Society of Innovators announces finalists

GARY | Ivy Tech Community College Northwest announced the 2012-13 finalist candidates for Fellows and the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation in The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana.

“These finalists demonstrate amazing creativity and innovation across our region,” said J. Guadalupe Valtierra, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest. “… Once again, we have selected innovative individuals and teams who have demonstrated great talent and stunning diversity across all walks of life.”

There are a total of 14 finalists consisting of nine individuals and five teams. Nominations come from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties.

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

Ivy Tech Northwest launched The Society in 2005 through its Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

Finalist candidates for Fellows include:

  • Raymundo Garcia, El Taco Real, Hammond, for combating social ills in his neighborhood and investing in the renewal of contemporary downtown Hammond.
  • Eugene S. Smotkin, NuVant, Crown Point, for redirecting his business into electronic instrumentation 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, for products used by surgeons worldwide treating patients with gynecological or urological conditions
  • Pearl Prince, principal, Frankie Woods McCullough Girls Academy, Gary, for creating and implementing an educational model now in its seventh year of the city’s first public all-girls academy
  • 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,
  • Gus Olympidis, founder and CEO, Family Express, for measuring up against global competitors using the nationally recognized Family Express business model
  • Neal H. Haskell, St, Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, for being a global advocate, pioneering scientist and world renowned expert in forensic entomology studying insects to solve criminal cases
  • Marc Chase, The Times & founder of the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation and 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
  • 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

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,”
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation of Purdue University Calumet, for integrating visualization and simulation technologies to solve “real world problems,”
  • “S-in motion” is a revolutionary catalog of steel solutions developed and introduced to the world’s car makers with a huge contribution by ArcelorMittal Global R&D Center, East Chicago.

Click below to read the article on the NWI Times