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2008 Category Winner
2008 Category Winner
of the Year
Dr. Herb Schwartz
2006 Category Winner
2006 Category Winner
2006 Category Winner
2006 Category Winner
2010 Category Winner
The Green ABC
2010 Category Winner
Alysa, Jared, Sean
& Tristan Dugan
2010 Category Winner
Financial Education Solutions
2009 Category Winner
Digital Hydraulic, LLC
2009 Category Winner
Graham Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi
2011 Category Winner
Good things come in pairs. AGAIN.
3201 Stellhorn Road • Fort Wayne, IN 46815 • 260-407-1754 • www.niic.net
Indiana’s Fifth Certified Technology Park • ISO 9001.2008 Certified
2011 Category Winner
EVERY YEAR FROM THE FIRST AWARDS IN 2006 THROUGH 2011
ANOTHER PAIR OF WINNERS
FOR THE INNOVATION CENTER!
Page 2 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R
A SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF
GREATER FORT WAYNE
3306 Independence Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
Fax: (260) 426-2503
Associate Editor/ Reporter
ACCOUNT EXECUTI VES
George O. Witwer
Vice President of Sales/
Chief Financial Officer
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly is
a publication of KPC Media Group Inc.
©2011 All rights reserved
Flash of inspiration
hey are called “Aha!” moments —those brief, brilliant
flashes of insight that have the potential to turn the
world on its ear.
But in truth, an equally apt name for them might be “ Duh!”
moments. As in, “ Duh, why didn’t I think of that before?”
I had such a “ Duh!” moment while interviewing Graham
Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi of PYPline LLC in Fort Wayne.
The company has developed an online community for the maker
movement, and the “ Duh!” came when it dawned on me that
makers, who place such an emphasis on collaborating with one
another, didn’t have anywhere online where they could go to
truly, well, collaborate.
Be they “ Duh!” or “Aha!” moments, this region has more than
its fair share of inspiration, which is why it’s an honor again for
Business Weekly to present its sixth-annual Innovation Awards.
This year’s winners run the gamut —from a man helping his
friend reclaim his love of the outdoors, to a group of engineers
kicking around ideas on how to better control energy use, to
bread so good and so simple even lazy people can bake it.
Business Weekly’s Innovations Awards wouldn’t be possible
without the support of our sponsors, which this year are:
Sweetwater Sound, Lake City Bank, PHP, the Northeast Indiana
Innovation Center and NAI Harding Dahm.
We’re also indebted to our distinguished panel of judges: Pete
Eshelman of Joseph Decuis, Jim Marcuccilli of St ar Financial
Bank, Steve Huggins of Pretzel’s Inc., Kathy Carrier of Briljent
and Jon Jensen of Group Dekko.
I hope you like reading the following “Aha!” moment stories,
and I encourage you, if you think you have an innovative product
or service, to enter next year’s Innovation Awards competition.
Editor, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 3
TA B L E O F C O N T E N TS
Innovation Awards judges......................................................4
EM ERGI NG COM PANY
2010 Innovator of the Year update.....................................8
Be Adaptive Equipment LLC ................................................9
M ANUFACTURI NG & DI STRI BUTI ON
PROFESSI ONAL SERVI CES
Cirrus ABS ...............................................................................14
REAL ESTATE, CONSTRUCTI ON & DESI GN
Commercial Filter Service Inc. ...........................................16
Average Joe Artisan Bread LLC ........................................18
Group Dekko ...........................................................................20
Past winners ............................................................................23
Page 4 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
I N N O VAT I O N A W A R D S J U D G E S
Judged by their peers
Judging for the sixth-annual
Innovation Awards competition was
divided into two rounds.
In the first round, representatives of
the Innovation Awards corporate sponsors
went through the applications that had
been received. Several applications were
submitted in more than one of the seven
Innovation Awards categories: emerging
company; health care; manufacturing and
distribution; professional services; real
estate, construction and design; retail;
First-round judges were:
• Drew Dunlavy, Lake City Bank;
• Carrie Marion, PHP; and
• Steve Franks, Northeast Indiana
The first-round judges tried to deter-
mine if the company truly was innovative,
and they used a broad definition of inno-
vation. It could be an entirely new busi-
ness concept. It could be a business
concept new to this region, but one that
exists elsewhere. It could be a new
product, service or business process
within an existing company. It could
come from a startup venture or a large
corporation, as long as it is located within
northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
Category winners then appeared
before a second panel of judges
composed of successful entrepreneurs
and executives. Each category winner
gave a short presentation about the inno-
vation, then answered questions from the
Second-round judges were:
• Pete Eshelman, owner, Joseph
• Jim Marcuccilli, president and CEO,
Star Financial Bank;
• Steve Huggins, CEO, Pretzel’s Inc.;
• Kathy Carrier, founder and president,
• Jon Jensen, CEO, Group Dekko.
Jensen recused himself from judging
the Group Dekko EnergySense presenta-
tion. After all the presentations were
completed, the panel selected the 2011
Innovator of the Year.
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 5
BY BARRY ROCHFORD
Makers are, by their nature, collabo-
rative. They work with one another on
projects, share tools, offer feedback and
serve as a resource for others who may
be stumped on a particular problem,
unsure of how to move forward.
And yet, they lacked a website that
truly brought them all together.
As high school students, Graham
Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi began
thinking of ways to link inventors,
tinkerers and makers together.
“Where that started in the classroom,
originally, it would be really frustrating
as a student sometimes because it was
like everybody that I was in classrooms
with were very close-minded about,
‘Well, we think we have this great idea
but we’ve got to hide it from the world,’”
“That was so difficult for me, espe-
cially when it was like, ‘Well, why are
we getting off into small groups to work
on a project?’ It didn’t make much sense
Following high school, Bredemeyer
and BonAmi had the opportunity to visit
the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.
After a few conversations with Steve
Franks, the NIIC’s Student Venture Lab
program manager, about their idea, they
applied to the lab in late 2010 and were
And PYPline LLC was born.
The “PYP” in PYPline stands for
“Post Your Project.” Initially,
Bredemeyer, CEO of PYPline, and
BonAmi, the company’s chief informa-
tion officer, began developing a social
network for inventors through which
they could share their projects and get
feedback and network with other inven-
But they later realized that inventors
tend to be protective of their ideas, and
creating an online community for them
would be problematic.
“They are two different breeds,
whereas makers tend to be very open-
minded and very open-sourced about
their ideas and projects, inventors tend
to be more closed about sharing their
secrets,” Bredemeyer said.
While do-it-yourself enthusiasts are
nothing new, the maker movement,
which emphasizes collaboration among
individuals with common interests, has
gained momentum in recent years.
Interest has been fueled by the rise of
“maker spaces” or “hacker spaces,”
where people come to collectively work
on projects and share ideas and
resources, and Make magazine and its
offshoot, maker faires. The first maker
faire in Fort Wayne was held in October
and organized by the group TekVenture.
By being accepted into the Student
Venture Lab, PYPline received an initial
round of funding of $2,500. That helped
the company’s creators attend the Bay
Area Maker Faire in May, where they
met Dale Dougherty, founder and
publisher of Make magazine. They told
him what they were working on, and
Dougherty agreed to become an unoffi-
cial adviser to the duo.
The two continued to refine the
online community, switching the focus
from inventors to makers. A second
round of funding from the Student
Venture Lab helped them attend Maker
Faire Detroit in July and the World
Maker Faire New York in September.
The beta version of the PYPline site
Page 6 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
E M E R G I N G C O M PA N Y
M aking their mark
See PYPLI NE on PAGE 7
Graham Bredemeyer, left, and Scott BonAmi developed PYPline, an online
community for makers.
■ ■ Company: PYPline LLC
■ ■ Founders: Graham Bredemeyer,
■ ■ Website: www.pypline.com
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 7
E M E R G I N G C O M PA N Y
launched in conjunction with the World
And it was at that time that
Bredemeyer and BonAmi knew for sure
that their idea had value.
