STARKE COUNTY – Community members met at Knox Middle School on Oct. 10 to celebrate Manufacturer’s Day. Businesses from around the county came to Knox Middle School’s gymnasium and informed 8th graders about what their business. They do that in hopes that when students graduate, they find jobs in Starke County instead of jobs elsewhere. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) put on the event.
Before the gym was flooded with students, the 2019 Prospectus and Achievement Celebration luncheon was held. The celebration is used to update community members about the economic development of Starke County as well as award the Robert E. Hamilton Award to an outstanding member of the community that has aided in the county’s economic growth.
Executive Director Larry Wickert was the emcee for the event. He gave an update about the economic growth of the county. Guest speaker for the event was Blair Milo. Blair is the secretary for Career Connections and Talent. She was appointed to that position by Executive Order in August 2017 by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. She also serves on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, a body dedicated to shaping education and workforce training for a 21st Century workforce.
The 2019 Robert E. Hamilton Award Recipient was Charles W. Weaver. Mr. Weaver has served on the SCEDF Board for several years and has served as its president. He also served as the foundation’s seventh Executive Director and performed that role from August 2005 until his retirement in December 2017. Mr. Weaver is the longest-tenured Executive Director in SCEDF’s 34-year history.
“Charlie also received several awards for his contributions, including being named Citizen of the Year for the City of Knox, Starke County’s Henry F. Schricker Award for Service Above Self, the Ancilla Award, and admission into the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana both as a Team Member and as an individual member, to name but a few,” stated the program. It went on to add that Mr. Weaver has received three individual Sagamore of the Wabash Awards from three different Indiana Governors. This award is the highest honor which the Governor of Indiana may bestow upon a citizen.
Unfortunately, Charlie was unable to attend the ceremony due to an illness. In his place, Ted Hayes and Alma Jean Davis (Weaver’s mother-in-law) spoke on his behalf.
The Robert E. Hamilton Award is named after the man most credited with the creation of the SCEDF back in 1985. The award was created to honor people who have contributed to the economic development of the county.
This is the seventh year that the SCEDF has held Manufacturer’s Day.