iNDustry Labs leverages the experience, expertise, and insights of talented staff, affiliates, advisors and collaborators across the University of Notre Dame and the region to support the advancement of industry.

Leadership and Operations

iNDustry Labs leadership and operations team includes a Faculty Director, Executive Director, three Associate Faculty Directors, and a Senior Director.


  • Scott Ford

    Executive Director

    Scott Ford

    Executive Director

    Scott Ford serves as the Executive Director of iNDustry Labs.  He also serves as the associate vice president of economic development, building and executing strategic partnerships among University, industry, and community stakeholders to promote innovation, job growth, and quality of place in the South Bend-Elkhart region.  

    Prior to working for the University, Scott held leadership roles in both civic and commercial organizations, including Executive Vice President with Bradley Company and Executive Director of Community Investment for the city of South Bend under Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Administration.  During this time, Scott implemented a strategic restructuring of the City’s approach to economic development that yielded nearly 2,600 new jobs and $440 million in new private investment to the City. 

    Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in government with a concentration in philosophy, politics and economics as well as a master’s degree in architecture from Notre Dame. He also holds a master’s degree in planning, growth and regeneration from the University of Cambridge. Through the integration of policy, business and design, Scott is dedicated to creating places that bring about the best in us. He is an active member on several regional boards and national organizations in line with this commitment.


  • Nicholas Berente

    Faculty Director

    Nicholas Berente

    Faculty Director

    Nick Berente serves as Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame; he is also the Viola D. Hank Associate Professor of  IT, Analytics, and Operations. Prof. Berente studies how digital innovations like artificial intelligence technologies drive change in organizations and institutions. He teaches courses on Strategic Business Technology and is Co-Director of the GAMA Lab and affiliated faculty in Notre Dame's Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society and also Notre Dame's Technology Ethics Center. Prof. Berente received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan. He was an entrepreneur prior to his academic career, founding two technology companies. He is the principal investigator for a number of U.S. National Science Foundation projects and has won multiple awards for his teaching and his research. Prof. Berente is a senior editor for MIS Quarterly.

  • Maria Gibbs

    Senior Director

    Maria Gibbs

    Senior Director

    Maria Gibbs serves as the Senior Director of iNDustry Labs. In her role, she supports the advancement of Notre Dame faculty research agendas by catalyzing new research partnerships with companies in the South Bend - Elkhart Region and accelerates regional investments in talent and technology by making industry-relevant research legible and actionable to regional firms.

    Prior to joining iNDustry Labs, Maria spent eight years in venture capital and private equity, primarily focused on technology companies driving economic impact for people and businesses that call small cities home. Maria co-founded and served as Managing Partner at INVANTI, an early stage investment firm. She raised a pre-seed venture fund with an investment thesis focused on advancing economic vitality in small cities and built relationships with over 100 small business owners in the South Bend region to help make their problems legible to startup founders and connect them to pilot opportunities with tech-enabled startups. She also served as a value creation and operations consultant for several private equity firms in California, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas, where she built out investment decision-making frameworks and operational infrastructure and worked with mid-market companies to expand margin and grow revenue.

    Maria earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Duke University and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, where her research focused on developing a novel sensing and system identification approach to wind mitigation in long span footbridges. She has also served as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame and Director of Operations for Bridges to Prosperity, an international footbridge building organization.


  • Mike Chapple

    Associate Faculty Director

    Mike Chapple

    Associate Faculty Director

    Mike Chapple is Associate Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs and Academic Director of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program in the Mendoza College of Business. He also serves as Teaching Professor of IT, Analytics, and Operations where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in business analytics and cybersecurity.

    Prior to joining the Mendoza faculty, Mike served as Senior Director for IT Service Delivery at the University. In this role, he oversaw the information security, IT compliance, cloud computing, data governance, IT architecture, learning platforms, project management, strategic planning and product management functions for the Office of Information Technologies. Mike led Notre Dame’s Cloud First strategy which moved 83% of the University’s IT services into the cloud over three years.

    Mike previously served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President at Notre Dame for two years. Prior to that, he was Program Manager of the University’s Information Security Program.

    Mike also previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the Brand Institute, a Miami-based marketing consultancy. He spent four years in the information security research group at the National Security Agency and serving as an active duty intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

  • Robert Landers

    Associate Faculty Director

    Robert Landers

    Associate Faculty Director

    College of Engineering Advanced Manufacturing Collegiate Professor Robert Landers serves as Associate Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs. 