“We heard the words that you want to
hear,” BonAmi said. “And it was even
better hearing it from Dale. He said,
‘This is exactly what we’ve been
looking for. We haven’t been able to do
it yet, and it’s not out there yet. Down to
the format, you guys are on the right
PYPline allows users to post the
projects they’re working on using a
function called “notebooks.” It also
allows them to find and join individual
maker space and hacker space commu-
nities on the site, or start their own. A
feature called “side notes” lets other
users share ideas and resources on note-
book projects. The site features a
discussion board that was designed to
prevent users from having to click
through multiple pages to find the post
they’re looking for. And every page on
the site can be shared to an individual’s
own social media account on, for
example, Facebook and Twitter.
PYPline’s collaborative system could
be marketed to schools, businesses and
maker spaces to better coordinate their
members, and Bredemeyer and BonAmi
envision the site itself generating
revenue. Eventually, subscriptions will
be offered. Upon logging into the site,
subscribers would be presented with
customized information collected from
across the PYPline community.
“Instead of providing you search
results in the way that Google might,
where you have to search through a
million things and see just the basic
description, we would actually be
presenting you with content,”
Bredemeyer said. “And because we have
that user base, we would know is this
good content, is this bad content?”
The two also have developed an adver-
tising system that aligns advertisers’
interests with PYPline users and commu-
nities. And they plan on adding an online
marketplace for selling items that
makers, tinkerers and inventors need.
PYPline is the duo’s full-time dream,
but it’s been entirely developed during
the small amount of free time between
jobs, school and family. They hope that
someday soon, they can devote their full
attention to the online community.
Because the need for such a social
network is certainly there. It just took
two people, working together, to figure
out a solution to the problem.
Continued from PAGE 6
PYPLI NE: Users can work together on projects, post feedback
Page 8 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
2 0 1 0 I N N O VATO R O F T H E Y E A R
2 0 1 0 E M E R G I N G C O M PA N Y W I N N E R
Honor Education forges ahead
BY LI NDA LI PP
A year after their company, Honor
Education LLC, won Business
Weekly’s Innovator of the Year award,
siblings Sean, Jared, Alyssa and Tristan
Dugan are keeping busy teaching
classes and developing their signature
educational software product, Forge.
The Dugans now expect to release
Forge, their virtual world creation
package, in time for Christmas 2012.
The work is taking longer than they
thought it would, but they hope the
result will have the high-detail
graphics and feel of a video game
along with ease-of-use enhancements
that will allow the creation of spectac-
ular images in a relatively short period
“We’ve been working hard on it,”
said Jared, who serves as project
manager. “We’ve worked a lot on the
visual language. We’re trying to make
the graphics capabilities better.”
Forge will allow users to turn math-
ematical equations, scientific formulas
and other abstract information into
tables, graphs and two- and three-
dimensional dynamic visualizations.
The program’s engine will automati-
cally enhance what students create to
provide greater depth and detail.
Users probably will be able to
purchase the basic package, and then
add on specialized kits to create
different worlds — outer space, pirate
ships, cities, etc. They even will be
able to combine the kits to create space
pirates, if they wish, Alyssa said.
“They can do anything they want. If
they love baseball, we hope they will
design a baseball stadium,” she said.
“They can create all sorts of worlds.”
Forge will have educational uses,
but also will have gaming components
to keep recreational users interested.
The Dugans have always targeted
middle school and high school students
as the primary market for the product,
but it may also have appeal for adults.
Honor Education is still housed in
the Emerging Growth wing of the
Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.
They’ve extended their stay after
winning a year’s office space through a
competition called BizWhiz, and may
soon expand into an adjacent space.
All four are now graduates of
Indiana Tech. Alyssa and Tristan
finished in 2011 with elementary
education degrees, a year after Sean
and Jared graduated with degrees in
The Dugans were home-schooled,
and many of the students in their
“virtual Egypt” 3-D modeling classes,
programming, digital photo editing and
website development classes also are
Now in their third semester of class
offerings, the Dugans have 35 students.
Altogether, 90 have taken advantage of
the courses taught in a conference
room at the Innovation Center.
Tristan is working on a DVD version
of the virtual Egypt class that may be
available early next year. They also are
considering offering classes for adults
online beginning in the fall of 2012.
“I think it could be fun to do a
course for adults,” Alyssa said.
A fifth sibling, Michaela, 16, has
been pitching in to help with teaching
and other tasks. All the Dugans still live
at home with their parents, Steve and
Lisa Dugan, but the four older ones
have been thinking about moving out
and getting their own place. Together.
Although they range in age from 20
to 25, “we’ve always thought of
ourselves as the same age,” Alyssa
said. “We should have been quadru-
Alyssa, Tristan, Jared and Sean Dugan founded software company Honor
■ ■ Company: Honor Education LLC
■ ■ Founders: Sean, Jared, Alyssa and
Trist an Dugan
■ ■ Website: www.honoreducation.com
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 9
H E A LT H C A R E
They dreamed it, then built it
BY DOUG LEDUC
A visit to an automation shop for
repairs on a wheelchair’s tilt recline
introduced the man who would found
Be Adaptive Equipment LLC in
Columbia City to the man who would
become its No. 1 beta tester.
Brian Kyler is a fourth-generation
fabricator and welder who was working
at the shop. Eric Dirig is a hunter who
had a dream of a better shooting
device. A dirt bike accident put Dirig in
the wheelchair in 1998, at age 21, and
left him reliant on assistive technology
“Meeting Brian was kind of turning
a page or a chapter in my life,” Dirig
said. “With the piece of equipment I
had at the time to shoot, I had to cut my
guns down in half to be able to use
them.” Limitations of the existing
mounts for the weapons had made it
impossible for Dirig to test or borrow
guns or crossbows, he said.
“I addressed this as kind of a
science fair project,” Kyler said. “Our
whole goal is to not modify the user’s
The two threw themselves into envi-
sioning and developing assistive equip-
ment including activity trays and
shooting rests for rifles, shotguns,
pistols, crossbows and compound
bows, as well as hand controls and lifts
for all-terrain vehicles for disabled
The work started in the summer of
2001 and involved a lot of testing.
Dirig was an eager volunteer, even as
they figured out through trial and error
how to make the most effective recoil
compensation mechanism. “I’d just
throw a couple of blankets on (his)
chest and say, ‘Oh, don’t be a sissy,’”
Kyler laughed, recalling their experi-
The first product was ready to
launch in December of that year, and DOUG LEDUC
Brian Kyler, left, founded Be Adaptive Equipment LLC and Eric Dirig helped him
develop his assistive technology for disabled outdoorsmen. n
See BE ADAPTI VE on PAGE 10
Page 10 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
H E A LT H C A R E
came with a chin-operated joystick to
move the gun or bow left, right, up or
down and a power trigger mechanism
activated with a suction tube. Dirig
considered that an improvement over
earlier equipment that used a fishing
line mechanism to activate the trigger.
Kyler contacted outdoor sports
organizations and magazines to help
promote the products Be Adaptive was
developing. With 450,000 people in the
United States living with spinal cord
injuries, there was a lot of interest in
what the company was doing.
News of the innovative work spread
the most quickly among potential bene-
ficiaries through word of mouth and
Internet blogs and chat sites. Sales
grew from six pieces of equipment in
2002 to 300 last year.
Orders had picked up enough by 2005
that Kyler could quit his day job in order
to devote all his time to the growing
business, and it could invest in computer-
numeric-controlled mills, lathes and
powder coating equipment. Everything is
made from raw materials and product
components are made in batches of 25.
“I never really started out to build a
business,” Kyler said. “It basically just
kind of grew into a business … and
morphed itself from one thing to
The company adopted a slogan, “If
you can dream it, we can build it,” and
it invites special requests for new prod-
ucts from disabled sportsmen. “We help
people fulfill their dreams and get back
out into the woods,” he said.
Be Adaptive has four employees and
a dozen products out now with more
under development. Next year Kyler
plans to launch a product to help with
fishing. Most of the company’s prod-
ucts are sold over the Internet at a price
that is in line with the cost of other
A popular mount Dirig has used for
deer and turkey hunting is priced at
$1,650. “That seems like a lot of money
for a toy, but that crossbow (Dirig used
with it) is almost 2 grand,” Kyler said.
