The four honorees to be saluted at the Indiana Chamber’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner have been revealed.

Chuck Surack, founder and CEO of Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, is the Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year. He joins previously announced winners:

  • Governor Eric Holcomb, the Birch Bayh/Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year
  • John Thompson, Dynamic Leader of the Year
  • Plymouth, the Republic Airways and LIFT Academy Community of the Year

Surack has built a globally recognized online retailer of music instruments and technology. What started as a one-man operation  has more than 1,800 employees today. While nearly all the business takes place online, the company’s Fort Wayne campus is a retail, recording and performance venue for musicians (from near and far) and the community.

“Sweetwater, beginning with Chuck Surack recording musical performances from the back of his Volkswagen bus 40 years ago, is a classic entrepreneurial success story of working hard and doing the right thing,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Add in Chuck’s commitment to creating and saving jobs, as well as his tireless desire to assist those less fortunate, and he is the perfect choice for this honor.”

Surack credits outstanding customer service and technical support for Sweetwater’s success. He applies the same principles to the more than a dozen other businesses he has started or purchased in the last 11 years. He is also deeply involved in the community, serves on a variety of boards and with his wife, Lisa, contributes to hundreds of philanthropic causes each year.

View the full Business Leader of the Year press release.

The Indiana Chamber’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner, presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, takes place November 7 at the Indiana Convention Center.

Democrat political strategist Donna Brazile and Republican commentator Dana Perino, two prominent political voices at Fox News with links to the White House, are teaming up to keynote the dinner. Seating is limited. Tables of 10 start at $1,650; individual tickets are $165 each. Either can be purchased online at or by calling (800) 824-6885.

The event’s opening reception sponsor is PNC. The speaker sponsor is OneAmerica.

Corporate sponsors are AT&T Indiana, CBRE, French Lick Resort, NIPSCO, Tilson and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors are AECOM Hunt; Community Health Network; Corteva Agriscience; Eskenazi Health Foundation; Fineline Printing Group; IGT Indiana; Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Indiana Wesleyan University; Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick; KERAMIDA Inc.; Markey’s Rental & Staging; MCM CPAs & Advisors; Pacers Sports & Entertainment; Plymouth Foundry, Inc.; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; UPS; Vectren, A CenterPoint Energy Company; WFYI Productions; and WGU Indiana.

Additional sponsorships for the Indiana Chamber’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner are available by contacting Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876 or [email protected].