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Society of Innovators Inducts Six New Fellows

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana recently held its annual awards meeting, this year with a record-sized 377 new individual and associate team members in this year’s class. The Society inducted six members as fellows and presented its two annual awards.

The group’s mission is to: “cultivate creativity and innovation as a growth strategy by discovering, encouraging, celebrating and honoring our most innovative people across our seven counties.” Prospective members must be nominated and then face a rigorous six-month review process before being allowed to join.

Each year the society also inducts six members as fellows. This year those fellows are:

  • Jon Groth, area director for the Porter County Career and Technical Education center of Valparaiso, who led the repurposing of a historic 1912 rail depot into a modern classroom for his students
  • Dr. Thomas L. Keon, chancellor of Purdue University Northwest, who led the campus unification process
  • Dr. Elizabeth Lynn of Valparaiso University, who founded the Center for Civic Reflection
  • Dr. Sandra Chimon-Peszek Rogers, director of the Calumet College of St. Joseph biophysical chemistry department, for her innovative curriculum
  • Joseph Stahura, mayor of Whiting, IN, who drove the town’s shift towards entrepreneurial activity
  • Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools, whose initiatives to collaborate with the community and employers led to outcomes including the first NIPSCO Energy Academy and the first STEM public elementary school

The Society of Innovators also announced the winners of its two annual awards. The Accelerating Greatness Award for Team Innovation went to Urschel Laboratories Inc. Located in Chesterton, the company created an entrepreneurial culture among its employees that has led to making it the global leader in food cutting machinery. The company also employee-owned earlier this year

The Chanute Prize for Team Innovation went to the Grand Calumet River Partners in Restoration, whose efforts in cleaning up the Grand Calumet River, once known as the most polluted river in the world, have seen more than 80 percent of the waterway “come alive again.”

Congratulations to the new members, the inductees and the team award winners!

Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana