Join InnoVision organization for the July forum and discover how SC EPSCoR/IDeA supports small businesses in South Carolina!

Save the Date – Thursday, July 20, 2017 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

3:45 PM

4:00 PM- 5:00 PM

Networking Reception
5:00 PM- 6:00 PM

Our speaker this month is April Heyward, the Program Manager for the SC EPSCoR/IDeA (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and Institutional Development Awards) Program at the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA).  At SC EPSCoR/IDeA, she develops, implements, and manages STEM funding programs and works with the K-12 sector, colleges and universities, industry, and small businesses to increase research capacity, research competitiveness, and the STEM workforce pipeline in South Carolina.   April will share with us how the SC EPSCoR/IDeA Program provides small businesses with seed investments to foster competitive research and development (R&D) proposal submissions.

The Phase-0 program provides seed grants to small businesses seeking SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) support. The SBIR and STTR programs are two highly competitive award systems that provide small businesses with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet specific federal R&D needs. The Phase-0 Program has made investments in the areas of Advance Manufacturing; Advanced Materials; Digital Technologies; and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics. 


Join InnoVision to learn more about Growlerchill and its highly successful Kickstarter Campaign

Save the Date – Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

3:45 PM

4:00 PM- 5:00 PM

Networking Reception
5:00 PM- 6:00 PM

Penguin Tap has invented a revolutionary craft beer storage and dispensing device that will allow beer lovers to enjoy a growler long after it is opened.  (See https://growlerchill.com).  They launched a Kickstarter program in January of 2017 with an initial goal of raising $175,000.  Due to the overwhelming response, it exceeded it’s goal in 24 hours, ultimately hitting over $650,000 in commitments.  This puts them at the top 3 percent of all successfully funded Kickstarter projects.

Please join the InnoVision Awards Organization on April 20, 2017 to hear Randy Hollister discuss his invention, his company and his success.  And, with such an overwhelmingly successful kick starter campaign also comes some complications.  Joining Randy, is Anna Locke, President of A.T. Locke Total Accounting, who will discuss the tax and accounting ramifications associated with such a successful kick starter campaign.


InnoVision Awards Keynote Speaker, Monsi C. Roman

The InnoVision Awards Organization
Is pleased to Announce the
2016 Awards Dinner Keynote Speaker

Monsi C. Roman
Program Manager, NASA Centennial Challenges Program


Monsi C. Roman joined NASA in 1989 as a microbiologist, concerned with Environmental Control and Life Support systems. Her responsibilities have steadily expanded to include Chief Microbiologist for the International Space Station, and more recently, coordination of 6 NASA Centers of Excellence.

Since 2010, Monsi has been responsible for Human Exploration Life Support, in particular, focusing on life support systems and microbial sensors that will be used during the upcoming Journey to Mars.

She presently serves as Program Manager for NASA’s prize-based Centennial Challenges Program.  She manages 6 active Open Innovation competitions, with a total prize purse of over $12 Million, aimed at solving some of NASA’s most vexing problems.

Mrs. Roman is located at the Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, AL.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Microbiology from the University of Alabama as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico.

Join us at the 18th Annual InnoVision Awards Dinner
November 3, 2016
5:00 PM- 8:30 PM

Hyatt Regency Greenville 

Finalists are recognized in six different categories: Technology Development, Technology Integration, Community Service, Sustainability, Education & Small Enterprise.  Additionally, InnoVision recognizes a community leader with the Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award & a state education program with the Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Award.

Sponsorships, Tables and Individual Tickets are now available.

Contact Angela Halpin at angela@innovisionawards.org or 864-630-7088 to reserve your tickets or visit https://www.innovisionawards.org/tickets-2016-innovision-awards-show/ to purchase and pay for tickets online through paypal.

Celebrating Excellence. Honoring Distinction. Applauding Innovation.

Impact of Receiving an InnoVision Award – The Technology Consortium

Impact of Receiving an InnoVision Award 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Ron Hoffman, president of The Technology Consortium, Ltd. at an InnoVision Forum.  Friday, I spent the afternoon with Ron learning about his firm, and the reasons his new product, The HELP System, was the winner of the 2010 InnoVision Technology Award for the Small Enterprise category.  Even more importantly, he shared why receiving an InnoVision Award is so important to his company.

