Elevate Ventures Awards $20K to South Bend Tech Startup

SOUTH BEND – Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures has awarded $20,000 to a South Bend startup that develops high school curricula on emerging technology.

Digital Leader Academy was started in September 2019 through the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame. The company says it is trying to make complex topics, such as application development, tangible for high school students.

“We’re excited to move forward and develop new courses that will modernize how our students learn in high schools across the country,” said Ellen Joyce, Digital Leader Academy chief executive officer.

DLA also won a $20,000 pre-seed investment from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in October 2019. The funding allowed the company to create a minimum viable product and begin creating test lessons to send to teachers.

The academy is beta testing a course at Riley High School in South Bend, the district’s computer science and engineering magnet. The course, Data Science in Manufacturing, combines math, computer science, and business entrepreneurship.

Digital Leader says the new funding will allow it to refine the course based on teacher and student feedback.

Wednesday, September 23rd 2020, 10:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 24th 2020, 10:04 AM EDT
By Wes Mills, Content Manager
https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42671232/elevate-ventures-awards-dollar20k-to-south-bend-tech-startup

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Ivy Tech iFlex Lab in Elkhart to Boost Advanced Manufacturing

Ivy Tech’s new iFlex Lab will be located immediately east of the existing building on the Elkhart campus. (Artists rendering)

Construction is under way on the new Ivy Tech iFlex Lab, a facility that will help transform Elkhart County, Ind., and make the area a national leader in advanced manufacturing, according to reporting by Rasmus S. Jorgensen in The Elkhart Truth. as well as a video report (above) by WNDU.

That was the consensus Wednesday morning (Sept. 10) at the official groundbreaking on the Ivy Tech campus in Elkhart, where leaders from the community college and the community at large celebrated the impact they foresee, as well as how fast the project, proposed last summer, is moving.

The iFlex Lab, located immediately east of the existing Elkhart campus building, will allow Ivy Tech to embrace new technologies that local employees will need to learn for Elkhart County to lead the nation in manufacturing, according to several speakers. One of those speakers was U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2, who spoke via video link.

“By the charge of who we are, we obviously want to lead and not follow when it comes to manufacturing, and the iFlex Laboratory is right on point to be able to do that,” she said. “Our present and future workforce will require advanced technical and computer skills to remain second to none.”

The threat automation poses to workers is real, she said. But by embracing technologies such as mechatronics and robotics, the local workforce can stay ahead.

Photo by Gregg Fore

Ivy Tech’s new 10,000-square-foot facility will offer training for people seeking to follow those and other paths, including industrial maintenance and computer-aided design. The space will also allow Ivy Tech to “flex” over the next 10 to 15 years and become more future-focused, especially as Industry 4.0 and the “internet of things” expands.

Construction of the iFlex Lab is estimated to cost $3.8 million. The Community College has received funding for the project from multiple sources, including the tax increment finance fund of C.R. 17 and C.R. 6, from which the project received $1.47 million. From the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, funded by the Lilly Endowment, the project received $1 million.

The hope is to have the facility fully operational by the fall of 2021, according to the chancellor for the South Bend-Elkhart campus, David Balkin. Meeting that goal has required the community college and its collaborators to work at an unusual speed, he said.

“No Ivy Tech building, since the founding of the college in 1963, has been conceived, designed and constructed faster than the one that’s going up behind you,” he said. “We’re moving so fast, I’m thrilled that we’re able to squeeze in this groundbreaking before the building opens for classes.”

Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick praised the collaboration between the many involved community stakeholders who all see the need for keeping the local workforce ready for the future.

Elkhart County, known as the RV capital of the world, is dependent on RV manufacturing to a point that many local leaders share a belief that the local economy must become more diverse. The RV industry offers many employment opportunities in good times but was hit hard during the Great Recession, resulting in high unemployment rates locally. Weirick said that, with the workforce being developed at Ivy Tech’s new facility, Elkhart County will further its ability to attract new businesses, which should result in a more diverse economy.

Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said the project is not just about the community as a whole, but also the individuals who will come through the iFlex Lab programs. “Together we really are changing lives, one student at a time, while building a stronger workforce, stronger industry, stronger employers, stronger local economy,” she said. Though construction had already begun, officials “broke ground” for the new iFlex Lab at Ivy Tech in Elkhart on Wednesday.

