Chesterton Tribune


Region Chanute Prize for innovation to be awarded October 18

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Ivy Tech Community College Northwest announces the 2012 - 2013 finalist candidates for Fellows and the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation in The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. The names of the Fellows and the Chanute Prize recipient will be released on Thursday morning, Oct. 18, 2012.

There are a total of 14 finalists consisting of 9 individuals and five teams. “These finalists demonstrate amazing creativity and innovation across our region,” said J. Guadalupe Valtierra, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest. Nominations come from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties.

All finalists are automatically bestowed honorary membership in The Society of Innovators. However, up to six of the individual finalists will also be inducted as Fellows along with up to two Chanute Prize recipients during the eighth Annual Innovators Induction Ceremony, set for Oct. 18th at 5:15 p.m. in the Ballrooms of the Horseshoe Casino, Hammond.

“Each year we set out to discover innovation in this region,” he said. “Once again, we have selected innovative individuals and teams who have demonstrated great talent and stunning diversity across all walks of life,” said Valtierra. The core theme of The Society is “anyone can be an innovator.”

Valtierra added this demonstrates that innovation matters to this region and is important to encouraging growth, global competitiveness, and lifelong learning to the Northwest Indiana economy.

“The selection of the Fellows and Chanute Prize recipients is made by regional judges representing government, non-profit, and private sectors,” said O’Merrial Butchee, director, Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Ivy Tech Northwest launched The Society in 2005 under the auspices of its Lamkin Center. The Society is a project of the Center, which is unique among the 14 regions of Ivy Tech statewide for its diverse programs that promote “thinking differently” in a challenging economy.

Finalist Candidates for Fellows

Raymundo Garcia, El Taco Real, Hammond, for demonstrating initiative, risk-taking and personal leadership in combating social ills in his neighborhood and as an early “urban pioneer” from the private sector investing in the renewal contemporary downtown Hammond.

Eugene S. Smotkin, Ph.D., NuVant, Crown Point, with 8 U.S. patents and 12 international patents, for redirecting his business into electronic instrumentation to augment dwindling government contracts for fuel cell research, enabling advancement in both sectors for world markets.

Gregg VanDusseldorp Sr., for founding a medical device company called Omnitech Systems, Inc., Valparaiso, who holds 8 patents for products used by surgeons worldwide treating patients with gynecological or urological conditions through minimally invasive, less traumatic surgical techniques.

Pearl Prince, principal, Frankie Woods McCullough Girls Academy, Gary for creating and implementing an educational model now in its 7th year of the city’s first public all-girls academy, grades K – 7th, that has become a high performing, award-winning elementary school for students from low income areas, including two of the largest public housing developments.

Olga Petryszyn, Executive Broker, Re-MAX Affiliates, Valparaiso, for being named one of the top hosta hybridizers in the U.S. and possibly the world, registering 24 hostas with 22 of varieties commercialized since 1993, including the world famous H. ‘Niagara Falls’ variety celebrated as the “ultimate” hosta plant by the American Hosta Society in 2012.

Gus Olympidis, Founder and CEO, Family Express, for measuring up against global competitors utilizing the nationally recognized Family Express business model of highly efficient logistics; unique brands, including the “Living Brand” for customer service; and state-of-the-art connectivity with 57 convenience stores linked to a new $4 million headquarters/training center.

Neal H. Haskell, Ph.D., Saint Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, for being a global advocate, pioneering scientist and world renowned expert in forensic entomology studying insects to solve criminal cases, testifying in more trials than any other forensic entomologist and being a trailblazer receiving the first master’s and the first doctorate degrees in his field in the U.S.

Marc Chase, The Times & founder of the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation & Tourism Project, for rediscovering the lost legacy of NWI Civil War soldiers by restoring grave stones with environmentally durable granite stones and launching a Civil War Memorial Trail utilizing technology to attract tourism and build pride during the 150th anniversary of the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Dave Ryan, Executive Director, Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, for his vision, leadership and determination to “step outside the box” by calling for and leading merger of two chambers of Hammond and East Chicago into a 500 plus-member chamber that blazed a new trail for regional chambers of commerce more than a decade ago, and by its example, benefited its members, both communities and the entire region.

Finalist Candidates for the Chanute Prize:

IBEW 697, Merrillville, for marking its 100th anniversary by building a $10.4 million training and administration center using the criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as its design “compass,” becoming a model for unions wanting to show the world “a sustainable building for a sustainable industry.”

NIPSCO for its “In-Charge Electric Vehicle Program,” a two-phase, five-year project supporting and encouraging plug-in Electric Vehicles while providing financial incentives for charging stations among homeowners and communities, becoming the first program in the U.S. offering free electricity during its pilot program utilizing energy renewable credits.

Omnitech Systems, Inc.,Valparaiso, for being a leader in the medical device industry and beginning a new era of growth led by a young management team dedicated to building on its international reputation for entrepreneurial excellence, innovative products, fast turnaround, and a “family culture” celebrated by employees.

The Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) of Purdue University Calumet, for integrating visualization and simulation technologies to solve “real world problems,” a model for similar technology centers across the nation by its application driven research to discover innovative solutions saving more than $30 million for local business, industry and communities.

“S-in motion” is a revolutionary catalogue of steel solutions developed and introduced to the world’s car makers with a huge contribution by ArcelorMittal Global R&D Center, East Chicago, representing a “first” for steel companies in embracing a new way of designing and creating steel for passengers cars that reduces the weight of vehicles to meet higher fuel standards and assure the use of steel in future automobiles.

The principal partners of The Society are ArcelorMittal, Bukva Imaging, Horseshoe Casino, Krieg DeVault, NIPSCO, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, and The Times Media Company. For details, contact John Davies, assistant director, Lamkin I & E Center and managing director of The Society, at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.


Posted 10/4/2012