The HELP (High Efficiency Local Processor) System is able to reduce energy costs anywhere from 30-50%.  The new, smart microprocessor-Algorithm VFD motor control technology optimizes motor operation, and can easily be transferred to existing equipment. Ideal applications for The HELP System are H-VAC units, Chiller pumps, air-handlers, compressors and any type of 3-phase motors.  The HELP System is also effective in reducing humidity while providing a more stable temperature in H-VAC installations.  Additionally, The HELP System decreases drive component wear, reduces maintenance, increases motor life and improves motor performance. With all those benefits, why wouldn’t companies want to go through with the up fit?

The HELP System is already helping Upstate businesses save energy and financial resources,  and it’s also gaining traction in several other areas across the nation, too.  Ron hopes to make a major announcement in the weeks ahead about key prospects currently reviewing the many ways that The HELP System can help reduce energy expenditures for their firms, too.  Ron explains, “the reductions in energy costs will significantly impact facility operation costs, while helping the environment. “The greenest energy is the energy we never consume.”

Ron believes that many opportunities are on the horizon for The Technology Consortium, and states, “Receiving the 2010 InnoVision Award for The HELP System was significant in terms of providing exposure and visibility to The Technology Consortium group and The HELP System.  Not only did receiving the Award help us with Upstate area businesses, it has helped us become involved with national energy projects and initiatives. The InnoVision award provided us with a high level of credibility.”

Ron filed an application for the 2012 InnoVision Awards competition, and was a Finalist in the Sustainability Award for his firm’s SPEED Series. Ron explained, “I am extremely glad that I took the time to complete the applications and provide the information the judges needed to review the technologies.  Though not difficult”, he states, “it’s one extra thing to do when starting a company, but it is a process that I encourage South Carolina entrepreneurs, inventors and new business owners to pursue.”

Calls for Entries for the 2013 InnoVision Awards open May 1, 2013 and close July 8th, 2013.  Finalists will be announced on September 3, and the Finalists Reception is scheduled for September 26.  The Awards Dinner and Celebration will be held at the TD Center on Thursday, November 14.

 Martha Winebarger
InnoVision Advisory Board Member

InnoVision Forum: Promoting Innovation in SC Manufacturing

Innovation and  flexibility are helping South Carolina manufacturers respond to customer demands and needs on a timely basis, while maintaining cost effectiveness.

Gary Tompkins, President and CEO of The Kidder Group, moderated the Forum and introduced the panel of esteemed guests.

Will Franks, President of ICON Business Associates, is seeing innovations in lean manufacturing and he shared a few of the trends he has observed. Currently, lean manufacturers are shifting from having an internal focus to having a customerdriven focus (external).  Franks noted that there is a change in philosophy relative to off-shoring jobs, and mentioned two regional firms relocating facilities to the States;  GE is creating 400 new jobs by moving their water heater manufacturing from China, and NCR is moving 260 jobs (from China) to Georgia.  The third trend Franks has noticed is the “demand driven approach” to business.  Rather than pushing product, pull product.  The “pull” process will drive operational nightmares to the surface rather quickly, forcing manufacturers to analyze and make the necessary corrections.  Finally, Franks mentioned that savvy manufacturers are expanding the lean manufacturing practices to other areas within the company, including accounting, finance, marketing, sales, HR, etc.

Ryan Harrison with TTI presents at InnoVision Forum

Ryan Harrison is an Advanced Concept Engineer with TTI, North America.   Ryan has a unique background, possessing both a BFA, Drawing/Ceramics (UNC/Greensboro) and a Masters in Industrial Design (NC State).  Ryan is the rare individual who is able to draw upon his creativity for ideas and use his capabilities and skills to put ideas into form.  Ryan urged businesses and manufacturers to optimize the entire R&D process from the get-go.  Ryan’s list for improvement and innovation within the manufacturing process is impressive, and might be considered experimental thinking for many companies.  However, he encourages firms to give consideration to his recommendations:

  1. Hire creative, intelligent people, and let them loose doing their “thing”.
  2. Hire people who can spot opportunities and forming trends.
  3. Consider the environment within which these folks will work–promote collaboration through the correct furnishings, providing lots of white board surface for spontaneous design thought. This group is constrained when locked in a cubicle–creative and innovative thoughts demand partnership and room to co-work, brainstorm and design.
  4. Research, research, research!  Review all the research available, and take advantage of resource groups like Epinions to survey customers, potential users and non-users.
  5. Keep your finger on the pulse of what is next.  Frequent sources including, KickStarterTEDx , Gizmodo, etc.
  6. Use the product/item yourself, and watch others use it. Put yourself in the “end-user” position and determine the good, bad, ugly, wonderful, etc. about the product.
  7. Look outside your core to determine feasible new products.
  8. Build and refine.  Use outside vendors to help you with the most up to date technology in materials.  Embrace Rapid Prototyping.  Share with your team and  within your company.  Ask for feedback.  Refine if necessary. Join PDMA , an organization that provides opportunities for professional development, education, experience, networking and recognition. 
  9. Finally, Ryan stressed that it is vital for companies to understand the difference between Product Development and R&D.

