The Crusader Newspaper Group

The Genesis Center has a New Director with plans

By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader

Deborah Hendricks Drake says that she’s not allergic to work and you will see the results of it in her performance as the newly appointed director of the Genesis Convention Center.

Hendricks Drake, originally from Gary, moved back to Gary from Indianapolis after spending four years there as the Indianapolis Public Schools Parent Involvement Coordinator. In this position she had the opportunity to work with a team that provided assistance to parents. Despite the position being fulfilling professionally, she remained steadfast in her desire to return home to be close to her mother. She said, “That’s what girls have to do.”

Hendricks Drake said she heard the job was available in October 2016 so she applied for it through the Genesis Center Board. She said she had applied for the position once before 10 years ago, but did not get it. She said, “It’s in the Lord’s hands this time and I am thankful.”

She started in her new position mid-November 2016. Since then, she has not made any changes in the already scheduled events. Many of them have come to be recognized as traditions that the community expects to be held at the Genesis Center. Those events include the Wednesday Night Steppers Sets, Birthday Parties, The Annual Christmas Party hosted by Dr. Vernon G. Smith, The Gary Historical & Cultural Society Dinner and Show, the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition Dinner and a variety of sporting events.

Drake is looking forward to working more with the great team of employees at the Genesis Center. She said since she has been there, she has received some very positive comments from people who have rented the center and the services they received. She also commented on the center’s board about the hard work they are doing to keep the convention center actively receiving events.

Hendricks Drake said she has plans to do some internal upgrades to the Genesis Center sometime soon that will include painting and replacing the walls with retractable ones, freshening up some of the meeting rooms and providing new furniture to them as well. There are also plans for a new freezer and oven for the kitchen.

Kendricks Drake said she loves being home in Gary and working at the Genesis Convention Center. “I have worked in the region before in the state of Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as in Indianapolis, but as the new director of the Genesis I am humbled and look to the support of the community for their valuable opinions,” she said.


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