Bonnie Trout, chief founder of the hugely successful European Market in
Chesterton, is one of several Dunelanders and Porter County residents who
have been inducted into the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana,
sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.
A ceremony was held today at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.
“We are proud of all of our new members who exemplify the twin pillars of
creativity and innovation,” said O’Merrial Butchee, director of the Gerald
I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, Ivy Tech Northwest.
Each year, the Society of Innovators--a project of the Lamkin I & E
Center--seeks nominations of the most innovative people and teams in
Local individuals newly inducted into the Society of Innovators: Bonnie
Trout of Chesterton, for being the brains behind the European Market; Julie
Bombacino, Just Food Blends, Chesterton; Mike Falk, PE LS, Falk PLI,
Portage; and Chris Mahlmann, Ideas in Motion Media, Valparaiso.
Local teams newly inducted: the Dunes Creek Daylighting team, Indiana Dunes
State Park; the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail team, Indiana Dunes
Tourism, Porter County; the Nature in My Neighborhood team, Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore; and the Porter County Veterans Treatment Court team,
Porter County PACT Inc.
“Their selection culminates a rigorous six-month process based upon
nominations reviewed by leaders serving as reviewers and judges,” Butchee
said. “Our goal is to select the most innovative individuals and teams
across Northwest Indiana.”
Among those selected as Fellows of the Society were the following:
* Julie Bombacino, president of Just Food Blends in Chesterton, who was the
first to launch a new line of “blended real food meals” for tube-fed people.
Until her innovation, there were no ready-to-serve shelf-stable real food
meal options for tube-fed children and adults, who rely upon a formula that
typically is 50-percent corn syrup. Bombacino was inspired by her son, AJ.
Estimates indicate that there are nearly 1 million tube-fed people in the
* Mike Falk, CEO and president, Falk PLI Engineering and Surveying in
Portage, who was the first to introduce advanced surveying instruments
called laser trackers and laser scanners in the global steel industry in NWI
and beyond. Falk introduced a faster, more accurate technology from the
space and automotive industries which helps steel companies optimize
performance, ensure alignment, and improve safety.
* Stewart McMillan, president, Task Force Tips in Valparaiso, who led a
transformation in product development by using technology in a new way to
involve more employees and distributors globally. TFT is an innovative
leader in water flow equipment worldwide.
The Society of Innovators is a project of the Lamkin I & E Center, with both
established in 2005 to serve the campuses of Gary, Valparaiso, Michigan
City, and East Chicago. Their goal, Butchee said: to encourage staff,
faculty, students and community to “think differently” in a global economy.