Recent Events


WHIN Receives a One Million Dollar Grant from North Central Health Services for Six Million Dollar E-Learning Project

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network Board of Directors has allocated five million dollars from the Regional Cultivation Fund for a three-year e-learning project. This project is supported by North Central Health Services (NCHS) who awarded WHIN a one-million- dollar grant. This project will improve Internet access at home to enhance e-learning opportunities in the 10-county WHIN region.

Significant areas of the WHIN region do not have Internet access or have service that is not adequate to the high-bandwidth demands of e-learning. Furthermore, of the 49,000 public K-12 students in the counties of the WHIN region served by NCHS, 48% are identified as economically disadvantaged (IN DOE). Financial stress also contributes to a lack of Internet access in homes, even if access is technically available.

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WHIN Welcomes Andrea Schwartz to Board of Directors

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is excited to announce that Andrea Schwartz, Dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, has joined our Board of Directors.

Schwartz serves as the principal academic and administrative leader of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Applied Science, and is responsible for curriculum, program and instructional quality, student academic success and other academic matters. Schwartz also identifies opportunities for alignment to current and future workforce needs in the Lafayette campus service area. She has previously served Ivy Tech as chair and assistant professor of the Agriculture Program and was an agriculture science and business educator for West Central School Corporation and Cloverdale Community School Corporation. Schwartz currently lives in Clinton County with her husband and children.

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WHIN holds 2020 Annual Meeting

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On September 15th, regional stakeholders, partners, and friends of the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network gathered on a virtual call, due to COVID-19, to engage in the 2020 Annual Meeting. They came to hear about all that happened this past year at WHIN, and the morning's presentation contained just that.

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WHIN holds 2020 Fall Agriculture Alliance Summit

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WEST LAFAYETTE — On August 11th, WHIN Agriculture Alliance members, technology partners, and regional stakeholders gathered on a video conferencing call due to COVID-19 to attend the 2020 Fall Agriculture Alliance Summit. We had a huge turnout with nearly 70 attendees!

We got an update from the WHIN team, heard success stories from our current and prospective tech partners, and listened to two current members testimonials.

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WHIN has a lot of exciting initiatives happening and the energy on the virtual call was high. CEO Johnny Park announced and gave updates on three projects that we have been working diligently on. The project that brought the most excitement was the announcement of our Broadband Alliance, which will act similarly to our Ag and Manufacturing Alliances and provide broadband internet to the WHIN region!

“WHIN is launching an aerostat this coming fall. Aerostat is a large tethered balloon that operates at 1500-2500 feet in air and because of its height, it provides line of sight that’s much better than terrestrial towers. Aerostats have been used to maintain communications after natural disasters and in the military but this will be the first commercial broadband service provided by an aerostat in the country. Right here in the WHIN region.” says CEO, Johnny Park.

Overall, it was a great morning full of insightful conversation and we look forward to the next summit!

WHIN Partners with Guardian Machine Protection

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The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) has announced a partnership with Guardian Machine Protection (Guardian MP) to provide discounted services to businesses within the WHIN region. Guardian MP, based in Ft. Wayne, provides preventive maintenance for the advanced manufacturing sector.

“We see great value in supporting the service of Guardian MP in the WHIN region,” says Johnny Park, CEO of WHIN. “Maintenance management could take up to 40-50% of a business’ operational budget, which is why we see value in this partnership - to help our region’s manufacturers.”

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WHIN Awards Grant to Develop a Plan to Connect 10 Counties with Trail System

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Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC) was awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Regional Cultivation Fund of Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN). The money was granted to fund development of a Wabash River Greenway Corridor Master Plan, the first step in the process to develop a 90 mile Wabash River Greenway (Greenway) that will connect the WHIN region’s five river corridor counties of Fountain, Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, and Cass counties through development of a land and water trail system and related amenities. The trail system will consist of existing and new stand-alone trail sections, and striped, and, or signed route sections utilizing existing roads, and create new and enhance existing water access sites to develop a Wabash River water trail.

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WHIN to Launch Indiana’s First Aerostat Providing the Region with Broadband

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is planning the launch of an RTO Wireless AeroSite, home base of the first telecommunications aerostat to be deployed in the United States for rural broadband. The AeroSite will support WHIN’s research broadband network, covering ten counties in north central Indiana.

Aerostats allow telecommunications equipment to be located at 1,500-2,500 feet, which provides line-of-sight that is better than terrestrial towers. With the AeroSite and its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) radios, WHIN’s research network will be one of the most advanced rural broadband testbeds in the country.

