Ivy Tech Community College Northwest has announced this year's class of 32 individuals and teams to join its Society of Innovators. The school has also announced the winners of a new team award, designed to spur innovation in the seven-county region.

October 17, 2014

News Release

Gary, Ind. — Marking its 10th anniversary year in discovering and celebrating innovators in Northwest Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and The Society of Innovators will announce its 2014 – 2015 Fellows and Chanute Prize recipients. Also announced will be a new team award called Accelerating Greatness to spur more innovation in the 7-county region.

Dr. Thomas G. Coley, chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and North Central, said, “The 10th Innovators Induction Ceremony will induct innovators that improve people's lives and strengthen the economy.” Nominations come from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, and Starke counties.

At the ceremony, the Gerald I. Lamkin Fellow for Innovation and Service will also be announced. This premiere award is named after Gerald I. Lamkin, president emeritus of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, whose dream for 40 years was to establish a comprehensive community college for Indiana.

The innovators will be among this year's “class” of 32 individuals and teams to be honored at the 10th Annual Innovators Induction Ceremony at the Horseshoe Casino, Hammond, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. All members receive lifetime honorary membership in The Society of Innovators.

“Their selection culminates a rigorous six-month process based upon nominations reviewed by leaders serving as reviewers and judges,” said O'Merrial Butchee, director, Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. “Our goal is to select the most innovative individuals and teams.”

Announced will be six new Fellows selected from among the members. The Fellows are Scott Albanese, Albanese Confectionery Group; Robert Colangelo, Green Sense Farms; William E. Nangle, The Times Media Company; Robert Palumbo, Ph.D., College of Engineering, Valparaiso University; Neeti Parashar, Ph.D., Purdue University Calumet; and Roger Pradhan, Ph.D., ArcelorMittal Global R&D Center (ret.). The Fellow awards are sponsored by ArcelorMittal.

This year, a new team award will be presented called the Accelerating Greatness Award for Team Innovation. The co-recipients are: James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility, College of Engineering, VU. The other co-recipient is the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. This award is sponsored by Tom Sourlis, Founder and Chair, Mortar Net Solutions.

Also announced will be two co-recipients for the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation, which is the premier team award for team innovation. One co-recipient is “One Global Team” for the Whiting Refinery Modernization Project. The other co-recipient is PCL Alverno. The co-sponsors of the Chanute Prize are Krieg DeVault and NIPSCO.

The Society is a project of the center, both established in 2005 to serve the campuses of Gary, Valparaiso, Michigan City and East Chicago. This is accomplished through initiatives that encourage staff, faculty, students and community to “think differently”in a global economy, said John Davies, assistant director of the center and managing director, The Society of Innovators. Nominations opened on “Innovation Day” on May 9, 2014 at the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana.

The following individuals will be inducted as Fellows:


Scott Albanese, Founder & CEO, Albanese Confectionery Group, Inc., pioneered the first gummies in the world with a distinguishable flavor – a feat previously deemed impossible. The former bricklayer started his business 30 years ago with $10,000. Today the company is over $100 million in sales. Albanese products can be found nationwide and in 9 countries.

Robert Colangelo is founding farmer of Green Sense Farms, the largest indoor commercial vertical farm and largest user of Phillips LED grow lights. Green Sense Farms grow leafy greens in a sanitary, controlled indoor environment free of pesticides, herbicides, and GMO seeds and distributes them locally throughout the Midwest.

William E. Nangle, Executive Editor (Ret.), The Times Media Company, helped transform The Times into a national model for journalism, launching the “Munster Model” renowned for providing in-depth local and neighborhood news while covering regional news. He also brought Indiana’s 7 largest newspapers together, producing a statewide audit of access to public records resulting in sweeping changes.

Robert Palumbo, Ph.D., professor and Alfred W. Sieving Chair of Engineering, nutured his dream to inspire The College of Engineering, Valparaiso University, to build the nation's 5th solar furnace where undergraduate students can explore new ideas in solar research. He is now part of a “pioneering” team at the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility. Dr. Palumbo is a 2007 -2008 Member.

Neeti Parashar, Ph.D., put Northwest Indiana on the world map of global scientific discovery by leading a federally funded Purdue University Calumet High Energy Physics Team as part of a large global collaboration to discover the elusive Higgs-Boson subatomic particle that gave the 2013 Nobel Prize to Peter Higgs of the United Kingdom and Francois Englert of Belgium.

Roger Pradhan, Ph.D., was key to the development of new carbon steel products for the automotive industry, and the leading developer and implementer of bake-hardenable steels. Called a pioneer by his colleagues, he received an AISI Gold Medal for his paper describing his implementation of bake-hardenable steels at Burns Harbor and holds four patents.

The following teams will be named co-recipients of the new Accelerating Greatness Award for Team Innovation:

The James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility houses the 5th solar furnace in the U.S. and the world's only solar furnace primarily designed, built and used by undergraduate students at Valparaiso University, College of Engineering.

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is a first-of-its-kind organization providing nearly $30 million annually in a proven collaborative model to leverage “failing assets” into more than $1 billion in infrastructure and economic development capitalizing on our location next to Chicago.

The following teams will be named co-recipients of the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation:

The BP “One Global Team” for The Whiting Refinery Modernization Project (WRMP) utilized a single team concept on a world scale to conduct the largest and most complex refining construction project in BP history while establishing a new era in safety with no days away from work for 40 million hours.

PCL Alverno introduced to the nation total microbiology automation revolutionizing the delivery of results to patients and physicians. PLC Alverno is the first to be designated as a Siemen's Microbiology Innovation Center in the U.S.

The principal partners of The Society are ArcelorMittal, Bukva Imaging, Doherty Imaging, Horseshoe Casino, Lakeshore Public Media, Krieg DeVault, NIPSCO, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, SMDG, LLC; and The Times Media Company. The Center for Workforce Innovations is a community partner. For details, contact Davies at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public post-secondary institution and the nation's largest singly-accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher

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