Shafer Leadership Academy Names New Leader

Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy would like to announce that Mitch Isaacs has been named Executive Director for the regional leadership academy. Isaacs succeeds Richard Crist, who announced earlier this year that he was stepping down from the position he has held since 2009. He will focus more time on his role as COO with Whitinger & Company and leading the firm’s business consulting division, Whitinger Strategic Services.

Isaacs has 16 years of college leadership experience spanning three campuses. He graduated from Ball State University in 2002 with a double major in History and Political Science and a minor in Counseling Psychology. Mitch completed his Master’s degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Indiana State University, where he worked as an Assistant Residence Hall Director.

Mitch returned to Ball State in 2005 and served as a Residence Hall Director for three years. In 2008, he became the Associate Director of Student Life, working with the Excellence in Leadership program, Civic Engagement, and the Leadership Studies Minor. In August 2013, Mitch took a new position at Ball State as the Retention and Graduation Specialist for First Time Freshmen.

Mitch is happily married to his college sweetheart, Becky. They have two boys, Charley and Wilson. Mitch’s passions include comic books, science fiction, wrestling with his boys, and cheering on the Indianapolis Colts.

“With such an extensive background in education and leadership, we believe Mitch is an excellent choice for Executive Director,” stated SLA Board President, Steve Smith. “ He has accomplished many things professionally during his time at Ball State and demonstrates the key characteristics of a leader in our community. We know he will show the same dedication to the success of Shafer Leadership Academy and its mission.”

Isaacs will take over as Executive Director on June 8th.

To learn more about Shafer Leadership Academy and the programs offered, visit or call 765-748-0403.

Source: Shafer Leadership Academy

Mitch Isaacs has been named executive director of Muncie-based Shafer Leadership Academy. He has 16 years of college leadership experience and most recently served as a retention and graduation specialist for first time freshmen at Ball State University.

Mitch Isaacs has been named executive director of Muncie-based Shafer Leadership Academy. He has 16 years of college leadership experience and most recently served as a retention and graduation specialist for first time freshmen at Ball State University.

Local IT Association On the Move

East Central Indiana IT group announces 2015 board members and new headquarters.







The Association of Information Technology Professionals – East Central Indiana (AITP-ECI) chapter was on the move in 2014 and plans for an even busier 2015. The group partnered with Carmel-based chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMICIC) to host a quarterly leadership series at the Muncie Innovation Connector presented by the Shafer Leadership Academy and established the Innovation Connector as its official headquarters.

Earlier in the year AITP-ECI rolled out new membership options as well as launching a corporate sponsorship program. Current local sponsors are Thomas Office Solutions, Ontario Systems, eKeeper Systems, the Muncie Youth Opportunity Center, PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union, and Pinnacle IT Solutions.

Also, in 2014 the group created an internship available to student AITP members at Ball State University. The internship program has been a huge success and will be showcased at the chapter’s first 2015 meeting, Tuesday, January 13th at 12:00 PM at the BSU alumni center.

Established in 2009, AITP-ECI is led by local IT professionals volunteering their time to deliver relevant technology and leadership education to the community, research and information on current business and technology issues, and forums for networking and collaboration.

Recently the chapter help a year in review meeting and elected chapter officers and board members. AITP-ECI is proud to announce the 2015 leadership team!

  • Chapter Officers:
    • President – Brandon Hall, Director Of Technology Services, Thomas Office Solutions
    • Vice President – Dana Baker, Senior VP Finance & Information, PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union
    • Secretary – Stephen Hunter, Manager, Software Engineering, Ontario Systems
    • Treasurer – Sara Humm, CEO, eKeeper Systems
  • Board Members:
    • Gary Kern, CIO, Mutual Bank
    • Gary Thomas, President, Thomas Office Solutions
    • Jeff Helm, Director of IT and Facilities, YOC
    • Justin Hughes, Application Administrator, Ontario Systems
    • Fred Kitchens – Associate Professor, BSU (Student Chapter Faculty Sponsor)

For more information please send a message to or visit


Innovation Connector Announces Opening of Downtown Business Connector Coworking Space

