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Peter V.
Democrat IN 1

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  • Recognizing the 9Th Annual Northwest Indiana Innovation Induction Ceremony

    by Representative Peter J. Visclosky

    Posted on 2013-12-10

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    VISCLOSKY of indiana in the house of representatives Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Speaker, it is with great sincerity and admiration that I offer congratulations to Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and its regional partners, who recently celebrated their 9th Annual Northwest Indiana Innovation Induction Ceremony. At the ceremony that reflects the ``Spirit of Innovation'' in Indiana, thirty-one individuals and teams were inducted as members of the 2013-2014 Class of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. Of these individuals, several members were inducted as Society Fellows for their exceptional efforts in innovation, including Julie Bombacino, Mike Falk, Nina Fonstein, Ph.D., Lisa Hopp, Ph.D., RN, and Don Keller. Additionally, Stewart McMillan was honored as the Gerald I. Lamkin Fellow for Innovation and Service, a special recognition named for the President Emeritus of Ivy Tech College of Indiana. Also honored were the Chanute Prize team recipients, the Kemin/Lambert Spearmint team, North Judson and the Tuskegee Airmen EAA Young Eagles Program team at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. For their truly remarkable contributions to the community of Northwest Indiana and their continuous efforts to cultivate a culture of innovation, these honorees were inducted during a prestigious event that took place at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, on October 17, 2013.

    The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana was created by Ivy Tech Northwest with the goal of highlighting and encouraging innovative individuals and groups within the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors, as well as building a ``culture of innovation'' in Northwest Indiana. The importance of innovation in Northwest Indiana, as well as globally, is crucial in today's ever-changing economy.

    Our 9th Annual Innovators Awards Ceremony inducted some of the most innovative thinkers, doers and innovators across Northwest Indiana, said Thomas Coley, Ph.D., Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and North Central. The five Fellows selected by the Society of Innovators were chosen for their extraordinary innovative leadership and the impact of their accomplishments throughout the community of Northwest Indiana and the world. Julie Bombacino, president of Just Blend Foods, Chesterton, developed a line of ``blended real food meals'' for adults and children who need to use feeding tubes. This is the first product that delivers real food meal options for tube-fed individuals who have, in the past, have had to rely on a formula that is typically made of 50% corn syrup. Mike Falk, chief executive officer and president of Falk-PLI Engineering and Surveying, Portage, is the first to introduce highly developed surveying instruments called laser trackers and laser scanners in the steel industry in Northwest Indiana and beyond. Nina Fonstein, Ph.D., retired scientist and present day consultant, is a world- renowned specialist in the development of stronger, lighter and environmentally friendly ``new steels'' for the ArcelorMittal Global Research and Development Center in East Chicago. Lisa Hopp, PhD., RN, is the founding director of the Indiana Center for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice (ICEBNP). The center, located at Purdue University Calumet's College of Nursing, is the first of its kind in the Midwest and is part of a global effort to ``expand the understanding and use of research-based evidence to produce the best patient outcomes.'' Don Keller is the president and chief executive officer of Tri-State Industries in Hammond. Don launched an integrated system of industrial robotic technology that allows factories to keep their costs down while increasing productivity. Tri-State is a leader in this industry and the first of its kind in Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area.

    I am also honored to acknowledge Stewart McMillan, who was recognized as the Gerald I. Lamkin Fellow for Innovation and Service. Stewart is the president and chief executive officer of Task Force Tips in Valparaiso. Task Force Tips is a world-wide leader in the manufacturing and distribution of firefighting nozzles and equipment with the goal of making firefighting safer and more effective. Stewart is a true innovative leader who focuses on the importance of the entire organization rather than relying upon a small group of people within the organization for ideas. Under Stewart's direction, Task Force Tips is an innovative leader in its industry in the global economy.

    Finally, the recipients of the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation should be commended for their contributions. The Kemin/Lambert Spearmint team, North Judson, have patented growing and post-harvest processes for spearmint plants, which produces an all-natural extract that contains antioxidant properties and is effective in delaying lipid oxidation, color loss, and deterioration in human food, animal food, and other products for global markets. The Tuskegee Airmen EEA Young Eagles Program team at the Gary/Chicago International Airport provides the first and only monthly Young Eagles Aviation Program in the United States. Over 14,000 youth have participated in the program since its launch in 1994. The program is in affiliation with the Experimental Aviation Association and includes free flights in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask you and my distinguished colleagues to join me in commending these outstanding innovators. The contributions they have made to society here in Northwest Indiana and worldwide are immeasurable and lifelong. For their truly brilliant innovative ideas, projects, and leadership, each recipient is worthy of the highest commendation.


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