Selections are made from across the county. Others selected include: Julie Dahle, Choice Financial; Connie Lonneman, First State Bank Southwest; Jennifer Jakel, AbbyBank; and Elyse Smithback, Oregon Community Bank.

The full story can be found at Read on for an excerpt from the publication…


Former calculus teacher now a CEO to stay

NW Financial Review - Douglas Farmer, November 2, 2017

The jump from pre-calculus to community bank president and CEO is not a typical one.

In Shane Pilarski's case, the jump from high school math teacher to loan clerk at Alliance Bank, Francesville, Ind., was not meant to be permanent.

Pilarski and her husband moved about 45 miles from Kentland, Ind., to Francesville. Just as notable as the distance from the new home to South Newton High School in Kentland, the commute also crossed from the Eastern time zone to the Central. For about a year, the clock said Pilarski arrived at school 15 minutes before she left home.

"I decided I wanted to find a job that was a little closer, we wanted to start a family" Pilarski said. "There were no teaching jobs local, but there was a job at the bank that was posted. I thought, I'm going to take that until a teaching job opens up. That was in 2002. I've been here ever since."

Pilarski is a 2017 selection for Outstanding Women in Banking honors, along with four others. The recognition, sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen, is presented by NorthWestern Financial Review magazine.

A few years after starting at Alliance Bank, Pilarski almost returned to the textbooks. Then a credit analyst, the nearby job in her original profession of seven years had her attention, but she recognized a good thing going at Alliance.

Shane Pilarski's children have not asked for much help on their math homework yet, although the former high school teacher often wishes they would.

"When it came down to the wire, I just really decided I liked what I was doing on a day-to-day basis and wanted to stay," she said. "Once I made that decision, I've really never considered leaving banking."

A departure now would be surprising. Pilarski continued up the Alliance ladder until she was established as the next step in succession planning at the $307.8 million bank. That process was expedited when then-president and CEO Terry Stevens was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November of 2015. In short order after that terrible news, Pilarski began taking on more duties.

"[Stevens] was true to his responsibility for the leadership of the bank in that one of his very first concerns was of who is going to continue, " Pilarski said. "It was just within a matter of a couple of days after his diagnosis he and a couple of the board members talked to me about at least stepping up and taking a much more active role while Terry was fighting his fight. We were all optimistic that it would be a successful fight."

Stevens died Aug. 14, 2016, at the age of 59.

At the end of the month, the Alliance board named Pilarski interim CEO. The temporary tag was removed at the end of February.

"When it is a community bank and they lose anyone within the bank, it is a family, so there is a sense of mourning," said Laura Wilson, vice president of communications for the Indiana Bankers Association. "Alliance Bank has handled the transition well, and much of that would be attributed to Shane. It was a tough position to walk into, but she also recognized the value of having worked under and been mentored by Terry's leadership."

Pilarski credits a number of Stevens' peers for some of her success. He was an active member of a community bank president peer group across northern Indiana.

"The one thing that I've been so [impressed and amazed by] is the compassion of other community bankers," she said. "Immediately, they were all reaching out. I had presidents and CEOs from places that are our direct competitors reaching out and offering help in any way."

Only among them for a year now, Pilarski already contributes regularly to the peer group. As one of the younger bank CEOs in Indiana at age 45 — and the first woman on the board at Alliance — she offers a different viewpoint than many of her colleagues.

Most would consider Kent Liechty, president at First Bank of Berne and a member of the peer group, to be in the early years of his career, having taken over only seven years ago. Yet, he points out how much has changed in that time span. Pilarski did not have to endure the implementation of Dodd-Frank or the initial cybersecurity concerns, not to mention the recession.

"She brings that fresh perspective that really helps to meld the group and bring some fresh ideas," Liechty said. "Maybe even a better understanding of some technology and some new issues that are impacting our banking industry."

None of this was Pilarski's plan. She certainly never expected to be leading Alliance Bank by now, and in at least one respect, wishes that was not the case.

Her chance to teach math again will come soon. Her daughter, Emily, is a freshman in high school and her son, Jacob, is in sixth grade. Pre-calculus and calculus homework are not far off.


Alliance Bank is a local Real Community Bank ® with offices in Francesville, Monon, Monticello, Otterbein, Oxford, Rensselaer, and Winamac.


Local News Briefs

Candidate filing underway for 2018 Indiana Primary


Candidate filing for the 2018 Indiana Primary Election opened Jan. 10 and will run until 12 noon, Friday, Feb. 9.

Pulaski County offices up for election will be circuit court judge, superior court judge, prosecutor, clerk of the circuit court, sheriff, assessor, coroner, surveyor, county commissioner District 3, and county council Districts 1-4.

PACE to offer $55,000 in educational grants

Pulaski Alliance for Community Education (PACE) is offering $55,000 in educational grants to eligible organizations this spring.

PACE was established in 2002 as the result of a Lilly Endowment CAPE grant won by the Community Foundation of Pulaski County. The purpose of CAPE was to provide selected counties with the ability to expand educational opportunities.

