The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest (PNW) has announced the 2020 winners of its Innovators Awards. Recipients will be inducted into the Society during a virtual event to be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

“Originally launched in 2005, our induction ceremony celebrates the spirit of creativity and ingenuity that lights up the communities throughout Northwest Indiana,” said Sheila Matias, executive director of the Society of Innovators and Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest. “We are thrilled to be able to induct 28 individuals and team members into the Society as members of our class of 2020. Now, more than ever, our region needs these gifted, innovative leaders who are guiding our communities into the future.”

More than 40 finalists were evaluated by this year’s selection committee. The committee examined and analyzed the innovation(s) each nominee is responsible for to guide final decision-making. An innovation needed to provide a new solution, benefit society and create measurable value. To be eligible for induction, innovators must live or work in Northwest Indiana.

The Society of Innovators Class of 2020 includes:

Individual Inductees

·         Ken Barry: Executive Director, City Life Center (Gary, Ind.)

·         Magesh Chandramouli: Associate Professor of Computer Graphics Technology, Purdue University Northwest (Hammond and Westville, Ind.)

·         Emily Edwards: Founder, Emily’s Foods / Paradise Icing (Schererville, Ind.)

·         Jamie Fankenhauser: Owner, Bun’s Soapbox (Valparaiso, Ind.)

·         Matt Hanson: Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing, Purdue University Northwest (Hammond and Westville, Ind.)

·         Jake Miller: Owner, JEM Custom Shoes (La Porte, Ind.)

·         Jared Riddle: Professor of English, Department Chair, Ivy Tech Community College (East Chicago, Ind.)

·         Daniel Schultz: Teacher, Hobart High School (Hobart, Ind.)

Team Inductees

·         ArcelorMittal, team led by Richard Clausius (East Chicago, Ind.)

·         Centier Bank, team led by Chris Carpenter (Merrillville, Ind.)

·         Economic Development Corporation Michigan City w/ Michigan City Area Schools, team led by Clarence Hulse (Michigan City, Ind.)

·         Tonn and Blank Construction, team led by Jon Gilmore (Michigan City, Ind.)

·         Top Flight Hockey, team lead by Quinton Olster and Dan Mikrut (St. John, Ind.)

Each winner will be officially recognized and inducted into the Society of Innovators during the virtual program on Nov. 19. The event will also feature remarks from leadership at both the Society of Innovators and Purdue University Northwest.

Registration for the event is free. Those wishing to attend may call Jason Williams at (219) 989-2805 or register online at

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest (PNW) aims to contribute to economic and community development throughout the region as the champion of innovation in Northwest Indiana. For more information about the Society, visit

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a premier metropolitan university dedicated to empowering transformational change in our students and in our community. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW values academic excellence, supports growth, and celebrates diversity. For more information about PNW, visit