November 25, 2014 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector is excited to announce the opening of the Downtown Business Connector, a partnership between Innovation Connector and the City of Muncie.  An open house for the new facility was held on Friday, November 21st and the grand opening will be on Monday, December 1, 2014. This is Muncie’s first coworking space and is an integral piece in the revitalization of downtown Muncie. Read more

Fingerprints of Innovative Organizations

Innovation Connector Will Host Entrepreneurial Bootcamp on November 6th

October 23, 2014 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector, East Central Indiana’s business Incubator, will host an Entrepreneurial Bootcamp entitled Fingerprints of Innovative Organizations on November 6, 2014. This is a free event and is presented by Launch Indiana SBDC.

Ever wonder how other companies get into the mindset to BE innovative? Is there a mindset? Does the word itself scare you? What does it even mean to your particular industry, anyway? Sometimes, trying to be innovative can feel like a lonely, daunting notion. When heads are down and driving forward, entrepreneurs, in particular, can struggle with finding the time to do something different with a product or process or give an idea or concept a new spin.

On November 6, John Wechsler, entrepreneur and founder of Launch Fishers, will talk about ways to look at your business through the innovator’s lens. John has spent the better part of his career fostering an environment for innovation within his own companies and in partnerships with others. The afternoon will be full of tips and take aways to help you think BIG and focus on “Why not?” instead of “Why?” in your pursuit of being more innovative. We hope you can join us!
Thursday, Nov. 6th
11:30a – 3:30p
Lunch, provided by the Innovation Connector, starts at Noon
Program begins at 1:00pm sharp! 

Location: Innovation Connector

Registration: Register Now

Innovation Connector Announces Three Area “Idea Makers” that Win The BIG Pitch Competition

October 22, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Participants in The BIG Pitch Idea Competition entered the Innovation Connector on Monday with sweaty palms, crazy props, and aspirations of winning a prize package valued at more than $8,000 to help begin or expand a business. A panel of judges that included Ball State students, the state director of the Small Business Development Center, bankers, marketing and technology experts and representatives from DOWNTOWN Muncie heard 37 pitches in the categories of downtown Muncie, technology, and non-technology. The winning pitches were Sean Brady of New Corner Brewery Company in the Downtown Muncie category, Nick & Patrick Rieth, Rieth Brothers in the Technology category and Mark Thompson & Brian Sears, Blue River Towers in the Non-technology category.

Mr. Brady’s idea is to establish a brewery in downtown Muncie.  He has been brewing beer for several years and looks forward to a business launch in the heart of Muncie.  The Technology business winners, Nick and Patrick, will focus their business on digital story telling utilizing high-end creative videos. Their energy, passion, and presentation skills were very obvious during their 3-minute pitch.  Mark and Brian were the winners of the Non-Technology division.  Their creative idea focused on a patented process to clean and purify water more efficiently.  The result of this idea will save communities a lot of money in their water sanitation efforts.

“Our entire team is very proud of the outcome of our first BIG Pitch competition,” commented Jennifer Greene, Project Manager for the Innovation Connector.  “Even more exciting were the 37 pitches delivered by dynamic and passionate individuals from East Central Indiana and the possibility that several of the ideas will lead to successful start-up businesses in our communities. We’ve already been asked when the next event will take place.”

Each winner received a check for $5,000 for working capital, six months space access to The Landing Zone in the Innovation Connector, consultation sessions with a local CPA firm, Whitinger & Company, consultation with local business attorney, DeFur Voran, branding or marketing sessions with Whitinger Strategic Services, a digital marketing consultation with Farmhouse Creative, and on-site business coaching services at the Innovation Connector. Additionally, Woof Boom radio will provide all three winners with a marketing package that will fit their businesses.

Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, also commented, “Events of this magnitude and complexity require team work from all partners, sponsors, co-workers, volunteers and applicants.  The ideas generated from this event were creative and innovative.  This is great for our entrepreneurial community.”

