Leadership Kokomo to kick off new curriculum with new class in August

Update of popular program aims to meet participant, employer goals

KOKOMO, Ind. — Kokomo’s popular Leadership Kokomo program is undergoing an update this year designed to create a curriculum aimed at better meeting the personal development needs of Howard County employers and employees.

Ivy Tech Community College is working with the Leadership Kokomo Advisory Committee and partners from the City of Kokomo and the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance with the goal of launching the new Leadership Kokomo this August.

“Based on participant and employer input, the advisory group is working to create an exciting new curriculum aimed at the 21st Century workforce,” said Jake Adams, workforce development consultant for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. “The new curriculum will focus on rigorous leadership training designed to offer a richer return on investment from the program for both employers and participants.”

Adams said the group is building on the strong program that has served more than 500 people in its last 37 years.

“Leadership Kokomo, a cooperative effort of Ivy Tech, GKEDA, and the city, has built a legacy of service to our community,” he said. “We are looking forward to a revamp that takes the Leadership Kokomo foundation to a new level of impact on Kokomo businesses and non-profit organizations.”

Members of the Leadership Kokomo Advisory Council include Sherry Rahl of Turning Point – System of Care, president; Polly Bray of the City of Kokomo; Kyle Ennis of Community First Bank; Karen Gardner of The Hardie Group; Ethan Heicher of Ivy Tech Community College; Aimee Romero of Ruoff Mortgage;, and Charlie Sparks of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.

An alumni/new recruit information session has been set for 12 to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, in the auditorium at Inventrek, 700 E. Firmin St. Leadership Kokomo alumni and interested community are invited to come to learn more about plans for the new LK and to provide input.

The new program will involve 100 hours of participation over nine months. Details of the program will be announced later this spring with a registration deadline of July 1. For more information, contact Adams at 765-252-5495 or email jadams373@ivytech.edu .


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Two area leaders named to Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus Board of Trustees

Vicki Byrd and Tanya Foutch serving three-year terms

Vicki Byrd

KOKOMO, Ind. — The Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Campus Board of Trustees has two new members – Vicki Byrd of Logansport and Tanya Foutch of Kokomo.

Byrd, vice president of planning and development at Logansport Memorial Hospital, and Tanya Foutch, resident engineering supervisor at FCA US in Kokomo, were appointed to three-year terms by Ivy Tech’s State Board of Trustees. Foutch was appointed to represent manufacturing and Byrd was appointed as an at-large member on the seven-member board of the Kokomo service area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties.

Tanya Foutch

“With their expertise and community connections, Vicki and Tanya can offer valuable input to the Kokomo Campus Board of Trustees,” said Dean McCurdy, chancellor of Ivy Tech Kokomo. “We welcome their ideas and feedback as we continue our efforts to better serve our students and meet the needs of the businesses and industries in the Kokomo service area.”

Members of Ivy Tech’s 18 campus boards have four essential responsibilities. These include analyzing educational needs and opportunities in the region, approving regional programming and recommending to the state board a plan to provide education and workforce development programs for the region, approving the region’s budget, and recommending methods for acquiring facilities and equipment needed to deliver regional programs.

Byrd has a long history of service in the Peru and Logansport communities. After graduating from Logansport High School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from DePauw University and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Previously, she had served as vice president of operations for the North Central Indiana Private Industry Council and president/CEO of Workforce Development Strategies. In her current position since 2006, she has led marketing and development activities for Logansport Memorial Hospital.

She and her husband, William, live in Logansport. She is a past president of the Logansport Rotary Club and the United Way of Cass County and serves as a board member of the Area Health Education Center, secretary of Better Health of Cass County, and a member of the Cass County Chamber of Commerce. She also serves as secretary for the Logansport Parks & Recreation Foundation and as a member of the Complete Streets Committee and Logansport Re-Imagined.

Foutch earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Anderson University before joining Chrysler 23 years ago. She was named resident engineering supervisor at FCA US transmission plants in Kokomo and Tipton in 2016. In this role, she leads a team focused on identifying quality issues for the Company’s current and future portfolio of products.

In 2017, through the FCA Women’s Group, she led a partnership to develop a summer STEM camp for middle school girls that has been presented in 2018 and 2019 at Ivy Tech Kokomo. The program expanded to a STEM camp for middle school boys and Foutch is now working on plans for a STEM camp for high school girls. The camps are part of her commitment to partner with community resources to create life-changing pathways for young people.

In 2019, Foutch received the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Gerald Johnson Legacy Award recognizing “high merit, impact on people and value to the community and society.”

Foutch and her three children live in Kokomo where she is also active in her church’s outreach ministry.


