Team

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

iNDustry Labs Faculty & Staff

At the heart of iNDustry Labs is an experienced staff who serve as technical liaisons to our partners.  The office’s leadership includes a Faculty Director and Managing Director and Strategic Advisor for Research and Applied Learning. Our Executive Engineers-in Residence (ENIRs) have deep experience in advanced industries, possess existing relationships in the region, and draw upon both technical and business expertise.  

 

  • Thomas Fuja

    Faculty Director

    Thomas Fuja

    Faculty Director

    tfuja@nd.edu

    Tom Fuja serves as Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame. He also serves as Professor and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering at Notre Dame. Prof. Fuja received his undergraduate education at the University of Michigan, graduating with a B.S.E.E. and a B.S.Comp.E. in 1981. He subsequently attended Cornell University, where he received the M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering in 1983 and 1987, respectively. Since 1998 Prof. Fuja has been a member of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, where he is currently a professor and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering. Previously, from 1987 to 1998, Fuja was on the faculty of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. In addition, Prof. Fuja served as Program Director for Communications Research at the U.S. National Science Foundation in 1997 and 1998. Prof. Fuja has been very active in the IEEE Information Theory Society, serving in a variety of roles on its Board of Governors from 1988 to 2004 and as its President in 2002. He also served as Associate Editor at Large of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory from 1998 to 2001.

  • 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, with over 31 years of experience in increasingly responsible roles in engineering, manufacturing and senior management at Hoosier Racing Tire Corp (HRT).  Began tire career as a five-year Engineering Co-op student at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company during the work/study program at Kettering University.  After earning a BSME degree worked full time at Cooper Tire as a Research Engineer and as a Passenger Tire Product Development Engineer. He holds a BSME from Kettering University, and an MBA from Indiana University.

  • Scott Ford

    Managing Director

    Scott Ford

    Managing Director

    sford1@nd.edu

    Scott Ford serves as the Managing 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.

     

  • Jim Morrison

    Senior Strategic Advisor, Applied Learning & Research

    Jim Morrison

    Senior Strategic Advisor, Applied Learning & Research

    jmorrison@nd.edu

    Jim Morrison serves as the senior strategic advisor, applied learning and research for iNDustry Labs. He also serves as associate provost for strategic initiatives at Notre Dame, leading major cross-college initiatives, including efforts to advance ND Health, data science and analytics, and lifelong learning. He also directs and coordinates the Deans’ Collaborative Initiative program, cross-college academic planning committees, and external academic partnerships.

    Morrison’s appointment as associate provost represented an expansion of his duties as assistant provost for strategic initiatives. During his two years in that role, he worked closely with senior academic leaders to develop and launch the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate, IDEA Center, Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, and Inspired Leadership Initiative, among other University-wide academic initiatives.

    Prior to his appointment as assistant provost, Morrison served as senior director of academic advancement at Notre Dame. Heading up the Department of Development’s college-based academic advancement team, he collaborated with University leadership to further critical academic priorities and multidisciplinary opportunities.

    Morrison has been at Notre Dame since 2013, when he joined the Office of the Provost as senior advisor to the provost. In addition, he has been executive assistant to the chancellor at the University of Tennessee, director of strategic planning at the University of Mississippi, and a management consultant with Huron Consulting in its higher education and health care practice.

    A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Morrison holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from the Teachers College at Columbia University and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Georgia.

iNDustry Labs Faculty Affiliates

Augmenting the iNDustry Labs team are the iNDustry Labs Faculty Affiliates, a multidisciplinary collection of faculty and research staff whose research, coursework, and subject-matter expertise overlap with topics of interest to the regional economy. The Faculty represent a breadth of departments and initiatives at the University of Notre Dame, including:

enFocus iNDustry Innovation Team

iNDustry Labs activates a dedicated and talented team of enFocus 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.

  • Michael Shoemaker

    Program Director, Industry Innovation

    Michael Shoemaker

    Program Director, Industry Innovation

    m.shoemaker@en-focus.org

    Michael Shoemaker is a 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 is an experienced engineer with automotive manufacturing expertise. 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.

