In an important step to further enhance its role as the region’s gateway for creators, innovators and entrepreneurs, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has entered into a collaboration agreement with Purdue University Northwest. The non-profit organization will now be known as The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest.
The affiliation will benefit both the organization and the university through opportunities to jointly promote a culture of innovation, and to increase both the Society’s and PNW’s impact on the economic, social and cultural well-being of northwest Indiana.
“This partnership is very exciting because our research centers, our Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center, and many of our programs such as mechatronics and cybersecurity already are leading the way in innovation in the region and nationally,” said Purdue Northwest Chancellor Thomas L. Keon. “Furthermore, PNW has a significant number of faculty members at our two campuses, in Hammond and Westville, who are making important innovations in their fields of expertise. Together with our affiliation with the South Shore Leadership Center, this relationship will bring new opportunities for intellectual and business partnerships to benefit the entire region.”
Under terms of the agreement, PNW will serve as the host organization for the Society. The Society’s headquarters will be located at PNW’s Portage Meeting Facility, while the Society will remain an independent 501(c)3 organization. The Society also will seek opportunities to support and augment PNW’s research and economic development efforts across the region.
Gary R. Johnson, chair of the Society’s board of directors and president of Mortar Net Solutions in Burns Harbor, welcomed the affiliation with PNW. The Society, established in 2005 and nurtured by Ivy Tech, has approximately 1,600 members who have been inducted in recognition of their contributions to Northwest Indiana business, culture and society.
“We are thrilled to work with Purdue Northwest to continue building the Society of Innovators as part of a thriving Northwest Indiana community,” Johnson said. “PNW’s leaders and faculty members share the board’s passion for encouraging the innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity that are vital to our region’s growth and development.”
Johnson, along with Society board members Maggi Spartz of the Unity Foundation of La Porte County, and Don Babcock of NIPSCO, have been pursuing a collaboration with a local university for several months as a way to build upon the success of the Society’s programs, while providing benefits to a university partner.
The Society will work collaboratively with PNW to continue and enhance its role as a provider of programs to recognize innovation in Northwest Indiana, and to develop new programs to expand the importance of innovation as a driver of community and economic development in the region. Potential opportunities between PNW and the Society include articulation among the Society’s programs and the university’s academic programming and research, as well as the development of new programming.