Inside INdiana Business

Innovation team to support iNDustry labs at Notre Dame

pictured: (front row L to R) Utkarsh Jain, Yichen Fan, Nimoy Vaidya (back row L to R) Michael Shoemaker, Alex Topalovic and Stephen Kabele (photo courtesy of enFocus)

ELKHART, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Nonprofit enFocus has created an industry innovation team to support iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. enFocus, which works to attract talent to the South Bend-Elkhart region, has appointed Michael Shoemaker to lead the team as program director of Industry Innovation.

Shoemaker was most recently a process engineer with Ford Motor Co. and joined enFocus in 2018.

“We recognize the difficulty local business leaders often have in finding technical talent that can help identify and implement digital advancements that result in competitive advantages,” said Shoemaker. “enFocus has demonstrated success in attracting the young talent needed to take local organizations to the next level, and we are excited to support iNDustry Labs in this effort.”

The University of Notre Dame, with support from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc., established iNDustry Labs in 2019 to promote the competitive advantage associated with the region’s concentration of manufacturing in proximity to the university.

enFocus has built a team of fellows with backgrounds in engineering, industrial design, data analytics and digital operations. The nonprofit says they are joined by summer interns from engineering programs including Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Purdue University and Northwestern University.

enFocus says the fellows provide support to iNDustry Labs’ faculty and staff in their collaborations with area businesses as they develop strategic plans to diversify and grow their business operations. The collaboration gives businesses access to technical expertise and innovation-based facilities through iNDustry Labs.

“We are thrilled with the caliber of technical talent enFocus brings to iNDustry Labs’ operations,” said John DeSalle, iNDustry Labs executive engineer-in-residence and former president of Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. “Ultimately, our goal is to help build regional resilience with our manufacturers and regional industry to ensure they become or remain global competitors in a technologically advanced economy.”

Through a two-year fellowship program, enFocus says recent graduates from a wide range of disciplines are paired with sponsored projects to drive innovation in local organizations.

Much of enFocus’ work to date has focused on serving the public, education and nonprofit sectors.