    Energized by enFocus’ mission to attract talent and drive innovation in the South Bend-Elkhart region, Michael joined enFocus in 2018. Having worked for a Fortune 20 company, Michael was impressed with enFocus’ ability to successfully attract talented recent graduates from diverse disciplines, who are driven to transform our local communities.

    While at enFocus, he leveraged his technical expertise, creative problem-solving skills, and leadership experience working on high impact projects.  He drove process improvement and technology implementation projects and mentored teams to deliver sustainability planning to local organizations. Michael serves on the enFocus leadership team as Program Director of Industry Innovation, leading a team of technical Fellows with expertise in engineering,  data analytics, and digital operations. He and his team welcome the opportunity to work with local businesses to perform a variety of projects, including market assessment, technology integrations, and technical project management, working with the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) network. 

    Outside of work, Michael enjoys traveling, photography, water sports, and spending time outdoors. Even when traveling, abroad or domestically, Michael schedules time to visit local manufacturers to learn and gain exposure to different processes and techniques. A true engineer at heart, he is always analyzing the world around him to discover new ways to innovate and improve the products and processes he encounters.

  • Andrew Wiand

    Executive Director

    Andrew Wiand

    Executive Director

    a.wiand@sbenfocus.org

    Andrew received his degree in Biological Sciences from Notre Dame in 2011. During his senior year, Andrew led an innovative independent research project concentrating on antioxidant effects on growth factor pathways in breast cancer cells. Andrew received his Master’s of Science from University of Notre Dame's Engineering, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Excellence Master's (ESTEEM) program in 2012. Andrew co-founded enFocus in May of 2012 as a student, and was hired as one of the first enFocus Fellows in August 2012. Andrew went on to hold positions such as Senior Fellow Project Manager in 2013 and Director of Operations is 2014. In early 2015, Andrew was hired as Executive Director of enFocus, charged with guiding the organization's growth and business strategy. As Executive Director, Andrew has led the continued growth of the program into two Indiana communities and has managed the completion of over 120 sponsored business and technology projects for over 75 regional companies. These projects have created over $75 million in business value for sponsoring entities and have attracted over 650 recent graduates to enFocus. Andrew enjoys spending time with his son, Ethan, in his spare time and also plays the cello.

  • Yichen Fan

    Innovation Fellow

    Yichen Fan

    Innovation Fellow

    y.fan@en-focus.org

    Yichen graduated from Purdue University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. In college, Yichen discovered her interests in nonprofit and community service through EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service). She served as a project manager and led the team to design and build a Nandi demo kitchen for indoor air quality improvement. Yichen also gained experience in lean manufacturing and data analytics through an internship with the continuous improvement team at Manchester Tank. Always passionate about non-traditional engineering careers, Yichen has diverse backgrounds and school involvements in public relations, event planning, education and community building.

    At enFocus, Yichen is excited to apply engineering knowledge to support manufacturing companies in adopting innovative technologies in South Bend-Elkhart region. Her expertise in manufacturing process, data storytelling and system thinking allow her to assess additive manufacturing opportunities and build a framework for 3D printing ecosystem in Indiana.

    Born and raised in Zhengzhou, China, Yichen loves traveling, discovering unique stories of people and trying new things. She has been to 25 states and 9 countries, and the adventure has just started.

     

  • Utkarsh Jain

    Innovation Fellow

    Utkarsh Jain

    Innovation Fellow

    u.jain@en-focus.org

    Utkarsh Jain, a native of Gurugram, India, received his Masters in Industrial Engineering ('18) at Purdue University-main campus, IN. Prior to completing his Master's program, Utkarsh pursued his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue as well. 

    As a Purdue student, he held leadership positions in many student-led clubs ranging from academic societies to mentorship clubs for international graduate students. He also founded the first Hindi-speaking club at Purdue. During his undergraduate studies, Utkarsh developed a passion for operations research and continued his Master’s studies with a focus on design and analysis of supply chain models, production & manufacturing systems and business analytics. Through his internship with Tata Motors as an analyst, Utkarsh gained first-hand insight of sales and business processes of a leading automobile manufacturer. He was quickly able to apply his classroom learning to his internship project, working on improving their business performance through predictive modeling in R. As a passionate Industrial Engineering student, Utkarsh broaden his horizon through educational projects in warehouse distribution science and supply chain optimization. 

