Executive Director Bert Cook

Bert Cook

Executive Director

Bert Cook is the Executive Director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership. Having worked in the economic development field for 14 years Mr. Cook is well versed in all aspects of local economic development. His past experience has been with the Portage Economic Development Corporation as their Executive Director and with the La Porte County Economic Development Alliance as Retention and Expansion Coordinator.

Mr. Cook has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Purdue University North Central and has continued his education with development certificates from Ball State University and Purdue University North Central.

Currently, Mr. Cook sits on a number of Boards and Commissions including: The La Porte Urban Enterprise Association, Northwest Health, The La Porte County Revolving Loan Fund, and The Northwest Indiana Forum’s Economic Development Committee. Mr. Cook is also a member of the Rotary Club of    La Porte.

President of Business Services Mike Riehle

Mike Riehle

President of Business Services

Mike has spent 26 years in the financial services industry most recently in banking as a commercial lender. Throughout his tenure he has devoted significant hours to his community by serving in a volunteer capacity for local non-profits, community boards and municipal associations.

Some of Mike’s roles include, President of LaPorte Urban Enterprise Association, Regional Development Company Board of Directors, Slicer Champions mentor advisory committee member, La Porte County Family YMCA Treasurer and Board of Directors, Kiwanis Club of La Porte member, Founder of DeCamp’s Band of Brothers Foundation and several other roles and committees within the community over this time span. Mike is looking forward to taking advantage of the positive momentum in La Porte and adding value to area businesses looking to partner in this growing community.

Director of Marketing & Communications Lindsay Jongkind

Lindsay Kneifel

Director of Marketing & Communications

Lindsay Kneifel has experience working for a nonprofit and worked for the Greater Chamber of Commerce as Membership Director before expanding her role after the alliance with the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation was formed. She completed her Event Management Certificate through the Art Institute in 2016. Lindsay is the Secretary for the Business Improvement District Board of the City of La Porte, board member of the Kiwanis Club of La Porte and founding member of the La Porte Young Professionals. She was also a member of the 36th Leadership La Porte County class.

Lindsay oversees communicating and coordinating important topics and events from LEAP to its members and the public. She also contributes to the team effort of the staff by accomplishing related projects, programs or events, as needed. To contact Lindsay, please feel free to email her at

Workforce Development Coordinator Erik Nelson

Erik Nelson

Workforce Development Coordinator

Born and raised in La Porte, Erik graduated from La Porte High School in 2013. He went on to attend North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and graduated in 2017. He remained in the Chicago suburbs for several years before returning to La Porte.

Erik has experience in several different fields including marketing and event management for professional and collegiate athletics, including the Chicago Bears, Chicago Fire, Kane County Cougars and the University of Notre Dame. He has also worked in sales and new home construction, providing him an expansive understanding and unique insight into the varied occupational opportunities of a community such as La Porte. 

Erik serves as the direct connection between employers and La Porte’s workforce. Additionally, his strong connections to local educational institutions positions him to link recent graduates with gainful employment opportunities and valuable training programs.

Erik also serves as a United Way of La Porte County Board member, Unity Foundation Grant Review Committee member, Slicer Champions Advisory Board member, and LPCSC Youth Advisory Board member.  To contact Erik, please feel free to email him at

Contact Us

Phone: 219-324-8584
Address: 605 Michigan Avenue
La Porte IN, 46350