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WHIN Announces Deployment of 10 LoRaWAN Gateways in WHIN Region

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network and Watch Communications are partnering to deploy 10 LoRaWAN gateways in the WHIN region creating the largest rural broadband testbed in the nation. The 10 gateways will be placed in each county in the WHIN region to create contiguous coverage in the 10-county region.

LoRaWAN is a low power, wide area networking protocol that is designed to wirelessly connect devices to the internet to form a regional network. This technology will allow areas in the WHIN region the ability to deploy internet-based sensors for agriculture, manufacturing, or any number of IoT devices in the future.

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WHIN Celebrates Grant to Develop Robotics Programming for K-12 in the WHIN Region

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Region 4 Workforce Board, Purdue University, Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC), and Greater Lafayette Commerce, serving through the WHIN Region, have been granted $367,770 to continue to create a cohesive regional talent pipeline for next generation manufacturing that immerses youth in K-12 in hands-on industry-education environments.

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WHIN holds 2020 Spring Manufacturing Summit

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LAFAYETTE — On May 12th, WHIN Manufacturing Alliance members, technology partners, and regional stakeholders gathered on a video conferencing call due to COVID-19 to attend the Spring 2020 Manufacturing Alliance Summit.

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We first heard from CEO, Johnny Park as he gave a quick welcome message that included an overview of WHIN and an update on where we are headed. VP of Strategic Partnerships, Greg Ottinger gave an overview of the WHIN Manufacturing Alliance and where we plan to lead it and our members in future. Next, VP of Engineering, Jack Stuckey took the stage to chat with attendees about our technology offerings, Fluke and Guardian Machine Protection, and how we can help alliance members find suitable technology for their needs.

Next, we heard from alliance members Chuck Hays and Bryce Brumm. Chuck Hays, Plant Manager of Drug Plastics in Oxford, Indiana talked to us about why he chose to join the alliance and how his team was utilizing some of our technology offerings. Bryce Brumm, President of Standard Industrial Supply in Winamac, Indiana shared his experiences with being one of the first members of the Ag Alliance and the opportunity of having access to and networking with like-minded industry professionals right in his own backyard.

We opened the floor for questions and discussion from attendees before VP of Engagement, Pat Corey gave the closing remarks. It was a great morning full of insightful conversation and we look forward to the next summit in the fall!

WHIN Celebrates Planning Grant to Improve the Workforce Readiness in Technology Careers

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Eleven Fifty Academy have been awarded $99,400 from the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network Regional Cultivation Fund for a planning grant. They will be working with regional partners, such as Wabash College, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Crawfordsville and many others, to provide an analysis of the needs of the Wabash Heartland Region in order to create a pipeline of talent that can be job ready to fulfill careers that are technology focused. They will locate partners that exist within the region that can be assembled to create the pipeline.

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WHIN Celebrates Grant to Develop Post-Secondary Education Opportunity in WHIN Region

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Indiana West Advantage of Montgomery County, along with Ivy Tech Lafayette, Bane-Welker Equipment, Co-Alliance, Stan Mithoefer Scholarship, Beck’s Hybrids, and Farm Credit Mid-America, have been awarded $899,257 from the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network Regional Cultivation Fund for an impact grant that would provide post-secondary education within the WHIN region for precision agriculture. There is an ever-growing need for highly-skilled precision agriculture technicians/specialists that are workforce ready. While current programs and curriculum exists at Ivy Tech, there is currently not a local institution that offers an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in precision agriculture.

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Wabash Heartland Innovation Network to Launch Manufacturing Alliance

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WEST LAFAYETTE — Wabash Heartland Innovation Network announces the launch of the WHIN Manufacturing Alliance. The WHIN Manufacturing Alliance is an exclusive consortium of affiliated manufacturers in north-central Indiana receiving products and services designed to support and encourage adoption of internet-enabled technologies in order to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and optimize operations.

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WHIN holds 2019 Annual Meeting

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On September 12th regional stakeholders, partners, and friends of the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network gathered in the auditorium at Ivy Tech- Lafayette Campus to engage in the 2019 Annual Meeting. They came to hear about all that happened this past year at WHIN, and the morning's events contained just that.

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Proposer's Day presenters go for the WHIN

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LAFAYETTE — Over 120 people representing all 10 counties in the WHIN region attended the Proposer’s Day on Feb 18th at Ivy Tech’s Lafayette Campus. The main purpose of Proposer’s Day was to spur collaborations and partnerships for big-impact, multi-county, multi-entity, IoT related projects that will enhance quality of places in the WHIN region that will be funded through our $10M Regional Cultivation Fund. 25 organizations presented their potential project ideas, and 9 other organizations presented theirs resources and expertise they could potentially offer.

