Economic Development of Kosciusko County

Entrepreneur Innovation Hall of Fame

What is unique about Kosciusko County? Why is this County the orthopedic capital of the world? Why does this County have one of the highest per acre “value-added” dollars in agriculture? Why are there so many unique world-class manufacturing companies located in this rural northern Indiana County?

The first answer is we have a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship that is our history, our present and our future. The KEDCo Board of Directors felt that as a County we needed to celebrate that tradition. In 2010 we created The Kosciusko County Entrepreneur and Innovation Hall of Fame.

The second answer is a workforce noted for its work ethic, its common-sense creativity and its commitment to quality.  Uniquely, our Hall of Fame honors both the innovator/entrepreneur and the company itself. It takes a team of people to turn ideas into products and beginnings into a successful growing business.

Our first group inaugurated into the Hall of Fame in 2011 reflected the two substantial wealth generators in our County—agriculture production, processing and equipment; and the orthopedics industry.

This year we celebrated two additional orthopedic companies, one additional agri-business, one retailer and two of our numerous diverse industries including our strong recreational boat industry in the northern half of the County.

Take a moment to read these fascinating stories in our two program books. You will find the strength of the Kosciusko County economy—an economy noted for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship; an economy enhanced by a talented, committed workforce; a commitment to continuous improvement; and, a vision to create the very best products in the world.

2011 Hall of Fame Booklet

2012 Hall of Fame Booklet

2013 Hall of Fame Booklet

2014 Hall of Fame Booklet

2011 Hall of Fame Inductees

DePuy, Inc.

During the late 1800s, Revra DePuy, started experimenting with fiber which could be used to customize splints to the broken bones of each patient. To produce this new innovation, he founded DePuy Manufacturing in 1895 in Warsaw, Indiana. Thus began the first commercial orthopaedics company in the United States.

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Creighton Brothers LLC

Creighton Brothers began in 1925 with 1200 white Leghorn hens and a gentlemen’s agreement. The Brothers’ entrepreneurial talent rested not only in producing a quality product but in growing a company through hiring and advancing quality employees.

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Zimmer, Inc.

Zimmer is a world leader in orthopaedics. The company employs nearly 8,500 people serving markets in 100 countries. The innovation of Justin O. Zimmer continues with talented researchers, engineers and technicians’ designing the more than 100,000 unique products the Company delivers today.

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CTB, Inc.

Located in farm country, Howard Brembeck noticed how much productive time was wasted by farmers because of inefficient farm machinery. That simple market need led Mr. Brembeck to found a company named for its purpose - to create labor saving devices for farmers-- Chore-Time Equipment.

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Biomet

Biomet, Inc. was founded in 1977 by four young men infused with a bold entrepreneurial spirit. Dane A. Miller, Niles L. Noblitt, Jerry L. Ferguson and M. Ray Harroff, all experienced in the orthopedic industry, shared a vision shaped by a desire to be highly responsive to the changing needs of orthopedic surgeons.

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Maple Leaf Farms Inc.

A simple question led to the founding of Maple Leaf Farms by Donald Wentzel in 1958; since the grain supply is abundant in the Midwest, why are the duck farms in the east? To him it made much more sense to produce ducks close to the source of major feed ingredients and centrally located to major markets in the United States.

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2012 Hall of Fame Inductees

Rinker Boats

Boat innovation is a long tradition of the Rinker family. Lossie Rinker was a dairy farmer who started building fishing and later, racing boats, at a fishing boat company called Garmin in Goshen, IN.

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They envisioned “a polymer company, which integrated different processes of polymer manufacturing.” Their ultimate goal was to become The Total Delivery Solution to the worldwide medical market...

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At the turn of the last century, a woman starting a manufacturing company rarely occurred. Da-Lite Screen Company was founded in 1909 by Adele de Berri in Chicago.

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Medtronic 

Medtronic Spinal, as well as the current Warsaw manufacturing unit, traces its origins to Carlin Manufacturing which was first established in the 1950s as a manufacturer of openers for 55 gallon drums.

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Penguin Point

On June 6, 1950 Penguin Point Franchise, Inc. began as a seasonal carhop drive-in, led by Wallace and Mary Stouder and his brother Lloyd and Heleta Stouder.

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Tom Farms

Tom Farms is a family owned organization that was planted 175 years ago in the abundant prairies of Northern Indiana.

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2013 Hall of Fame Inductees

Lake City Bank

Lake City Bank commenced business in 1872. It was one of only two home-town banks when the population of Warsaw was 2,500 people and the city was slightly over three decades old. It was the same year that Ulysses S. Grant was elected President.

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In the fall of 1950, the long vacant Clunette Schoolhouse was sold by the township trustees. Wallace Anglin proposed to the buyer A.E. Anglin building a grain elevator in the schoolyard. Wallace had supplemented his farm operation by purchasing and hauling grain.

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Othy/Symmetry Medical

In 1976, the management of Hand Industries started a separate business, Othy Inc., to meet the need of companies for an outside vendor to do precision machining. William Hand started the company with talented employees Paul Salyer and Bill Hough.

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Miller's Health Systems

In 1964, Wallace and Connie Miller had a vision to bring long-term healthcare for the aging in Kosciusko County. Mrs. Miller, a registered nurse, enjoyed working with the elderly and her husband was a confident businessman. Working together, their vision became a reality.

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Midwest Poultry

In 1895, the Strauss family farm was established. Laying hens and eggs were a part of the family farm production from the beginning. Don Strauss was the fourth generation in the family farm business.

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The Papers

Newspapers have been with us since the founding of our Nation. But so many have or are fading from our economic landscape. To keep a small town paper expanding and growing is a tribute to the true entrepreneurial spirit of Ron Baumgartner..

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2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Grace College

Sitting on the hill in Winona Lake, it was a high value small Christian College somewhat secluded. In 1994, Dr. Ron Manahan became its 5th President. Because of the efforts of Manahan and his leadership team, enrollment has more than doubled and is currently at its highest in history..

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Grossnickle Eye Center

The philosophy was to combine great patient care with state-of the-art technology to provide the best patient treatment. The practice grew by bringing in top notch professionals in all areas of eye care specialties, including cataract and vision correction, corneal transplantation, pediatric care, oculoplastic surgery, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma treatment..

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Robinson Construction

Dan Robinson started working with his dad at a young age and finally when he was 13, his dad actually started paying him. By 1983, Dan started leading the company with the challenge of rebuilding after the tough early 80’s recession. In the late 80’s, working with KDI (KEDCo’s predecessor)..

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Midwest Rake Company

Bob South and Steve Petty started Midwest Rake Company in a garage. A prototype rake was made and then displayed at a trade fair where the first order of 144 units was taken. Early growth caused relocation to the former Free Methodist Publishing building in Winona Lake..

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Times Union

The Times-Union has continuously upgraded its facilities to keep up with changes in newspaper technology. Numerous press upgrades over the years have afforded the opportunity to produce quality color impressions for our readers and advertisers. In the past few years, digital computer-to-plate technology was employed..

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Wildman Business Group

Wildman Business Group was started in 1952 by Rex Wildman. After flying supplies over the hump in China during WWII, he came back home and began a career with Standard Oil. After risking his life for our country, he risked everything back home when he decided to purchase a local dry cleaner and what would become Wildman Business Group was born..

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