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Innovators of the Month, December 2017


During December, Innovators of the Month shines the spotlight on the Gary Jet Center for opening its ‘West Campus’ targeting corporate/private jet customers for the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Also featured is another Society Member, the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership and its focus on youth. This issue is for the media serving Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. Each edition features inspiring stories of innovators who are Members of The Society of Innovators. The Society is part of Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center for Excellence. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, Lamkin I & E Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Managing Director, The Society of Innovators at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

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Gary Jet Center Offers ‘Choice’ with Corporate Flight Center
Aiming at making the Gary/Chicago International Airport the choice for corporate/private jet customers, the Gary Jet Center opened a $3 million Corporate Flight Center to transform business aviation in the Chicago region. Said Lynn Eplawy, President, Gary Jet Center, Inc., “With the opening of this new facility, Gary Jet Center continues to attract and retain the downtown Chicago corporate/private jet customer. Being only a 30-minute drive to the Loop, we position ourselves and the Gary/Chicago International Airport as THE alternative to Midway Airport.” This completes the West Campus of the company that provides fueling, maintenance, aircraft management and hospitality services for private and business aviation. Included are two 40,000 square foot hangers, one built in 2011 that earned LEED Gold certification. The latest addition has a glass-walled, 45-seat lobby that overlooks the airport’s main runway. The 8,300 square foot flight center also offers pilot and crew lounges, a business center, a conference room, sleeping rooms and kitchen facilities. It is attached to the LEED-certified hangar. Its original building will continue to house administrative offices and the company’s charter flight service. Earlier this year, Gary-based Boeing Corp., named Gary Jet Center a Supplier of the Year for the second time. Bravo, Gary Jet Center!

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Trail Creek Watershed Partnership is ‘Treasure’ for Region!
There’s transformation taking place in Northwest Indiana, and it’s found in the big lake as well as little known “treasures in our backyard.” No wonder this generation of youth is learning to love the great outdoors. No better example than a unique watershed alliance launched in 1996 by the Unity Foundation of La Porte County. Called the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership, this consists of 59,000 acres of land that drains into Trail Creek and smaller tributaries emptying into Lake Michigan. There are many heroes here, but the environmental warrior that is dedicated to getting kids to love nature is Nicole Messacar. This lifelong resident and graduate of IU’s SPEA program just completed her 11th year introducing Trail Creek and its tributaries to over 6,000 youth. This outreach program called “Trail Creek Week” during September featured a canoe race, plus educational activities touching the lives of nearly 1000 kids and adults. Add to encouraging kids to splash around in the mud or take water samples was her latest outreach program for youth along the Kankakee River. Through education, grants and a cost-sharing program, this watershed is being transformed through “best management practices” that include planting cover crops, building bioswales, rain gardens, and other initiatives. This educator’s goal: “Encourage people to know their impact on the environment.”

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