The Innovation Connector, East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, and Downtown Muncie collaborated to offer this competition. Leading up to the “Pitch Night,” entrants had the opportunity to attend “Training Camp.” These sessions included presentations by inspirational business speakers Wil Davis from Ball State Innovation Corp.,  Thaddeus Rex,  of ”Sell it Like a Rock Star,”  Mike Reynolds of InnovateMap, and Denver Hutt of the Speak Easy.

The BIG Pitch was made possible by a generous donation from the Ball Brothers Foundation, and Mutual Bank served as the project’s exclusive financial banking partner. The BIG Pitch was sponsored by AEP, DeFur Voran, Farmhouse Creative, Ontario Systems, Whitinger Strategic Services, Woof Boom Radio, and Toyota & Scion of Muncie.

“Thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered to make this inaugural event a tremendous success,” said Peggy Cenova, Regional Director of the East Central ISBDC.  This evening exceeded our expectations in both the number and quality of participants. Congratulations to all presenters.  You are all winners.  Keep the ideas coming.”

Click here to see photos from The BIG Pitch.

Innovation Connector Welcomes Secretary of State Connie Lawson

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson will speak at the Muncie Innovation Connector on Tuesday, September 23rd at 3:00pm. Most recently, her office has focused on two primary initiatives to support Hoosier businesses: Business One-Stop Portal and Crowdfunding. The Indiana Secretary of State’s Business One-Stop Portal is in the process of eliminating confusion for Hoosier business owners by offering a “one stop shop” for all business transactions within state government.  Instead of business owners registering their business with multiple state agencies, which can often times cause unnecessary stresses, the Secretary of State’s office is working to make it so businesses will eventually only need to register once within the office.

The Crowdfunding initiative offers a new way for Hoosier entrepreneurs to raise money in order to start or continue a business right here in Indiana with the help of Hoosier investors.  Not only will this strengthen the state’s economy, but it also opens the door to a new type of Hoosier investor.

Connie Lawson is Indiana’s 61st Secretary of State. As Indiana’s Chief Elections Official, she is focused on ensuring integrity and security for our state’s elections. Since taking office, Secretary Lawson championed the most sweeping election reforms since photo ID, and has led the effort to clean Indiana’s voter rolls. A tireless advocate for increasing Indiana’s financial literacy and protecting Indiana investors, Secretary Lawson educates Hoosiers about smart money decisions and fights for stringent penalties for white collar criminals. She has also partnered with Indiana’s motor vehicle industry to ensure the best possible customer service,including prompt title delivery. Secretary Lawson is directing substantial innovation and leveraging cutting edge technology to improve how businesses interact with

Indiana Secretary of State, Connie Lawson

Indiana Secretary of State          Connie Lawson


“This is a great opportunity for Muncie area business owners, business development advisors and others interested in learning about these two issues to meet and hear from Secretary of State Lawson. The Innovation Connector is very proud to host this event,” states Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector.

The event is FREE but please RSVP to 765-285-4900. Light refreshments will be served.

Innovation Connector to Host The BIG Pitch Competition for Local Entrepreneurs

August 25, 2014 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector of Muncie, Indiana is hosting a baseball-themed competition called The BIG Pitch for local entrepreneurs and innovators to “pitch” their business, business concepts, product or invention to a panel of judges from the business and investment community. This event is for individuals in all phases of business, including startup or pre-startup, idea stage. High school seniors and college-age students also are encouraged to apply. Those interested can submit their ideas in one of two categories: technology or non-technology. Read more

Farmhouse Creative Expands Business

July 8, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Farmhouse Creative is pleased to announce another expansion of their business.  Effective June 30th, they welcome the clients of Printing Creations into the Farmhouse Creative family. Read more

ECI-Regional Planning District Names New Executive Director

July 10, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Pam Price has been named Executive Director of ECI-Regional Planning District. The decision was made by ECIRPD’s Board of Directors during their quarterly board meeting as part of a succession plan for President E. Roy Budd’s upcoming retirement. Read more

Shafer Leadership Academy Presents Workshop on Leading Multi-Generational Teams

July 1, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, will present the leadership program Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams on Thursday, July 31st, 2014. The workshop will be from 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana. Read more