Ivy Tech Cook Center for Entrepreneurship partners with Crane to promote small business ventures

July 31, 2014

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane (NSWC Crane) have entered into partnership to promote technologies developed at Crane to the small business community.

NSWC Crane is a Federal Laboratory of the U.S. Department of the Navy, providing multipurpose research and development, manufacturing technology, engineering, testing, manufacturing, and fleet support.

NSWC Crane has a significant portfolio of patented technologies available for commercial activities and is actively looking for partners in industry to license these technologies and move them to new markets.

Ivy Tech-Bloomington and its Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship will work with Crane to market and promote these existing technologies to the small business community in the Bloomington and surrounding areas.

This is the first agreement of its kind between NSWC Crane and Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech seeks young leaders

The Herald-Times


Ivy Tech seeks young leaders

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:00 am

H-T Report

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington is looking for seventh- and eighth-grade Monroe County students for the 2014-15 Youth Leadership Academy. The program fosters civic engagement, and participants will develop leadership skills, create a community service project, build communication skills and meet community leaders. Activities will take place on Oct. 25, Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no fee to participate, and the deadline for applications is Sept. 5. Go to http://obannon.ivytech.edu to learn more.


Ivy Tech Youth Leadership Academy seeks applicants

July 28, 2014

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington seeks seventh and eighth grade applicants for Ivy Tech’s 2014-15 Youth Leadership Academy, a program designed to foster civic engagement among youth. Participants will develop leadership skills, create a community service project, build communication skills, and meet community leaders. There is no fee to participate.

Students in grades seven and eight, from any school in Monroe County, are eligible to apply for the Youth Leadership Academy. Participants will engage in leadership development activities on Saturdays [October 25, November 1, and November 15, 2014] from 9a.m. to 5p.m.

From January through March 2015, participants will meet with an Ivy Tech mentor to complete a project that meets the needs of youth or solves a problem faced by youth in their community or school. They will also be required to make a final presentation of their project at Ivy Tech’s 12th Annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service. The tentative dates for the Institute are either April 10 or April 17, 2015.

The deadline to apply for the Youth Leadership Academy is Friday, September 5, 2014. For information and to apply, visit http://obannon.ivytech.edu and click “Youth Leadership Academy.”

Ivy Tech enrollment growth shows Hoosiers getting message

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:00 am

After deducting one-time expenses for Ivy Tech Bloomington, its budget is increasing by a modest 1.7 percent for the coming year.

Its enrollment is also growing. That growth is more substantial, with a 6.8 percent increase predicted for fall’s enrollment, not quite as rapid a growth rate as in the previous year — that was 7.3 percent — but still significant.

With today’s enrollment of more than 6,500, the Bloomington campus has grown dramatically, as has the statewide Ivy Tech system, with a current enrollment of about 130,000, counting full and part-time students who attend one of its 23 campuses. That makes it the largest higher education institution in the state.

Indiana University, with its main campus in Bloomington and seven regional campuses is in second place. Its total enrollment in the fall of last year was about 102,000, more than 40,000 of that number attending IU Bloomington.

IU’s enrollment has stabilized over the past decade, as have most of the other four-year institutions in the state, all of them mature campuses. Ivy Tech, on the other hand, has grown dramatically over that time, more than doubling its enrollment.

Certainly, cost is a significant factor in such rapid growth. Ivy Tech’s cost per credit hour is about $125. At IU Bloomington, a credit hour for a full-time student is more than double that.

And while most students at four-year schools such as IU Bloomington live away from home, a lot of Ivy Tech Community College students are commuters, with significantly smaller living expenses.

But cost is almost certainly not the only factor driving students to Ivy Tech.

Perhaps the message is finally getting through to Hoosier families and young people that, just as a few decades ago a high school diploma was essential not only to land that first job but to move forward in the world, post-secondary education is critical today if you’re to have any real chance to climb up the income ladder.

There is a long way to go in this state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 86 percent of Hoosiers 25 or older had a high school diploma in 2009, ranking the state 29th among the 50 states, only middling at best.

But only 22.5 percent of those 25 or older held a bachelor’s degree or higher. That ranked Indiana 43rd among the states, an alarming spot to occupy.

Over the past half-decade of recession and creeping recovery, even those with freshly minted degrees have struggled to move into the middle class.

Change has come fast in the 21st century and promises only to speed up as we move forward. Education can no longer stop at high school or even after that first degree. Ivy Tech Community College is an essential bridge, not only to education beyond an associate degree, but to a means to stay a step ahead, or even to keep up.

The Herald-Times

New direction: 5-time convicted felon now motivated by family, career

The Herald-Times
Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:53 am | Updated: 12:44 am, Sun Jul 27, 2014
By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 | mslaby@heraldt.com

The fish tanks are everywhere.

They’re in every room — except the bathroom — of the three-bedroom house that Mark Huffman shares with his wife, Jacque.

Near the back door is one tank. Turn the corner, and back bedrooms are filled with them.

Outside in the garage, fish tanks line the walls and create rows in layers of shelves. The garage is kept at 73 degrees year round — even during power outages and snowstorms.