See The Elkhart Truth report here.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/ivy-tech-iflex-lab-in-elkhart-to-boost-advanced-manufacturing/

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MITO Corporation Partners with Elkhart Schools, Notre Dame

Elkhart, Ind.-based MITO Corporation, innovators in bringing mobile technology for comfort, convenience and safety to the RV, marine, automotive and bus industries, announced its collaboration with Elkhart Community Schools and the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) Summer Internship Program at the University of Notre Dame, to outfit at least 25 buses with WiFiRanger Teton C-19 broadcast units and Core interior routers to provide internet access for several hundred students in the Elkhart area, according to a press release from the company.

Jason Inman, director of Technology Services for Elkhart Community Schools, who oversees the deployment of technology used within the school district, began working with the CCI interns to identify a solution for distance e-learning challenges Elkhart faced in the last few months of the previous school year due to COVID-19.

Four interns, representing Elkhart High School and Goshen College, worked on the project through CCI, including Irving Suarez, a senior psychology and biology double major at Goshen College. Jose Chiquito Galvan, CCI internship program manager for Elkhart, managed the team.

“Anecdotally, we knew there was a need (for affordable WiFI), and even more so now with the pandemic. But we didn’t know exactly where it was concentrated.” Galvan said. “The goal of the surveys was to get an understanding of the overall need for WiFi access.”

“Once we saw the results of the surveys, the primary goal was to provide reliable internet to students in South Central Elkhart,” said Suarez, who was born in Elkhart and grew up in Goshen.

Coincidentally it was their survey that ultimately led MITO Corporation to reach out with a solution that fit their mission.

“While we had been marketing our WiFiRanger C-19 bus product line since the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t until we received the intern’s demographic survey of Elkhart County that MITO learned of this initiative.” said Dan Maloney, president of MITO Corporation. “I approached MITO owner, Mike Stock who is an Elkhart high school graduate and he was 100% on board for doing whatever we could as a company to help our local community and his alma mater.”

The outdoor WiFi hotspots Elkhart Community Schools will be deploying through the CARES Act, will have an omnidirectional range of about 2,000 feet. Verizon will provide the internet service for the hotspots under a program that offers discounts to school corporations. MITO is offering its own discount on the broadcast hardware, which, according to Inman, is already more affordable and reliable than competing products that are being used elsewhere in the area.

The outreach by MITO was facilitated by Andrew Tate, owner of Three Fires Creative and the marketing representative for MITO Corporation.

“We immediately knew this would be a golden opportunity for MITO to do some goodwill in our own backyard in these uncertain times. We knew we had a hyper-competitive product that could translate the Notre Dame CCI interns’ hard work and study into a real-world solution.” Tate said. “It gives myself, and I’m sure, all other parties that came together, great satisfaction to help our community, but also by showing North Central Indiana entities can come together to solve major problems will reinforce the innovative strength and economic development of the Norther Indiana area as a whole.”

For more information on the WiFi Solution, visit www.student-wifi.com, email oem-sales@mitocorp.com, or call 574-295-2441.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Sep 10, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| https://rvbusiness.com/mito-corporation-partners-with-elkhart-schools-notre-dame/

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Walorski Introduces Legislation to Double R&D Tax Credit

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced legislation July 23 to double the R&D tax credit and allow more small business startups to access the credit, according to a release.

“America’s recovery from the unprecedented crisis we are facing will be driven by our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Doubling the R&D tax credit will encourage companies – especially small businesses and startups – to invest more in research and development that will unleash economic growth and prosperity. This commonsense measure will go a long way toward keeping America ahead of our global competitors and ensuring we continue to lead the world in scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and cutting-edge manufacturing.”

The bill would double the rate for each of the options businesses have to access the research and development (R&D) tax credit.

  • Double the “Traditional” Credit to 40 Percent: For more established companies, the existing traditional credit rate – which uses a complicated formula – would double from 20 percent to 40 percent of the increase in R&D spending. 
  • Double the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) to 28 Percent: The existing ASC rate – which uses a simpler formula – would double from 14 percent to 28 percent of the increase in R&D spending. 
  • More than Double the Credit for Firms with Little Research History to 14 Percent: For companies with no history of U.S. research in the past three years, the credit would more than double from 6 percent to 14 percent of R&D spending. (The current rate would have been 7 percent if not for a prior drafting error.) 
  • Double the Startup Limit to $500,000: Companies with relatively low income in the past five years can take one of the above credits as a credit against Social Security payroll taxes. The limit on the amount they may claim would double from $250,000 to $500,000.

