Creativity and innovation in entrepreneurship: An 11-week lecture series about business and economics

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Staff Writer


 The 12th annual Entrepreneur Lecture Series has already begun at IU South Bend. Presented by the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics, the series is aimed at informing students about the multi-faceted world of entrepreneurship.

The focus of this fall series, sponsored by Lake City Bank, is the role of creativity and innovation in entrepreneurship. Every Thursday night from Sep. 4-Nov. 13, there will be speakers from several businesses who will give lectures about their experiences with entrepreneurship.

“The focus this year is about how creativity and innovation not only inspires entrepreneurship, it sustains it,” wrote Christine Pochert-Ringle, associate faculty member in the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics, in an email. “Speakers are from start-up organizations as well as multi-generational businesses. Creativity is a sustaining, competitive advantage to keep entities successful.”

Attending the series is part of the undergraduate program for students concentrating in entrepreneurship. It’s also part of the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics’ MBA program. However, all students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend the lectures.

According to Pochert-Ringle, students will be able to learn many valuable lessons in business, including integrity in business strategies.

“Students and guests have reported that they have a better knowledge of real-world business situations,” said Pochert-Ringle. “They are motivated by the success stories of businesses that started small and grew to multinational entities. The audience learned about how to gain start-up capital and how to turn around struggling businesses.”

First to speak on Sep. 4 was Perry Watson III, presenting a lecture entitled “Finding the Innovator in You!” President of Lexus of Mishawaka, Watson has had a dealership-focused career. He had a Dodge dealership that he operated out of Minnesota for nine years, and from 1990-1993, he was involved with the Chrysler Minority Dealer Training Program.

Watson is a member of many organizations, including the St. Joseph and Elkhart County chambers of commerce, Indiana Auto Dealers Association and the National Association of Minority Dealers board. In the community, he has been involved with the Urban League, Boys and Girls Club, Jack and Jill of America and Memorial Hospital’s Entrepreneurial Advisory Committee.

Many speakers with a wide breadth of entrepreneurial experience have yet to speak. If you are interested in attending the Entrepreneur Lecture Series, they will be held in the Education and Arts Building, Lecture Hall 1011.


Schedule of Upcoming Speakers:

(information retrieved from

Sep. 11: David Tobey, “Changing the Limits of Possible”

As the founder of Dogs-to-Stars Enterprises and Archemedae Management, Tobey is a serial entrepreneur. He has served as a consultant, officer and/or board member for companies in the financial services, distribution, hospitality, information technology, life sciences, media and transportation industries.


Sep. 18: Amish Shah, “Is Innovation More Than a Buzzword?”

President and CEO of Kem Krest, Shah has been focused on building business in the Elkhart area for years. Shah is a board member and co-owner of Educational Software for Guiding Instruction. He serves on the General Motors Supplier Diversity Council and is a board member for the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and of nonprofits in Elkhart, such as The Horizon Education Alliance and CARES.


Sep. 25: J.P. Hoyer, “Aging Trends and Home Health Care”

Hoyer and his wife, Marlow, have been working in business in Northern Indiana for 25 years. They are owner-operators of Home Instead Senior Care. The couple has received recognition as qualified Dementia Care Specialists through the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and they are both Certified Senior Advisors.


Oct. 2: Dennis Kebrdle, “The Role of Innovation and Creativity in Business Failure and Turnaround”

As a managing partner at Chikol, Kebrdle has experience as president and CEO of distribution and international manufacturing companies. He has 26 years of experience in the industry, and he specializes in organizations that distribute through resellers or manufacture from multiple factories.


Oct. 9: Rich Carlton, “Partnering for Success Through Innovation”

President and COO at Data Realty, Carlton has more than 16 years of experience in building managing, sales and operational teams in technology-based businesses. Carlton has also been the vice president of sales at GramTel, Inc. and the vice president at Electronic Commerce Inc. Carlton is a member on several boards, including Big Brothers Big Sisters.


Oct. 16: Rob Bartels Jr., “Creativity and Innovation: Eating for the Next 100 Years”

President and CEO of Martin’s Super Markets, Inc. today, Bartels began his journey at Martin’s as a bagger in 1981. After graduating college with a BA in marketing, he returned to Martin’s in 1989, working in several management positions until he became director of corporate development in 1997. He has been director of marketing, executive vice president, president and chief operating officer. He became CEO in 2005.


Oct. 23: Larry Davis, “Creating a Culture for Innovation”

For more than 35 years, Davis has been part of the Daman Products Company, Incs.’s manufacturing team, and now he serves as president. Daman received the Great Lakes Manufacturing Excellence Award in 2009. In 2005, Davis also received an award for Indiana’s Small Business Person of the Year.


Oct. 30: Matt Wildrick, “The Road to Analytics Innovation at Con-way Freight”

Wildrick is the director of Business Intelligence and Analytics for Con-way Freight. Prior to Con-way, Wildrick worked in IT architecture and strategy at Ford Motor Company. He has also held positions in finance at Xilinx, Inc. and at startup companies in the health analytics space.


Nov. 6: James T. Crines, “Business Model vs. Product Innovation”

As executive vice president, finance and chief financial officer of Zimmer, Crines joined the company in 1997, serving in various executive positions, such as senior vice president of finance, operations and information technology. Crines is a member of the Community Advisory Board to the Lutheran Health Network and of CRO Select, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Finance Executives International (FEI). Crines is a Certified Public Accountant as well.


Nov. 13: Michael L. Kubacki, “Becoming Bankable”

As executive chairman of Lake City Bank and its holding company, Lakeland Financial Corporation, Kubacki has helped the bank’s assets grow over the years. He was CEO from 1999 to 2014. In 2014, Lake City Bank was included in Bank Director Magazine’s Nifty Fifty list of high-performing banks for the third year in a row. In 2011, Kubacki was named Community Banker of the Year by American Banker. He is currently affiliated with the following boards: Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth, IU South Bend Leighton School of Business, LaCasa Business Advisory, the Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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