The Innovation Hub
at McMillan Hall
At Valparaiso University Innovation Hub (iHub), our mission is to foster collaboration and sharing of ideas to drive transformative innovation and empower individuals, businesses, and communities to thrive in an ever-changing world. Through a combination of design thinking process, cutting-edge technology, diverse expertise, and strategic partnerships, we aim to inspire, connect, and support innovators, entrepreneurs, and organizations in their pursuit of groundbreaking ideas and solutions.
Our primary focus is to cultivate an empathetic culture to balance and identify the intersection of the human, technical and business factors to problem solving to accelerate innovation and facilitate the development of disruptive technologies to solve today’s problems no matter how small or big. We aim to create an inclusive and dynamic environment that encourages cross-pollination of ideas, promotes experimentation and opportunity build on each other’s ideas, and cultivates curiosity – a culture of continuous learning.
Whether you are curious about starting a business or have an innovative idea for a product/service, the iHub is dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurial talent and helping students succeed. We will offer a wide range of resources including a Makerspace, expert advice/speakers, workshops, and access to experienced mentors who can guide aspiring entrepreneurs in developing their ideas and navigating the crucial next steps in their entrepreneurial journey. With daily hours, students are welcome to utilize the iHub, meet like-minded students and start their entrepreneurial journey.
FACULTY & STAFF
The iHub aims to serve as a dynamic platform for fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, connecting faculty and staff from diverse disciplines to encourage knowledge exchange, idea generation, and the formation of innovative partnerships. The iHub will host networking events, workshops, seminars, and provide access to a Makerspace to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas, enabling faculty and staff to leverage their collective expertise and unlock new opportunities for research and entrepreneurial endeavors.
BUSINESSES & COMMUNITIES
The iHub is dedicated to actively supporting businesses and communities throughout the region and beyond, acting as a catalyst for their growth, prosperity, and sustainable development. Through our range of events, programs and initiatives, the iHub will strive to foster a thriving ecosystem that nurtures innovation, learning, and opportunities to drive economic growth. We will foster collaboration between businesses, faculty and students to facilitate knowledge sharing and research partnerships.
Learn & Network
September 13, 2023
What’s My First Step with Dushan Nikolovski
Starting a business is one of life’s most exciting times. Yet, it is also one of the most stressful times that an individual will face. Today, more and more people want to start their own small business; however, having a great idea means nothing if you don’t take the right steps and know where to begin.
Dushan Nikolovski is the Director of the Innovation Hub at Valparaiso University and Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship. Dushan has a unique blend of 30+ years of startup and business experience and 30+ years teaching experience educating thousands of university students, and he will cover some of the basic steps necessary to starting your business, and help you get started on creating your business blueprint that will guide you through the various phases of your business to give you clear guidelines, purpose, market, finance, competition, goals to attain and more.
September 22, 2023
Insights from a Serial Entrepreneur and Engineer Extraordinaire with Gary Conrad
Aspiring to become an entrepreneur with a strategic focus on generating substantial financial returns? Learn the ins-and-outs of effective fundraising strategies tailored to your startup and business needs from Cary Conrad, serial entrepreneur with years of experience.
Cary is driven by a strong appetite for jumping into underdeveloped markets and building businesses that create new technologies, especially in the cybersecurity realm. An engineer by training and a serial entrepreneur, he also specializes in team building and business development for technology start-ups and large organizations.
Cary is currently the President of SilverSky, a cloud-based cybersecurity platform that helps businesses monitor firewalls and automate remediation processes to handle threats. He started his career as a systems engineer with Hughes Aircraft Company, then moved on to research engineer in national security systems at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, subsequently launched a technology start-up focused on security solutions for large financial services organizations. After his company’s successful acquisition by a large technology partnership, he led a turnaround of a global provider of managed security services. Cary, until recently, served as President and CEO of a Stealth-Mode predictive analytics venture based on the D4M technology invented at MIT that focuses on AI solutions to complex Big Data problems in multi-spectral information networks.
Cary holds a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Valparaiso University. He writes frequently about cybersecurity issues and authors a blog advising C-level executives on how to safely secure their information assets.
September 27, 2023
Business Law 101: Tips & Tricks for Launching or Re-Launching Tour Business with Attorney Angela Crossin
Unsure how to launch a business? Stuck in inertia in your current business? Business law can be intimidating for entrepreneurs. With so much to learn, where does a business owner start? Angela Crossin, Esq., Founder and Member at Crossin Law Offices, will discuss common business law topics that every business owner should know.
Angela Crossin is a business lawyer and estate planning attorney with a focus on small business startups/not-for-profits, succession planning, and estate planning for individuals and families. Angela became a Certified VA attorney in January 2020 and is honored to work with veterans. She grew up in a military family. Her dad is a retired brigadier general and her brother is a crew chief on the F-22 in the Virginia Air National Guard.
Angela taught at Purdue, Northern Illinois, Trinity College and Valparaiso University in the areas of accounting, law and ethics. Additionally, Crossin holds a Masters in Accountancy from Purdue University.
Angela sees herself as a guide, directing her clients towards clear, concise and sound business decisions via providing a healthy dose of legal and pragmatic advice. This workshop will explore key business law subjects crucial for every business owner.
October 11, 2023
Marketing Made Easy with Harry Kunelis – HK Creative Investments
While maximizing investor returns, Harry specializes in the development of business process management (BPM) technology. After graduating from Indiana University School of Dentistry, Harry practiced dentistry for seven years. Most of that time in his own private practice. In 2010, he retired from the practice of clinical dentistry to pursue and respond to the big shift which changed the shape of modern marketing.