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This is the first of several rounds of proposals being requested. By meeting regional stakeholders at the point of their need, WHIN hopes to empower local communities to both design and implement projects in the areas of vitality, education, and connectivity. By allowing stakeholders to choose their own projects and partners, WHIN will discover the priorities of the region and help residents navigate a more sustainable future. WHIN will allow regional stakeholders from local communities to determine, based on where they’re at within a project’s timeline, whether they wish to pursue a planning grant or an impact grant. Obtaining a planning grant is no guarantee of funding for a future impact grant. Conversely, a planning grant is not required for the submission of an impact grant.

The goal of the Regional Cultivation Fund (RCF) is to spur innovative and visionary quality-of-place projects. Each applicant (for impact grants only) will be required to provide a match of at least 30% of WHIN award amount (20% may be in-kind and 10% must be in cash). These grants are dedicated to advancing the region’s quality of place and must focus on at least one of the following areas: vitality, education, connectivity.

  • Education: Increase job readiness, training, and educational alignment hat prepare students, as well as adults, for the workforce of tomorrow
  • Vitality: Increase the attractiveness of physical spaces for community benefit and implement measures to improve economic sustainability
  • Connectivity: Enhance the engagement and connection of residents in the Wabash Heartland via waterways, broadband, and/or transportation

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network releases $10M Regional Cultivation Fund opportunity

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First funding round will begin in February 2019 and culminate with awards in June 2019

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) is launching the first of five rounds of funding through its Regional Cultivation Fund. Via guidance announced in the six-page overview document, WHIN lays out criteria for the eligibility and selection of projects aimed at enhancing the region's quality of place.

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The Regional Cultivation Fund will award up to $100,000 per planning grant award, and up to $1 million per impact grant award (with 30 percent match required) to projects that improve the region's vitality, education, and connectivity:

  • Education: Increase job readiness, training, and educational alignment that prepare students, as well as adults, for the workforce of tomorrow
  • Vitality: Increase the attractiveness of physical spaces for community benefit and implement measures to improve economic sustainability
  • Connectivity: Enhance the engagement and connection of residents in the Wabash Heartland via waterways, broadband, and/or transportation

Consistent with WHIN's mission, preference will be given to projects that:

  • Are multi-entity, multi-county initiatives;
  • Incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) technology / education;
  • Respond to the needs highlighted in the WHIN Regional Place-Making Survey, and/or fill the gaps discovered by WHIN's Educational Scan; and
  • Promote long-term, sustainable efforts that strengthen the whole region.

Residents of the Wabash Heartland (Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties) can participate in Idea Forums hosted at educational facilities across the region:

  • Warren/Fountain: Jan. 28, 9-11 AM
  • Benton: Jan. 28, 2-4 PM
  • White/Tippecanoe: Jan. 29, 9-11 AM
  • Clinton: Jan. 31 9-11 AM
  • Montgomery: Jan. 31, 2-4 PM
  • Cass: Feb. 1, 9-11 AM

Eligible applicants who plan to submit a letter of intent (LOI) should also plan to attend Proposer's Day on Feb. 18, from 1-5 p.m. in Lilly Hall at Lafayette's Ivy Tech campus, 3101 South Creasy Lane, Lafayette, Indiana, 47905.

Source: Melinda Grismer, vice president of regional development, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN): melinda.grismer@whin.org.

All materials pertinent to the Regional Cultivation Fund will be posted on WHIN.org.

If you would like more information about this topic, please visit whin.org or call (765) 269-5524

Regional Stakeholders Attended WHIN Road Shows

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About 50 regional stakeholders attended the WHIN Road Shows held on Tuesday, December 11 in Lafayette, and on Friday, Dec. 14 in Crawfordsville and Monticello. The purpose of the Road Show was to explain WHIN's progress, roll out the Regional Cultivation Fund (RCF) process, point potential RCF applicants to recently developed online data resources, and obtain feedback about how WHIN can better serve the region's capacity-building needs.

WHIN's CEO, Johnny Park, and Vice President of Regional Development Melinda Grismer received valuable input from the attendees that will help move WHIN forward.

WHIN Road Show

WHIN's State of Broadband Report identifies low adoption rates, lack of density

Savings of $24 million if underserved households had broadband access

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Approximately 23.4 percent or 88,142 residents in the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN)'s 10-county region (Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties) lack access to residential broadband service, according to WHIN's State of Broadband Report released today.

