The Starke County Economic Development Foundation honored three companies who have opened operations in Starke County over the past year during their “Prospectus and Achievements Night” on Dec. 5. Kemin Industries, Inc.; Chester, Inc., Ag Services Division; and Selected Furniture, LLC were honored along with two companies who announced plans to expand operations in the county: American Oak Preserving Company and Knox Fertilizer. Executive Director Charles Weaver also gave a report on the economic development highlights of 2012 and what might be expected in 2013 for Starke County.
The night culminated in the awarding of the Robert E. Hamilton Award to State Representative Nancy J. Dembowski in honor of her second-to-none record of public service. Dembowski worked at WKVI Radio for 25 years before making her entry into elected public service. Over the next 26 years, resident watched Dembowski serve as elected official in several positions, including Starke County Council, Mayor of Knox, state senator, and state representative.
The presentation of her award highlight her efforts to improve both Starke County and the city of Knox. While a county councilperson and during her campaign for mayor, Dembowski made the motion to enact the County Economic Development Tax which has been both instrumental in bringing jobs to the county while funding necessary economic development activities as well. The presentation also detailed a number of other actions Dembowski took to improve the county, including being a key piece of the construction of the community center in Knox.
Dembowski holds the record for the most years served as a Foundation Board member, and has served as vice president of the Foundation as well as numerous committees.