Caleb Chance, a two-time graduate of Ivy Tech Indianapolis and adjunct professor for the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Science, is being honored with a spot in the Conexus Rising 30 for 2024, a recognition of his potential and contributions to the future of advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML). 

Each year, Conexus honors 30 emerging leaders in the AML industry under 30 who, according to the Conexus website, bring “exceptional leadership and innovative thinking to bear on the industries’ toughest challenges.”

“Caleb serves on the Design Technology Advisory Board, which provides employer input and direction for the Design Technology Program at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. Caleb recently took the lead in promoting the Civil Design course at Ivy Tech when he realized the high demand in Indianapolis for students with this experience. The class successfully filled for Fall 2023 for the first time in several years,” Chance’s nominator said of his work ethic and contributions to Ivy Tech Indianapolis. “Having a teacher that is actively employed in the field is a huge benefit and motivation for students. Caleb is an excellent example to his students as they see the success he has achieved with hard work and perseverance.”

“I feel so humbled by this recognition. It’s as though I realize that I’ve done a lot, but I still feel like there is still so much more to do,” Chance said of his award. 

Chance's academic journey began somewhat untraditionally. He graduated high school a year early and was able to go to college at the young age of 17. 

“I did not know what I wanted to do when I graduated high school. So, my parents said, ‘Alright, well, you’re not going to take a gap year. You should learn a trade before going to college.’”

This advice from his parents not only set him on a path of practical education but also instilled a lifelong appreciation for skilled trades. His brother, a welding engineer, knew Chance was creative and recommended studying computer-aided design (CAD) or design technology

“I started there, loved it, and have stayed with it,” Chance said. 

Enrolling first at the Anderson campus of Ivy Tech in the summer of 2017, he quickly transferred to the Indianapolis campus, drawn by the course offerings. 

“My first day was actually the day of a solar eclipse,” Chance said–marking the beginning of what would be a transformative educational and professional path. 

Starting classes at such a young age and commuting from his home in Hamilton County, Chance appreciated the small class size and proximity to his classmates, his instructors, and the program chair. 

“When I first started in the design technology program, even the program chair was teaching classes, which, to me, showed how close-knit the program was. All of my classmates were always keeping up with each other and what path we were taking – more mechanical or more architectural, for example,” Chance said, describing his initial Ivy Tech Indianapolis experience. “It was nice being able to have that camaraderie with my classmates.” 

This early start and hands-on approach equipped Chance with skills that would pave the way for his future successes.

After graduating in 2019, Chance did a stint in the workforce and then decided to return to Ivy Tech Indianapolis to pursue a second degree in building construction management

“I had the design knowledge, but then I wanted to know how to build that design in the field,” Chance said of his decision to return to school. “I wanted to learn both sides to better coordinate with clients and progress in my career.” 

When he graduated in 2022, Chance ventured into the civil engineering field, securing an internship that led to a job offer. He eventually landed his current role, where he thrives as a civil designer and office CAD coordinator. Chance’s responsibilities involve designing plan sets and solving complex client problems, which he finds deeply rewarding. Moreover, Chance is on his company’s nationwide workforce development team, which allows him to train interns and partner with colleges, such as Ivy Tech, to help mentor students interested in the field. 

“I love being able to pour back into the students,” Chance, now an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech Indianapolis, said. “I enjoy being able to train students on software and help guide their career as they’re trying to figure out what they want to do in life. That's one of my biggest passions.” 

Chance’s nominator says he is a “breath of fresh air” in the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science. 

“It is unusual for someone as young as Caleb to be an adjunct at Ivy Tech. Many of our instructors come to Ivy Tech after retiring or working many years in their field,” Chance’s nominator wrote. “He is highly motivated, driven, and eager to contribute. Caleb challenges the status quo and offers new ideas and insight into how things are routinely done. Caleb displays enthusiasm for the design field and relates well to students. Caleb is making an impact that will pay off way into the future.”

Looking ahead, Chance is considering further education, potentially pursuing an MBA. But, for now, he remains steadfast in his career and is more than happy with his choices. 

Chance’s advice to others reflects his pragmatic and grounded approach: "I’m of the opinion that four-year schools are often overrated. Learn a trade, go to a community college. Especially if you’re considering a gap year, you graduate early, or don’t know what to do. It's usually a better education for a lot cheaper."

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.