Innovators of the Month, July 2017

Innovators of the Month, July 2017

During July, NWI Innovators of the Month shines the spotlight on Society Members – Dental Home Health, Compton and Broomhead; Construction Safety Institute, Construction Advancement Foundation; Dunes Learning Center; and Triumphant Transitions Founder LaTrice Edwards. Highlighted below is Society Team Member Dentist Eric Compton providing a house call to a senior unable to leave her home. Also featured is James Arendas, Ph.D. praising the local industry for the safety training of construction workers through the Construction Safety Institute.

All are being celebrated as part of the 2016 – 2017 Class of Innovators, the largest group inducted into The Society of Innovators. The Society is part of Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center for Excellence. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Managing Director, Society of Innovators at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.

Innovators-of-Them-Month-July-2017_02 Munster Dental Service Does ‘House Calls’ for Patients!
Imagine that you have a family member recovering at home from a fractured hip and now has a tooth ache. Envision your family member is suffering from Alzheimer’s or has a spinal cord injury, and is in need of dental care. Today, there’s a dental service that provides dental care services in the home. Like other dentists, Compton and Broomhead of Munster provides traditional services. But it also has a legacy of serving patients at home for six decades. Thanks to founder Dr. George Compton, this service started for patients in 1957. Then his son, Dr. Eric Compton saw the need to open this service to the public and introduced Dental Home Health.

Dental care is now delivered to residences, assisted living and nursing homes, says Janna Allen, Director. “Eric sees the need for providing house calls to people unable to leave their homes for many reasons,” she adds. Patients include those with ALS, spinal cord injuries, MS, paralysis, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and Autism. Interest in the innovative service is growing even outside of Northwest Indiana. In fact, the number of patients has doubled in the last year. For example, families are grateful they do not have to take off work to escort parents to an appointment. And patients say they don’t have to worry about falling. For information, call 219 836 -0460.

Innovators-of-Them-Month-July-2017_03 Construction Safety Institute Strives for ‘Zero Accidents’!
Between the birth of a unique idea in Indiana to build the Construction Safety Institute and its completion in the fall of 2013, the injury rate in Northwest Indiana in the construction industry continued to improve, said James Arendas (left), Ph.D., Environmental Safety and Health Director, Construction Advancement Foundation. In the 13.9 million man hours reported by NWI contractors for 2016, the performance shows substantially lower rates than the national average. For example, during the 2017 Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable Safety Awards Banquet, 42 companies received awards for performing below the Bureau of Labor Statistics rate. No better example are the contractors sending employees to the Construction Site Safety Certificate Modules.

These are funded through the Susan Harwood Training Grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA. These modules include safety administration, process safety management, industrial hygiene, confined safety entry, fall protection, trenching and excavating, risk assessment and accident investigation. From January through June, 2017, there have been 38 classes for 628 individuals involving 4866 contact hours. The 7,000 sq. ft. building incorporates a scaffold tower, underground storage tank, and variety of safety equipment designed for the safe simulation of actual safety hazards. “Launched 15 years ago, the institute is designed to help the NWI construction industry achieve the bold goal of zero accidents,” said Kevin Comerford, Director, Professional Development, CAF.

Highlighted below is Team Member Geof Benson of the Dunes Learning Center looking to 2018 to celebrate 20 years in providing environmental literacy to NWI youth and adults. Also featured is Society Member LaTrice Edwards who founded Triumphant Transitions while working as a makeup artist demonstrating grit and perseverance following an accident in which she was sidelined for a season. She was inducted in 2011 – 2012. Innovators are from Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. The mission of The Society of Innovators is to cultivate creativity and innovation as a growth strategy by discovering and encouraging, celebrating and honoring our most innovative people across the 7 counties of Northwest Indiana. Click on for details.

Innovators-of-Them-Month-July-2017_04 Dunes Learning Center to Celebrate 20 Years in 2018 of inspiring NWI youth!
One of just a handful of nonprofit residential environmental learning centers to work in formal partnership with the National Park Service, Dunes Learning Center (DLC) will celebrate 20 years of inspiring curiosity and environment stewardship in 2018, announced Geof Benson, Executive Director. “Students come here excited to explore nature, but they leave with the knowledge, skills, and passion to become leaders in their communities,” he said. DLC is committed to expanding and advancing these opportunities to all students, regardless of age or ability. Over the past year, curriculum additions and enhancements have introduced new ways to bring science to life.

Thanks to investment by ArcelorMittal, Dunes to You educators are engaging thousands of students in exploration and stewardship activities at natural areas near their homes and schools. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Chellberg Farm, a coalition of partners and funders have brought livestock back, and learners of all ages are getting hands-on lessons in environmental STEM, agriculture and sustainability. A pollinator garden is being added at the DLC‘s National Lakeshore Campus, and a bee keeping demonstration site has been installed nearby. Outreach to those of differing abilities has resulted in a new partnership with Michigan City’s Social and Learning Institute, and strengthened existing programs engaging students on the autism spectrum. “While much has changed since opening our doors in 1998, the power of nature to be our students’ best classroom remains undiminished,” Geof said.

Innovators-of-Them-Month-July-2017_05 ‘Grit’ powers Triumphant Transitions Founder Back to Health!
Triumphant Transitions founder La Trice Edwards likes to say she hangs around the Stars! She actually is referring to clients for whom she donates countless hours in providing makeovers and other services to those in transition from difficult circumstances. For those who know this Gary native and Ball State grad, she is a professional makeup artist and entrepreneur inducted for her servant heart in launching Triumphant Transitions. Indeed, more than 300 clients have been served since its founding in 2005. Fact is, her work as a makeup artist has been seen on major films and television networks in such hits as Public Enemies, Transformers 4, Chicago Fire, and Empire.

Currently, she is working on Widows directed by Steve McQueen, renowned for 12 Years a Slave, with the Legendary star Viola Davis. That said, her road has not been easy with a fall that broke her left arm, but after a successful surgery, she was able to return to work. Still, her disability sidelined her for an entire season, and yet, her spirit remained indomitable. She delayed her surgery because of a commitment to serve women from Sojourner Truth House. “I told the surgeon that I need to take care of God’s people first.” Most recently, this faith-based artist launched a t-shirt line called “Power Style Tees.” It is fashion with a purpose as a portion of the proceeds benefits charities. For details, click on