enjoy educating our visitors on all the great places there are to visit in the South Shore throughout the year.

I received a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. I worked at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, IN as a graphic designer before coming to the South Shore CVA. I started working for the South Shore CVA in 2004 as the Executive Assistant to the President/CEO where I learned many different aspects of our organization. I was later moved into digital marketing, where I am able to utilize my skills in graphic and web design.

One of my favorite places to go is Fair Oaks Farms. The first time my family went, we spent 7 hours there between the tour, hands-on exhibits, movie, lunch (and dessert), shopping and outside activities for the kids. We were shocked when we looked at the time!

My family and I also enjoy the summer and fall festivals in downtown Crown Point. The square with the old courthouse and tons of shops is a great backdrop for the festivals and they always make sure any age is entertained – bounce houses, food vendors, live entertainment, beer gardens and more.

Bethany Randolph

  • Special Events & Services Manager
  • 219-554-2229 office
  • Email

I am a proud graduate of Purdue University Calumet with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Prior to joining the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, I spent six years at Save A Lot Foods, first as a cashier then in management.

I joined the SSCVA team in August 2011, as an intern after completing a special events course. By February 2012, I grew from my role as an intern into the position of Special Events Coordinator. As coordinator I became responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, promoting, and facilitating the South Shore Air Show, "A Christmas Story" Comes Home exhibit and events, and other SSCVA events. My favorite event to organize is the R.O.S.E. Awards dinner, held in September. It's a special night to recognize the front lines of the hospitality industry along the South Shore.

In 2013, I was promoted to Special Events and Services Manager. In this role, my responsibilities have grown to include all SSCVA events, facilitating all rental space at the Indiana Welcome Center as well scheduling for the South Shore Tour Mobile to make its appearance at festivals and events all year round.

Although I grew up in Crown Point, I currently live in Chesterton after previously spending a few years in Jasper County. In my free time, I enjoy taking my friends to enjoy all of the great restaurants the region has to offer, as well as, shopping at the Lighthouse Premium Outlets in Michigan City. You should see my shoe collection.

Rik Piszczek

  • Manager of Human Resources
  • 219-554-2954 office
  • Email

Prior to joining the South Shore Convention and Visitor's Authority in 2011, I spent 10 years with Officemax.

Initially I was hired as an associate in the print department; I took on many roles and finally joined the District Management Training Team in 2007.

I then joined the SSCVA as an intern in June of 2011, after which I took on the role of Travel Counselor and have since risen to the position of Visitor Services Manager, managing the day-to-day operations of the Indiana Welcome Center and its staff.

I graduated from Indiana University Northwest with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs with a concentration in management and a minor in accounting. I am also an active member of my discipline's honor society, Pi Alpha Alpha, and I serve as the Treasurer of the Indiana University Northwest Geology Club. I am currently working on my Masters in Public Administration at Indiana University Northwest concentrating on non-profit organizations.

I spend most my free time playing with my dogs and utilizing the many miles of bike paths across Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties.

Stacina Stagner

  • Communications Coordinator
  • 219-554-2175 office
  • Email

I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and minors in journalism, marketing and French from Purdue University Calumet. During my time at PUC, I worked as a Supplemental Instruction Leader in French, and went on to become a Supplemental Instruction Coordinator, managing about 90 SI leaders and a team of five supervisors. I also served as Secretary of Public Relations for the Student Government Association.

I joined the SSCVA team in February 2012 as a Community and Public Relations Intern and was promoted to Communications Coordinator in October 2012. I assist the Vice President & Chief Communications Officer with external communication efforts, primarily writing press releases and blogs, ensuring our database of earned media is up-to-date and content writing for the CVA’s monthly newsletter and website.

In my spare time, I can often be found playing board games and hanging out with friends at Beer Geeks. I also like to visit any of the breweries found in Northwest Indiana. In efforts to balance the craft beer, I like to run the trails in Griffith, explore Taltree Arboretum and the Indiana Dunes or wander Chicago shopping and attending concerts.

