Society selects June Innovators of the Month

2013-06-30T06:30:00Z Society selects June Innovators of the MonthTimes Staff
June 30, 2013 6:30 am  • 

As part of its effort to highlight its 2012-13 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected its June Innovators of the Month.

The honorees are Lydia Dershewitz and Pam Sussman, of Team Hospice Artisans in Munster; Dave Ryan, of the Hammond-based Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce; and Jon Groth, of the Team Alternative Energy Demonstration Project at the Porter County Career and Tech Center in Valparaiso,

Nearly 70 volunteers are creating one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items to benefit the Hospice of the Calumet Area, said Lydia Dershewitz and Pam Sussman.

Ranging in ages from 16 to 93, these Hospice Artisans have raised more than $150,000 over seven years producing hand-assembled, intricate items made of paper, fabric and glass often in their own homes. A nationally recognized paper expert and author on fabric books, Sussman saw an opportunity to enlist the diverse skills of volunteers to make hand-made crafts.

Continuing the path-breaking collaboration of more than a decade ago that led to the Lakeshore Chamber, Dave Ryan is working to forge a larger economic alliance to benefit Lake County and all of Northwest Indiana.

Leading the way to bring the Hammond Chamber together with the East Chicago Chamber in 2001, Dave is joining with other leaders to build momentum for the Lake County IN Economic Alliance. Already, with the help of NIPSCO, the Northwest Indiana Forum, and the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the president of Lakeshore Chamber has partnered with Sue Reed, the president of the Crossroads Chamber, itself a merger of the Merrillville and Crown Point Chambers.

This new alliance promotes economic development for East Chicago, Hammond, Crown Point, and Merrillville. The focus is on business retention, attraction, and expansion efforts.

When a storm shut down power at the Porter County Career and Tech Center last winter, students moved from dark classrooms to hallways lighted by solar and wind power.

This is just one of the benefits made possible by a team of instructors and students developing the first “green technology project” of any career center of 49 vocational districts in Indiana, said Jon Groth, the principal of the Valparaiso center and director of the program teaching 1,200 students in 35 vocational areas drawing students from 10 high schools.

This project is interdisciplinary and relevant where students learn to build new technology and wire it into the conventional electrical system.

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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