    As a first-year fellow, Utkarsh leveraged his problem solving and leadership skills to lead and work collaboratively on several innovative projects ranging from transportation program development through the Bloomberg Mayor's Challenge to strategic planning and management of the South Bend Technology Resource Center. 

    As an Innovation fellow, Utkarsh firmly believes in enFocus' mission and its vision for industry innovation in the South Bend-Elkhart region. He is excited about the vast opportunities of impact and the pivotal role enFocus will play in the industrial innovation projects in the region. Utkarsh is excited to leverage his technical background and his year-long experience with enFocus to continue to provide value and create effective relationships with Industry Labs and partners of the LIFT network.

    Outside of work, you can find Utkarsh playing badminton, exploring new restaurants downtown or having superhero movie marathons.

     

  • Stephen Kabele

    Innovation Fellow

    Stephen Kabele

    Innovation Fellow

    s.kabele@en-focus.org

    Stephen Kabele is a native of Portland, Oregon and graduated in 2019 from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Industrial Design. During his time at Notre Dame, Stephen gained an appreciation for human-centered design, and tackled projects ranging from treatment of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s patients to a proposed redesign of Notre Dame’s campus convenience store. As an undergrad, he spent a summer working in product design, utilizing digital modeling and prototyping to create a new magnifying product for Carson Optical. Stephen’s design research background has allowed him to lead the development of a web-based toolkit to drive collaborative digital transformation efforts among regional education, civic, and industry organizations. In addition, he has assisted local companies in developing pilot projects and applying for federal aid through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

    Stephen looks forward to continuing the development of an innovation ecosystem in the South Bend - Elkhart region through industry innovation projects at enFocus and iNDustry Labs. He is excited to work with local universities and industry partners to create new opportunities for growth within their organizations. 

    In his free time, Stephen enjoys playing and coaching basketball, singing, and cheering on Notre Dame football.

     

  • Alex Topalovic

    Innovation Fellow

    Alex Topalovic

    Innovation Fellow

    a.topalovic@en-focus.org

    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.

     

  • Nimoy Vaidya

    Innovation Fellow

    Nimoy Vaidya

    Innovation Fellow

    n.vaidya@en-focus.org

    Born and raised in Nepal, Nimoy left the country a few months after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck his home city of Kathmandu in April 2015. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Nimoy noticed how unfair life could be, especially for those living in poverty. This motivated him to work hard to improve the lives of others, and in the Fall of 2015, he started at Goshen College. He graduated from Goshen College in 2019 with a major in Business and a minor in Accounting.

Always eager for an opportunity to learn more about the world, Nimoy has sought out a breadth of experiences. From teaching breaking (breakdancing) to children at an orphanage in Kathmandu, to working as an assistant resident director at Goshen College, to co-founding the Intercultural Coalition of Goshen College, a group aimed at promoting a more inclusive environment on campus, Nimoy knows the value of putting in hard work to better himself and his community. In class, he developed a keen interest in Lean manufacturing. Over the course of 3 months, he helped a local company embrace one-piece flow. A true admirer or Lean concepts he started out on the line, experiencing first hand what can be improved on and planned ahead to ensure a smooth transition while developing a Kanban system for the company. Currently, he is working with the Kroc Center and South Bend Schools to start a pilot program in the South Bend that seeks to help kids with depression and mental health issues by teaching them breaking (breakdancing).

    At enFocus, Nimoy hopes to learn the social and technical skills he needs to further aid him in working with others to improve the quality of life for people around the world.

    When leisure is an option, Nimoy enjoys dancing, cooking, playing the uke and sketching.

     

Strategic Advisors

Reinforcing the expertise available through University faculty and staff,  iNDustry Labs can recruit and match leading subject-matter experts from the Notre Dame alumni network and beyond to link regional industry partners with specific guidance for implementing the most advanced technologies, business strategies, and training practices emerging around the world. 

 

LIFT Industry Advisory Group

An esteemed advisory group of 14 seasoned business and manufacturing executives from the Region offers critical counsel, support, and advocacy to iNDustry Labs, helping to ensure that all activities are relevant, timely, and efficient. Advisory Group members have engaged iNDustry Labs with pilot projects to test and refine the iNDustry Advancement services and processes.  The Group is chaired by Tom Fuja, Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs, and formally convenes semiannually.