Kristen Thomas

  • Director of Sales
  • 219-554-2227 office
  • Email

I began my career in the hospitality industry while in high school working at my grandfather’s restaurant. I then interned with White Lodging Services during my summers off from Purdue University. After graduating from Purdue with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2001, I accepted a management position with White Lodging and worked in both Sales and Operations at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Hammond and then in Sales at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. In 2008, I joined the Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa in Michigan City as a Sales Manager and was tasked to book corporate meetings and events in the new Stardust Event Center.

I am now the Director of Sales for the SSCVA, where I will be helping to bring association, religious, sports and corporate conventions and events to our beautiful area.

Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, I currently live in Demotte with my husband, our two children and our cat with nine lives, Minnie.

Candace Nowak

  • Digital Content Specialist
  • 219-989-7770 office
  • Email

I have always enjoyed working with people, so customer service seemed like the logical career path for me. I obtained my first job at age sixteen working as a clerk within the Walgreen’s organization. In order to advance my career, I sought a position at J.C. Penney Company. Within a few years, I quickly advanced into a management position and it seemed that the organization and I had reached a plateau. It was at this point that I recognized the need to better myself by furthering my education. I decided to obtain a college degree and I enrolled at Purdue University Calumet.

My love for dealing within customer service made it easy for me to select the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program as my college major. As a result of the Program’s graduation requirements, I had to seek out an internship and was fortunate to be accepted by the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority to complete this requirement. After working with the management and staff of the Authority, I was greatly impressed with the organization and the services that they provide. Through hard work and determination, I succeeded in obtaining my Bachelors degree from Purdue University Calumet and was able to continue on as a part-time employee with the Authority taking on whatever tasks the organization asked of me.

I am proud to say that I am currently a full-time employee at the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, as the Digital Content Specialist. I could not have asked for a better career.

In my spare time, my son and I enjoy exploring the many events, attractions and activities that Northwest Indiana and the southern shore of Lake Michigan have to offer. I volunteer my time at his school for various parties, events and field trips. He and I take advantage of the local music programs in the parks, as well as, the numerous community festivals, art fairs, seasonal programs and other attractions offered throughout our area.

Rick Flutka

  • Sports Development Manager
  • 219-554-2726 office
  • Email

Recently retired after 36 years in public education. During those years I was a classroom instructor, assistant athletic director, athletic director, dean of students and director of building and grounds/transportation.

I was an assistant coach of various athletic teams and served as head coach in football, track and field and swimming. I also served as tournament director for a variety of IHSAA tournaments.

I am married with 2 children and one grandchild.

Kevin Fanta

  • Facilities Coordinator
  • 219-554-2957 office
  • Email

I grew up in Calumet City, Illinois and went to high school at St. Francis DeSales.

I attended Northern Illinois University for 2 years and then went to the Divers Academy of eastern Seaboard to become a Commercial Deep sea diver. A recurring knee injury took me out of that field and put me behind a truck for the next 25 years. I ended up at Hanover Central high School as a custodian and a substitute teacher. I have also coached middle school and high school students for various sports. In November of 2013 I was hired as facilities Coordinator at the South Shore CVA. My daily responsibilities include the day to day operations of the maintenance and housekeeping staff.

I have live in St. John for the past 25 years with my wife Mary and our 4 adopted children, Kaylin, Trenton, Madison and Austin. My favorite thing to do has been watching my children grow and play sports. The thing I most like about the South Shore is the beaches. My wife and I love to go to the beach as much as we can.

Tyler Malec

  • Social Media
  • 219-989-7770 office
  • Email

Let’s face it; the world was a different place in 1991. America was looking at a desert that needed storming, there was the creation of a web that was as wide as the world and yes, Nirvana had officially hit the music scene. In other words, the times they were a changin’. Amongst this rapid tide also came a squalling child. His hair was golden and so were his ambitions. His name was Tyler Malec.

