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Guest Name
Charles Chuck Hughes
Guest Occupation
Executive Director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce
Guest Biography

Charles “Chuck” Hughes serves as the Executive Director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce. His mission, along with that of the Chamber is to attract new business, retain existing businesses and to promote and further develop all of the business interests in the City of Gary.

During his very diverse and productive career, Mr. Hughes served as a Gary Fire Official for 34 years reaching the rank of Battalion Chief and the department’s Public Information Officer. He worked as a member of the media doing both radio and television. He was the host of the popular “Sound Off” program on W.W.C.A. radio for several years in addition to serving as the evening newscaster. He was the 4th black on-air person hired full time at W.W.C.A. behind only the legendary Lucky Cordell, Vivian Carter and Jesse Coopwood. He later was named as the first black play-by-play announcer and that was followed by his being named the first black Sports Director at that station. Next, he ventured into Chicago television where he served for 12 years as Producer and host for the popular television talk show “Dimensions” seen weekly on W.P.W.R. and U.P.N. Channel 50 in Chicago.

Chuck also served with distinction for 16 years as a member of the Gary City Council at an At-large position. During that time he served two terms as President, two as Vice-President and each year served as the Council’s Public Safety Chairman. He is credited with founding several community programs such as the Gary Midnight Basketball Program, the “No Workshops, No Jump shots” program, the Local and Chicago media anti-violence initiative and bringing the owners of Taser to Northwest Indiana to expose local Law Enforcement to non-fatal techniques.

Chuck’s council success enabled him to serve as the Education Chairman for the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. National recognition included his being selected as first Vice-Chair and then Chairman of the National League of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee  being the only person from Northwest Indiana to ever serve in that capacity. Next Mr. Hughes was asked to serve on the prestigious National League of Cities Board of Directors, where only a couple of other people from Northwest Indiana had ever previously served.

In addition to his duties as Executive Director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hughes recently served as the Board Chairman for the Gary-Hammond East Chicago Empowerment Zone. Currently he serves as a member of the Indiana University Executive Council, the I.U. Chancellor’s Community Engagement Committee, the Indiana University School of Business Advisory Board, the I.U. SPEA Advisory Committee, Northwest Indiana Chamber Executives Association, the Regional Development Corporation Board of Directors, Ivy Tech Society of Innovators, the Indiana Black Expo Board of Directors, Friends of the Gary Airport and the Salvation Army Board of Directors. Among his many affiliations are the National Association of Black Journalists, Firefighters Local 359, Indiana Association of Fire Firefighters, Retired Fire and Police Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the I CHANGE NATIONS 3M Project Global Initiative.

Chuck has received numerous honors and recognition for his work in the community and on behalf of its citizens. Those include;  the prestigious Indiana University Outstanding Alumnus Award, Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society Award for Public Affairs and Administration, Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Civil Rights Library, induction into the National Civil Rights Library Hall of Fame, Honorary Doctorate degree in Philosophy in Humanities from United Graduate College and Seminary International, appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by Golden Rule International, I Change Nations Award as a Human Conservation Solutionist, creator of the internationally acclaimed Community Civility Counts initiative, a campaign that earned him recognition from Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers at the Gerald R. Ford presidential Library in Grand Rapids Michigan and later on the U.S. Capitol Hill, Outstanding Individual Award from the Mayor’s Office on Disabilities, and the Lakeshore Classic event that spotlights our student athletes and that also attracts national dignitaries to Northwest Indiana.

Chuck Hughes is a graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School where he was a stellar atlete, has a Certificate of Graduation from Midwestern Broadcast School and a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University. He is married to Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes and the father of 3 daughters.