First Class Graduates From “Ice House” Training

Posted: Mar 22, 2016 6:16 PM EDT Updated: Apr 19, 2016 6:16 PM EDT

First Ice House Erie Class
Erie Ice House Training

The pilot class graduated today from a new entrepreneurial initiative called Erie “Ice House” training. The unique six week training is based on the book, “Who Owns the Ice House, Eight Life Lessons From An Unlikely Entrepreneur.”  The first class was made up of representatives from every Erie County department.  The idea?  That entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting a business, it’s about taking a creative, problem-solving mindset into everything you do.

After graduation, Scott Maas, Director of Assessment for the county said, “I’ve been with the county for 14 years, the concept of trying to break down those silos or to get collaborative thinking has often been discussed, but there’s never been a real format for us do to it.. This type of training allows us to form those groups and to brainstorm together in order to make something happen.”

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper is pleased with how the first training went.  She said trying the ideas in government has not been done much, but she heard the city of Albuquerque required every employee to go through the training.  “We’re all born with an innovative entrepreneurial mindset, so tapping back in to it, it’s really about creativity and looking at things from different angles and in new ways,” said Dahlkemper.

Beth Zimmer of the Innovation Collaborative and a handful of others went through an intensive Ice House facilitator training in Cleveland, then brought the concept to Erie.  “Our plan is to deploy this program throughout the community as broadly and as deeply as we can so we’ll have such a positive impact on the community in a much faster fashion,” said Zimmer. The founder of the program, Gary Schoeniger will be in Erie in mid-April to train facilitators who will then be able to take “Ice House” thinking back to their own organizations. You can learn more by calling the Innovation Collaborative at 814-490-5295 or on the web at

Reposted from Erie News Now