Extension to offer 'Strengthening Families Program'

Purdue Extension will offer the "Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14" locally in February and March. 

Parents want to protect their children, but it’s challenging. Youth need skills to help them resist the peer pressure that leads to risky behaviors. Research shows that protective parenting improves family relationships and decreases the level of family conflict, contributing to lower levels of substance use.

Cold or Flu?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced Friday (Jan.12) that influenza cases are widespread across the country, with Indiana among the states hardest hit.

"Flu is everywhere in the US right now," said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC's influenza branch. "This is the first year we've had the entire continental US at the same level (of flu activity) at the same time." It has been an early flu season that seems to be peaking now, he said, with a 5.8% increase in laboratory-confirmed cases this week over last.

Scholarships available through Community Foundation of Pulaski County

Scholarship applications for 2018 high school graduates will be available online through the Community Foundation of Pulaski County starting Friday, Jan. 12.

Applications are found on the Community Foundation’s website at

Next Historical Society 'Music Jam' Jan. 19

A "Country Music, Bluegrass and Gospel Music Jam," sponsored by the Pulaski County Historical Society, will run from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19, at the Eagles community room, SR 14 W, Winamac.

All musicians are welcome (acoustic instruments only, please). The event is open to the public.

NIPFP 26th annual Toy Show Jan. 21

The 26th annual Farm Toy Show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21, at Eastern Pulaski Elementary School in Winamac.

The event, sponsored by the Northern Indiana Power From the Past, Inc., usually attracts over 2,000 visitors.

4-H Open House & STEM Night Jan. 25

The annual Pulaski County 4-H Open House and STEM Night will begin at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, at the county highway garage on U.S. 35, north of Winamac.

This is an opportunity for new 4-H'ers to meet with different project leaders to see which projects they are interested in completing for the 2018 4-H year.

PCPL lists January events

Pulaski County Public Library has listed its special programs and activities for January. They include making an artsy picture frame, an "arm knitting" class, a make-and-take craft, and a computer class on PowerPoint.

For more information on any program, call the library at 574-946- 3432.

Red Cross to accept blood donations Jan. 12, 31

FORT WAYNE - This January, National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage.

The next opportunities in Pulaski County to donate blood to the American Red Cross will be Friday, Jan. 12 and Wednesday Jan. 31, both in Winamac.

PMH Senior Care helps senior citizens with mental health issues

Pulaski Memorial Hospital's new Senior Care program can help senior citizens with mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, fear and worry lasting more than two weeks. It also assists with grief issues.

Program director Mindy Shidler, RN, hopes to spread information about the Senior Care program throughout the community.


Indiana News

Health officials report increased flu activity, deaths

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging residents to take precautions against influenza amid recent increases in flu-like illnesses and deaths.

As of Dec. 30, 25 flu-related deaths occurred in Indiana during 2017.

Delphi double homicide investigation continues

INDIANAPOLIS - Monday morning (Jan.15) members of the Liberty German family and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter appeared on a live segment of the Megyn Kelly TODAY show to help keep the double homicide of Liberty German and Abigail Williams in the public eye. Late last year there was a similar appearance on the Dr. PHIL show.

The one-year anniversary of the teen girls' deaths near Delphi approaches next month.

Holcomb’s second State of the State address emphasizes workforce, presents goals for progress in 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb delivered his 2018 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly Tuesday (Jan. 9).

While continuing his focus on five key pillars, the governor’s remarks highlighted his commitment to developing a skilled, ready workforce and detailed several milestones he expects the state to meet.

Scammers targeting NIPSCO customers throughout Indiana

Company offers tips to avoid being a victim

MERRILLVILLE - NIPSCO has received an influx in calls from residential and business customers reporting several hundred cases of unknown callers claiming to be affiliated with the company and demanding payment through a prepaid card.

Some reports have indicated that scammers have appeared in person knocking on doors, while other reports have indicated that the company’s 1-800 customer service phone number was cloned to appear on caller IDs.

Fountain County contestant wins 2018 Indiana State Fair Queen title

INDIANAPOLIS - Fountain County's Audrey Campbell was crowned as the 60th Indiana State Fair Queen at the pageant finals Sunday afternoon at the state fairgrounds.

She will reign over the 2018 Indiana State Fair Aug. 3-19, in Indianapolis.

Indiana General Assembly 'short' session opens Jan. 3

The Indiana General Assembly 120th session will reconvene for the 2018 "short" session at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the statehouse in Indianapolis.

The short session will not involve drafting a state budget. The deadline for bill filing for the Senate is Jan. 5, and for the House is Jan. 9. The 2018 session must end no later than March 14.

Pulaski County's unemployment rate dips to 3.3% in November

Pulaski County's unemployment rate dipped 3.3 percent in November, down from 3.5 percent in October, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday (Dec. 27). The rate was 4.1 percent a year ago.

The county has 5,891 employed persons in a labor force of 6,092. Last month those numbers were 5,822 of 6,033. A year ago the numbers were 5,989 of 6,247.