Be Adaptive has rebuffed sugges-
tions that it raise its prices partly
because nonprofit groups working with
disabled sportsmen are among its
customers, he said.
Keeping the company’s products at
prices that don’t discourage disabled
hunters from buying them is important,
because in many cases, “it really
becomes life changing for them,” Kyler
said. “It takes them back out and gets
them doing things.”
Continued from PAGE 9
BE ADAPTIVE: Sells 12 products, with more under development
■ ■ Company: Be Adaptive Equipment
■ ■ Founder: Brian Kyler
■ ■ Website: www.beadaptive.com
GREATER FORT WAYNE Busi ness Weekl y n March 21-27, 2005
M ARKLE BANK PLANS
VAN BUREN FACI LITY
MARKLE — A new MarkleBank loca-
tion is slated to open in April in Van Buren.
Ground was broken for the Van Buren
Community Banking Center. It is to be a
satellite of MarkleBank’s Warren branch,
according to MarkleBank. The Van Buren
facility will be an express office with
Saturday hours 9 a.m. to noon.
MarkleBank is a subsidiary of MarBanc
Financial Corp., with six banking centers
including a new office in Fort Wayne.
DOLLAR GENERAL STORE
EYES GARRETT LOCATI ON
GARRETT — A Dollar General Store
will occupy one of the sites in the South Side
Commercial Park at S.R. 327 and C.R. 54 if
a proposed annexation is passed by the
Garrett Common Council.
A public hearing on the annexation is
scheduled for April 5.
Norman Myers of Myers Investments
LLC presented a “very preliminary” plan for
the commercial park at a council meeting
Tuesday night in City Hall.
Myers said Dollar General and another
9,100-square-foot retail business building are
the only two “for sure” building projects at
this time. The new Dollar General store will face
S.R. 327 and the other building — also 9,100
square feet — will house three or four
family-type businesses. FORD’S T- BI RD LANDS ON SHELF
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has
announced it will end production of the
current Thunderbird with the end of the 2005
model year in mid-summer. The company
expects to bring back the car sometime in the
Ford’s market share has sunk to the lowest
level in at least 25 years. Analysts see the
sprawling 48-year-old Wixom, Mich.,
assembly plant, with 1,800 hourly and
salaried workers, as a prime candidate for
closure. Ford will cut 200 jobs at the plant.
The company expects to bring the
Thunderbird back in the future.
“We promised all along that this
Thunderbird would have a limited produc-
tion run, and we’re being true to our word,”
Steve Lyons, Ford Division president, said in
a statement. “Thunderbird was a terrific
image builder for the Ford brand showroom
at a time when we needed it. Now, we’re in
the midst of a major product onslaught,
including more news on the Mustang at this
month’s New York auto show.”
The Thunderbird first went on sale Oct.
22, 1954, as a 1955 model. Over the decades,
Thunderbird went through several design
changes with coupes, sedans, convertibles,
hardtops, midsize and large-size designs. It
went on hiatus after the 1997 model year
before returning in 2001 to breathe life into
the company’s depleted car lineup.
The Ford Thunderbird is celebrating its
50th anniversary with a limited-edition 2005
BY SHIRLEY HARM
email@example.com WATERLOO — The mixers, ladles and
whisks are all super-sized in this kitchen.
Stainless steel shelving holds enormous
mixing bowls, 5-gallon buckets of lemon
juice, and boxes rather than shakers of
seasonings. You’ll have that with a rapidly
growing food manufacturing enterprise.
The product? It’s Organic Golden Flax
Crackers, which Michael and Ellen Moor
produce from what used to be their garage in
rural Waterloo. They founded their company,
Foods Alive, just two years ago.
Who would have an interest in flax
crackers that are not only organic but also
kosher and vegan?
Well, the Moors have succeeded in
breaking into the food market in a big way.
They’re selling their crunchy little product in
health food stores in 33 states, from
California to New York, Maine to Montana.
“We learned all we could about flaxseed
and its benefits a few years ago,” Michael
said. When they tasted a flaxseed cracker at a
health food institute, they were so good they
scouted out a similar recipe so they could
duplicate it at home.
“We made them for about six months for
ourselves and really enjoyed them before we
got the idea to sell them ourselves,” Ellen
said. “We checked various health food and
grocery stores to see if they had anything like
flax crackers. They didn’t.”
So they took the dive.
The first manufacturing process entailed
making everything from scratch — mixing,
measuring, pouring and spreading the mix
onto dehydrator sheets using spatulas before
placing them into a dehydrator.
“We ordered six dehydrators and a bunch
of organic flaxseed,” Ellen said. “We
contacted various companies concerning
packaging and ingredients, and several health
food stores to see if they would like free
samples of our product. We talked with Susan
Lovell from Nature’s Cornucopia in Angola
(and Auburn) and had her sample some
crackers. She was very encouraging to us —
and she was our first customer.”
They upped it to 12, then purchased a
commercial dehydrator that has increased
capacity by 300 percent.
“Dehydration is important in the process
so the enzymes aren’t destroyed,” Michael
explained. When orders really began kicking in, they
renovated their operation into a commercial,
kosher kitchen around May of 2003.
“The vehicles have been outside since all
this kicked them out of the garage,” Ellen
Such positive response, while gratifying,
requires an organized schedule. The Moors’
children, Jacob, 16, Libby, 18, Matt, and
Matt’s wife, Tammy, all help, along with
Norene Keller of Pleasant Lake, who works
half days. The operation is enhanced by having Jacob
and Libby on the job when they’re not
studying, Michael said. Homeschooled for the
last nine years, Libby continues her schooling
and works half days, and Jacob, a sophomore,
works only in the summer. He does help,
though. Every evening he devotes about 20
minutes flipping the crackers over and putting
them back into the dehydrator for the night.
Thanks to a steady increase in flax cracker
sales, the process continues to be expanded
and streamlined. The new food-strip depos-
itor, which barely fit through the 8-foot
garage door, arrived a few weeks ago. It has a
thousand-gallon mixing tank, a 15-gallon
“hopper” and a pump to transfer and spread
the right amount of mix onto the trays.
They hope to purchase an automatic
bagging machine next, which would form, fill
and seal the bags. The crackers are fresh and crisp, with
vibrant flavors. Dozens of taste trials have
narrowed them down to six: Mexican
Harvest, Italian Zest, Garlic Onion, Maple &
Cinnamon, Carob Mint and Regular.
Kitchen trials over the past months have
included a pineapple- and coconut-flavored
piña colada, and chocolate, using 20-22
percent cocoa butter. That one is undergoing
lab testing to determine the nutritional value.
“We’re trying to find a flax cracker for
people who aren’t health nuts,” Tammy said.
What makes the flax crackers a “whole
“Whole food is food that hasn’t been
processed a lot,” he said. “You can grind
grain completely for wheat bread — that’s
whole-grain bread. But if you separate the
wheat germ and wheat bran out, that’s not
whole. Whole food means it’s had the least
amount of alterations by man.”
While the family extolls the phenomenal
health benefits of flax, they admit it’s tough to
enjoy in the raw. “You can grind it up and put it on your
oatmeal, but ...” He made a “yuck” face.
“Some people just don’t like it.”
Hence the flax cracker factory.
Couple in W
aterloo produce flax crackers from converted garage
One of the simpler jobs at Foods Alive is the process of breaking the flax crackers and
“bagging” them into 4-ounce packages. Pictured are, from left, Tammy and Matt
Alvord, and Michael, Ellen and Libby Moor.
So far, Michael and Ellen Moor’s Organic
Golden Flax Crackers come in six flavors —
Mexican Harvest, Italian Zest, Garlic Onion,
Maple & Cinnamon, Carob Mint and
Regular. Savory mustard and barbecue are
currently undergoing reviews.
Name: Tom Saylor
Title: Owner Company: Tom’s Donuts
Type of business: Donut shops
Location: 807 N. Wayne St.,
Angola, Lake James, Lake George
with franchise outlets in Fort Wayne
and throughout northeast Indiana
Founded: 1969 Employees: 8
Probably the biggest mistake I
ever made was in — oh, I’d say
maybe 1982. I had finished putting together
the first franchise. I’d been through
all the paperwork and the lawyers.
