Spartanburg Hosted the Innovision Awards

The InnoVision Awards Organization hosted their 19th year of celebrating innovation last week at their Annual Awards dinner. Winners in seven distinct categories were announced in front of over 200 people at the Spartanburg Marriott.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

by Angela Halpin

The keynote presentation was delivered by Mr. Steve Johnson, President of Compass Bioscience Advisors in Greenville.  Steve is a graduate of Furman University and has over 35 years of developing, maturing and transitioning innovative technologies from the lab to the market.  Steve shared many words of wisdom with the captivated crowd, even sharing with them a “simple” contraption he created (and still has to this day) when he was a little boy, sharing with the crowd that “today’s eleven-year-olds are coding, not creating things out of batteries and popsicle sticks.”

The keynote address was followed by the night’s award presentation and The InnoVision Board of Directors Chair, is pleased to recognize the following entities for their accomplishments and award-winning innovations.

The Young Innovator Award, (Sponsored by: Michelin, N.A.) named in honor of Dr. Ibrahim Jamari, was presented to the Fred P. Hamilton Career Center in Oconee County.  The mission of the Hamilton Career Center is to enable students to become socially responsible citizens and life-long learners in a global society.  Hamilton Career Center is proud of being a leading educational institution that offers each student the most current technological equipment and modern practices.  At the Hamilton Career Center, students have access to four different career and technical organizations.

Medical Beal Laboratories (Greenville, SC), received the Technology Development Award, (Sponsored by: Intellectual Capitol) who are developing the first dedicated veterinary stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) device.

Singular Sleep (Mt. Pleasant, SC) earned the nod from the independent judging committee for the Technology Integration Award (Sponsored by: Immedion, LLC.) for their first ever “virtual” sleep center, which utilizes telemedicine to diagnose and treat people with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

Greenville County Schools (Greenville, SC) received the Education Award, (Sponsored by: Techtronic Industries Power Equipment), for their investment and development of a comprehensive business intelligence and analytics solution known as Source.  Embedded within GCSource is an early warning Response System (EWRS), that will be a strong dropout prevention tool.

The Small Enterprise Award, (Sponsored by: SCRA Technology Ventures) was awarded to the Applied Research Center (Aiken, SC). ARC’s present research is focused on using hollow glass microspheres ranging from .01 to 100 microns as porous vessels to store specific contents for medical and anti-counterfeiting strategies.

Proof Biotechnologies (Columbia, SC) are developing a low cost, disposable food safety label that changes color to indicate when food has spoiled.  Proof Biotechnologies was the recipient of the Sustainability Award.


Resiliency Technologies (Spartanburg, SC) received first place in the Community Service category (Sponsored by: Furman University) for their Sharpen technology that provides educational resources that address the root causes of stress, depression and other mental health disorders.  Sharpen is able to track the behavior of individual users and groups to create targeted recommendations.

Each year, InnoVision also honors an individual in the State of South Carolina with the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award.  This award recognizes an individual who exhibits a commitment to the advancement of technology and the community through his/her technology-oriented contributions.

The 2017 Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Bill Cobb.  Bill Cobb was a young man with a horn, a year of college under his belt, and not much of an idea of what he wanted to do. Through the Army, he was exposed to the nascent field of computer programming. A Spartanburg native, he returned home after the Army and a stint with IBM, to take an entry level programming job at JM Smith. As the pharmaceutical industry boomed, Bill saw a need for better systems to track, inventory and label, spinning off the successful QS/1 to this purpose. Bill grew the $400,000 a year business to a Billion-dollar enterprise with 17,000 employees, while keeping it headquartered in Spartanburg.

A passionate advocate for his hometown, Bill has supported community organizations, advocated for business, and been both a participant and patron of the arts. He is a renaissance man who has been an example of grace and harmony in his industry and his community.

This year there were two exciting surprise additions to the event!

Pursuit Alert, which won the 2016 InnoVision community service also earned the interest and backing of SC Launch.  Prior to handing out this year’s Small Enterprise Award, SCRA representatives presented an investment check of $50,000 to Tim & Trish Morgan, owners of Pursuit Alert.

Additionally, Techtronic Industries Power Equipment was awarded a surprise Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes a South Carolina company for consistent leadership in the development of innovative products and technologies.  That innovative spirit was shown this year with 5 technology entries, last year with 2 and in 2015 with 3.
Blaine Childress, Chair of the InnoVision Judging Committee would also like to acknowledge the independent judges, all from out of state, who include, Don Ross, Ph.D., MBA, Innovare, Inc.; Brad Tompkins; VMUG; Seetha Coleman-Kummula, STRIDE; Amy Sivak, the Marshall Space Flight Center; Eloise Young, EYC-LLC; Elizabeth Newcomb- Hopfer- NC A&T; and Kevin Andrews, NineSigma for their valuable expertise and service.

About InnoVision:  The InnoVision Awards Program, founded by Deloitte in 1999, is South Carolina’s premier organization dedicated to the advancement of technology in the state through communication, education and recognition of the spirit of innovation and technological progress.
For 19 years, The InnoVision Awards have become the mark of distinction for outstanding leadership, innovation and technological excellence.   As the only awards program of its kind, InnoVision Awards distinguish businesses, individuals and educators who set new standards for innovation in finding, developing and retaining profitable business.
The InnoVision Advisory Board continues its commitment to support, celebrate, honor and applaud innovation through two primary activities:  Our Annual Awards Dinner held in November, and our InnoVision educational Forums in the Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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