Melanie Sudduth and Chris Wayne from the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership provided information to the group about SCMEP’s Strategic Growth Acceleration program, which was designed specifically for small to mid-sized companies looking to grow.  It is the only program to provide immediate improvements in sales and marketing, and establishes a pipeline for future growth ideas.  SCMEP is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit group with five service areas within the state.  (Not surprisingly, Greenville is the largest service area within the state, with over 1200 manufacturers residing in the county.)

An affiliate of the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), SCMEP operates under the US Dept of Commerce to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. SCMEP’s focus is on supplying small to mid-size South Carolina companies with the training, tools and processes businesses need to be more competitive in today’s increasingly demanding global economy.  Many successful South Carolina businesses turn to SCMEP for guidance, growth, and the application of valuable services ranging from operations improvement, engineering and product development, maintenance and facilities to human resources, sales and marketing, accounting and finance and executive management.

 InnoVision Forums are a knowledge sharing series providing professional development to help businesses and individuals stay informed on leading-edge technology advances.  

 Martha Winebarger
InnoVision Advisory Board Member

InnoVision 18th Annual Technology Awards

InnoVision 18th Annual Technology Awards

InnoVision celebrates innovation at the 18th Annual Technology Awards and names numerous South Carolina entities award winners.

Greenville, South Carolina — November 4, 2016 – Ravi Sastry, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Immedion, LLC and the Chair of the InnoVision Board of Directors, is pleased to recognize the following entities for their accomplishments and award-winning status presented at the 18th Annual InnoVision Awards Celebration on Thursday, November 3rd. The annual event was held at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina.

The Young Innovator Award, named in honor of Dr. Ibrahim Janajreh, was presented to two students from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies under the leadership of their Project Lead The Way instructor Julie Krusen. Currently freshmen at Clemson and Duke studying Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering, the team developed a Progressive Feeding Utensil for Individuals who have neuromuscular disabilities.

Zverse (Columbia, SC), received the Technology Development Award, for their LAYR technology, which is a revolutionary software that readily analyzes and converts 2D images into 3D printable content.

Milliken & Company (Spartanburg, SC) earned the nod from the independent judging committee for the Technology Integration Award, for their Milliguard UVX200 HF product. Milliguard is a novel, reactive UV absorber that allows the polyurethane industry to reduce UV absorption while improving indoor air quality.

SC Future Minds (Florence, SC) received the Education Award, for developing a branded, digital “Donate Now” button for school websites across the state. Their innovation provides an easy way for public schools to solicit on-line donations for students and teachers.

The Small Enterprise Award, was awarded to Cognito Forms (Columbia, SC). Cognito Forms is an intuitive, user-friendly online document builder that enables companies all over the world to create sophisticated and complex forms for the best value!

SMARTVISTA (Spartanburg, SC) has repurposed reclaimed fibers into a Rapid Deployment absorbent media. SpillArmor absorbent barrier can be deployed in 30 seconds and requires no more training than is necessary to work a fire extinguisher. SMARTVISTA was the recipient of the Sustainability Award.

Pursuit Alert (Pickens, SC) received first place in the Community Service category for their development of a patented, state of the art mobile warning system to alert motorists and civilians of the danger of an active law enforcement pursuit or emergency response.

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. Past recipients of the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award include; Dr. Larry Gluck, GHS Cancer Center; Jerry Barber, Roger Milliken and Tom Strange.

The 2016 Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Dennis Hayes, who in 1977 decided to improve the business use of the growing personal computer market. As a young man who was always fascinated with high technology, Mr. Hayes and his best friend Dale Heatherington built the first computer modem; a 300 bit per second device that connects computers by telephone, and started a communications revolution.

Mr. Sastry would also like to acknowledge the independent judges who include, Don Ross, Ph.D., MBA, Innovare, Inc.; Brad Tompkins; VM User Group; Elizabeth Newcomb- Hopfer; Valentina Trinetta; Kansas State University; and Kevin Andrews, NineSigma for their valuable expertise and service.


Celebrating Excellence. Honoring Distinction. Applauding Innovation.

South Carolina’s premier organization dedicated to the advancement of technology.