I’d paid big bucks to the attorneys.
I had put stores in Ohio. I was
putting stores into old gas stations
that were being converted. I had six
or seven stores in Fort Wayne. I had
stores in New Haven and
Manchester. I had a store in
Coldwater, Mich. By the time it was all put
together, I had something like 24
stores. We were doing well. People
were happy. I was happy. Cash
flow was good. The product was
good. People liked it. People were
using our name and our mix. I was
being paid royalties.
What I didn’t do — the brass
ring that was right there and I let
pass me by — was get myself to
the next level. The thing I should
have done was do what I had to go
beyond this area. But I wasn’t a good enough
entrepreneur to do that. Sure, I
knew the product. I knew how to
make the donuts. What I didn’t
know was how to market — I mean
really market — myself and my
product. I needed to bring in a big
shooter. I needed to pay someone
the big bucks to come in and
market me so I could expand to
other parts of the country. But I
didn’t go after that man, woman or
company ... whichever it might
have been. I mean, look what Krispy
Kreme did. I was comfortable. I was
covering a lot of ground, but I
seemed to think I had to do it all
myself. So that’s what I did.
It’s a regret now. It cost me
money, sure. But money wasn’t
really what I was after. It was the
hunt, getting stores going. That’s
what I wanted. But because I was
just in this area, it started to fizzle.
We still have stores in Fort
Wayne — four, I think. Of course,
they don’t pay me money
anymore. We have the Lake
George store that’s open in the
summer, and that does real well.
The Lake James store is going into
its 36th summer, and we have the
store in town. But I know it could have been
bigger if I’d done things differently.
I think as a businessperson you
have to really go out and find that
person who can blossom you and
your company — who can take
you beyond your expertise. That’s
what I should have done, and I let
that ring go by. I can’t even
imagine the growth I could have
But I’m happy. I’m not sad
about it. I think about it, and maybe
— just maybe — deep down inside
I was afraid of becoming too big.
Afraid of becoming so big that I’d
be busy all the time and I wouldn’t
have been able to spend time with
my family or play golf.
I think it’s an important lesson,
though. In business, when you start
to take off, you really, really need
some help to get to that next level.
I don’t really know that anyone
could do it all on their own.
MY BI GGEST M I STAKE TOM SAYLOR
Name: Michael Eikenberry
Age: 63 Company: Fort Wayne area presi-
dent of National City Bank What is National City Bank?
National City Corporation, head-
quartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is
one of the nation’s largest financial
holding companies. It was founded
in 1845. The company operates
through an extensive banking
network primarily in Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan,
Missouri and Pennsylvania, and
also serves customers in selected
markets nationally. Its core busi-
nesses include commercial and
retail banking, mortgage financing
and servicing, consumer finance
and asset management. The bank’s
corporate headquarters are located
at National City Center, 1900 East
Ninth Street, Cleveland, Ohio.
How long in this position?
Since Jan. 1, 2003.
Former job: Employed at Fort
Wayne National Corp. since 1966,
working originally in retail, mort-
gage and corporate lending. He
became a senior executive in
charge of all lending around 1990.
When Fort Wayne National Corp.
was acquired by National City
Bank in late 1998, he became head
of corporate banking for northern
Bachelor’s degree in business, Ball
State University, 1963; continuing
education at the University of
Virginia, Ohio State University and
the University of Michigan.
What ’s t he bi ggest break
you’ve had in your career? “I
really think it goes clear back to
being hired by Paul Shaffer at Fort
Wayne National Corp. He was the
longtime chair of the company.
We had a lot in common; we were
both small town guys, we both
liked cars and, most importantly,
we both had a competitive nature
and a desire to win. I think my
career was short-tracked because
What do you consider the
biggest accomplishment of your
career? “I’ve had a lot of accom-
plishments, but it’s been a pretty
consistent trip. It’s been a consis-
tent journey to the corner office. I
think every person going into a
company may have that as an end
desire for their path. My biggest
accomplishment has probably been
the ability to contribute over a long
period of time in both medium and
What career advice do you
have for young people who
aspire to go into banking? “My
advice is to prepare yourself educa-
tionally, a process that continues
throughout your career. Make a
conscious effort to excel when
compared to your peers. In short,
work hard but smart... Principally,
you need to take courses in finance,
economics and, believe it or not, in
this day and age, marketing. And
an internship is one of the best
ways any college student can deter-
mine if the career path they’re
choosing will agree with them. If
you spend two or three summers
interning at a bank, you have a
major leg up when it comes to
being hired because you’ll have
developed some expertise. An
internship is really a long job inter-
What’s the best work experi-
ence that you’ve ever had? “It
isn’t a single experience. I think the
relationships I’ve developed and
the experiences I’ve had in busi-
ness have really shaped who I’ve
become. And business is relation-
ships. When I make a list of busi-
ness associates and a list of friends,
the lists are very similar.”
What important lessons have
you learned from your work?
“This is one lesson I’m still
working on — establishing a
balance between work and non-
work life. Ideally, the order of
importance would be God first,
then family, then work, then
pleasure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t
always get in that order. It’s
amazing that at 63 I’m still strug-
gling to put the work aspects in my
life in the proper perspective.
Maybe that’s part of being a Type
A personality. It’s probably why I
have gotten to where I am in my
CAREER PATH M I CHAEL EI KENBERRY Tom Saylor, owner of Tom’s Donuts, and his grandson, Austin
Svihlik, knead dough at the Angola Tom’s Donuts.
XEROX CORP. HONORS
BUSI NESS I M PRESSI ONS
AUBURN — Xerox Corp. has
recognized Business Impressions
for outstanding achievements
throughout the past year.
The Auburn business is one of
a few sales agencies across North
America to be named a Xerox
Premier Authorized Sales Agent.
Recognition as a Premier
Agent is based on exceptional
success in customer service, sales
performance and significant
investment in the business.
Business Impressions, at 509 S.
Main St., Auburn, has been
serving DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble
and Steuben counties for 17 years.
Its staff includes Jeff Bassett, John
McKinley. Xerox sales agents are inde-
pendent local businesses that offer
a full line of products and services
from Xerox, a world leader in
TI M E SERVI CES
STAFF RECOGNI ZED
ANGOLA — The Angola Time
Services staffing branch was
recognized at Time Services’
annual meeting. The branch was recognized for
for attainment of business plan
and outstanding performance
measurements in 2004.
FAI RVI EW RECEI VES
2 HECKAM AN AWARDS
KENDALLVILLE — Fairview
Builders of Kendallville recently
received two awards at the
Heckaman Homes annual builders
meeting in Lafayette.
The company received the
Special Achievement in Customer
Service award, given to builders
who maintain the highest level of
customer satisfaction throughout
the building process and after
It also received the Quality &
Excellence award for maintaining
maximum attention to detail
while reaching outstanding sales
levels. Only three Indiana
builders received this award this
BRC RECEI VES AWARD
LIGONIER — The Ligonier,
Churubusco and Bluffton divi-
sions of BRC Rubber and Plastics
Inc. have all received the
Excellence Award for worker
health and safety from the Rubber
Manufacturers Association, the
company announced in a press
The association recognizes
facilities with health and safety
performance levels 75 percent
better than the overall average of
all participating association
members each year, the press
release said. BRC Rubber and Plastics
produces molded rubber and
plastic industrial and automotive
CAM P STAFF CERTI FI ED I N
PESTI CI DE APPLI CATI ONS
MIDDLEBURY — Two men
who oversee all property opera-
tions at Camp Singing Hills near
Middlebury have been certified
by the state of Indiana
Management Program as certi-
fied commercial pesticide appli-
cators. Property manage Robert
Bloom and council caretaker
John Sherck passed two tests to
receive the certification. It
covers public health pest
control. The two men are prop-
erty management staff of the
Indiana Lakeland Girl Scout
Council, which serves Elkhart,
Whitley, Kosciusko and Noble
PHYSI CI AN ACHI EVES
CERTI FI CATI ON
ANGOLA — The American
Board of Family Practice recently
announced that Dr. Dean Mattox
of Angola successfully completed
its recertification examination.
