ACHIEVERS: Leadership Whitley County celebrates its Class No. 16

Leadership Whitley County’s Class No. 16 poses for a group photograph at its graduation celebration event. Applications are now being accepted for Class No. 17 by the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.
Staff Writer

COLUMBIA CITY – Local nonprofit organization Leadership Whitley County (LWC), a program of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), recently celebrated the graduation of LWC Class No. 16.
Since 2001, more than 300 diverse participants have graduated from the LWC program. LWC is a seven-month experiential learning program designed to empower individuals to serve and become better leaders, engage individuals in the workplace and community, and connect them with resources to continue growing as a leader at home, in the workplace and in the community.

LWC Class 16 graduates included: Robbie Burita, Churubusco High School student; Katie Clingerman, City of Columbia City; Justin Clupper, Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.; Renee Cone, Crossroads Bank; Eric Davies, Micropulse, Inc.; Dana Day, 80/20, Inc.; Julie Eck, 80/20, Inc.; Bradley Emerick, Restoration Medical Polymers; Joe Gomori, STAR Financial Bank; Jody Hollenbaugh, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department; Chris Horn, Fort Wayne Metals; Cassandra Jones, STAR Insurance Agency; Melanie Kellogg, March of Dimes; Alex Knollenberg, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership; Mark Leckrone, Reelcraft Industries, Inc.; Adam Lich, C&A Tool Engineering, Inc.; Sean Martin, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department; Michael Papaik, Reelcraft Industries, Inc.; Cathy Petrie, Smith-Green Community School Board; and Michael Shoda, City of Columbia City.

The EDC and LWC would like to extend a special thank you to the main celebration sponsors, Fort Wayne Metals and Micropulse, Inc., supporting sponsor, Crossroads Bank, and event host, Belle Haven for their generosity and hospitality.
“Being a new professional in Whitley County, Leadership Whitley County was a great program for me to meet a diverse group of leaders and learn about the extensive opportunities to get involved in the county,” said class member Cassandra Jones, “The LWC program helped me develop professional skills from proper etiquette at a business function, to handling conflict and managing teams. It was an excellent experience!”

LWC is now accepting applications for Class 17 for the 2017-18 year. Applications can be found on the EDC website at: or can be picked up at the Whitley County EDC office at 220 W. Van Buren St., Suite 102 in Columbia City. Please email completed applications to EDC Office Administrator, Beverly Flanagan at:

The “early bird” application deadline is May 30, 2017 and the deadline for all applications is June 30, 2017. More details about early
bird pricing is included on the application. Contact LWC Director Carrie Meyer with additional questions at or