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Retired Kokomo businessman Steve Johnson supports Ivy Tech transformation

Members of the Johnson family include, left-right, Beth Szerdy, Lori Fritts Warren, Steve Johnson, and Neal Johnson. Steve Johnson has donated $25,000 to the Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus Transformation Project in memory of his late wife, Patricia Johnson.

New Ivy Tech conference room named in honor of Patricia Johnson

KOKOMO, Ind. — For retired Kokomo businessman Steve Johnson, Ivy Tech Kokomo’s #THETIMEISNOW capital campaign was a perfect opportunity to support what he considers the great work of the College and to honor the memory of his late wife, Patricia Johnson.

Education was an important part of Pat’s life. She earned a secondary education degree, with honors, from Indiana University Kokomo in 1969, majoring in English and Literature, and followed that with a master’s degree in education in 1971. She taught at Lafayette Park School and Kokomo’s downtown campus for 26 years. She was recognized as one of the best English teachers in the Kokomo school system, known for her sense of humor and compassion for her students.

And now, seven years after her death, her family is honoring her legacy of student support by the naming of a major conference room in Ivy Tech’s new Health Professions Center.

For Steve, who retired after a long career with E&B Paving, contributing to Ivy Tech Kokomo’s transformation made sense. “Ivy Tech supports business and industry in our community,” Steve said. “I understand that Ivy Tech seeks to understand the needs of businesses and then works to arrange the curriculum that will meet as many of those needs as possible. And that’s a good thing!”

The blended Johnson family includes five adult children: Steve’s sons, Neal Johnson, who lives in Indianapolis, and Matt Johnson, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas; and Pat’s daughters, Beth Szerdy and Lori Fritts Warren, who both live in Kokomo, and son, David Fritts, who lives in Fishers. All are Kokomo High School graduates, like Steve, for whom education is an important interest.

“Steve has been a great supporter of Ivy Tech,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo. “With his long career in the construction industry, Steve has taken a real interest in the campus transformation. He has checked on our progress regularly and has shared his enthusiasm for the amazing difference being made by #THETIMEISNOW project.”

The new conference room is part of the $43 million transformation project currently under way on Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus. Along with a $40 million appropriation from the State of Indiana, Ivy Tech’s #THETIMEISNOW campaign is working to raise an additional $3 million in contributions from area residents, organizations, and businesses to complete the project. To find learn more about the campaign and its impact, contact Kelly at kkarickhoff@ivytech.edu or 765-252-5501.

Johnson Conference Room overlooks Ivy Tech Kokomo’s new quad

The Johnson Conference Room occupies a prime location in Ivy Tech Kokomo’s new Health Professions Center. As the new building’s primary conference room, it’s found on the second floor, at the top of the main staircase from the Atrium. Offices for Nursing and Health Sciences faculty are nearby; across the hallway are classrooms and labs for everything from Medical Assisting to Surgical Technology to Paramedic Science.

The room includes a large conference table seating 12, a large built-in credenza, white board, and state-of-the-art technology, but most eye-catching is the view. With floor-to-ceiling windows making up its west wall, the conference room offers a sweeping vista of Ivy Tech Kokomo’s new quad looking across to campus’ transformed Main Building.

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McDonald’s Restaurants of Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College Launch Statewide Alliance

Local leaders from McDonald’s and Ivy Tech on hand in Kokomo to announce the new partnership included General Manager Marcia Dowden; HR Manager Jquator Kern; Ivy Tech’s Kates Brommeland, director of admissions, and Chancellor Dean McCurdy; and Supervisor Brian Hershberger.

McDonald’s restaurants offer their employees up to $3,000 in tuition assistance. Ivy Tech to support with counseling, planning and by articulating some McDonald’s work experience into credit hours.

Marcia Dowden, general manager of the McDonald’s at 1304 N. Reed Road, listens as Chancellor Dean McCurdy describes Ivy Tech’s role in the partnership.

KOKOMO, Ind. (Jan. 9, 2020) — McDonald’s restaurants and Ivy Tech Community College across Indiana today launched an alliance to make college more affordable and offer training for the future workforce that will be shared at more than 300 McDonald’s locations and 18 Ivy Tech campuses with 40 sites.

Through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program, restaurant employees who work a minimum of 90 days at 15 hours per week will be eligible for tuition assistance of up to $2,500 per year as a crew member and up to $3,000 per year as a manager. Ivy Tech will offer crosswalk credits to McDonald’s restaurant employees for some on-the-job training and classes, plus individualized counseling – allowing them to earn a degree faster.

McDonald’s restaurants in Indiana have enrolled a number of employees in the Archways to Opportunity tuition assistance program since its inception five years ago. Throughout 2019, McDonald’s invested more than $1.2 million in tuition assistance to restaurant employees across Indiana. “There is no limit,” said Robert Terhune, McDonald’s owner/operator and president of the Greater Indiana Operator Co-Op. “We want to encourage as many of our employees and students across Indiana as we can to take advantage of this tuition assistance program. We believe this strengthens all of our communities throughout Indiana.”