It takes three to four hours a day for Huffman to clean the tanks and feed the fish. Then, he spends more hours selling fish, as well as caring for and selling aquatic plants.

“I have an addictive personality, and fish is an addiction,” Huffman said.

It’s that personality that propelled him to learn about selling fish and aquatic plants. It’s helped him stay in the construction business through three Ivy Tech Community College degrees.

Yet it’s the same personality that landed him behind bars and allowed heroin and alcohol to control his life.

There were three drug-related felonies in 2001, plus one for receiving stolen property — a Chevrolet pickup truck. Then, a few years later, another felony for dealing a controlled substance.

It’s a personality that led to a heroin addiction that spiraled —that is, until the last time he went to prison.

Now 50-year-old Huffman, a lifelong Bloomington resident, is focused on channeling a personality once controlled by heroin and alcohol into a life motivated by family and career. He was once at rock bottom and is now climbing up. He’s just the type of student that Ivy Tech celebrates: an adult looking for a new future.

Drugs controlled his life

During a weekday lunch break from his construction business — Mark of Excellence Painting & More — Huffman sat at a Penn Station East Coast Subs window seat looking out at Indiana Avenue. The background on his phone is his stepdaughter’s nearly 2-year-old daughter, Piper, who he calls Porkchop. She’s wearing a T-shirt that says, “Life is good when you have a grandpa like mine.”

Huffman is no stranger to having his name in The Herald-Times. It was there each time he had a felony arrest and again for participating in a then-new inmate transition program in 2006.

He grew up near the Indiana University campus and spent much of his time around campus and Kirkwood Avenue — mostly getting high starting around 12 or 13 years old, hanging out at Peoples Park and making himself an easy public intoxication bust for police.

“This is how my day would go: I’d get up at 8 or 9 a.m., do a blast of heroin, finish a fifth of Grey Goose vodka next to me just to get out of bed. Then, I’d either drive once to Chicago or two or three times to Indy to deal,” Huffman said.

When he had nowhere to live, he and others would keep clothes in a locker at what’s now the IU School of Public Health, and shower there, too. They’d sleep at the Indiana Memorial Union.

“It had control of my life in the ’90s,” he said. “I was in and out of jail.”

He was known as Black Dragon.

The first time he was sent to jail for dealing was after his brother David died from drug use. The last time, in 2005, was after he sold heroin to a man wearing a wire. Huffman said he heard a warning from God that if he sold the drugs, he’d go to jail — but he didn’t listen. Even in jail, he’d work on the road crews and smuggle in tobacco.

But now, life is too good for that.

“I have too much to live for,” he said, looking through pictures of Piper.

Turned to God

It was the last time he was in prison that Huffman decided to change his life. And it wasn’t just about getting sober. It was changing his outlook.

“I was the same dope-dealing fool I was on the outside on the inside,” he said.

So Huffman decided to “put his life into the hands of God.” And when the change became visible to judges and prosecutors, he was released.

Now, Huffman spends his time away from the world of drugs that once controlled him. He’s been sober for nine years, and he admitted it hasn’t been easy. He stays away from all caffeine and alcohol.

“Sometimes I want a cold beer, but I know I have no off button,” Huffman said.

But it’s that lack of an off button and his self-proclaimed “addictive personality” that’s allowed him to tackle new projects.

He wanted to go back to school to win his father’s approval. Huffman now has degrees in general studies and liberal arts and is working on a human services degree at Ivy Tech.

He started doing odd jobs and selling fish, then launched two businesses — one in construction and another selling fish and aquatic plants, Mark of Excellence Aquatics, which reminded him of his love for the outdoors.

He reconnected with a junior high classmate on Facebook and married her three years ago. He bought a house in October.

Student. Business owner. Husband and homeowner.

“Time management is difficult, if you look at the whole big picture,” Huffman admitted. “But if you do one thing at a time, I’m able to knock it out.”

He uses that dedication in the classroom, said Martin Wolfger, Ivy Tech Bloomington dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a professor.

When Huffman started at Ivy Tech in spring 2009, it was difficult. He hadn’t been in a classroom in more than 25 years. And after he had completed a few years of adjusting, his father died last fall, sending him into a tailspin. He almost gave up on school.

“I learned that instead of doing it for him, I started doing it for me,” Huffman said. He said it was Wolfger who helped him get through, told him to stick with it and listed his options to finish classes at another time. But he ended up not needing the options.

“There is something about Mark. He just finds a way to make things work,” Wolfger said.

When Huffman graduated with his liberal arts degree this spring, he was named Ivy Tech’s outstanding student in liberal arts.

“He is almost like a bulldog,” said Wolfger, who nominated him.

Wants to help others

The modest home with a pole barn and 2.5-car garage he owns now is a far cry from the pair of shorts and shoes he left prison with.

He knows that. Without a pair of friends who owned the house before, Huffman said, he — as a five-time convicted felon with no bank account — would have never been able to buy a house.

He also knows that as the oldest of eight kids, he feels responsible for the siblings who followed his lead and turned to drugs.

