Machine Tool Technology alumnus uses expertise to assist in COVID-19 vaccine production

“I learned how machines operate. Now, I’m applying that knowledge to my everyday work life,” says Tyler. “The training I received was, by far, hands down, the best you could ever ask for.”

Tyler Lemon, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne alumnus, vividly recalls the sage advice of his father, “you need to find a trade you’re good at, get the education you need, and make yourself an invaluable asset to a company.” And that’s what led Tyler to Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.

Fast forward eleven years —Tyler is the president of his own company, Orthopedic Validation Experts, LLC, and was also recently recruited for his manufacturing industry knowledge and expertise by ALKU, a pharmaceutical consultant agency. As a result of Tyler’s work, education, and proficiency, he will serve as a validation engineer for equipment that manufactures COVID-19 vaccinations.

But this wasn’t always the case. In 2009, Tyler planned to be an athlete at a four-year university. When that didn’t pan out, he returned home to Columbia City and started full-time at 80/20 Inc., but his eyes were on his future. He paid close attention to every process and detail of his work and he started to see the bigger picture. “I started to understand how everything worked, like setting up the machines, tooling, operation and production flow. I wanted to understand all the logic that was informing the manufacturing processes.”

That’s when he found Deb Pitzer and her Industrial Technology team at Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne. He signed up for an Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology with a Machining Concentration. The program included blueprint reading, CNC programming, turning, and milling. Tyler was also excited to apply everything he was learning at Ivy Tech whenever he went to work.

Today, Tyler has embarked on a new endeavor as President and founder of Orthopedic Validation Experts, LLC. Tyler’s company supports cutting edge processes in the medical industry by ensuring manufacturers comply with industry requirements for equipment and machinery installation, operation, and performance. The companies he works with build everything from shoulder, wrist, ankle, knee and even spinal vertebrae implants, as well as medical devices and implants.

Now he’s embarking on new territory as an engineer on the manufacturing side of pharmaceuticals with vaccines for infectious diseases, including machines that will aid in the rapid production of a Covid-19 vaccine. Tyler is an Equipment Validation Engineering Contractor with ALKU, where he employs thorough testing and inspection on manufacturing process equipment and facilities equipment to ensure they are capable of repeating and reproducing sustainable, high quality products per FDA regulated guidelines. His oversight helps ensure safe products end up in consumers’ hands.

“I can truly say that if it wasn’t for the education I received from Ivy Tech Community College, I never would have been able to start my own business in orthopedic manufacturing,” says Tyler as he embarks on his most exciting year yet.  “Ivy Tech Community College was the foundation to furthering my education. If it wasn’t for the Ivy Tech team, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I’m doing in my life.”


Nursing student named national fellow

Emerald Hagerty, a nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The award “honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country,” according to the Campus Compact website. It looks for students who use their college experiences to better understand both the causes of social issues and effective ways to create change.

Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier and Student Life Director Christina O’Brien nominated Hagerty in part because of her work in getting a student-run food pantry started on campus.

“This fellowship isn’t about volunteerism only but about finding longer-term solutions and improving communities,” O’Brien says. “With her work on the food pantry, that bigger effort to address a community need, giving something for others to grow upon is so important.”

Hagerty

Hagerty

Hagerty has been an active member of the College’s Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board for two years. Last summer, she was selected to participate in the alternative summer break student project, which focused on hunger. During the week-long project, she worked with food banks, soup kitchens, and community gardens in and around Indianapolis. Her experience in the project is what led Hagerty to work with O’Brien to start the College’s food pantry through student government.

“I will be honest: I am very much a white, middle-class female who has never faced hunger,” she says. “But the whole experience moved me. We are currently focused on fundraising so this pantry will be around long after we have all graduated. We hope to do more than just the pantry. I would love for the full kitchen be used at the (Public Safety Academy: Ivy Tech) South Campus and community meals offered a few times a week.”

Hagerty has attended Ivy Tech Northeast since fall 2013, originally studying Health Information Technology. She plans to graduate in spring 2017 and hopes to one day become a family nurse practitioner. She is from Fort Wayne and has a husband and two children, and she says she was surprised to learn she was nominated for the award.

“I feel like I’m a normal mom and student who saw a need and worked with other student leaders and administration to make it happen,” Hagerty says. “My hope is this food pantry will allow at least one student who might have struggled at Ivy Tech to stay and graduate, without worrying about something as simple as food.”

Campus Compact is a Boston-based national organization that works to deepen public colleges’ and universities’’ abilities to improve community life and education students about social and civic responsibility.