This proposal is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Jul 25, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| Source: https://rvbusiness.com/walorski-introduces-legislation-to-double-rd-tax-credit/

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NextLevel Jobs: Rapid Recovery Program Expansion

Federal funding through the CARES Act has enabled the temporary expansion of Next Level Jobs as part of the Rapid Recovery for a Better Future initiative. This expansion adds a significant number of training programs and extends eligibility to Hoosiers who have an existing two- or four-year degree. These Rapid Recovery Expansion programs and eligibility will expire December 30, 2020.

Download PDF to Learn More

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Water Monitor Named ‘Coolest Thing’ in Elkhart County

Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:18 PM EDT
By Mary Willkom, Writer/Reporter

The SonSetLink Water Monitor was voted 'Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County' (photo courtesy of Made in Elkhart County)

The SonSetLink Water Monitor was voted ‘Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County’ (photo courtesy of Made in Elkhart County)

ELKHART COUNTY – The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County” campaign has named its winner. The SonSetLink Water Monitor, developed and built by SonSet Solutions, earned the top honors.

The water monitor is a universal satellite monitoring system that reports data on the health of water systems in underdeveloped countries. SonSet says the system can track information such as the number of gallons flowing from a single system as well as the levels of chlorination in the water.

Inspired by the Vibrant Communities initiative in Elkhart County, the campaign culminated with a public vote. The bureau says SonSetLink Water Monitor received nearly 25% of all votes.

More than 4,000 votes were cast between June 1 and June 15 for 30 different products from ice cream to RVs. The campaign was first announced in January.

The winner was announced via the Made in Elkhart County Facebook page on Wednesday.

SonSet says it has deployed more than 750 water monitoring units to more than 25 countries across the world so far.

The top ten winners are listed below:

  1. SonSet Solutions: SonSetLink Water Monitors
  2. Janus Motorcycles: Halycon 250
  3. Bonneyville Mille: Grist Mill Flour
  4. Vanilla Bean Creamery: Amish Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  5. Electric Brew: Bald Brothers Coffee
  6. Lizard Loves Mustache Costumes: Fursuits
  7. Antonio’s: Vegas Fortuna
  8. Soup of Success: Mittens on a Mission
  9. Rocket Science: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
  10. Agdia: ImmunoStrips

Source: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42284898/water-monitor-named-coolest-thing-in-elkhart-county

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enFocus Creates Innovation Team to Support iNDustry Labs

enFocus, a key resource for talent attraction in the South Bend-Elkhart Region, today (June 22) announced the creation of a new, dedicated industry innovation team to support iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. The University of Notre Dame, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., established iNDustry Labs in 2019 to unlock the competitive advantage associated with the region’s concentration of manufacturing in proximity to a global, tier-one research university.

enFocus has built a team of Fellows boasting backgrounds in engineering, industrial design, data analytics and digital operations. They are currently joined by summer interns from notable engineering programs including the University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Purdue University and Northwestern University. The Fellows provide support to iNDustryLabs Faculty and staff in their collaborations with businesses in the region as they develop and implement strategic plans for product and process innovation to diversify and grow business operations. Through the process, businesses gain access to technical expertise and innovation-based facilities available through iNDustry Labs.

Since its inception in 2012, enFocus has proven to be a key resource for talent attraction in the region. Through a two-year Fellowship program, 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 non-profit sectors. The launch of the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network created an opportunity for enFocus to expand their activities to support innovation-based economic development, through iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame.

Michael Shoemaker, most recently a process engineer with Ford Motor Company, will lead the enFocus team as Program Director of Industry Innovation. Michael holds a bachelors and masters degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan, 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.”

“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.”

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/enfocus-creates-innovation-team-to-support-industry-labs/
By: RVBusiness|Published on: Jun 22, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News

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Indiana Devotes Nearly $44M To Economic Recovery Efforts

The new initiatives were launched to help Indiana businesses restart, adapt and stimulate long-term growth, especially small businesses and manufacturers. 

June 1, 2020

Indiana is launching several new economic recovery initiatives designed to bolster critical relief efforts while encouraging long-term planning and investments to stimulate the state’s economy well into the future. Through these initiatives, the state will allocate nearly $44 million to provide support and resources including approximately $37 million in direct funding through grants and investments to small businesses and manufacturers – two key drivers of the Hoosier economy.