    Professor Landers specializes in:

    • modeling, analysis, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes (laser metal deposition, glass direct energy deposition, selective laser melting, freeze-form extrusion fabrication of ceramics, metal cutting, friction stir welding, wire saw machining);
    • estimation and control of alternative energy systems (hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries); and
    • digital control applications.

    Professor Landers holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan; M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University; and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

  • Jason Carley

    Associate Faculty Director

    Jason Carley

    Associate Faculty Director

    Jason Carley is an Associate Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs and an Assistant Professor of Design. Jason is an industrial designer, entrepreneur, and educator working to improve the sustainability of designed objects and built environments. Through his practice, Jason examines consumer behavior and combines experimental biomaterials, alternative service models, digital prototyping techniques, and data visualizations to propose novel solutions to industrial challenges. His current research on circular economies explores how systems design can enable empowering experiences with drastically lower environmental impacts.

    During his 15 year career as a design and engineering consultant, Jason has helped bring dozens of products to market and generated patents in healthcare, optics, and electronics. He has conducted UX research in the United States, Canada, and Europe, working with respected clients such as Philips, Disney, The Home Depot, Dell, Abbott, and Whirlpool.

    Jason’s work has been recognized by the prestigious IDEA award, MDEA Gold, Core77 Design Awards, and CES’ “Best in Innovation”. He was named a finalist for the Forbes "30 Under 30 Manufacturing & Industry List" for his service in Chicago’s hardware and entrepreneurship communities. His products have been featured in Forbes, The Verge, Crains, Wallpaper, Yanko Design, Apartment Therapy, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and have appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, America's Greatest Makers, and in installations at Disneyland Parks, Madame Tussauds in Times Square, and The Four Seasons Resort in Oahu.

  • Megan McNichols

    Administrative Assistant

    Megan McNichols

    Administrative Assistant

iNDustry Innovation Team

At the heart of iNDustry Labs is an experienced staff who serve as technical liaisons to our partners. iNDustry Labs'Engineers-in Residence (ENIRs) have deep experience in advanced industries, possess existing relationships in the region, and draw upon both technical and business expertise, and serve as partners to our engaged companies, stewarding their engagement with a variety of services and resources at Notre Dame and the broader LIFT Network. In addition, iNDustry Labs activates a dedicated and talented team of enFocus Innovation Fellows, recipients of a competitive fellowship for those with undergraduate and often advanced degrees in STEM-related fields. enFocus is an organization that empowers talent to transform communities through its innovative model focused on the attraction, development, and retention of talent.

  • John DeSalle

    Executive Engineer-in-Residence

    John DeSalle

    Executive Engineer-in-Residence

    John DeSalle is an Executive Engineer-in-Residence at iNDustry Labs.  In this capacity, he serves as a translator and bridge builder for companies in the region. He regularly visits companies, articulates industry challenges, and identifies available resources through the LIFT Network to help drive regional industry advancement.

    John brings nearly 36 years of experience in the tire industry, including more than 31 years of experience in engineering, manufacturing, and senior management at Hoosier Racing Tire Corporation, where he retired as President. John began his tire career as a five-year Engineering Co-op student at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company as par of the work/study program at Kettering University. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University, he worked full time at Cooper Tire as a Research Engineer and as a Passenger Tire Product Development Engineer. John also holds an MBA from Indiana University.

  • Natalie Medich


    Natalie Medich


    Natalie Medich is an Engineer-in-Residence at iNDustry Labs. In this capacity, she provides advisory services to local companies and serves as a problem solver, translator, and bridge builder for companies in the region. She is eager to utilize her diverse experience to connect regional industry with the LIFT Network’s available resources, positioning them to thrive in the digital age of industry.

     ​Natalie holds an extensive, diversified background in business and advanced engineering. An experienced entrepreneur, she owned and exited a successful manufacturing business and, as a consultant, she has spent over a decade optimizing business processes for clients in the manufacturing, environmental and services industries. Natalie has held positions in the industrial engineering field as a business process engineer and manufacturing engineering manager, and is an experienced Lean Six Sigma Black belt practitioner for the advanced manufacturing industry.  

    Most recently, she was assistant professor and Advanced Manufacturing Department Chair for Ivy Tech Community College, spearheading the effort to bring The Larry & Judy Garatoni Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Automation to its South Bend - Elkhart campus, while developing curriculum and faculty expansions plans for the facility. At Ivy Tech, she led the development of the new Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration degree that was approved by the Commision for Higher Education in May of 2021. This degree, now offered at Ivy Tech, is the first of its kind in post-secondary education, and is specifically designed to align with industry needs.

