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Life in the Spotlight

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Lance Werner

Since 2012, Lance Werner has been a champion for Michigan City Area Schools, effecting dynamic changes that keep the system financially thriving to serve the thousands of students who call Michigan City home.

Werner, born and raised in Michigan City, is glad to serve his community as the schools’ chief financial officer and treasurer.

“I believe a strong public school system is vital to the economic success of the region,” Werner said. “I am very pleased to be part of the MCAS team with the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Eason-Watkins. MCAS has many dedicated employees striving for student educational success.”

A graduate of Elston High School, Werner went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Purdue Northwest in liberal studies with distinction in accounting, and business in 2005 with a certificate in executive management from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business.

Coming from a diverse career background, Werner began his career at Phelps Holding Company in Portage, eventually becoming corporate controller for nine years before serving as the treasurer-controller for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad freight service for nearly 14 years.

“I enjoy working with finances in order to help companies achieve long term success,” Werner said. “I try to find solutions to financial problems.”

Currently, Werner is responsible for advising the superintendent and school board on the financial and budget matters of the district. The chief financial officer prepares and administers the district budget, guides the development of long-term capital financing methods, and directs and supervises all business and finance functions. This includes: risk management, accounting, audit, cash management, and grants administration.

This means Werner must be savvy on all district policies and procedures to perform his duties accordingly. He also supervises finance staff, student food services, facility maintenance, and custodial contract services.

However, he has also implemented new plans and built up new resources. This year, Werner oversaw the implementation of solar panel fields, reducing energy costs and providing a renewable energy source at several area schools.

Werner also helped create a plan to eliminate multi-million-dollar deficit spending by making crucial reductions in spending, and he oversaw issuance and refinancing of $42,000,000 in bonds for long-term capital improvements with lower interest rates.

On his free time, Werner has another passion aside from crunching numbers: music.

He produces music concerts at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan and the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso. Several of the music concerts have been fundraisers for local non-profits including Michigan City Schools, Acorn Theater, and Shirley Heinze Land Trust. For the past two years, Werner has helped coordinate a rotary karaoke contest to benefit children arts programs at Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

“The MC Club strives to help the community in various ways, including Salvation Army donations, providing a student eyeglass program, student scholarships, and creating awareness of the many important local non-profit organizations,” Werner said. “The MC Club celebrated a one-hundred-year anniversary in 2017.”

Today, Werner and his wife, Ann, live in rural LaPorte where they enjoy the close-knit community of The Region with the nearness of the city.

“I enjoy the diversity of residents in Northwest Indiana and living close to family,” Werner said. “I really enjoy spending time at Lake Michigan and the close proximity to Chicago and Southwest Michigan. As a life-long resident of Northwest Indiana, it is amazing to see all of the positive changes in the region.”

Community Involvement:

  • Indiana School Business Officials, 2012 to Present
  • Junior Achievement serving LaPorte County – President, Vice President, Board and Advisory Board Member, Instructor – 2005 to Present, Golden Award Recipient in 2008
  • Leadership LaPorte County – Board Member, President and Vice President 2009-2014
  • Michigan City Rotary Club – President, Assistant District Governor, Board Director, Member 2008 to Present, Presidential Citation in 2008
  • Purdue University Northwest, Chancellor Advisory and Sinai Forum, 2009 to Present
  • Shirley Heinze Land Trust - Board & Advisory Member, Treasurer, Finance, Communications, Fundraising, Board Development Committees, 2009 to present
  • Indiana Railroad Transportation Group, Indianapolis – Chairman – 2010 to 2012

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