Ivy Tech’s degree crosswalk will allow McDonald’s employees to work with an Ivy Tech counselor to determine which of their McDonald’s training and work experiences may articulate into credits which they can apply towards their certificate or degree. The flexibility of Ivy Tech having both online classes and locations statewide will give employees the option to complete coursework on their schedule: whether that be during the day, evening, weekend or whenever it’s convenient.

With most Ivy Tech students working while they attend school, Ivy Tech leadership says this new partnership fits in perfect with Ivy Tech Community College’s mission. “Ivy Tech locations across Indiana currently enroll many talented McDonald’s employees pursuing upward mobility in their careers and we expect this partnership to encourage even more employees to enroll and at the same time, assist in finding potential new employees for McDonald’s and new students for Ivy Tech,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann.  “Each Ivy Tech campus will dedicate an advisor to McDonald’s employee enrollment, questions and scheduling needs. We are committed to helping each and every employee further their education and achieve their dreams.”

McDonald’s and its independent franchisees provide jobs for almost 2 million people across the world and are committed to inspiring workplaces where everyone – from crew to C-suite – is equally supported and empowered to realize their full potential. This Ivy Tech alliance underscores the ways jobs at McDonald’s restaurants help build skills, education and relationships that translate to new experiences. Whether crew members plan to enjoy a career at McDonald’s or in another industry, the skills made at McDonald’s restaurants are transferrable no matter what career path they choose.

To learn more about the McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education program, visit any Indiana McDonald’s, the Archways to Opportunity website or any Ivy Tech campus.



McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.



The Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/ career advising services and learn English as a second language. Since 2015, the education program has increased access to education for over 40,000 people and awarded over $63 million in high school and college tuition assistance. To learn more about the Archways to Opportunity program, please visit ArchwaysToOpportunity.com.



Ivy Tech Community College serves communities across Indiana, providing world-class education and driving economic transformation. It is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering high-value degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities, along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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Leadership Kokomo Class of 2019 celebrates completion

Members of the Leadership Kokomo Class of 2019 include (left to right) front row: Julie Armstrong-Huval, Sandy Chapin, Jason Swing, April Wheeldon, Katie Ritchey; second row: Caele Pemberton, Katie Voorhis, Rebekah Monroe-Boley, Ashley Meyers, Wryan Gibson, Jacquelyn Whobrey, Teresa Bell, Alisha Davenport, Kristi Upchurch, Carrie Giannakos, Elizabeth Titus, Josh Baker and Gabe Rice. Not pictured: Kates Brommeland.

In its 37th year, LK program honors 18 new graduates

KOKOMO, Ind. — Eighteen community leaders in business, industry, health care, city and township government, and education were honored recently as Leadership Kokomo celebrated the completion of its 37th edition of the leadership development program. The graduates were honored at a luncheon at the Elite Banquet & Conference Center also attended by their sponsors, LK alumni and other community leaders.

Members of Leadership Kokomo’s Class of 2019 and their sponsors include:

Josh Baker, Community First Bank of Indiana

Teresa Bell, Haynes International

Kathryn Jacks Brommeland, Ivy Tech Community College

Sandy Chapin. Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance

Alisha Davenport, Center Township of Howard County Trustee Office

Wryan Gibson, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Julie Armstrong-Huval, Indiana Wesleyan University

Ashley Meyers, Kokomo Howard County Public Library

Rebekah Monroe-Boley, Indiana University Kokomo

Caele Pemberton, United Way serving Howard and Tipton Counties

Gabriel Rice                           

Katelynn Ritchey, Kokomo Housing Authority

Jason Swing, Syndicate Sales, Inc.

Elizabeth Titus, The City of Kokomo, Parks & Recreation Department

Kristi Upchurch                     

Katie Voorhis, Comfort Home Health

April Wheeldon, Bucheri, McCarty & Metz LLP

Jacquelyn Whobrey, Community Howard Regional Health

Leadership Kokomo is a cooperative effort of Ivy Tech Community College, the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, and the City of Kokomo. In a year-long program, it aims to bring together a diverse group of existing and emerging community leaders to empower them to become resourceful stewards of the community. Each class is divided into teams to develop and complete group projects benefiting local organizations. At the graduation luncheon, teams described the 2019 class projects that served four Kokomo non-profit organizations. The projects included:

  • Updating the auditorium kitchen at Carver Community Center with fresh paint; new cabinets, countertops and culinary tables; and money for new flooring. The renovations were designed to improve the kitchen that is used to generate revenue for the community center
  • Donating a wide variety of age-appropriate equipment for the indoor gymnasium at Sycamore Elementary School, as well as $300 for the Wildkat Cart, which is filled with prizes students get to “buy” with tickets they accumulate for a variety of good behavior. This included soccer balls, basketballs, dodgeballs, giant bowling and checker games, hula-hoops, chalk, jump ropes, and hundreds of whiffle balls and foam blocks.
  • Replacing all the twin beds with full-sized beds at Jackson Street Commons to improve the quality of health and well-being through better sleep for the military veterans who live there. As a bonus, the Commons was able to donate its still-usable twin bedding to the Domestic Violence Shelter and Bona Vista for use in supporting those they serve. The team also donated $797 to Jackson Street Commons to be used as needed.
  • Reorganizing and furnishing the workshop space for Kokomo Urban Outreach’s Step UP for Girls program. This included construction of four work tables with 16 new stools, new lighting, fresh paint, and a variety of storage pieces so needed supplies can be better organized. To complete their project, the team presented the organization with a $100 gift card to purchase supplies as needed.

Representing the City of Kokomo, Deputy Mayor David Tharp welcomed guests to the luncheon, with opening remarks from Theresa Murphy, vice chancellor of Student Success for Ivy Tech Kokomo. Rev. Robert Lee, Center Township trustee, gave the invocation and Sherry Rahl, president of the Leadership Kokomo Advisory Council, congratulated the graduates. In his message to the Class of 2019, Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman, also of The Wyman Group, urged the graduates to continue to put their talents and what they have learned in Leadership Kokomo to work as servant leaders in the community.

Members of the 2019 Leadership Kokomo Advisory Council include Polly Bray of the City of Kokomo, Kyle Ennis of Community First Bank, Karen Gardner of The Hardie Group, Ethan Heicher of Ivy Tech Community College, Sherry Rahl of Turning Point – System of Care, Aimee Romero of Ruoff Mortgage, and Charlie Sparks of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.

For more information about LK, visit www.leadershipkokomo.org or contact director Carrie Giannakos at 765-252-5498, or cgiannakos@ivytech.edu .

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Ticket deadline Jan. 16 for Ivy Tech banquet with author Hill Harper

‘The Good Doctor’ star will be keynote speaker for ‘Doing the Dream 2020’

Hill Harper to be keynote speaker In Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. – Jan. 16 is the deadline to reserve tickets to Ivy Tech Community College’s annual “Doing the Dream” banquet featuring award-winning actor and best-selling author Hill Harper as keynote speaker.

The banquet is set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Bel Air Events, 3014 S. Webster St.  It’s part of Ivy Tech Kokomo’s 16th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Harper, who currently stars in ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” will be drawing from his latest book, “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” which, he has said, he wrote “to offer encouragement, hope, and healing for inmates and their loved ones.” Citing disturbing statistics on African-American incarceration (one in six black men were incarcerated as of 2001, and one in three can now expect to go to prison some time in their lifetimes), Harper set out to address the specific needs of inmates in the book – a narrative he will share with his audience in Kokomo.

Harper is also known as philanthropist, having founded the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a non-profit committed to providing underserved youth a path to empowerment and educational excellence through support and mentoring. His academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University; a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School; and a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Reservations for the banquet must be made by Jan. 16. Tickets are $50 for the dinner and presentation and can be reserved by going to ivytech.edu/doingthedream or calling 765-252-5500.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is serving as lead sponsor to support participation by a noted speaker for the “Doing the Dream” celebration. The Community Foundation of Howard County and the Northern Indiana Community Foundation are providing transportation funds to support participation by area high school students in a student convocation scheduled for Jan. 24.

Copies of Harper’s books are available for purchase at Beyond Barcodes Bookstore at 108 N. Main St. in Kokomo. The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library has a number of Harper’s works, including books, audio books, and DVDs, available for residents with library cards.

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Deadline coming to register for Ivy Tech Kokomo high school science fair

Howard County students invited to compete for scholarships in STEM programs

KOKOMO, Ind. – Howard County high school students interested in competing in the first biological science fair sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo have until Feb. 3 to submit their registration.

The fair, focused on the study of issues in environmental biology, is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Hingst Hall in the new Health Professions Center on the campus at 1801 E. Morgan St.

Students can compete by conducting their own experiment and presenting their results or by completing a literature review and presenting an argument on the topic. The competition’s first prize will be a $1000 scholarship to Ivy Tech for any STEM program with a $500 scholarship as second prize. Third prize will be a $250 gift card to the Ivy Tech Bookstore.

More information and rules for the fair, along with a link to the registration form, are available here: IvyTech.edu/Kokomo/biologyfair . Questions can be sent by email to Kokomo-sciencefair@ivytech.edu .

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