The Grovertown High School graduate who has spent the past 35 years giving back to the county where he was raised is the recipient of the Robert E. Hamilton Award. Territorial Engineering Founder Van Janovic was honored during last night’s Starke County Economic Development Foundation Prospectus and Achievement event. Nancy Dembowski presented the award and says Janovic has put community ahead of self since opening Territorial Engineering in 1978 and has shaped the landscape of Starke County in doing so.
“His work on behalf of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation has resulted in the lead track facility, industrial parks in Hamlet, North Judson and Knox, and many other economic development projects, as well as the design of the industrial buildings,” Dembowski said.
She worked closely with Janovic on many projects during her tenure as mayor of Knox. One was the Phoenix House, which provides a safe haven for domestic violence victims and their families.
“I know for a fact he never billed the organization for any of the professional work that went into that home, which helps so many abused women and families. He always has been a person who puts community ahead of self, and his work over the years has certainly been an example of that,” Dembowski said.
Janovic’s brief acceptance speech reflected the selfless demeanor Dembowski described.
“I’d like to thank my Lord and Creator, Jesus Christ, and his good graces. I want to thank my lovely wife, Brenda, and her patience, and so many people that were there working with me. Some of them are here tonight, my partner Robert Aloi. A really huge thanks to the people of this community for allowing me to live here and serve here and raise my family here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Janovic said. His comments drew an enthusiastic round of applause.
Janovic’s list of Starke County projects is quite lengthy and includes work for the Starke County Historical Society, the Koontz Lake Lions Club, Missionary Church and Regional Sewer District, as well as construction of the community’s public baseball diamond. He’s also done work for the Bass Lake Regional Sewer District, California Township Fire Department, Starke County Airport and Public Library and Knox Middle School.