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Peter V.
Democrat IN 1

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  • Recognizing the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana

    by Representative Peter J. Visclosky

    Posted on 2015-12-07

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    VISCLOSKY of indiana in the house of representatives Monday, December 7, 2015 Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Speaker, it is with great respect and enthusiasm that I congratulate Ivy Tech Community College and its regional partners who recently celebrated their 11th Annual Northwest Indiana Innovation Induction Ceremony. At the ceremony, which reflects the ``Spirit of Innovation'' in Indiana, eleven individuals and fifteen teams were inducted as members of the 2015-2016 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. These individuals are Erin Argyilan, Ph.D., Marilyn Brunk, Tom Clark, Joseph Coar, Joseph Ferrandino, Ph.D., and Donald Galbreath. Also honored were two Chanute Prize recipients, the Green Abilities Team at The Arc Northwest Indiana, and Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital. In addition, the ``Accelerating Greatness'' award was presented to Edgewater Behavioral Health Services and Methodist Hospital, Northlake Campus, for its level III ``in the process'' trauma center. 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 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, on Thursday, October 22, 2015.

    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.

    The fellows selected by the Society of Innovators were chosen for their extraordinary innovative leadership and the impact of their accomplishments throughout Northwest Indiana and beyond. Erin Argyilan, Ph.D., is a geologist at Indiana University Northwest. Dr. Argyilan established a new model of a previously unknown geological hazard in sand dunes. Her discovery is called a ``dune decomposition chimney or tunnel,'' and her extensive research helped to explain why six-year-old Nathan Woessner was trapped in a hole on Mount Baldy in 2013. Marilyn Brunk is a teacher at Griffith High School. Marilyn launched a computer science and programming class involving video games, which is the first of its kind in Northwest Indiana and possibly the entire state. Griffith students are excited about this innovative class and enrollment continues to grow each year. Tom Clark is a teacher at Lake Central High School. Tom started the Gold Star Honor Roll Project thirty years ago, and it is among the longest running experimental learning projects in the state and one of the largest in the nation. The project, which is celebrated by students and faculty, involves learning through the gathering of historic memorabilia, validating records, and visiting families of American soldiers killed in combat. Joseph Coar, of Tonn and Blank Construction, spearheaded a carpenter's apprenticeship program that put Indiana in the forefront of innovative curricula for high school students. In addition, his support led to the implementation of the program at A.K. Smith Career Center in La Porte, the first career center in Indiana to offer this program. Joseph [[Page E1714]] Ferrandino, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice at Indiana University Northwest, founded the Northwest Indiana Public Safety Data Consortium, which transforms how public safety communicates throughout the region. This truly innovative project connects data and imaging among nearly thirty participating agencies and across four counties. Donald Galbreath has been an innovator in the waste handling industry for the past sixty years. He is best known for inventing ``the most user friendly roll-off hoist in his industry.'' The majority of roll- off hoists used in the waste, scrap, and construction hauling industries were influenced by his inventions.

    The recipients of the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation should be commended for their contributions. The Green Abilities Team at The Arc Northwest Indiana received this honor for its truly innovative and successful on-site training program in which special needs individuals are taught how to recycle granite remnants into landscaping pavers, tile veneers, and other repurposed products. Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital also received this honor for implementing initiatives that promote a ``fair and just culture'' in which employees are encouraged to report problems. In addition, the hospital launched Rapid Improvement Events in which skilled teams, including physicians, spend a full week focusing on a single opportunity for improvement. These solutions are tested and then implemented within a timeframe goal of thirty days.

    The Accelerating Greatness Award for Team Innovation included two recipients. Edgewater Behavioral Health Services is the first in the state to develop a program that helps to provide immediate attention to people in psychiatric crisis. The Rapid Access Center allows adults experiencing these types of problems to get help in a short amount of time regardless of their ability to pay for services. Methodist Hospital, Northlake Campus, was also honored with this award for opening the first level III ``in the process'' trauma center in Northwest Indiana, which is the sixteenth in the state. This has been a goal for Methodist Hospitals for more than a decade.

    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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