    Natalie received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, and holds a certification from the Executive Education program at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in Engineering Leadership. She received her Six Sigma Green & Black Belt certifications from Purdue University.

  • Jim Wittendorf


    Jim Wittendorf


    Jim Wittendorf is an Engineer-in-Residence at iNDustry Labs. In this capacity, he serves as a problem solver, translator, and bridge-builder for companies in the region. He regularly visits companies, articulates industry challenges, and identifies available resources through the LIFT Network to help drive regional industry advancement. 

    Jim’s extensive experience in advanced manufacturing and electronics spans over 30 years with engineering leadership and product design roles with several leading automotive sensor companies including CTS, American Electronic Components, Siemens VDO, and Continental Automotive. 

    Most recently, Jim was the Director of Engineering Core Competencies at CTS Corporation, where he was responsible for the global execution of core enabling technologies used by product lines for application in their end products. He also helped to significantly expand CTS’ cooperative education program through LIFT Network and EARN Indiana programs. Prior to joining CTS, he served as Director of Global Process Engineering at Harman International. 

    Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tri-State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Bethel University.

  • Michael Shoemaker

    Director of Industry Advancement

    Michael Shoemaker

    Director of Industry Advancement

    Michael Shoemaker an Engineer in Residence and the Program Director of Industry Advancement at Industry Labs. In his role, Michael leads the team providing technical and strategic advisory services to local companies, bridging the gap between the local industry and the resources and capabilities of the University of Notre Dame. He is energized to leverage his experience to help regional businesses address their needs ranging from operations to product development.  

    An experienced engineer, he launched his career at Ford Motor Company as an engine process engineer; designing and launching engine assembly lines, including the 2.0L and 2.3L four-cylinder EcoBoost engines. He is dual-degree holder from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering ‘13 and Master of Science in Engineering Management ’17.   

    Michael most recently served as the inaugural Program Director for Industry Innovation at enFocus, Inc, where he built and led a dedicated team of technical Innovation Fellows specifically recruited to support the iNDustry Labs platform. In addition to providing key support for pilot industry engagement projects, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the iNDustry Labs service model.

  • Alex Topalovic

    Strategic Operations Coordinator

    Alex Topalovic

    Strategic Operations Coordinator

    Alex Topalovic, a native of Belgrade-Serbia, studied Global Management (‘19) at Earlham College in Richmond, IN. Prior to attending Earlham, Alex participated in a student exchange program at Richmond High School. As an Earlham student, he was a starter on the varsity basketball team and served in several campus leadership positions, including a two-year role as the Residence Hall Director.  Through internships at Richmond Baking Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Alex gained valuable experience in manufacturing which led to his success in the ASCM Deloitte and Conexus Rolls-Royce supply chain competitions. As a co-founder of an IT startup that promotes digital leadership and technology skills development in high school students, Alex has developed a passion for product development and entrepreneurship. His inspiration came from a year-long research on digitalization in manufacturing and its economic outcomes.

    Thus, Alex embraces enFocus’ mission and believes that enFocus has a tremendous opportunity to impact the South Bend-Elkhart region through its industrial innovation projects. Alex is excited to leverage his technical expertise and work collaboratively with iNDustry Labs and local business leaders to help improve their business performance and turn risks into opportunities.

    In addition to speaking fluent English and Serbian, Alex also speaks German. Outside of work, Alex likes to play sports, read, hike, and coach basketball.


  • Jody Suryatna

    enFocus Project Manager

    Jody Suryatna

    enFocus Project Manager

    Jody Suryatna was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia and came to the United States to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Within Mechanical Engineering, he found passion in exploring manufacturing and computer-aided design/engineering. Professionally, he has experience in quality, tooling, and logistics in various multinational companies where he had the opportunity to learn from incredible mentors who were experts in their respective fields.

    Outside of work, he spends a lot of his time volunteering for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers where he mentors various chapter leaders in the Midwest to succeed in their respective chapters in bringing professional development to the collegiate Asian-American community.

    Jody enjoys unwinding on weekends by trying out new cooking recipes, playing the guitar or (when the weather allows it) playing a round of golf. Jody chose to join enFocus as he shares the organization’s passion and commitment to build better communities through technology and innovation. Additionally, he believes enFocus provides a unique opportunity to broaden his horizons beyond the industries he is familiar with and help him grow as both an engineer and an effective leader in this ever-adapting world.

  • Alexis Hu

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Alexis Hu

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Alexis, originally from Jiangxi, China, holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics with a major in Taxation. After a year of law school, she pursued her passion for business analytics and earned a Master's degree from the University of Notre Dame.