The ABFB is one of 24
member board of the American
Board of Medical Specialists, and
is the second largest medical
specialty board in the United
SAVOY SERVI CES
KENDALLVILLE — Savoy
Services has moved out of its
downtown Kendallville location
as part of a shift of its emphasis,
according to the business’ co-
Van Knox said the business has
changed its focus to quality
management systems auditing for
ISO 9001, QS 9000 and TS 16949.
It has returned to its roots as a
home-based business as part of
that shift, he said. The business’ former storefront
at 125 S. Main St. is now occupied
by Noble PC. Savoy is still owned by Knox
and his wife, Rita Knox. Its phone
number, 349-1998; fax number,
TOLEDO, Ohio — The
Bostwick-Braun Co., which is
headquartered in Toledo, Ohio,
and operates a distribution
center in Ashley, recently
announced nine Innovator
Award winners at the company’s
Celebration. The awards are given to indi-
viduals who have made profound,
implemented contributions to the
company. Honorees from the Ashley
plant were Scott Wolfrum of
Hamilton, internal logistics super-
visor; human resources manager
Julia Morr of Ashley; shipping
clerk Travis Musser of Hudson;
and driver supervisor Teresa Lash
BECKMAN LAWSON, LLP is pleased to
announce that the following lawyers were
named Indiana Superior Lawyers for 2005:
John H. Brandt in family law, Frank J. Gray
in business litigation, Jack W. Lawson in
real estate, Robert L. Nicholson in mergers
and acquisitions, Howard B. Sandler in
bankruptcies and workouts.
CHURUBUSCO NEWS publisher Robert
Allman has appointed Dave Crabill as their
new editor. His appointment became effec-
tive February 16, 2005. He replaces Vivian
Rosswurm who resigned to work for KPC
ARCHI TECTS, ENGI NEERS AND
I NTERI OR DESI GNERS, a full-service
design firm, is pleased to announce that its
chief executive officer, Marvin L. Bok, P.E.,
CCI M, has been named to the board of
directors for the Auburn Cord Duesenburg
ARCH I TECTS, ENGI NEERS AND
I NTERI OR DESI GN is proud to announce
that Christy Folkner has joined its staff as
an interior design intern. She is currently a
senior at IPFW, majoring in Interior
Design. Christy is studying her internship
under the direction of Elissa Packard,
ASID, director of interior design. Vintage
Archonics is a full-service design firm.
Marvin L. Bok, P.E. is chief executive
TOWER BANK has recently hired Elaine
Furnish as treasury officer. Furnish, who
has an extensive banking background, has
held positions such as staff accountant,
internal auditor, controller and treasurer and
has served as asset/liability officer at Fort
Wayne National Bank. Furnish holds a
Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana
University, Fort Wayne. TOWER BANK has promoted Tina
DeM errit t to assistant vice president,
human resources. She has been with
Tower since 2000 and has most recently
served as human resources officer.
DeMerritt, a Valparaiso University grad-
uate, represents Tower on the Workforce
Advisory Council and chairs the Job Expo
and Career Fair for the Chamber of
TOWER BANK has promoted Steve Smith
to vice president, collections. Smith has
been with Tower since 2003 and most
recently served as assistant vice president,
Credit and Business Services. Smith is a
graduate of Ohio State University and has
31 years of experience in the financial
Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer in busi- ness litigation at Beckman Lawson, LLP
Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer in real estate at Beckman Lawson, LLP
Nicholson Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer in mergers and acquisitions at Beckman Lawson, LLP
Sandler Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer in bank- ruptcies and work-
outs at Beckman Lawson, LLP
Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer in family law at Beckman Lawson, LLP
PEOPLE ON THE M OVE
Fairview Builders sales manager
Brad Rummel, right, is shown
receiving Heckaman Homes
Special Achievement in
Customer Service and Quality &
Ecellence awards from
Heckaman corporate sales
manager Larry Lant recently.
SI TTI NG on news?
Send your press rel eases,
promoti ons, hi res and other
i tems of si gni fi cance to
826 Ewing St. — Fort Wayne — 426-2640
Published Every Friday • KPC Media Group Inc. Business Weekly
GREATER FORT WAYNE
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 11
Page 12 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
M A N U FA C T U R I N G & D I S T R I B U T I O N
The big chill
BY LI NDA LI PP
Tippmann Engineering’s newest inno-
vation for industrial food handlers and
processors is not just way cool, it is a new
way to cool that could cut costs and
improve food safety.
The family-owned company, which
has been working in the refrigeration
industry since 1949, developed a system
called QuickFreeze that freezes pallets of
product in the storage rack rather than in
a separate blast freezer, and uses an esti-
mated 40 percent less energy in the
QuickFreeze pulls air through the
food-laden pallets, freezing them more
quickly and at a higher temperature than
a typical blast freezer. And the system
can be installed in existing facilities,
using much of what is already there.
“We use the existing building’s refrig-
eration infrastructure,” said partner Dan
Tippmann, who runs the business with
his brother, Sam.
The company already holds a lot of
patents on its products and processes, and
a patent is pending on QuickFreeze.
“We’ve always been about innovative
refrigeration,” Dan said.
“We’re also a company very much
about providing results and solutions,”
The technology and processes behind
conventional blast freezing are about 50
years old and date from a time when
energy was far less expensive. Chilling
large quantities of product by removing
Brothers Dan, left, and Sam Tippmann now run the family refrigeration business founded in 1949.
■ ■ Company: Tippmann Engineering
■ ■ Website: www.tippmanneng.net
See TI PPM ANN on PAGE 13
heat from a room and then maintaining
those freezing temperatures are both
energy-intensive processes. In today’s
world, that’s not cost-effective.
Years of building and managing
frozen food facilities convinced the
Tippmanns there had to be a better way.
The inspiration for QuickFreeze came
while the company was looking for a
replacement for room freezing, reducing
temperatures while products are in
storage. They began testing the freezing
characteristics of different products,
using airflow rather than a reduction in
the ambient temperature to achieve the
“Following initial testing, it was clear
that it was a very viable alternative for
blast freezing,” Dan said.
Airflow is generally accepted in the
refrigeration industry as the most impor-
tant variable in freezing large volumes of
food. By pulling air through the pallets,
right in their storage racks, Tippmann’
QuickFreeze freezes more consistently
and reliably. That allows the process to be
completed at minus-10 degrees, rather
than the conventional minus-35 degrees,
offering a big savings on energy from
conventional blast freezing.
Because the system freezes products
more quickly and consistently, it is
expected to reduce the risk of bacterial
contamination and growth, making food
safer. There are possible applications for
QuickFreeze in the pharmaceutical
industry as well, the Tippmanns noted.
Beyond its energy savings and
improved reliability, the QuickFreeze
system offers a more efficient method for
moving pallets of product in and out. It is
built of steel components with a
minimum of moving parts, and the only
regular maintenance required is to
change belts on the fans.
QuickFreeze currently is being used in
a 1,000-pallet facility in Indianapolis,
and also is being tested by Maple Leaf
Farms in Kosciusko County. In the next
six to eight months, Sam said, the
company expects to install 600 to 1,000
pallet positions per month at locations all
over the U.S. and Canada.
The Tippmanns boast that all the
primary components of the system are
made right here in Indiana. “We’ve actu-
ally gone out of our way to do so,” Sam
Sheet metal comes from a contractor
in Harlan, the racks are produced in Fort
Wayne and the fans are from Valparaiso,
for example. A Fort Wayne contractor
does the erecting.
“We’re just proud of the impact on
jobs we can have here in Indiana,” Dan
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 13
M A N U FA C T U R I N G & D I S T R I B U T I O N
Continued from PAGE 12
TI PPMANN: System freezes products more quickly, consistently
All of the primary components of the QuickFreeze system, including these racks,
are made in Indiana.
2010 WI NNER UPDATE
After very promising initial nationwide sales in 2010 of
the self-serve Doggie Fountain I invented, business has tailed
It’s still being distributed by a company in Illinois and I’m
still getting royalty checks, but it has been disappointing. I
haven’t given up on innovating, though. I’m seeking a patent
for a dog feeder and I’m working on a tortilla maker.
It’s just in me to invent things.
