Photo of the Day: Celebrating Innovation at PUC


Staff at the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) at Purdue University Calumet (PUC) accept the 2012-13 Chanute Prize for Innovation during a ceremony today at PUC. The Chanute Prize, given by the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, is an annual award honoring outstanding innovation. Combining 3D modeling, simulation and visualization technologies, CIVS has helped industrial employers save more than $30 million since 2009.

Report Measures Local Participation in RDA Projects

Construction work underway on parking lots at Marquette Park East last July.

More than three-quarters (76.5 percent) of the companies working on RDA-funded projects in Gary, Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago and Porter during the 12 months ended last August were Northwest Indiana firms, according to a report delivered to the Regional Development Authority’s Board of Directors last week.

The report, compiled by Organizational Development Solutions (ODS) via reports from grantees of RDA funds, also found that about half – 48.8 percent – of the employees working on these projects were residents of Lake or Porter counties.

A few important caveats about these numbers:
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Now Hiring: Grants Coordinator

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) is currently seeking a full-time, qualified Grants Coordinator to assist on all RDA grant activities including active, inactive, prospective and closed grants. The RDA is a funding agency and also applies for federal, state and private assistance. This position provides dedicated grant monitoring and coordination with our partners. Bachelor’s Degree preferred with at least 2-3 years experience working with various types of grants. Salary will commensurate with experience. Qualified candidates should send their resumes to, attention Sherri Ziller. Visit our website for company information and full job description, No phone calls, please.

Ziller Named COO of Regional Development Authority

COO Sherri Ziller

The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority named Sherri Ziller as the RDA’s first Chief Operating Officer during yesterday’s Board meeting in Crown Point. At the gathering, the Board also approved a grant for the Town of Pines and adopted a policy to guide implementation of its new Regional Challenge grant program.

Ziller, 31, has served as Finance and Grants Manager since 2006. “For more than six years, Sherri has done an outstanding job for us,” said RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna. “She has overseen the commitment and execution of more than $200 million in RDA grants and been instrumental in securing matching funds on both the local and state level. Sherri has been tireless in her efforts to ensure that every dime of public money we receive is utilized properly and accounted for, and her input has been invaluable to both RDA staff and the Board. I have no doubt that she will execute her new duties as COO with the same professionalism and commitment to excellence that she has always brought to her work.”

A resident of Crown Point, Ziller is also a member of the Southshore Leadership Society and serves on the faculty of Kaplan College in Hammond, where she teaches course in IT, Microsoft Office and General Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Purdue University Calumet (PUC) and will complete a master’s degree in process management from PUC this year.
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Study Reveals Billion-Dollar Impact of RDA Investment

Update: The complete study is now available here (.pdf).

Investments by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) since 2006 will have a cumulative economic impact of more than $1.1 billion by 2015, according to a study conducted by an independent economic research firm. That represents a return on investment (ROI) of $5.11 for every $1 of RDA spending.

Conducted at the request of the RDA, the study also found that the approximately $210 million the RDA has invested to date in shoreline redevelopment, the Gary Chicago International Airport, commuter transportation and economic development has created or supported more than 2,000 jobs in Northwest Indiana.

These figures represent the results of the “construction phase” of the RDA’s current initiatives in Northwest Indiana. “All of our investments are catalytic in nature and are designed to attract new businesses and improve our quality of life,” says Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. “So they will continue to generate additional return on investment in the years to come.”
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RDA Board of Directors Meeting

The RDA Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 10 a.m. CST at the Purdue Technology Center, 9800 Connecticut Dr., Crown Point. Contact the RDA at 219-644-3500 with any questions.

All Board and Working Group Meetings are open to the public.

Morning Links: Hobart Company Adding 20 Jobs

ITR America will open a new facility in Hobart, a move that will create 20 jobs.

The Hobart-headquartered company will invest $6.2 million to build a 100,000 square-foot facility on eight acres in the North Wind Crossing Business Park, a state certified shovel ready site in Lake County. As part of the project, ITR will purchase new distribution equipment for the facility, which will be fully operational in 2014.

The company plans to start hiring next year.

Crown Point officials have approved a zoning change that could lead to a hotel and restaurant development at 109th Street and I-65.

One of Gary’s larger apartment complexes may be getting a $24 million makeover.

Valparaiso will host a ribbon-cutting Wednesday for the new interchange at 49 and Vale Park Road.

Lunchtime Links: Downtown Porter Master Plan Approaches Completion

Porter’s downtown master plan will be finished in about two weeks. It includes (but is not predicated on) the possibility of asking Amtrak to build a station in Porter.

A Hobart business outbid an Indonesian company to build a $2.2 million turbine for a Louisiana utility.

A Lake County judge has ruled that Hobart can join the lawsuit arguing that the levy freeze in Lake County is unconstitutional.

Indiana Flame is considering relocating its R&D center to Burns Harbor from France, a move that would create 24 jobs by 2015.

The saga of the trash-to-ethanol plant in Schneider continues. Now everyone is waiting to see if a similar facility under construction in Florida works as advertised.

BP and environmental groups have struck a deal to increase pollutant monitoring around the Whiting refinery.