Visclosky Spearheads Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana
Merrillville, IN – Congressman Pete Visclosky today announced he has secured $1.4 million for a high-tech business incubator in Northwest Indiana to be developed by Purdue University Calumet. The purpose of the facility, the first subsidiary incubator in the State of Indiana, will be to attract and grow technology companies, which will in turn create a new job market in Northwest Indiana.
The Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana, modeled after a successful program at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, will be built on 400 acres of land owned by Purdue Research Foundation in Merrillville.
“The proximity of the proposed incubator to the corridor between Chicago and Indianapolis, and its link to the Purdue campuses, provides an attractive setting for high-tech companies,” said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke.
Visclosky has committed to seeking a total of $6 million in federal funding for construction and infrastructure costs, and another $1 million over four years for operating costs during the center’s start-up phase.
“Northwest Indiana can no longer rely exclusively on its industrial base to provide good-paying jobs for its citizens,” Visclosky said. “That is why there is no more appropriate place for the first subsidiary center than Northwest Indiana. Attracting and retaining high-tech companies will add a new dimension to our region’s job market and economy.”
The project is the culmination of a year-long cooperative effort between Visclosky and Purdue University. After two months of initial research,Visclosky met with Purdue President Martin C. Jischke in March 2001 to discuss the idea, and Visclosky then spent the next several months lining up the initial federal funding.
Calvin Bellamy, chairman and CEO of Bank Calumet, will chair a 12-member advisory board consisting of local business leaders, Jischke or his representative, and Howard Cohen, chancellor of Purdue University Calumet. The advisory board will establish the center’s operating policies and selection guidelines.
Bellamy, a lifelong Lake County resident, has a long history of business and civic leadership in Northwest Indiana. He co-founded the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Legacy Foundation, an organization that manages permanent endowments to support charities in Lake County, and was a founding member of the Gary City-Wide Community Development Corporation. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, he founded the Lake County Bar Association’s Probate and Trust Section. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bank Calumet and Bank Calumet, Inc., and St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers. In addition, by appointment of Governor O’Bannon, he is a member of the Indiana Board for Depositories, and he is also a member of the Board of Visitors of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
“This advisory board will include some of the top business leaders in Northwest Indiana,” Visclosky said. “Cal Bellamy will lead a dedicated and talented group of individuals who bring to the table a proven history of success and the knowledge of what it takes to grow businesses in our area.”
Visclosky hopes the new center will provide opportunities especially for the business leaders of tomorrow, and keep talented young people home in Northwest Indiana after they graduate from college.
“This new center will help us find people who have new ideas, and turn those dreams into successful businesses,” Visclosky said. “Once these new companies have taken root, we will work to make sure they stay in Northwest Indiana and provide much-needed jobs for our residents.”