Indiana business recovery
The Indiana State Capitol building in Indianapolis. (Credit: Getty Images/amanalang)

“To restart Indiana’s economic engine, it’s critical that we provide Hoosier businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need to grow and get back on track,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “These initiatives will ensure that two critical drivers of our state’s economy have access to resources and technological tools that allow them to continue competing and leading in the 21st century economy, while further positioning our state for long-term economic growth.”

To safely guide a return to economic activity, the state will deploy federal relief funds under the CARES Act in coordination with Indiana’s Economic Relief and Recovery Team, while targeting initiatives aimed at achieving long-term economic stabilization.

Small Business Restart Fund: Gov. Holcomb approved $30 million in federal funding made available through the CARES Act to small business restart grants, helping accelerate the speed of economic recovery activity by providing working capital to cover certain expenses related to the global pandemic. Indiana small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $5 million in annual revenue that have experienced a 40% drop in revenue will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to 80% of qualified expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, lease payments for real or personal property, and safety investments, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and infrastructure improvements.

Eligible small businesses that demonstrate a revenue loss of at least 40% will be awarded up to $2,500 for each month while small businesses that demonstrate a revenue loss of at least 80% will be awarded up to $5,000 for each month, with grants issued up to $10,000 per company. Of the $30 million allocated to the fund, at least $5 million will be reserved for certified minority- and women-owned businesses.

Small Business Relief & Planning Resources: The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) received nearly $3.7 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the CARES Act to support increased resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses over the next 18 months. The funding, which will nearly double the organization’s annual federal appropriations, will enable Indiana SBDC to increase no-cost services, such as counseling and training, for businesses that were in operation prior to and that have been impacted by COVID-19. Services will be available through the Indiana SBDC’s 10 regional offices across the state and are expected to focus on financial assistance, e-commerce, business adaptation and innovation, disaster resiliency and planning, and reopening plans.

Manufacturing Support & Long-Term Growth: The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) board of directors approved $10 million to launch the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement (EASE) program aimed at supporting technology and operational advancements in the manufacturing industry, which has long been a key driver of the state’s economy. EASE, which encompasses three complimentary initiatives, is designed to stimulate manufacturing investments that will position Indiana operations, and the sector overall, for future growth and prosperity by prioritizing startup investment and resources, technology modernization and development, and training assistance.

The three EASE initiatives include:

  • The new Smart & Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Focus Fund, which will make seed and early-stage investments and provide entrepreneurship resources to Indiana manufacturing-focused startups through Elevate Ventures, the state’s venture development partner;
  • Manufacturing Readiness Grants, administered in partnership with Conexus Indiana, will provide matching grants of up to $200,000 to companies committing to modernizing their operations or integrating smart technologies and processes in order to improve capacity, or to companies investing in health care manufacturing technology, providing financial assistance to manufacturers supporting critical COVID-19 response efforts; and
  • A planned Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab, which will provide lab space and access to state-of-the-art smart manufacturing equipment, enabling businesses to train employees, validate technologies for their business models, and conduct third-party pilot manufacturing.

Of these programs, the SAM Focus Fund will launch immediately while the Manufacturing Readiness Grant applications are expected to be available in July with initial grant recommendations beginning in August. The IEDC will partner with industry stakeholders to develop a project scope for the Smart Manufacturing Studio Lab, mapping out next steps and a plan to source and supply the equipment, working toward a studio launch in early 2021.

Indiana’s manufacturing and small business sectors play critical roles in supporting the state’s economy. With more than 8,500 manufacturing facilities and the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., manufacturing accounts for 27.8% of Indiana’s total economic output. Additionally, according to the SBA, Indiana is home to approximately 104,335 small businesses that employ fewer than 150 associates, supporting 941,578 workers across the state.

These initiatives are part of the state’s efforts to provide resources and tools to businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. The state recently launched the Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace, which serves as an online hub for small businesses and nonprofits employing up to 150 associates that are in need of PPE. Since its inception, Indiana has received 26,130 orders for PPE and has fulfilled 25,500 orders, shipping bundles of hand sanitizer, face masks and face shields to companies across the state.

Want to learn more about doing business in Indiana?

Check out all the latest news related to Indiana economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.