I graduated from Purdue University Calumet Spring 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and a minor in public relations. I joined the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in December 2013 to focus on our social media efforts. I gladly carry the honor of tweeting our tweets, posting on our Facebook and contributing to our blog. I’ve lived in Northwest Indiana for sixteen years and one may be hard pressed to argue that they have been the best years of my life.

In my free time, I find that I enjoy beaches, but dread long walks. Combine the two and I won’t be in the mix. The Indiana Dunes has always been a summer staple in my life which is good because I never want to lose that page. I’ve grown a hunger for the arts and I frequent local exhibits any chance I get. I find myself growing into a beer snob in my older years, and that’s great because the region has some stellar breweries that I’m always eager to hop to. Yes, pun intended.

Amy Van Soest

  • Communications Coordinator
  • 219-554-2720 office
  • Email

I joined the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority team in December 2013 as a communications intern. As a senior at Purdue University Calumet, I was thrilled to be able to work for such a respected organization. I have been promoted recently to Communications Coordinator where I will be writing content for the website, blogging and serving as a liaison between various groups and the South Shore CVA. I will be graduated with a B.A. in English Professional Writing, journalism minor and an Online Certificate in Writing for Interactive Media.

I have been a resident of Jasper County for the past 25 years. Living in DeMotte has given me the best of both worlds. It’s been a great place to raise my children, I've met many wonderful people and I love the small town feel. On the flip side, I am just a short drive to all of the fantastic opportunities the region affords.

In my free time, I love spending time with my son, two daughters and my 2-year-old grandson. Whether we’re enjoying the South Shore’s beautiful beaches, having fun at local county fairs or visiting one of the region’s many attractions, we can always find something fun to do.

Alex Maciel

  • Visitor Services Manager
  • 219-554-2721 office
  • Email

I began my career with the SSCVA, in October 2013, when I was hired as a Travel Counselor to assist with our annual exhibit of “A Christmas Story” Comes Home. I was soon promoted to Visitor Services Manager. I primarily focus on the goings-on in the Indiana Welcome Center.

I previously worked for State Farm, the Boys and Girls Club and Ball State University, where I also I received my B.A. in Geography: Travel and Tourism and a minor in Peace and Conflict Resolution studies. Chirp, Chirp!

Though I originally grew up in New York, I moved to Valparaiso, Indiana when I was a teenager and have lived here ever since. I've seen Northwest Indiana change so much since moving here and enjoy the benefits that tourism has brought to the area.

My husband, Eric and I love to do many things in the South Shore, which include going to the Indiana Dunes, Chesterton European Market, 49er Drive-In and Gary SouthShore RailCats games.

Jake Giles

  • IT Support-Video Production Associate
  • Email

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, I spent my formative years living right down the street from the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs. I moved to Northwest Indiana back in 2003 and have had so many new and amazing experiences in the region since then. Prior to moving here, I had never even heard of a pierogi, much less eaten one. These days they're one of my favorite things to eat, along with so many other tasty treats that many locals might take for granted.

I am a senior at Purdue University Calumet and will graduate in fall of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. In the spring, I was honored by being named the Outstanding Senior Student in the department of communication and creative arts. I joined the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in October 2013, as an intern doing video production and was recently promoted to video production associate.

Through the power of video, I am able to showcase the area and enlighten others about so many of the fantastic reasons this is a great area to live and visit. I still find myself discovering new aspects to enjoy every day and am thankful to be able to use my creativity and passion in sharing it with the world.

I currently live in Dyer, with my girlfriend and two rather large cats. In my spare time, I enjoy splashing around at Deep River Waterpark or one of the many beautiful beaches along the South Shore. When it gets cold and boy does it get cold up here you'll probably find me avoiding shoveling snow and staying warm by eating at one of the stellar local restaurants.

Peggy Parkinson

  • Executive Assistant
  • 219-554-2226 office
  • Email

Northwest Indiana has been a lifetime home for me. Growing up in Schererville, it always made me wonder what exactly the “Crossroads of the Nation” really meant. The intersection of Route 30 and Route 41 holds a lot of fond memories such as the Teibel’s Restaurant and Christmas lights, the Sauzers’ KiddieLand Park (yes, that was a long time ago) and now the growth that has taken place along that same land. The “Crossroads” is just as it says…sooner or later, everything and everyone comes through there and the lucky ones get to stick around!