Currently, Harry is developing a business process management (BPM) technology with a small team of software engineers. A prototype will be beta-tested in a business workflow for AirwayFirst orthodontics and residential real estate. This AI technology is the culmination of 20-years in the trenches as a business owner. When he’s not writing or working on business strategy, you’ll find him studying eastern & western medicine while staring at tall buildings and luxury design.
October 18, 2023
Simple Steps For Starting a Business – with Jim Hubbard – SCORE
Jim retired executive with a BA, MA & JD. Throughout his 40-year Brunswick career Jim was involved in a wide variety of training and development activities for all levels of employees. As VP Chief of Staff at Mercury Marine Jim was also very involved in the Talent Management processes (recruitment, training, succession planning and career development efforts for the organization) at all levels especially at the senior management levels.
Jim joined SCORE | NW Indiana in May 2014 and has worked with hundreds of new businesses both start-ups and on-going. He is currently the Chapter Co-chair. Jim has developed and presented workshops on numerous topics covering leadership, business plan development, understanding business cost structure, and HR in new, existing and family-owned businesses.
November 1, 2023
How to Land Your Dream Internship & Position with Katarina Nikolovski – Eli Lilly & Company
Katarina is deeply passionate about coaching, preparing and showing students what is takes to land a dream internship and ultimately a position at a leading company. She travels and leads workshops at various universities, focusing on topics such as personal branding, networking strategies, enhancing public speaking skills, fostering critical thinking, and how to land dream internships
Katarina is a Marketing Associate with Eli Lilly and Company, one of the world’s best companies and globally renowned pharmaceutical industry leader, as a member of the Oncology Business Unit. Katarina is also a marketing internship recruiter helping to identify qualified and talented students to join Lilly’s marketing team, and the youngest board member of the Purdue University’s Daniels School of Business Alumni Board Member.
November 7, 2023
Design Thinking: Crafting Innovative Solutions for a Changing World with Daniel Maguire, Ph.D.
Design thinking is not just a methodology; it’s a mindset that places human needs and experiences at the heart of problem-solving. It inspires creativity, fosters empathy, and encourages collaboration, leading to innovative solutions that not only meet user expectations but exceed them. By embracing the iterative and human-centered approach of design thinking, we unlock the potential for transformative ideas, driving meaningful change in the world around us.
Dan Maguire joined Valparaiso University in 2019 after 25 years in industry. His industrial work centered on the design of production active noise and vibration control systems for automotive, mining, aircraft, and locomotive applications. He is a mechanical engineer by education, having attended Purdue University for both his undergraduate and graduate work.
November 15, 2023
Learn The Art of Presenting and Pitching with DR. Luke J. Venstrom
“Why is it that smart people give ineffective presentations?” or “Why is it that smart people fail when pitching their ideas?” In this workshop, Dr. Venstrom will answer these questions and develop a framework that will help you to avoid the pitfalls that lead to boring and ineffective pitches and presentations. The framework will help entrepreneurs develop stronger pitches of their ideas, researchers develop stronger presentations of their work, and anyone interested in developing a more confident and compelling oral presentation of information.
Dr. Luke Venstrom is the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, the Paul and Cleo Brandt Professor of Engineering, and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Valparaiso University where he co-directs the James S. Markiwiecz Solar Energy Research Facility, home to the only solar furnace at a primarily undergraduate engineering college. He was the 2019-2020 Valparaiso University Research Professor, the 2021 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work, and the 2022 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Venstrom is passionate about effective oral communication of complex ideas. He teaches a course entitled “Engineering Oral Communication” in the College of Engineering and hosts the annual Engineering Public Presentation Competition. His research broadly encompasses the thermal fluid sciences, with a focus on renewable energy systems and, in particular, high-temperature solar thermal and electrothermal chemistry. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University (B.S.M.E. 2007) and the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities (M.S.M.E. 2010, Ph.D. 2012).
November 29, 2023
Learn How To Host World-Class Sporting Events with Professor David Rolling
Securing the opportunity to host a sporting event holds significant importance for a city and region on multiple fronts. It represents a tremendous economic opportunity and injection of substantial revenue into the local economy: like hospitality, food services, transportation, and tourism. The influx of visitors, both from within and outside the region, translates into increased spending and job creation. Hosting an event also offers a chance to showcase the city’s cultural, architectural, and recreational assets on a global stage, bolstering its image and attracting potential investors and tourists long after the event has concluded. Most importantly, a sporting event can foster community pride and unity as residents come together to support and participate in the event, leaving a lasting legacy of improved infrastructure and facilities for the benefit of the city’s residents and future generations.
Dr. David M. Rolling has presented at the North American Society for Sport Management, Florida Sport Administration and Physical Education, International Sport & Society, National Business and Economics Society Conferences, as well as various campuses across North America. His consulting work includes bid proposals, contract negotiation, and facility design, and he will share his expertise and knowledge in securing a sporting event.
David M. Rolling, Ph.D., holds an appointment as associate professor within Valparaiso University’s College of Business. In his role directing the graduate sport administration program, he teaches courses in law, finance, facility design & management, psychology, sociology, and marketing. He is also the internship coordinator for the program.
Dr. Rolling holds a doctorate of philosophy in Sport Administration focusing in Human Resource management from the University of Kansas. He has published or been cited in Athletic Business, Prairie Business Magazine, and the The Sponsorship Connection, and is on review boards yearly for various academic textbooks.