Source: https://businessfacilities.com/2020/06/indiana-devotes-nearly-44m-to-economic-recovery-efforts/

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Officials Warn Northern Indiana Businesses of Virus Spike

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following “Open Letter to the Business Community of Elkhart County,” signed by the mayors of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee, Ind., as well as the Elkhart County Commissioners and economic development and chamber of commerce officials, was distributed this week (June 1) to express the concerns of the community leaders regarding the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout those Northern Indiana communities where, coincidentally, North America’s RV industry is centered. The letter follows published reports regarding a hike in Elkhart County’s COVID-19 infection rates. We’re posting the letter verbatim here on RVBUSINESS.com.

We are reaching out to you to share our concerns about the spread of COVID-19, particularly as it relates to Elkhart County.

In March and April, our community did a great job working together to slow the spread of the virus and assure that we could medically test and treat those who were infected. We expected a peak in mid-May in northern Indiana, but numbers in the past week in particular are troubling. As of June 1, Elkhart County had a total of 1,322 positive cases from 9,849 tested and 28 people have died from the coronavirus.

The State of Indiana is decreasing the percentage of new positive cases in comparison to the number of tests given. The temporary shut down and actions of people as we open up seem to have been successful statewide. Our county tells a different story. In the past week, Elkhart County received national attention when it became the 10th most likely in the entire country to have the next COVID-19 outbreak, based on data collected by the New York Times. This has since changed and we are no longer on the high end of the list, but only because other counties are doing worse.

As of today, we expect to see our total number of cases double every 12.5 days. Our county is testing a significant number more people than we have in the past which means our total number of positive cases will rise. The problem is our percentage of positive tests to total tests given is rising dramatically. This shows that we have a spread issue. The first couple of months we saw a daily positive test percentage of 4% to 9%. Since the economy has reopened, we have seen that jump to 16%, and the last week the percentages of positive tests rose to 20% to 25%. By comparison, Indiana dropped from 18% to the current 7.5% daily positives.

If you look at Indiana’s data of positive cases by age, it is clear people ages 20 to 60 are the ones spreading the virus. This is us and this is our work force. As we have returned to work, the number of people who are getting sick is growing. Since we appeared on the national list, state and federal agencies have started looking closer at Elkhart County and we are at risk of them taking action to shut us down again. The CDC, OSHA, State Board of Health, or the Governor could order Elkhart County to again stay home entirely if we don’t act now to slow the spread again. The best solution for all of us is to do this voluntarily rather than be told to shut down. We cannot afford to shut down again if we can avoid it, but we can afford to take the time to reinforce our efforts and precautions. Companies with outbreaks have suffered work shut-downs, morale issues and community embarrassment. We need to not allow anyone outside Elkhart County to control our ability to manage this pandemic. We will work with each and every one of you to support your efforts. We just ask that you stand beside us as well. We are all in this together.

We want to remind everyone that social distancing, masks and handwashing are just as essential now as they have been over the past two months. If we become complacent and relax our personal or workplace protocols and behaviors, we could see the disease spread in even more deadly ways.

These are not fun times, but we can take steps to slow the spread of the virus and keep our community safer. We need to work together, possibly slow output, and both implement and enforce safe practices. We are now seeing record volumes of COVID-19 patients in our Urgent Care facilities and our hospitals have more patients than ever due to COVID-19.

We are a team here in Elkhart County. We all rely on the other. In the time of a pandemic, the actions of a few can have a large effect on all of us, our health and our economy.

Thank you to all of you who are already taking the appropriate steps and thank you to those who will step up again as you have in the past.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Jun 4, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/officials-warn-northern-indiana-businesses-of-virus-spike/

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Personal Protection Equipment Available at no charge through IEDC

May 6, 2020

Personal Protection Equipment Available

As we continue the process of reopening in a purposeful and sensible way, The state of Indiana is making personal protection equipment (PPE) available through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). Today they have opened up the state’s PPE Marketplace. The items available include masks, sanitizer, and face shields. These items are currently free of charge to businesses registered to do business in the state of Indiana with the Indiana Secretary of State.

The following link will take you to the PPE Marketplace,
https://www.backontrack.in.gov/ppemarketplace.htm
, which has the information on the items, qualifications, quantities, and the order form.

Sincerely,

Levon D. Johnson
President/CEOGreater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce

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