Whitley Steel Products & Fabrication
Page 14 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
P R O F E S S I O N A L S E R V I C E S
Cirrus ABS’s online channel management program, or CHAM P, helps companies maintain a brand across
their member networks.
The brand CHAM P- ion
BY RI CK FARRANT
Cirrus ABS’s online channel management
program (CHAMP) was the product of a
gradual evolution as the digital marketing
company’s CEO and his staff began recog-
nizing a persistent need among clients with
“In our experience in working with parent
organizations with member networks and
their individual members, we saw firsthand
the dilemma that these organization face,”
said Cirrus ABS founder and CEO Matt
Nickols. “The parent organizations have
much greater marketing resources and
expertise than their members, but they have
very few options leveraging those assets for
Put another way: Parent organizations
with dealers, franchises or agency partners
have a difficult time ensuring that the websites
of their members conform to brand,
messaging and product update requirements.
Part of the problem, Nickols said, is that
there is no guarantee that information sent to
resource-strapped members will wind up on
local websites or be represented accurately.
“Most local organizations don’t have the
time, expertise or resources (to manage
websites),” he said. “And so, a lot of the time,
the corporate brand is destroyed. The site
■ ■ Company: Cirrus ABS
■ ■ Founder: Matt Nickols
■ ■ Website: www.cirrusabs.com
See CI RRUS ABS on PAGE 15
doesn’t have the right look and feel, and
(members) don’t know how to create a
product line that leads people through the
CHAMP, said Nickols, provides members
with brand-constant content that is structured
in such a way that it ensures optimum visi-
bility online — part of a process known as
search engine optimization.
The content can also arrive to members
personalized to a particular locale.
Parent organizations, Nickols said, can
decide how much or how little freedom
members have in modifying the supplied
content. Beyond what the parent organiza-
tions send, members can manage additional
content that is produced at the local level.
Another highlight of CHAMP: It allows
parent organizations to measure activity on
local-member sites, including unique visits,
sales and leads.
In short, Nickols said, CHAMP largely
removes the duplication of everyone in a busi-
ness network trying to build and manage their
“Right now,” he said, “there’s so much
duplication of effort out there in the market-
place. We can take a lot of that away by
providing sophisticated tools and platforms
that allow people to share information and
manage that information.”
Since launching CHAMP about a year
ago, Fort Wayne-based Cirrus ABS has
secured commitments from nearly a dozen
companies representing a total of about 1,000
affiliates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
For the time being, each affiliate pays
between $50 and $100 a month for the
service, but Nichols said he would like to see
parent organizations or franchises eventually
incorporate the cost into fees assessed
First, though, Nickols said Cirrus ABS
needs to actively market CHAMP, which thus
far has been growing largely by word of
Nickols, a 35-year-old Taylor University
graduate, founded the now 30-employee
Cirrus ABS in 1995. He sees CHAMP as a
natural progression in the rapidly changing
digital marketing arena and believes it will
one day have sundry applications.
“If you look down the road five years,” he
said, “I think it can have a lot of implications
in vertical markets and tying markets together.
“Take the homebuilding industry, for
example, and being able to have networks of
suppliers out there who can update and
provide product information online for home-
builders, who in turn provide the information
to customers in a portal.
“The homebuilder doesn’t have to do
anything. The supplier loves it because they
can make sure their products are represented
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 15
P R O F E S S I O N A L S E R V I C E S
Continued from PAGE 14
CI RRUS ABS: Nearly a dozen companies have signed up
2010 WI NNER UPDATE
Summer’s Sky LLC, winner of the
2010 Innovation Award for professional
services, secured its trademark registra-
tion over the past summer. Although
unable to secure necessary funding to
capitalize the organization’s overarching
mandate, the company has continued to
spread its message in a number of
different ways. Brad Duggins, the organi-
zation’s founder, has served as a steering
committee team member for the annual
Disabilities Expo Planning Committee, as
vice president on the Oak Hill Farm ther-
apeutic horseback riding program’s board
of directors and most recently in August
received certification in public speaking,
coaching, and training for the world-
renowned John Maxwell team.
Most important, Brad and Karen
Duggins continue to provide care, love
and support for their children who are the
inspiration for this dream. They continue
their outreach and passion to provide hope
to others who are similarly situated
through their example and collaboration
with families in the Fort Wayne commu-
Summer’s Sky LLC
Page 16 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
R E A L E S TAT E , C O N S T R U C T I O N
& D E S I G N
Bob Wearly, pictured with his wife, Sharon, developed customized steel frames containing replaceable filters
for HVAC systems for his business, Commercial Filter Service Inc.
Filter innovations lead
to oversized success
BY DOUG LEDUC
A 25-year-long commitment to inno-
vation at Commercial Filter Service Inc.
has yielded dramatic improvements in
its filter products and services — and in
the way the business is run.
The air filtration and preventative
maintenance company at 3510 Metro
Drive North, Fort Wayne, was founded
by Bob Wearly, a former international
airline pilot from Woodburn, after he
moved back to northeast Indiana in the
mid-1980s and bought a franchise for
CFS was built on the premise that
changing filters at the right time consis-
tently could save on heating, ventilation
and air conditioning costs by elimi-
nating the need to expend extra energy
pushing air through a dirty filter.
Because it takes less work for a
system with clean filters to accomplish
the same amount of heating and
cooling, changing filters at the right
time also extends the life of HVAC
equipment. The surest way to keep the
filter changes on schedule, CFS said, is
to outsource it to a business that
■ ■ Company: Commercial Filter
■ ■ Founder: Bob Wearly
■ ■ Website: www.commercialfilter.net
See COM M ERCI AL FI LTER on PAGE 17
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 17
R E A L E S TAT E , C O N S T R U C T I O N
& D E S I G N
specializes in the task.
“The utility bill goes up … when you
don’t change the filter,” Wearly said.
Add to that the impact of clean filters on
the longevity of equipment, not to
mention the quality of air in a building,
and “the service does essentially pay for
itself,” he said.
Wearly added to the basic CFS value
proposition shortly after he founded the
business when he noticed standard-size
filters in almost every kind of commer-
cial system — usually with several
filters alongside each other on each
track of an HVAC unit — and he asked
himself, “wouldn’t it be easier and less
costly if there was just one filter on each
The company began making custom-
fit galvanized steel frames for each
HVAC system and securing precisely
cut, highly efficient, replaceable filtra-
tion media to the frames.
The frames outlast the HVAC units in
which they are installed, and the over-
sized pads for them cost less than stan-
dard filters with cardboard frames. CFS
says making the oversized pads of poly-
ester enables them to operate many
times more efficiently than standard
filters of fiberglass.
In many cases, the custom oversized
pad and frame also increase the
system’s air filtration surface area,
improving operating efficiency.
Some customers who have seen a
combination of benefits from the
custom oversized filters and the CFS
filter change-out service have realized
savings of more than 35 percent on their
HVAC costs, the company said.
Its first customer was a small candy
shop in downtown Fort Wayne. “We’ve
grown every year we’ve been in the
business and we’ve never laid anyone
off,” Wearly said.
Within 10 years of launching its
custom oversized filters, the company
was installing them at much larger
retailers, such as Kroger and Meijer. Its
industrial customers include C&A Tool,
Michelin, Nucor, Peg Perego and Rea
Magnet Wire. CFS now has more than
3,500 customers in Indiana, Ohio,
Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky.
The company has 16 employees who
change the filters and make all of the
custom oversized frames and pads.
“We’re entirely home-grown and home-
owned,” Wearly said. “We bring money
home that increases the economy of
The latest innovation at CFS is
related to an information system over-
haul using software developed in 2008
for a system conversion that took place
the next year under the direction of
Jason Daenens. He has since been
promoted to chief executive officer.
The new enterprise resource manage-
ment system “allows us to take informa-
tion from our customer management
system and it uploads the invoices to
our accounting system. It also stream-
lines some of the manufacturing
process, so we don’t have to utilize
paper to process orders,” he said.
“It increases the overall functionality
of the company and greatly improves
productivity,” Daenens said. “The first
two phases of the project were able to
save the company a considerable
amount of money so we were able to
have the software pay for itself in a little
over a year.”