According to Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) Assistant Director and Purdue Extension Community & Regional Economics Specialist Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D. who spearheaded the report, households in the region would have saved $27 million if all unserved homes had access and subscribed to broadband service.

State of Broadband

Johnny Park chosen as WHIN CEO

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Johnny Park, one of the nation's premier agriculture technology entrepreneurs, will lead the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) as CEO starting today, working to develop the Wabash Heartland region into a global epicenter of digital agriculture and next-generation manufacturing empowered by smart Internet of Things (IoT) platforms.

According to WHIN Board of Directors Chair Gary Henriott, Park's success as an ag-tech entrepreneur combined with his experience with sensory data analytics and IoT is a perfect match as the WHIN team works with Purdue University, Ivy Tech Community College and the region's 10 counties to enhance the overall quality of place and quality of life in North Central Indiana.

WHIN Accelerates Outreach, Engagement and Research

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As a new initiative, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network recognizes that its success relies upon community engagement and involvement. WHIN's priority is to listen, learn and understand the needs of our region's citizens.

In May, WHIN hosted three outreach meetings throughout the region (Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Monticello). More than 35 elected officials, local economic development directors and community leaders attended, sharing ideas for optimizing WHIN's effectiveness. Approximately 15 experts in broadband from throughout the region also came together to begin an in-depth, long-term discussion about the region's connectivity issues. In addition, on May 31st, WHIN Manufacturing Advisory Council was hosted at Purdue's Indiana Manufacturing Institute. The council toured the facility and visited the testbed site currently being developed.

A sampling of other recent WHIN activities include:

Purdue's College of Agriculture is in the process of developing an online Master's degree program and has hired Bruce Erickson, who was Agronomy's Education Distance & Outreach Director, as the WHIN Director of Agricultural Education.

Purdue, with support from WHIN, is developing an open architecture wireless soil sensor network and is testing our open-source telematics on agricultural machinery at Purdue farms in the summer.

WHIN outreach has included meetings with Indiana's State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler and Connie Neininger, ISDA Economic Development Director, as well as the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Launch Event

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More than 160 community leaders came together from throughout the region's ten counties to participate in the first ten-county workshop hosted by WHIN. Meeting at Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette followed by GE Aviation Plant, the event was an opportunity for participants from a wide range of fields to share ideas, ask question and learn more about WHIN. Leaders from a wide range of fields participated, including education, agriculture, manufacturing, government, high-technology companies, non-profits, and utilities.

"WHIN is merging the Midwest's unparalleled leadership in agriculture and manufacturing with Purdue University's globally recognized engineering expertise and Ivy Tech's applied education," said Gary Henriott, chair of the WHIN Board. "WHIN is building upon all of our world-class abilities – agriculture, manufacturing and engineering - while keeping focus upon our region's sense of community and affordable cost of living."

Beginning at Ivy Tech, Thursday's event featured:

  • A Panel Discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities facing Digital Agriculture and Next-Generation Manufacturing, moderated by Mikel Berger, co-founder of Little Engine Venture.
  • Tours of Ivy Tech's advanced manufacturing lab and barn/ working farm, highlighting plans and goals for Internet of Things.
  • A range of discussion sessions designed to gain input from participants. There were two rooms, one dedicated to Agriculture and another to Manufacturing; a third room was dedicated to discussing WHIN's Regional Cultivation Fund.
  • Ending at the GE Plant, which is renowned for its leadership in IoT, the group was welcomed by keynote speaker Diane Krisciunas, the VP of Product Management for GE Aviation.

Lilly Endowment approves $38.9 million grant

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Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved a $38.9 million grant to Northwest Central Indiana Community Partnership Inc. to help the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) create and implement a plan to foster a prosperous economic ecosystem in northwest central Indiana.

WHIN's goal is to make the 10-county region, which includes Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties, the global epicenter for agriculture and nextgeneration manufacturing using the sensor- and digital-based networks known as the "Internet of Things" (IoT).

Regional leaders to develop economic development strategy

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Leaders from industry, academia, and community organizations have joined to develop a strategic plan that leverages the unique assets of the Greater Lafayette region to drive economic growth and enhance residents' quality of life.

A $495,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the CICP Foundation will enable the Greater Lafayette region to identify opportunities, assets and resources that can be better utilized and coordinated to provide economic opportunities for its residents and communities.

The region is rich in higher education, including Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College, along with several major assets in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, life sciences and renewable energy industries. Each sector will be reviewed in depth to determine how best to leverage these and other assets in the region.

Initially, the strategic planning efforts will focus on ten counties in the region: Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren, and White. Throughout the planning process, the geographical focus may evolve as the plan develops.