Dewey Pearman
Executive Director

Bio: Dewey Pearman has served as the Executive Director of the Construction Advancement Foundation of Northwest Indiana since 1995. In his role at the CAF, Dewey oversees the operations of the Foundation and advocates to impact policies that affect the professional construction and maintenance industry in Northwest Indiana.

Prior to joining the CAF, Mr. Pearman was Vice President of Operations and Governmental Affairs for the Northwest Indiana Forum, Inc., a regional Northwest Indiana economic development organization. Dewey was formerly the Executive Vice President of the East Chicago Chamber of Commerce in East Chicago, Indiana and the Executive Vice President of the Hammond, Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Pearman was also Director of the Department of Economic Development and Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Hammond, Indiana.

Dewey has taught intermediate, advanced and graduate level macro and micro economics at Purdue University Calumet. He regularly cited as an industry expert in various construction industry trade publications.

Mr. Pearman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Economics from Indiana State University.


James J. Arendas, PhD
Director of Environmental Health & Safety

Bio: Doctor James J. Arendas has served as the Environmental Safety and Health Director for the Construction Advancement Foundation (CAF) since 1998. In his role at the CAF he oversees safety education for the industry. He is a successful grant writer and has brought millions of dollars of outside funding to advance safety education for contractors. Mr. Arendas developed partnerships with the OSHA Training Institute through the Rocky Mountain Education Center to provide OSHA Outreach Training. He also acts as an occupational safety resource to contributing contractors of the CAF. Dr. Arendas also sits Purdue’s Construction Management and Engineering Technologies Industrial Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee of Occupational Safety.

Prior to joining the CAF Dr. Arendas was an Assistant Area Director for the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Chicago, Illinois. After leaving OSHA, Mr. Arendas worked at St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company as a construction consultant. He also worked at Brandenburg Industrial as the Technical Service Director with responsibilities for occupational safety, environmental remediation, human resources and quality control. Dr. Arendas also taught Occupational Safety at Purdue University concurrently while working with OSHA, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company and Brandenburg.

Dr. Arendas holds BS Degree: Environmental Safety Management from Indiana State University, a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA), Indiana University, and a PhD in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Kevin Comeford

Kevin Comerford
Director of Professional Development

Bio: Kevin has been Director of Professional Development at the Construction Advancement Foundation since 2011. Prior to joining the CAF, Kevin worked in management at Superior Construction Company, Inc. in Gary, Indiana.

Kevin is responsible for developing educational curriculum and often instructs CAF professional development programs as well. He works closely with local middle schools, high schools, and universities to promote careers in the Northwest Indiana construction industry. He also developed the We Build Northwest Indiana website which is a valuable resource for learning about career opportunities in the construction industry.  

Comerford participates in various not-for-profit organizations throughout Northwest Indiana including: Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable (NWIBRT), Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, Ivy Tech Building Construction Management Advisory Committee, Duneland Building Trades Advisory Committee, Porter County Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee, and the Urban League of Northwest Indiana.

Comerford holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, with dual majors in Management and Law & Commerce, from Purdue University. He also has earned Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Indiana University Northwest. 

Kim Coulter

Kim Coulter
Industry Fund Manager/ Accounts Receivable

Manages Industry Fund Accounts, Manages CAF Website Content, Contributor Invoicing

Melody Weisberg

Melody Weisberg
Office Manager

 Oversees Office Operations and Accounts Payable

Tabitha Refbord

Tabitha Refbord
Executive Administrative Assistant

Oversees Safety & Professional Development Class Registrations, Manages Registration Database, Office Contact



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