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Dubree spreading the gospel of innovation beyond rural Sullivan County

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The first graduating class is shown from Innovate Sullivan's "Intro to Game App Coding" crash course.


The impact of Innovate Sullivan is becoming known throughout Sullivan County, but its founder David Dubree recently shared their early success well beyond its borders.

Kind of a gospel to innovation.

Dubree shared how Innovate Sullivan was started, what it’s accomplished in their first year and looks ahead to its future in a LinkedIn post on Jan. 3.

The post is titled: “This is why small town rural Indiana will make you reconsider the possibilities.”

Dubree admitted in the post, “Before starting this venture, myself and our team had serious doubts about the odds of success based on typical small town America labor statistics.” 

Dubree describes his circuitous route from Sullivan, graduating from a local tech college, working in Indianapolis, then with his wife to work in Houston. But for this “country raised kid,” the lure of home called him back.

“After much prodding, deliberation, one-on-one conversations, and many board meetings, our Launch Terre Haute team and board of directors gave a thumbs up to go all-in and make it happen,” he said. “My new directive: Innovate Sullivan.”

Dubree also talks about how, “Much to my surprise, the idea of innovating Sullivan for the future was extremely well received, from city and county officials, schools, business owners, retirees and 'especially' parents."

He also noted the concept of “yes we can” has been so well received locally despite all odds seemingly against it. 

“2018 was ushered in by a true public-private partnership with unanimous approval by city and county councils, commissioners and redevelopment boards. Not only that, the regional community foundation awarded us a sizable grant to build out a new innovation space with 21st century amenities and tools in the heart of this small town,” he writes.

The year 2019, according to Dubree, is “now set to be transformative.”

Dubree thanked the partnership with county school corporations, allowing Innovate Sullivan to provide each coding crash course as a sanctioned one-day field trip for students. 

“This greatly increased the number of students and teachers who have been able to attend these 21st century experiential, hands-on classes that are designed to be the spark of hope in this economically depressed area,” he said.

Eight coding crashes were held for students and adults in 2018.

He hits on several other subtopics as well, including:

• Thinking big together, using a quote of Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

• Building cross boundary relationships

• Regional recognition

• High school CEO program partner

• Innovation and maker space 

Launch Terre Haute said in a post on Tuesday, Innovate Sullivan “will be opening an innovation space (in) Spring ‘19 in downtown Sullivan, to continue hosting 21st-century experiential learning events and growing the startup culture.”

That location will be in the former Runts building on the courthouse square.

Dubree finishes by saying, “New life is being breathed into rural Indiana. We are no longer sitting on the sidelines waiting for failure. Success is knocking on our door. Welcome to the rise of rural Indiana!”

To read the full posting, check out www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-small-town-rural-indiana-make-you-reconsider-david-dubree/.


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