Donnelly, Young bill to support Law Enforcement Mental Health Programs heads to President

Bipartisan bill would help law enforcement agencies establish or enhance mental health care services for officers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, originally introduced by U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN), is headed to President Trump to be signed into law.  

Donnelly and Young introduced the bill in the Senate in early April and it passed unanimously in May. U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks (IN-05) and Val Demings (FL-10) introduced the companion bill in the House of Representatives in late April and it passed the House in November and cleared the Senate last night.

Walorski, Donnelly, Young issue statements on tax reform bill

PresidentTrump signed into law Dec. 22 the $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which makes widespread changes to the Internal Revenue Code.

The legislation is the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years. Almost all of its provisions, including a lower corporate tax rate of 21% and lower individual income tax rates, go into effect Jan. 1.

U.S. Census Bureau releases Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for counties

WASHINGTON, D.C.– In 2016, the median household income for all counties in the U.S. ranged between $22,045 and $134,609, with a median county-level value of $47,589, according to the new Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates report released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The median household income in 2016 for Pulaski County was $47,243, according to the report. The county has and estimated 381 children, ages 5-17 (school-aged), living in families in poverty. In total, the county has an estimated 534 children, ages 0-17 (19.4 percent in that age population), living in families in poverty.


Post News

Daughters of the American Revolution names award recipients

The Metamonong Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has recognized two local high school seniors as the recipients of this year’s Good Citizens Award.

Jerod Glasford of West Central High School and Emma Eldridge of Winamac Community High School were selected by teachers and peers for this award based on their leadership, service, and patriotism.

West Central Board votes approval of $3.8 million secure entrance, utilization of space project

FRANCESVILLE - The West Central School Board voted to approve the $3.8 million "secure entrance and utilization of space" project at its January meeting.

The purpose of the project is to provide safer entrances into the buildings and to utilize the current building space into a more improved educational environment. The board noted that as existing obligations mature, the anticipated net impact on the Debt Service Fund tax rate will be $0.

EPCS Board holds annual reorganization, discusses asphalt projects

WINAMAC - The Eastern Pulaski Community School Board held its reorganizational meeting Monday (Jan. 8), and also agreed to move forward with the process of selecting some asphalt/concreted projects needed on the school campus.

The board elected Terri Johnston as its president, Deke DeMarco as vice president, and Beth Ruff as secretary.

County law enforcement officers to participate in traing for 'Policing the Teen Brain'

Law enforcement officers and juvenile probation officers from Pulaski County will gather together to improve interactions with youth through the Policing the Teen Brain training Jan. 16-19 in Plymouth.

“We look to this unique training as a step toward enhancing our work with youth, and as part of the juvenile detention alternatives initiative (JDAI),” said Natalie Daily-Federer, PhD, JDAI coordinator. “Through it, we hope to offer officers new skills in interacting with youth and to strengthen Pulaski’s law -enforcement relationships with youth-serving community organizations.”

WOW! announces Holiday Window Decorating Contest winners

WINAMAC - WOW! (Wander Our Winamac) has announced that Opera House Floral & Gifts is the winner of its first annual Holiday Window Decorating Contest.

WOW! invited downtown Winamac businesses to festively decorate and light their display windows for the holiday season (Dec. 1-31). 148 voters participated in the public online voting to determine the contest winners.

Shane Pilarski among 2017 Outstanding Women in Banking

FRANCESVILLE - Selected from nominations submitted by readers, NorthWestern Financial Review honors five outstanding women bankers who have made significant contributions to their communities and the industry. The awards are sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen.

This year's selections include Alliance Bank’s president/CEO, Shane Pilarski.

EPCS approves 2018-19 school calendar

WINAMAC - The Eastern Pulaski Community Schools Board approved the 2018-19 school calendar as presented at its monthly meeting Monday evening (Dec. 11).

Before the board vote, Superintendent Dan Foster noted there is current discussion concerning legislation to start school later in August.

Peyton Newman named recipient of 2018 Lilly Scholarship

One Pulaski County student has been named the recipient of a full-tuition, four-year scholarship as the Community Foundation of Pulaski County 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.

Peyton Newman will receive full tuition to an Indiana college of her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

West Central Board continues work on safe school entrance projects

FRANCESVILLE - The West Central School Board advanced plans for its "school entrance security" projects, heard praise for the high school's dual credit program, and accepted bids for two new school buses at its December meeting.

Also, Superintendent Don Street reported that the Indiana Department of Education has notified school districts that the tuition support monthly payments will be decreased because the Indiana State Budget for education is less than the total tuition support payments.

Community Foundation renews commitment to pool project agreements

In a letter to the community, the Community Foundation of Pulaski County has renewed its commitment to the Winamac Community Pool Project agreements.

The Community Foundation voted last year to enter into two fund agreement contracts relating to the pool project.

One dead, another injured in Medaryville incident

MEDARYVILLE - One man is dead and another injured as the result of an apparent stabbing and shooting incident at a Medaryville residence Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 21).

The Pulaski County Coroner's Office identified the dead man as Kenneth Ray Henry, 41, of Rensselaer. The name of the injured man has not been released.