“I’m getting clean for them,” he said.

Once he finishes his human services degree at Ivy Tech, Huffman said he plans to continue his studies at IU to become a drug and alcohol counselor to help people like himself. He’s already spoken to his classmates about his substance abuse.

Normally, Wolfger said he has hesitations about former addicts who want to be counselors, because they might relapse.

“But I don’t have those concerns with Mark. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy,” Wolfger said. “Other people, a lot of stress puts them back. … I don’t think that was ever a problem for Mark.”

Huffman said his dream is to have a rehabilitation program where recovering addicts could work for his construction business with the responsibility of a job, and once the program is over, a paycheck.

“Rehab isn’t teaching them life skills,” Huffman said. “You can get sober, but you need accountability and structure.”

He’s been there. He said he knows when addicts are lying and what they need to help them. He also knows sharing his story can help others on a similar path.

“I’ve been an addict,” Huffman said. “It gives you credibility with other addicts. … It’s a natural fit. God has a way, and things will work out.”


Mark Huffman is operating an aquatic plants and fish business as well as a construction company. Huffman recently graduated from Ivy Tech after serving time in prison on drug charges and plans to become a counselor for drug users. David Snodgress | Herald-Times





Mark Huffman operates an aquatic plants and fish business, and also has a construction company. Huffman recently graduated from Ivy Tech Community College after serving prison time on drug-related charges. He plans to continue his studies at Indiana University and become a counselor for substance abusers. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

Cook center hosts fifth annual event

The Herald-Times
It’s Your Business

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 2:00 am

By Steve Bryant A Bloomington voice

On Sept. 18, the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship will host its fifth annual Cook Institute for Entrepreneurship in Bloomington. Our speaker will be Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions. He has a great story to share about taking a startup business and making it into a market-leading company.

The reason for the event is to showcase successful business people with Indiana ties so they can inspire the future entrepreneurs in our community and also let us know what it’s like out there, so we can make our region more competitive when it comes to starting or growing a business. We don’t have to have Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg in town to find good stories from people right in our backyard.

Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, was our speaker in 2013 and talked about the importance of executing ideas and taking risks. In 2012, Pat Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley, stressed the importance of starting small, reinvesting in your business and following your passion. In 2011, Mickey Maurer from the National Bank of Indianapolis talked about the top 10 things he never learned in business school that are paramount to success in business.

Our event and our center were named after Gayle and Bill Cook, who have arguably one of the best stories in Indiana. If you have not read “The Bill Cook Story,” co-written by Bob Hammel, you’re missing out on some great insight into how to start a successful business (along with a few unsuccessful ones). Drop by the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and we’ll lend you a copy. All of these esteemed Hoosier business leaders have stories to tell and experiences to share, and we are fortunate that we get to showcase this each year for our students and the community.

As we work collaboratively with other professionals and organizations in our region to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem, we need to keep telling these stories, so that those who want to take their idea to the next level will understand the risks of starting a business but also will be inspired to move forward with their idea. We also need to enable strong networks and events where budding entrepreneurs can meet, share contacts and educate each other. Us “agency types” can help, but the people who have been down that road possess perspective and they are who most budding entrepreneurs want to learn from.

If you are interested in our upcoming event, contact the Cook Center at 812-330-6261 for more information.

Steve Bryant is executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. Next week’s column will be by Bloomington’s Danise Alano-Martin.


Ivy Tech class offerings in Orange County now open for registration

July 25, 2014

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus registration for fall semester is open, and classes in Orange County begin August 25.


Students can earn credits toward an Ivy Tech Associate degree by taking classes close to home at the Orange County Learning Center. Fall class offerings include Integrated Reading and Writing (ENGL 095), English Composition (ENGL 111), Fundamentals of Public Speaking (COMM 101), Intro to Microcomputers (CINS 101), Intro to Psychology (PSYC 101), New Student Seminar (IVYT 120), Intro to Business (BUSN 101), and Intro to Human Services (HUMS 101).


To apply and register, visit www.ivytech.edu/orangecounty. Returning Ivy Tech students can run a degree audit to find out the courses they need to take, and register for classes online through Campus Connect. For degree audit instructions call (812) 330-6013.


The Orange County Learning Center at Springs Valley is located at 479 S. Larry Bird Blvd. French Lick, Ind. For help applying to Ivy Tech or registering for classes, students can drop in without an appointment. All testing is done by appointment only. The Orange County Learning Center office is open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The office is closed for lunch 12-1 p.m. and closed during evening classes. For questions, call the Learning Center at 812-936-4100 or contact Carol Hudelson at chudelson@ivytech.edu.


About Ivy Tech Orange County Learning Center

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington opened the Orange County Learning Center to provide easy access to higher education and workforce training in Orange County. The center allows students to earn credits toward an Ivy Tech Associate degree by taking classes close to home. Since opening, the learning center has expanded offerings in for-credit academic courses, and non-credit workforce training and personal-enrichment courses.


About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College (www.ivytech.edu) is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities.  In addition, its courses and programs transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.