Society selects February Innovators of the Month

2013-02-24T06:00:00Z Society selects February Innovators of the MonthTimes Staff
February 24, 2013 6:00 am  • 

As part of its effort to highlight its 2012-13 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected Raymond E. Kasmark and Harry J. Vande Velde III as its February Innovators of the Month.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 697, became the first construction project in Lake and Newton Counties certified “Gold” by the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design organization.

The project is a $10.4 million training and administration center in which criteria for LEED certification was used as its design “compass” throughout the planning, said Kasmark, business manager/ financial secretary for Local 697.

This completed a four-year process for the new headquarters marking a century of service by contractors and members. The local was also recognized for innovation last fall when its joint apprenticeship program was one of only 40 apprentice programs acknowledged for partnering with institutions such as Ivy Tech Northwest and Purdue University Calumet. 

Vande Velde III, CEO of the Legacy Foundation, designed, published and distributed a unique teaching tool for Northwest Indiana educators and schoolchildren, called “The Legends’ Compass: A collection of True Tales for Young Adventures and Dreamers.”

He got the idea for a children’s activities book in 2010 when he attended a Legends Induction at the BP South Shore Wall of Legends at the Indiana Welcome Center. Then new to the region, he was so impressed by the accomplishments and range of talents represented by the Legends that he believed every elementary student would benefit by learning about them.

The Legends Compass was created through a community partnership, and is accessible to schools throughout Northwest Indiana via the Legacy website at

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, assistant director, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.

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