Four Northeast Indiana Leaders Join NIIC Board of Directors

Tammy Allen, Sr. Director | Marketing & Communications, NIIC


FORT WAYNE, Ind. October 12, 2023, Fort Wayne, Ind. – Four new board members will help further NIIC’s mission to transform the lives of people, companies, and communities through entrepreneurship.

The individuals are passionate about their work in the region and bring a wealth of expertise, connectivity, and experience:

  • Patrick Buesching, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, at Don Wood Foundation, brings extensive experience in nonprofit board leadership, K-12/secondary education, and human resources.
  • Tabitha Ervin, MPA, Chief Operating Officer, at YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne, has extensive experience in executive leadership and nonprofit board leadership.
  • Gary Gatman, Owner of ROOM2ROOM, is a business owner who brings customer voice to the board. He also has extensive experience in community development, executive leadership, and nonprofit board experience.
  • Aaron Robles, Founder/CEO of Hyprnova and Founders Spark, has extensive experience in entrepreneurship and marketing and communications. He also brings the customer voice to the board.

“Like most organizations these past couple of years, we’ve recognized the need for more strategic board governance. This includes more diverse representation on our board. It takes time, intention, and focus,” said Mike Fritsch, NIIC President and CEO.

“We want to ensure a robust board, diverse in skills, thought processes, leadership, industry/organization representation, age, gender, and ethnicity—to name some characteristics sought. We want our board to reflect who we serve,” said Fritsch. “Patrick, Tabitha, Gary, and Aaron are great additions to our board, and we look forward to their contributions. We appreciate and credit our executive committee with support from the full board to add them to the team.”

The four new board members join a dedicated, accomplished board, working toward a more strategic, and collaborative organization for more significant impact. For a complete list of NIIC Board members, visit https://niic.net/about/our-board/.


Photo 1: Patrick Buesching, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Don Wood Foundation

Photo 2: Tabitha Ervin, MPA, Chief Operating Officer, YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne

Photo 3: Gary Gatman, Owner, ROOM2ROOM

Photo 4: Aaron Robles, Founder/CEO of Hyprnova and Founders Spark

Contact:  Tammy Allen, Sr. Director | Marketing & Communications, info@niic.net, 260.407.1731

About NIIC (Northeast Indiana Innovation Center)

About 20 years ago, NIIC was created to solve a problem. Aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs needed somewhere to go in Northeast Indiana to incubate their businesses. Visionary leaders imagined a place where innovation and economic development intersect for a COMMUNITY. Entrepreneurs and innovators have launched hundreds of new products and patents, created thousands of jobs, and infused hundreds of millions in grants and capital into our economy.

As a Venture Hub, NIIC pulls down barriers (geographic, racial, socio-economic, and interest-based), working with the regional Community of Communities to create an ecosystem of Entrepreneurship for ALL.™ NIIC’s focus is collaboration and maximizing the impact of regional partners.

The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) recognized NIIC with the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award and the Entrepreneur Center of the Year: Mixed Use Award. NIIC’s WEOC Women’s Business Center (WBC) received top honors from the U.S. SBA as the 2023 Great Lakes Region Business Center of the Year and 2023 AND 2022 Indiana Women’s Business Center of Excellence.

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