During that growth spurt of both the land and my teenage years, I landed my first job at Strack and Van Til. This was just the beginning of a life in customer service, various projects, working with kids, management, volunteering and overall just helping people. These ventures seemed to have all been leading up to the best adventure yet here at South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. I suppose that may sound cliché but I assure you…it is true!

I am fortunate to now hold the title of Executive Assistant to the President/CEO of South Shore CVA, Mr. Speros A. Batistatos. This position covers a wide array of duties, which is a welcome challenge. Since I have just recently joined the family here in December of 2014, I am still “learning the ropes,” as they say, but have been welcomed with open arms and look forward to coming in to a bustling setting every day!

Now settled in Crown Point with a soon-to-be Valparaiso University graduate and a sophomore at Crown Point High School, we keep very busy all around the region! Both kids are active BMX racers, which keeps us on the move. We also like visiting the local hotspots such as Fair Oaks Dairy Farm, County Line Orchard, Albanese Candy Factory, Deep River Park and camping! When the sun is shining, I love to hang out at one of the local sidewalk eateries and catch up with friends over a tall frosty drink and watch all the action on the Crown Point square. So if you see me out and about – come say “Hi” and sit a spell!

Uniquely South Shore
Northwest Indiana’s very own candy factory boasts the world’s best gummies! Tour the factory and experience your favorites being made, see the world’s tallest chocolate waterfall and sample some of the best candies around!…more
What began as a local newspaper’s effort to tell the compelling stories of Northwest Indiana men and women who sacrificed during the Civil War has evolved into a large-scale historical preservation effort. The joint partnership of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project seeks to carry forward on hundreds of hours of community service that already have taken place. …more
Conveniently located between Chicago and Indianapolis, Fair Oaks Farms offers a fun family playground that everyone will enjoy! From the Dairy Adventure and Birthday Barn, to the Cheese Factory and Mooville, Fair Oaks Farms will keep the family entertained, and well-fed, for a full day of education and fun!…more
When a guest visits a hotel, restaurant, bank, or gas station, they rarely meet the manager or owner of the establishment. It's up to the front-line employee to make the customer's visit enjoyable.The R.O.S.E. Awards were created to recognize these "directors of first impression" who consistently work hard to make our lives easier. Guests & managers are able to nominate an employee who consistently "goes the extra mile."…more
Heavy industry carried the South Shore economy for decades. Now, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority tells a story about a community: it’s been built by steel but changing from tourism. Northwest Indiana’s appeal is its devotion to ensure new & already existing businesses succeed. Area leaders have teamed together to revitalize the mill towns and make Northwest Indiana the place people want to live & work. …more
Experience the journey of the Passion of Christ as never before in this interactive trail featuring 40 life-sized bronze statues. Experience the various Stations of the Cross with audio descriptions as you walk the winding pathway.…more
With five different casinos, Northwest Indiana offers much excitement and action along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan! With decadent restaurants, world class entertainment and floors (and floors) of slots and table games, your night is just getting started when you test your luck at one of our casinos.…more
A breathtaking adventure awaits at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, home to a plethora of diverse natural resources. The National Park is comprised of more than 15,000 acres of sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, prairies, rivers, oak savannas, and woodland forests. It provides visitors with opportunities for bird watching, camping, 45 miles of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.…more
Pierogi Fest, the pride of Whiting, is an opportunity for the residents to celebrate their heritage while poking a little fun at themselves at the same time. The one of a kind parade and festival have received countrywide recognition having been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel.…more
This holiday season, The Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond will feature 6 animated displays featuring scenes from "A Christmas Story". The displays include: Higbee’s Department Store Window, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, the Bumpus Hounds, and the Parker Living Room. The displays were first showcased in 2003 in the windows of the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City. …more
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