“The next phase would be to make it
so our field technicians would be able to
utilize mobile technology on the job so
they would not need to use paper work
orders. The concept is to manage all of
our work flows electronically.”
Continued from PAGE 16
COM M ERCIAL FI LTER: New innovation boosts productivity
2010 WI NNER UPDATE
Pathfinder Community Connections, the community development division of
Pathfinder Services Inc., continues to stabilize neighborhoods by increasing home
values through acquisition, rehabilitation and resale of vacant properties in selected
Fort Wayne locations. We are specifically working in the 46807 ZIP code area, and
with assistance from the St. Peter/Zion Project and Lutheran Housing Support, and the
Renaissance Pointe and LaRez neighborhoods.
Just before winning the Innovation Award in 2010, Pathfinder Community
Connections purchased a foreclosed home in the 46807 area, rehabilitated it and sold
it early in 2011. A formerly vacant home is now in use, bringing new owners to the
neighborhood and improving the appearance of the entire block of homes.
Resident engagement is an important part of helping a neighborhood become vital
and attractive to home buyers. Pathfinder Community Connections gathered 46807
residents and is assisting them in writing a quality of life plan. The plan will contain
strategic goals and objectives within a timeline for completion. Several residents have
been active in meeting and discussing the plan, which will be completed by Dec. 31.
The group has already developed a Web page, www.lovefortwayne46807.com, a video
describing the assets of 46807 and their engagement efforts,
www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y_NDY8mysg, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
Anyone who lives, works or plays in the 46807 area is encouraged to join.
Pathfinder Community Connections
BY VALERI E CAVI GLI A
When Joe Bellavance visits a trade
show, he can’t just stand idly by a display
table of his products. He wants people to
The good-humored baker is no
stranger to hard work, so lugging an elec-
tric oven from truck to showroom floor at
the Fort Wayne and Chicago home and
garden shows was worth every grunt and
pain in the neck, in his opinion.
At each show, he rented electricity and
brought in special wiring to install an
electric oven, all to plant the fresh scent of
baked bread into the olfactory nerves of
“The best way to sell the product is to
get people to try the product and to try the
product, you need to bake the product. So,
when I go to a trade show, I won’t do it
unless I can bake live on the floor,”
Bellavance said. “There is just something
about the smell of toasted wheat that
drives human beings, at least western
human beings, crazy. I don’t know what it
is. I don’t know if it’s evolutionary or
what, but when people smell bread, some
little switch goes off in their brain and
they kind of start salivating mentally.”
Bellavance is the owner of Average Joe
Artisan Bread LLC, which produces
prepackaged kits that take the difficulty
out of baking fresh artisan bread. “I
wanted the crusty European stuff that’s
really difficult to find and even harder to
bake,” he said.
It took two years for him to perfect a
recipe that would become the basis for his
Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit. And what
makes that innovative?
“It’s a good question because bread
has been around for about 6,000 years, so
there’s really nothing new under the sun
with bread,” Bellavance joked from his
home kitchen. “The innovation, if I had to
pick one, would be to put together a
comprehensive package to allow people
to do this very easily, consistently and
At one time, the bread machine was
considered an innovation. It was the hot-
ticket gift item for holidays, newlyweds
and the home cook.
“Most of them, from what I can tell,
have either been re-gifted, donated or
collected dust,” he said.
In terms of artisan bread baking, the
difference between man and machine
comes with time, something the bread
“Where you get the all the flavor and
color is from the time you give the yeast
to convert the flour starches into simpler
sugars. That’s why it caramelizes; that’s
why it tastes so good. That’s one of the
reasons bread machines failed, because
you would throw everything in, press go,
and you would have bread in three hours.
The problem with that is that the yeast
didn’t have any time to do the work.”
For kicks, Bellavance took his master
bread recipe and tossed the ingredients
into a bread machine. “I pressed go just to
see what would happen and it was like the
paste I used to eat in kindergarten,” he
said. “It was terrible.”
Bellavance calls himself a hack baker.
Page 18 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
R E TA I L
It took two years for Joe Bellavance to develop the recipe that’s the basis for his
Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit.
M an trumps machine
with ar tisan breads
See AVERAGE JOE on PAGE 19
■ ■ Company: Average Joe Artisan
■ ■ Founder: Joe Bellavance
■ ■ Website: www.breadkit.com
He didn’t go to culinary school and is not
a professional cook, let alone a profes-
sional chef. He he can do one thing really
well: bake bread. It was something the
renowned staff at Roanoke restaurant
Joseph Decuis couldn’t help but notice.
“I used to eat dinner there occasionally
and when I started working with a (bread)
recipe and improving upon it, I would
bring (bread) in for the kitchen staff to
share and enjoy. Eventually, I asked them
if they would be interested in buying the
bread and they said yes and we started
The business relationship led the self-
taught Bellavance to an opportunity
coveted by every chef on the planet: step-
ping foot into the James Beard House in
New York City.
“It’s kind of the Carnegie Hall of the
restaurant business. You have to be invited
to cook there and Joseph Decuis was
invited and I was able to accompany them
and serve fresh bread on tables in
Manhattan,” Bellavance recalled.
If his bread was good enough for the
James Beard House,
there was reason to
believe it could have
Bellavance said he basi-
cally took what he did
for Joseph Decuis and
put it in a box.
what he calls a price
and production spec-
trum of products. That means kits are
staggered to suit the needs of home cooks
at every level, from the very skilled to the
“It’s a no-need recipe, so it’s really
good for lazy people like me. Basically,
you mix it, then ignore it for 18-24 hours.
Then you take it out, you shape it and then
you bake it. The net handling time of the
bread is five to 10 minutes, so it’s really
low maintenance and the result is
The Average Joe Artisan Bread line of
products so far includes gift editions, a
cook’s edition, a refill edition and a signa-
ture bread pot sold separately. Kits are
sold direct online at www.breadkit.com
and through retailers he supplies. As of
October, Bellavance had 14 retail
accounts and was in talks with some of
the largest kitchenware retailers in the
country to sell his products.
Corporations looking for employee or
client gifts can also purchase kits through
“We have a product goal and we have
a company goal,” he said. “The product
goal is to help people bake world-class
bread in their own kitchens. The corporate
goal is to bring the bread experience back
into the home more frequently and there
are a number of steps that we’re going to
take to get there.”
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 19
R E TA I L
2010 WI NNER UPDATE
Today, Writing Outsourced, owned
by April Brewster-Smythe, includes
The Green ABC’s for Kids in its wide
array of offerings under its Smart Fox
Media Content catalogue. The Green
ABC’s for Kids is a viable and sustain-
able learning resource for those who
want their community to learn more
about sustainable practices and want to
align their values with their purchasing
The Green ABC’s for Kids is specif-
ically targeted toward children and
families, and is recommended to those
parents, educators and communities
that wish to bring the concepts of green
living to their lives in a fun and enjoy-
If you would like to learn more
about The Green ABC’s go to the
Writing Outsourced site at
call (260) 241-5535.
The Green ABC’s for Kids
AVERAGE JOE: People can bake great bread in their own kitchens
Continued from PAGE 18
Page 20 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
T E C H N O LO G Y
Group Dekko’s new EnergySense system uses a sensor, left, and control panel to automatically turn power
on and off within an office cubicle.
An energy solution
that makes sense
BY BARRY ROCHFORD
That portable heater sitting next to your
desk, it’s a monster. Same goes for the fan in
your co-worker’s cubicle. And the coffee pot
in your supervisor’s work station.
Left plugged in throughout the work day,
they’re vampires, sucking down more energy
than you probably realize. When you add
them all together, it’s not just energy they’re
feasting on. They’ve also taken a substantial
bite out of your company’s profits.
Inside an office at Group Dekko in
Garrett, Tim McGee, senior marketing
manager, pointed at just such a heater.
“That’s a bad actor,” he said. “That pulls
a lot of juice. If you have a fairly efficient
office, the savings are good, but they’re not
great. But every fifth office has one of these,
and these things are killer.”
Luckily, Group Dekko has developed its
own vampire slayer.
