As part of its effort to highlight its 2010-11 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected state Sen. Karen Tallian and Robert Kramer as its August Innovators of the Month.
Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, developed legislation requiring a bank to notify the homeowner of the right to mediation before finalizing a foreclosure. This idea arose out of an actual circumstance where Tallian was representing a client in a foreclosure in 2009, but couldn't find anyone to talk with at the bank.
Meanwhile, the foreclosure kept moving forward. Sen. Tallian said, "so I filed a motion with the judge and asked him to order mediation."
This had never been done in a mortgage foreclosure in Indiana, although it is common in divorces, civil actions, and accident cases. The legislation passed in 2010, and the bill was amended in 2011 requiring a second notice from the courts.
Kramer had the idea of establishing a local energy center to improve the efficiency and reliability of energy usage. He was chief scientist at NiSource Energy Technologies, and wanted to give back to the region, and he approached Purdue University Calumet with the idea. He launched the Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center in January 2004.
In addition to teaching physics and engineering, he developed five new courses to provide an experientially–based approach to give students knowledge and skills about energy usage. A laboratory being built with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, set to open next March.
Located in the Schneider Avenue Building on campus, the center has received a grant for research on a multi–purpose coal gasification/coke production facility. The center also conducts energy audits for municipal, commercial and industrial facilities to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Students participate in these audits.
The Society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.
For more information, call O'Merrial Butchee, director of the Lamkin Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, managing director of the Society, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.