    Alexis discovered her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and supporting businesses during her undergraduate years. She provided valuable work to startups, helping them make significant strides from inception to market entry. Additionally, she gained experience as a strategic consulting intern at EY-Parthenon, Ipsos, and as a Data Analyst at Kohler China. Throughout her experiences, she independently acquired essential data analysis skills, including Python, SQL, and Tableau, empowering businesses to leverage data effectively. Alexis's curiosity extended to various aspects of business operations, where she developed insights into manufacturing, supply chain management, and financial analysis while working as a project analyst for a family business in Mishawaka.

    Excited to contribute her skills and experience and make a positive impact, Alexis joined enFocus to drive innovation in the South Bend-Elkhart region and further develop her entrepreneurial mindset and business acumen. Outside of work, Alexis enjoys reading, painting, and engaging in various outdoor activities.

  • Nitin Jayan

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Nitin Jayan

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Nitin, originally from Kerala, India, entered the professional world after completing his Bachelor's degree. His focus was on technical sales, where he gained practical experience in account management and enterprise software systems. In one of his roles, he recognized the impactful role analytics plays in transforming traditional business functions, prompting him to pursue a Master’s in Business Analytics at Purdue University.

    During his time at Purdue, Nitin developed analytical skills and expanded his knowledge to areas such as operations and supply chain. Post-graduation, he undertook an internship with an analytics consulting firm, to help their clients improve returns on marketing spend and proactively manage customer churn.

    Nitin's decision to join enFocus is rooted in the opportunity it offers to apply his skills and experiences to diverse areas such as manufacturing, operations, and social impact. He is eager to collaborate closely with institutions in the South Bend-Elkhart region, contributing to their success.

  • Gladys Jordana

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Gladys Jordana

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Gladys Jordana was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. She moved to the United States in 2017 to pursue higher education and she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. She focused on refining her skills in process optimization, data analytics, and lean manufacturing technologies through internships and projects.

    Her exposure to various client-facing projects broadened her interest in the supply chain and logistics industry. Leveraging her expertise, she approached challenges with practical, data-backed solutions, emphasizing creative problem-solving and effectiveness. 

    With strong belief in collaboration, Gladys sees an opportunity by joining enFocus to engage with industry partners where she can make a tangible impact on the economic growth of Northern Indiana. She is eager to implement innovative ideas while immersing herself in enFocus’ dynamic culture and industry landscape to gain valuable hands-on experience.

  • Kartik Maheshwari

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Kartik Maheshwari

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Kartik, a native of Ahmedabad, India, came to the United States to pursue a Master’s of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering with focuses in Management and Data Science from Purdue University.

    In his journey from India to Indiana, Kartik has amassed diverse experiences by working on projects ranging from engineering, management, sales, marketing, data analytics, consulting, and more. Though much of his background is related to technical work, he is also passionate about working at the grassroots level through community building and by bridging gaps in youth literacy. At enFocus, he is leveraging his experience to help local industries become future-ready–and he’s looking forward to learning from an extremely diverse team while working on a variety of different projects.

     Outside of work, Kartik can be found cooking, hiking, supporting Manchester United, dodging chores–or even trying out one of his new hobbies: chess and harmonica.

  • Akash Praharaj

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Akash Praharaj

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Born in India and raised in Bahrain, Akash arrived in the South Bend - Elkhart Region after a journey across the world. He obtained his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and his Master’s in the same from Purdue University. 

    As an undergraduate student, Akash joined the Missouri S&T Formula Electric team—where he gained valuable engineering and leadership experience, and learned about the great impact engineers can have on a sustainable future. He continues to serve as a legacy lead on the team, despite being thousands of miles away.

    During his graduate program at Purdue, Akash was fortunate to intern with enFocus. During his eight weeks, Akash learned about Industry 4.0 and began to see the impact that enFocus had on the local community. With admiration for its mission, Akash has come back to enFocus to employ his new skills to help manufacturers implement Industry 4.0 process improvements.

    Away from work, Akash is an avid Formula I fan and enjoys playing Cricket, Soccer, and Basketball. He is also a foodophile and enjoys still object photography. 

  • Prabodh Sonalkar

    Mechanical Engineer

    Prabodh Sonalkar

    Mechanical Engineer

    Prabodh pursued his passion for building things by studying Mechanical Engineering. He received his bachelors in India, and went on to also gain his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. During his time at Purdue, through various extracurriculars, he realized another one of his passions - community engagement. His combined passions for Mechanical Engineering and community engagement paved his way to enFocus.

