The NWI Society of Innovators Announces a Call for Nominations

On May 8, 2014 Ivy Tech Community College Northwest's The Society of Innovators, a project of The Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, announced its 10th Annual "Call for Nominations" in a news conference at the Purdue Technical Center in Crown Point, IN. The Society believes that innovation is everywhere and they are working hard to make sure that the community is educated on the importance of innovation.

The conference began with a warm welcome from O'Merrial Butchee, Regional Director of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.

"This year is especially meaningful for us because  as you know ten years is a mile stone," Butchee said.

"We are proud that the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has not only discovered  that innovation is everywhere in our region, they have raised awareness of the importance of innovation to everyone," Chancellor Thomas G. Coley, PhD. of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest said.

The conference preceded the newly created "Innovation Day" or "I Day" which is Friday May 9th. That day will mark the beginning of the time when nominations will be accepted for future members of the Society from the 7 counties that the Society Represents: La Porte, Porter, Lake, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski, and Starke counties. Nominations will only be accepted online at until July 7, 2014 at 5pm. The day was officially welcomed by Richard Marrell, Vice Chair and Society Fellow, and Founder and President of RLM Tissue Bank Prosthetics. He encouraged the young people in the crowd to pursue their passions and reminded them that mistakes only make you stronger if you learn from them.

"I think that you all should just go for it," Marrell said. "You have the idea, you can plan, and you can execute. You are young and allowed to make mistakes, so why not go for it?"

"Today is historic because of the announcement of our 10th annual announcement for individuals and teens across Northwest Indiana," John Davis, Managing Director for the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana and Assistant Director of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest said. "Over the course of each of these years we've issued a call for nominations. We've had hundreds and hundreds of nominations over these ten years and we've inducted over 300 individuals into the Society. When you add our team we have approximately 600 associate team members and teams. Put these individuals and teams together you have nearly 1000 innovators from seven counties. What is significant about that is that we are discovering and celebrating innovators in our backyard right here in Northwest Indiana. And there are more innovators out there and we want to celebrate them because our end game is to make Northwest Indiana known as the region that celebrates innovation and creativity." 

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Lisa Hopp, Founding Director for the Indiana Center for Evidence-Based Nursing Practices. Her presentation was titled: "The Knowledge Supply Chain: Time for Innovation in Healthcare". She spoke of the importance of getting knowledge and research into common practice. This will improve healthcare in Northwest Indiana by getting new and innovative technology and practices into the region more quickly.

"I was inducted last fall and John Davies asked me to speak and help with the whole initiative," Hopp said. "I think that in order for any community to thrive and grow it needs innovation and this brings together very eclectic people who are doing different things. The common aspect is that they are very unique, creative and innovative."

A new award was revealed at the conference: The Accelerating Greatness Award. It is a team award that is meant to shine a light upon the growing number of team nominations. Originally, the Society only presented awards to individuals but that changed when groups of people that were doing new and unique things began to grow and flourish. The award is sponsored by Tom Sourlis, the founder of MortarNet. The Chanute Prize remains the predominant award for team innovation and will continue to be given, so the Accelerating Greatness Award will help to honor even more innovative teams. Two awards will be given out annually.

Finally, the winners of the 2014 Young Innovators Video Challenge were revealed. This was a new addition to the anniversary celebration. Teens and young adults submitted 90 second videos of their ideas that presented solutions to problems and then they demonstrated how they would implement their solutions. Participants were able to chose from five different categories that they could present on. The winners were four young ladies: Whitely Buck, Ka'Lesa Dalton, Anita Flowers, and Kaylee Slont. The challenge was the creation of the Social Medial Development Group SMGD, LLC. in Gary, Indiana.

The 10th Annual Awards Inductions Ceremony will take place on Thursday October 16, 2014 at the Horseshoe Casino so mark you calendars for the "Nobel Evening of Northwest Indiana".

Click here to see more photos from the conference.