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  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Todor Cooklev, the director of IPFW’s Wireless Technology Center, is responsible for the first university startup company in Fort Wayne, Adaptive RF Corp., a subsidiary of Adaptive Micro-Ware Inc. Cooklev, a native of Bulgaria, came to Fort Wayne in 2008.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:58 pm

Prof's startup a first for IPFW

Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette

Todor Cooklev has worked in Japan and Silicon Valley but is committed to northeast Indiana.

In 2008, the associate professor of wireless communication and applied research at ITT came to Fort Wayne to be the director of the IPFW Wireless Technology Center.

Now he’s at the forefront again, this time responsible for the first university startup company in Fort Wayne, Adaptive RF Corp., a subsidiary of Adaptive Micro-Ware Inc.

"It’s a type of an Internet company, a wireless company and cloud computing," he said when trying to explain the company’s purpose. RF stands for radio frequency. "It’s at the intersection of these technologies."

What would he tell fifth-grade students who may or may not know high tech? "I would tell them Adaptive RF is a very cool technology and it’s a very cool, exciting business model to commercialize," Cooklev said. "Our business model will be a service-based business model. We will not be an equipment provider. We may sell some equipment in order to provide a service."

Cooklev who will be CEO of the new company licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation in West Lafayette had never heard of Fort Wayne until 2008 when ITT decided to set up an endowment and establish a center at IPFW, Cooklev said. "Some people at ITT had read my publications and sent me an email. The rest, as they say, is history."

He is part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He left Bulgaria in 1992 where he grew up the son of a math teacher. His wife, Didi Todorova Cooklev, is a part-time lecturer at IPFW in the engineering department, he said. His son, Steven, 20, now a student at the University of Chicago studying economics, was the youngest ever chess champion of Indiana in 2010 and competed at the national chess championship.

Adaptive RF Corp. is not based on IPFW’s campus, but on Innovation Boulevard. Another local entrepreneur, Bob Kniskern, is his partner.

"I think we are a great team. We understand each other," Cooklev said.

One big advantage over Silicon Valley is the commute. "In Silicon Valley, you always have to drive 50 to 60 miles to get from Point A to Point B and here, all I have to do is drive five miles from Point A to Point B."

Cooklev will continue to teach but is looking for more entrepreneurial opportunities.

"If there is one thing that northeast Indiana needs, it’s university startup companies. We don’t have very many."

The rest may be history, but he’s also looking to the future. "I can’t say this is going to be my last startup."

Grace College

All 13 Grace candidates passed the National Council Licensure Examination nursing exam this year. Passing this exam determines if you are able to practice as a licensed RN. The Associate Degree in Nursing program on the Grace College campus is offered through Bethel College School of Nursing in Mishawaka.

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast

• Chris Cathcart, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, has been accepted into the 2015 Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership. The institute is a national professional development activity, sponsored by the Presidents’ Round Table of African-American CEOs of Community Colleges. Cathcart serves on the statewide Ivy Tech Diversity Committee and several other task forces. Regionally, he is active in the college’s African American Male Initiative. Locally, he serves on boards for Wunderkammer Co., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.

• Cynthia Kumfer, early childhood education assistant professor at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, received a $3,750 grant from the Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellows Program. This is the second year Kumfer has received the grant, which facilitates a partnership with area elementary school programs. This year, Kumfer will work with St. Joseph Catholic School in Fort Wayne. 

Trine University

Valerie Olivo of Fort Wayne is one of several Trine University students who were able to go on internships this summer aided by the Lilly allowance program. The program assists students with the expenses associated with summer internships, including housing, travel, food, books and supplies. Funds come through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., of Indianapolis, and run for three years. Olivo is a student at the School of Professional Studies, majoring in communication. She served a summer internship as a communication specialist for Mary Jane Luxury Robes.

Huntington University

Mark Fairchild, professor of biblical studies and chair of the Bible and religion department, released his first book, "Christian Origins in Ephesus and Asia Minor." The book features more than 160 full-color photographs of biblical and archaeological remains, 19 maps, a glossary and time lines. Fairchild took all of the photographs during his travels in Turkey. 


IPFW added three new members to the Office of Admissions to increase IPFW’s footprint in the region and build on its new designation as a Multisystem Metropolitan University. They are Michael J. Foley, associate director of admissions; Amber Armstrong, assistant director for diversity and multicultural outreach; and, David Stineburg, assistant director for regional expansion.

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