About the lift network

The South Bend - Elkhart region, bolstered and inspired by its rich history in innovation, entrepreneurship, and fortitude and supported by a transformational Lilly Endowment grant, has taken the bold step to scale and formalize the regional innovation ecosystem with the launch of the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, and the associated iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame.

The LIFT Network brings together business, community and educational partners in new and innovative ways centered on creating a diversified economy of the future based on technology and advanced manufacturing. By connecting cutting-edge expertise, technologies, workforce development programs, and innovation-based facilities for collaboration across education, community and industry partners, the LIFT Network supports the region through the transformation to an increasingly digital and automated future, enhancing the current manufacturing base with new business models, technologies and tailored workforce training programs while accelerating new high- tech sector growth in the region. In addition to the implementation team, an executive steering committee as well as several regional advisory councils have been created to help inform strategic investments throughout the LIFT Network.

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Scott Ford

Managing Director, Industry Labs, Associate VP - Economic Development
University of Notre Dame

John DeSalle

Executive Engineer in Residence
University of Notre Dame

Michael Shoemaker

Program Director of Industry Innovation
enFocus, Inc

Tom Fuja

Faculty Director, iNDustry Labs, Interim Dean College of Engineering
University of Notre Dame

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee will oversee the implementation and stewardship of the catalyzing grant from the Lilly Endowment during the five year grant implementation period.

Dr. Thomas Burish

Chair, Provost
University of Notre Dame

Dr. David Balkin

Ivy Tech Community College

Ann-Marie Conrado

Committee Members
University of Notre Dame

Shannon Cullinan

Executive Vice President
University of Notre Dame

Tom Fuja

Faculty Director, iNDustry Labs
University of Notre Dame

Dr. Pete McCown

Community Foundation of Elkhart County

Bryan Ritchie

VP & Associate Provost for Innovation
University of Notre Dame

Linda Yoder

Executive Director
Marshall County Community Foundation

Regina Emberton

President & CEO
South Bend - Elkhart
Regional Partnership

Scott Ford

Associate Vice President - Economic Development
University of Notre Dame

Jim Morrison

Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives
University of Notre Dame

Industry Advisory Council

The Industry Advisory Council comprised of regional leaders from the mobility industry cluster was formed to provide advice and expertise for the LIFT Network and iNDustry Labs.

Tom Fuja, Chair

iNDustry Labs Director
University of Notre Dame

John Axelberg

General Stamping & Metalworks

Jacqueline Barton

Founder & CEO
Specialized Staffing, Inc.

Regina Emberton

President & CEO
South Bend - Elkhart
Regional Partnership

Tracy Graham

Founder & Managing Partner
Graham Allen Partners

Kreg Gruber

Beacon Health Systems

Ken Julian

Senior VP of Administration & Human Resources
THOR Industries, Inc.

Jason Lippert

President and CEO
Lippert Components, Inc.

Gary Neidig


Ashley Martin

VP of Sales & Board of Directors Officer

Amish Shah

Kem Krest

South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership Board of Directors

A key advisory body to the LIFT Executive steering Committee is the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership Board, as well as its constituent advisory committees.

The Partnership Board is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight of the region’s collaborative Economic Development Plan.

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Higher Education Advisory Council

The following higher education institutions are part of the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Higher Education Advisory Council and are key LIFT Network partners. Together, the institutions foster collaboration opportunities and identify challenges and oppor tunities common to higher education in the region.  The Council is a key venue tosupport inter-institutional experiential learning opportunities such as capstone projects with students from multipleinstitutions, as well as a resource to source and implement educational programs in response to needs identified by regional employers.

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