Starke County Economic Development Foundation Holds Annual Awards Celebration

Mat Swanson and Jack Lynch

A who’s who of industry in Starke County and throughout Northern Indiana attended the 26th Annual Starke County Economic Development Foundation awards celebration last night.

Board President Bill Sonnemaker said that no matter how gloomy it is elsewhere, it’s not that way in Starke County.

That was followed by the Executive Director of the foundation Charles Weaver saying, “the sun is shining in and the sun is shining on Starke County.”

He then acknowledged that the county has now dropped out of the top 10 unemployment counties in the state and at 14th Weaver said the county going to go even lower in the near future. The Director then revealed that he is currently working with three prospects who want to move their operations to the county.

Several awards were given throughout the evening, but the highlight award was the Robert E. Hamilton Award presented in the name of the Farmer’s Bank and Trust President who was in the forefront of organizing the Foundation.

Winning the award were Mat Swanson and Jack Lynch who both worked tirelessly to bring the Foundation to the successful position it is today and one that is recognized throughout Northern Indiana. Swanson was asked why he got involved with the Development Foundation.

“I think the main thing was that my kids were just coming out of college, looking for jobs, and none of them really finding jobs in Starke County because there just wasn’t any place for somebody with a recent college degree to go to work,” he replied. “I guess that’s the main reason how I got convinced we needed to do something to attract business and industry to the county.”

Jack Lynch tells us what lead him to become involved.

“I retired at 45 years old and came down here. Robert Hamilton and I took basically the whole county on as a challenge. Anybody I knew I asked them to help us. I got help from everybody – the whole county. It was really a big deal,” he said.

The awards were presented to the pair by members of the Hamilton family who flew to Starke County for the ceremony.

Photo provided by Jayme Goetz.