About ValpoNEXT

Our Mission | Community | History | Executive Board
Valpo Next

Valparaiso has a long legacy of thoughtful planning and commitment to following through on those plans. As a community, we’ve earned a well-deserved reputation as a vibrant and prosperous place. The ValpoNEXT Citywide Vision Plan has given the city an opportunity to build on that success and make Valpo even better.

ValpoNEXT is now in its implementation phase and working hard on connecting community members invested in carrying out many of the 43 actions contained in the plan. We convene, communicate and celebrate — shedding light on the ways our vibrant community is living into its goals.

Mission & Objectives

ValpoNEXT is a 501C(3) organization, established with support from the City of Valparaiso, and dedicated to helping the Valparaiso community realize its bold long-term vision as put forth in the ValpoNEXT Vision Plan, developed by hundreds of citizens and formally adopted by the City Council in 2014:

Valparaiso aspires to be the most civically engaged city of its size. The Valparaiso community will be a place where people take care of one another and are highly involved in local community organizations and efforts. Active and progressive, with a strong sense of place and environmental ethic, it will honor authenticity and uniqueness in culture and business initiatives and seek the well-being of its people.

ValpoNEXT will help our community realize this vision in three key ways:

First, ValpoNEXT will organize and convene community boards that condense and focus the key themes of the Vision Plan.

Second, ValpoNEXT will develop and maintain a dashboard of indicators to track progress in realizing the Vision Plan.

Third, ValpoNEXT will regularly communicate to the public about relevant community happenings, the work of community boards and the overall progress toward realization of the vision plan. These communications will include an up to date website, social media, and an annual report to City Council.

Our Community

Valparaiso is located approximately 50 miles east of Chicago with easy access to Interstate 94, Interstate 80, and Interstate 90 and Interstate 65 via Indiana Bypass 49 and U.S. Highway 30. For its size of 33,500 people, it has much to offer the business community, including a variety of quality educational choices, a pro-business climate, and a team approach by the public and private sector to make new businesses feel at home.

Valparaiso has developed a balanced business community that currently includes international companies that produce parts for the computer age, and a national company that makes Orville Redenbacher popcorn. These companies and many more have found the Hoosier work ethic, the cost of doing business in Indiana modified by state incentives, and the frozen tax levy all exceptional.

The amenities of the City of Valparaiso include the nationally acclaimed Valparaiso University, which has repeatedly been rated a top university in the Midwest. The Valparaiso Community School system also is rated one of the best. Notre Dame, Purdue, and Indiana University campuses are close by. The city also offers competitive outpatient health care, up-to-date hospital facilities, and an outstanding system of local parks with programs for all ages.

ValpoNEXT History


City launches ValpoNEXT Vision Planning Process, working with planning next as its consulting partner. Matt Evans and Elizabeth Lynn co-chair Citizen Steering Committee.

December 2014

City Council unanimously adopts ValpoNEXT Vision Plan

January 2015

Evans and Lynn co-chair Implementation Task Force.

July 2015

Implementation Task Force presents City with Recommendation for implementation of ValpoNEXT as organization.

January 2016

Evans and Lynn as well as Bill Oeding, Tyler Kent and Bruce Berner form Interim Oversight Committee to steward organizational start-up. City invites Garner Tullis to serve as Interim Coordinator to staff start-up.

January 2017

Organization launches with new board.

March 2017

Julie Lauck elected Board President.

March 2018

Eric Zosso elected Board President.


Executive Board

The Executive Board exists to serve as a body of advocates for the ValpoNEXT Vision in the broader community, attending relevant events and meetings and speaking for and about the values and agenda of the plan. Members of the Board serve on one of the five community boards and/or on the executive committee for the ValpoNEXT board.

Eric Zosso

Founder, Zoseco Coworking and Founder, Provito Company

Thais Carter

Coordinator, Communications & Strategic Initiatives at the Institute for Leadership and Service at Valparaiso University

Jeff Lewis

Principal, Chicago Office Leader at Shive-Hattery

Kathy Sipple


Rich Schmidt

Pastor, Living Hope Church

Spencer Skinner

Assistant Director of Closing and Construction Services at Illinois Housing Development Authority

Isaac Carr


Bill Durnell

Owner, Roots Organic Juice Cafe

Bill Oeding (ex-oficio)

Valparaiso City Administrator

Matt Evans (ex-oficio)

Co-chair of ValpoNEXT Citizen Steering Committee

Tyler Kent (ex-oficio)

Valparaiso City Planner

Elizabeth Lynn (ex-oficio)

Co-chair of ValpoNEXT Citizen Steering Committee

© Copyright 2018, ValpoNEXT. All rights reserved.