Carlson, Charlton Are 2021 Man & Woman Of The Year

Pictured (L to R) are, front row: 2021 Man of the Year Kurt Carlson, 2021 Woman of the Year Sue Charlton; back row: Doug Hanes, 1st Source Bank; and David Slone, Times-Union. 1st Source Bank and the Times-Union are the sponsors of the annual awards. Photo by Lauren Klusman, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.

Bowen Center CEO Kurt Carlson and Leesburg matriarch Sue Charlton are the 2021 Man and Woman of the Year, respectively.

They were each surprised with the honor, sponsored by 1st Source Bank and the Times-Union, at Thursday night’s Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce’s 110th Annual Chamber Awards Dinner at Nextremity Solutions in Warsaw.

“As you can tell, this is quite a shock,” Charlton said upon receiving the award. “But thank you for the recognition and it’s always a privilege. We’ve got a great little community and a great county so thank you very much.”

In announcing the Woman of the Year Award, Times-Union Managing Editor David Slone said, in part,  “Our Woman of the Year is giving, charitable and community service minded. She is a leader that is organized, communitive and always gives positive guidance. She is easy to work with and makes everyone feel appreciated. Her passion often goes unnoticed because of her humble nature. Beyond that, she has been a tireless volunteer and community advocate for ‘all things Leesburg.’ She has organized the Annual Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Services honoring our veterans for many years.”

Doug Hanes, 1st Source Bank, presented Carlson with the Man of the Year Award. In presenting the award, he said, in part, “Our Man of the Year has proven again and again his unwavering commitment to Kosciusko County. He makes sure to give opportunities to others, and in turn, those individuals have gone on to make a significant impact on our community. He has created a culture of transformative leadership which allows those who work within his organization to grow and fulfill the same mission.”

Upon receiving the award, Carlson said, “Oh wow. Thank you so much. Again, reflecting some of the surprise and appreciation that we heard from previous award winners, this is totally unexpected and very much appreciated. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful career here working in Indiana for the past 37 years and I’ve so enjoyed living in and working with this community in Kosciusko County. Thank you one and all for all the partnerships, support and help you’ve given Bowen Center and our patients.”

Nine other awards were presented Thursday night.

Lauren Klusman, Chamber director of marketing and communications, presented the Ambassador of the Year Award to Heather Lardino from 1st Source Bank. Lardino attended 62 Chamber related events in 2021.

Chamber President and CEO Rob Parker presented the Young Adult Professional of the Year Award on behalf of the award’s sponsor, Crossroads Bank. YAP is a group of business professionals under the age of 40 who are active in the community. This year’s recipient was Cory Benz, owner of Titus Funeral Home.

Monica Kendrick, the 2021 Chamber Board Chair presented the Government Excellence Award sponsored by Zimmer Biomet to Kosciusko County Geographic Information System Director Bill Holder.

Kendrick said, “This year’s recipient has long held the reputation of being a highly knowledgeable and valuable county employee. Whether he is assisting customers who are residents, school districts or contractors, he consistently demonstrates an efficient, professional and high-quality customer service to all.”

The Making a Difference Award was sponsored by Old National Bank and presented by Sandra Parra. The award was given to Chore-Time Brock for generously supporting area nonprofits and working toward helping to feed a hungry world.

Parra said, “As a company, Chore-Time Brock believes in giving back to the community in a variety of ways: United Way of Kosciusko County fundraising campaign, Days of Caring projects, food collections for Milford area charities and numerous long-term efforts with Cardinal Services.”

Honorable mention for the Making a Difference Award was given to Live Well Kosciusko and Boggs Automotive.

The LaunchPad Family Friendly Business award, which recognizes a business that provides innovative and creative solutions to support their employees’ family and/or child care needs, was presented to Instrumental Machine and Development. Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice was this year’s award sponsor and it was presented by Glenn Hall.

Hall spoke about how IMD has been working diligently to find a solution for the childcare needs of their staff, according to a news release from the Chamber. After surveying their employees to determine the needs, they began exploring options with LaunchPad. They continue to educate themselves on this issue and are using their voice for all businesses in Kosciusko County.

Honorable mention for the LaunchPad Family Friendly Business Award was given to Whitko Community Schools and Lakeland Christian Academy Preschool.

The Rising Star award is given to Kosciusko County’s highest performing new company. This year, the award, sponsored by Horizon Bank and presented by Mitch Goon, was awarded to Blue Barn Berry Farm.

Goon said, “Over the past four years, Blue Barn Berry Farm has grown from a quaint ‘you-pick’ blueberry patch to one of the fasted growing and thriving agritourism businesses in the Midwest. When the COVID pandemic hit, Blue Barn pivoted their business to help the community. In 2021, they launched their latest endeavor, Blue Barn Fundraising with the ambitious goal of donating over $1 million to the local community.”

Honorable mention for the Rising Star Award was given to HopLore Brewing Company and Carmen Flores Foundational Apparel by Ruby Ribbon.

The Chamber introduced two new awards this year and Kensington Digital Media was awarded the very first Main Street Impact Award, sponsored by PNC Bank and presented by Corinna Ladd, the release states. Throughout the years, Kensington Digital Media and their three radio stations, 107.3 WRSW, Willie 103.5 and News Now Warsaw 1480 AM and 99.7 FM have supported the community and specifically downtown Warsaw.

Honorable mention for the Main Street Impact Award was given to Clevenger Insurance and Forte Residential.

The second new award was the Community Development Award, honoring a business that has shown an outstanding contribution to community development in Kosciusko County. This award was sponsored by the K21 Health Foundation and presented by Rich Haddad. This year’s recipient was G & G Hauling & Excavating.

Haddad said, “For over 55 years, G & G Hauling & Excavating has been a leading contributor to community development in Kosciusko County. It would be hard to find an area of Kosciusko County where G & G has not made a significant impact.”

Honorable mention for the Community Development Award was given to the town of Winona Lake and Kosciusko REMC.

This year’s Business of the Year Award was sponsored by Lake City Bank. Chris Wiggins presented the award to Core Mechanical Services.

Wiggins said, “Much like many mission statements, theirs sounds good, exceptional service, unparalleled communication, craftsmanship and relationship. Those are all qualities each of us would love to receive from anyone we hire, but can a company really deliver on all of these promises? Core Mechanical Services certainly can and does live by these words.”

Honorable mention for the Business of the Year Award was given to Wildman and Warsaw Buick GMC.

For more information about the Chamber and the Awards, visit