The maker of electrical harnesses and
lighting products devised EnergySense, a
system that can control power use cubicle by
cubicle within an office. Piggy-backing on
See GROUP DEKKO on PAGE 21
■ ■ Company: Group Dekko
■ ■ Website: www.groupdekko.com
the company’s existing technology for office
furniture, the system can tell when an indi-
vidual sits down at his or her desk in the
morning or leaves in the evening and regu-
lates power accordingly.
Office furniture makers, who are among
Group Dekko’s primary customers, have
already signed up for the EnergySense
system, which will officially be rolled out in
2012. One reason is because of the new tech-
nology’s quick return on investment. When
in use, EnergySense can reduce electricity
consumption in work stations by as much as
“What our customers have told us is
(ROI) can’t be more than three years, and if
you can get to two, that’s a home run,”
McGee said. “And EnergySense right now
can save about 40 percent of electricity, and
that gives you about a 2 1/2-year payback.”
EnergySense got its start a couple of
years ago, McGee said, based on a “blue-
sky” wish from a customer and ideas that
had been bouncing around the company’s
“And then that light kind of went on, and
we said, ‘We might be able to do this.’ And it
started from there,” he said.
Development of the system also has been
pushed by recent changes in American
Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air
Conditioning Engineers standards. By 2017,
under ASHRAE’s new receptacle control
standard, at least 50 percent of all 125-volt,
15- and 20-amp receptacles installed in
modular partitions within private offices,
open offices and computer classrooms must
be controlled by an automatic device.
“It all comes together in 2017 because it’s
going to be codified. You’re going to have to
do it, and you won’t think twice about it,”
McGee said. “Because every time you pull a
permit, you’re going to have to meet the
The EnergySense system includes a
control panel contained within a partition, a
sensor placed under a desk that detects when
a person is present, the company’s patented
8-10 wiring system and a green data cable
that connects the sensor to the control panel.
McGee said Group Dekko spent a lot of
time fine tuning the sensor. Other sensors on
the market tend to be used to control entire
rooms, so they’re designed to have as wide a
field of view as possible. EnergySense’s
sensor, on the other hand, was designed to
cover a much smaller area to prevent, for
example, people walking by a cubicle from
accidentally tripping the sensor and turning
the power off and on.
But the real achievement was getting
EnergySense to fit within Group Dekko
existing 8-10 wiring system for office furni-
ture. With that system, four wires provide
power, two are neutral and two are ground.
EnergySense then can use the remaining two
wires to route power past a receptacle,
completely shutting it down.
“They don’t have to do anything in terms
of the engineering work,” McGee said of
Group Dekko’s customers. “And that’s the
key to the adoption of this. We made it very
easy for our customers to put this in.”
EnergySense also can be tied into a
facility’s existing BACnet protocol, which
allows communications between different
McGee said it would be impractical to
retrofit EnergySense into modular furniture
already containing Group Dekko’s 8-10
wiring system; however, if such equipment
were reconfigured — in other words, if
panels are pulled apart and fabric removed to
be reconditioned — then it would be feasible
to install the system.
EnergySense wasn’t designed to cast an
all-knowing eye on workers’ energy use, but
it was intended to help businesses and insti-
tutions make intelligent decisions.
“EnergySense and the furniture compa-
nies don’t want to go out and become Big
Brother on power usage,” McGee said.
“We’re hoping you’re actually going to be
able to educate and monitor and say, ‘You
know, it is cold by the front door. She gets a
heater. But we just want it to go off at 5:30.’”
As production of EnergySense ramps up
next year, Group Dekko anticipates that
more office furniture makers will want to use
its new product. And the market is large:
Business and Institutional Furniture
Manufacturers Association members will
post sales of $8 billion to $9 billion this year,
“The ones that have adopted are the ones
leading with green,” he said. “They’re selling
LEED points with their product. They have
bold environmental statements. They see this
as a natural progression of energy effi-
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 21
T E C H N O LO G Y
Continued from PAGE 20
GROUP DEKKO: System designed to meet new ASHRAE standard
EnergySense can reduce a work
station’s energy use by 40 percent.
2010 WI NNER UPDATE
Aside from the $2 million Major Moves contribution
awarded in October 2010, iMAN was charged with raising
approximately $562,000 in additional funding to provide a
basic industrial/business network loop in each of the munici-
palities of Ashley, Fremont, Hamilton, Hudson and the Prairie
Heights School district (near Stroh).
Contributions are as follows: Dekko Foundation, $50,000
matching grant (from private industry); NIPSCO, $25,000 (will
qualify for Dekko Foundation match); anonymous industry,
$30,000; town of Ashley, $15,000; Fremont Chamber of
Commerce, $2,011; Miller Poultry, $5,000 (will qualify for
Dekko Foundation match); total, $77,011
Pending grant proposals: Steel Dynamics Foundation,
$74,000; Ivy Tech Foundation, $34,000; town of Orland,
$15,000; town of Fremont, $15,000; REMC Operation
Roundup, $5,000; variety of banking institutions, $49,000 (will
qualify for Dekko Foundation match); total, $192,000
Current customer connections: 13, business; eight, educa-
tion; 10, government; six, health care
Page 22 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc. Page 23
PA S T W I N N E R S
Emerging company —SensoryCritters.com
Financial services —BeniComp Group Inc.; Bank of Geneva
Health care —Schwartz Biomedical
Manufacturing and distribution —Rubber Innovators LLC
Nonprofit —Foundation for Art and Music in Element ary
Education; Science Central
Professional services —Digit al AV
Real estate, construction and design —RealtyFlex
Retail —Stop & Shred
Technology —Zoom Information Systems
I nnovator of the Year —Rubber Innovators LLC
Emerging company —Sorbashock LLC
Financial services —HomeFree Systems LLC; Wells Fargo
Health care —LacPro Industries LLC
Manufacturing and distribution —Superior
Manufacturing, a division of Magnatech Corp.
Professional services —DeSoto Translation & Marketing Inc.
Real estate, construction and design —NAI Harding Dahm
Retail —Crazy Pinz
Technology —Effect Web Media
I nnovator of the Year —LacPro Industries LLC
Emerging company —NewsMogul LLC
Health care —Solstice Medical LLC
Manufacturing and distribution —Tippmann Industrial
Professional services —St ar Financial Bank
Real estate, construction and design —Basic Elements
Retail —Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot
Technology —Intrasect Technologies
I nnovator of the Year —Solstice Medical LLC
Emerging company —Digit alHydraulic LLC
Health care —StrokeCareNow Network
Manufacturing and distribution —USCombatGear
Professional services —Financial Education Solutions
Real estate, construction and design —MSKTD &
Retail —Build A Computer
Technology —TrustBearer Labs
I nnovator of the Year —Digit alHydraulic LLC
Emerging company —Honor Education LLC
Health care —OrthoPediatrics
Manufacturing and distribution —Whitley Steel
Products & Fabrication
Professional services —Summer’s Sky LLC
Real estate, construction and design —Pathfinder
Retail —The Green ABC’s
Technology —Indiana Metropolit an Area Network Inc.
I nnovator of the Year —Honor Education LLC
To nominate your company or organization for the
2012 I nnovation Awards, visit www.f wbusiness.com.
2011 marks the sixth year that the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly has recognized companies and
organizations from across the region for their innovative ideas, products and services. Past winners are:
Page 24 Innovation Awards • November 2011 • fwbusiness.com • ©KPC Media Group Inc.
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Sweetwater Congratulates the Winners
of the 2011 Business Weekly Innovation Awards!
At Sweetwater, we understand that innovation drives the economy in Northeast Indiana,
creating jobs and attracting new investment, and making this region a great place to live. That’s why we’re
proud to support the winners of the 2011 Business Weekly Innovation Awards.
Here Are Just a Few Notable Sweetwater Innovations:
• We were Indiana’s frst corporate headquarters to be LEED-certifed for environmental friendliness
and energy effciency.
• Our online Guitar Gallery lets customers browse our guitars as if they were in our actual showroom.
• Our unique combination of technical expertise and award-winning customer service creates a
customer experience unparalleled in the music business.
• We’ve transformed a distressed property near downtown Fort Wayne into a luxury auto dealership.
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