    His journey with enFocus started when he was hired as a summer intern, and he then joined the team as an industry innovation Fellow. He met wonderful people, built great relationships, and started calling the South Bend-Elkhart region his home. He was introduced to the manufacturing hub of northern Indiana and was able to work alongside local companies. He worked on a variety of projects ranging from process improvement to facilities design to technical process documentation. The Fellowship was an opportunity that allowed him to build interpersonal and professional skills, and exposed him to a variety of high-impact problem solving projects.

    Towards the end of his Fellowship, Lippert hired him as a process engineer. At Lippert, he managed two production lines, and led research and development, and process improvement efforts. When he received the opportunity to once again be a part of the enFocus team, he rejoined the team with the support of colleagues and leaders to help him continue his personal and professional growth.

    He hopes to continue to grow and make a meaningful impact on the region through his work!

  • Swara Vaidya

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Swara Vaidya

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Swara Vaidya was born and raised in Thane, India. She completed her undergraduate studies in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Mumbai and went on to work as a Quality Engineer for the next three years at an eLearning Software company. There she worked with an American textbook publishing company on the digitization of their Math and Chemistry textbook problems. This helped her gain valuable experience in quality assurance, team leading and enhanced her communication skills.

    The pursuit of higher education brought her to the US, where she made a pivot and earned a Masters in Global Supply Chain Management from Purdue University. During Summer 2023, she worked as a Supply Chain Intern at Grand Design RV, a recreational vehicle manufacturer, based in Middlebury, IN. There, she developed an interest in continuous improvement, operations and project management, and was drawn to the opportunities available in Northern Indiana.

    At enFocus, her goal is to help local companies improve their processes, make them more efficient, and gain a competitive  edge. She knows that through collaboration with local businesses and manufacturers, she can make a positive impact in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

    Outside of work, Swara enjoys cooking and trying new cuisines, playing badminton and ping pong, and loves learning new languages.

  • Sheldon Varghese

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Sheldon Varghese

    enFocus Innovation Fellow

    Sheldon was born and raised in Dubai, U.A.E. He always had an interest in automobiles, and as his interest in the field grew over the years, he decided to pursue Mechanical Engineering at the Vellore Institute of Technology, India. He went on to study Mechanical Engineering further at Purdue University, Indiana, to polish his skills in design, management, and product development.

    Sheldon’s favorite courses included international business, commodity management, and Lean Manufacturing. He demonstrated how STEM professionals can enhance their skills while contributing to society. He was able to harness his skills and learned how he could integrate people, business, and science.

    Sheldon has always looked for an avenue to give back to others. During his time as an undergraduate student, he joined U&I as a volunteer. He was able to reach out to underprivileged children and help teach them elementary level English. Sheldon was drawn to enFocus because of its innate nature of giving back to society. He looks forward to working closely with industries in the South Bend-Elkhart region and helping them become more “Lean.” Ultimately, this would add considerable value in terms of economic development for the region.

    Sheldon’s favorite activities include cooking, working out and going on treks.

Applied Analytics & Emerging Technology Lab (AETL)

The Applied Analytics and Emerging Technology Lab (AETL) is the fundamental resource for applied analytics and IT systems within iNDustry Labs. Embedded within the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society, the AETL provides strategic and technical support, educational programs and access to talent to advance the adoption of technology and digital practices in regional companies. 

Engineering Innovation Hub

Notre Dame’s Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) is a unique learning and innovation environment on the first floor of Cushing-Fitzpatrick Halls of Engineering — offering students, faculty, and industry partners resources for collaboration, fabrication, automation, robotics and modeling.

  • Daryl Peterson

    Managing Director, Engineering Innovation Hub

    Daryl Peterson

    Managing Director, Engineering Innovation Hub

    Daryl L. Peterson is the first managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH). He oversees the coordination and operational management of the EIH’s technology, programs, and outreach in support of its dual mission of academic and industry engagement.

    Prior to joining Notre Dame in January 2021, Peterson earned more than 20 years of manufacturing experience at Deere & Co.

    He led programs for Deere’s global product lines, managing cross-functional teams charged with improving business processes and reducing product complexity. He led the creation of Deere’s Enterprise Digital Capability Lab, aimed at developing engineers as they worked with new technologies in artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, autonomous robotics, and lightweight materials. He also created a Manufacturing Leadership program to further develop the next generation of manufacturing leaders.

    Prior to his tenure at Deere, Peterson was a manufacturing engineer with Ford Motor Company. He holds a master of business administration from the University of Chicago, a master of science in operations management and master of science in manufacturing management from Kettering University, and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.