Click here to nominate now for University awards or Community awards. (2 separate links)
Social Entrepreneurship Award
IntelliWheels, Inc. (intelli-wheels.com)
Scott Daigle and Marissa Siebel
Scott and Marissa are intelligent, motived and passionate
about their company, IntelliWheels.
While, growing their company to a profitable business is their goal,
they have embarked on that mission with compassion and the hope that they are
truly addressing a need that will help a group of people who are frequently
overlooked. Their product came out of
their observations of wheelchair users who have a hard time getting around,
whether it is on varied surfaces, inclines, or as a sign of age. Outside of work, both work very hard towards
promoting a world of acceptance as well as giving back to the local
entrepreneurial community by mentoring those who are just starting out.
New Venture Award
Nuvixa, Inc. (nuvixa.com)
Nuvixa, Inc. is blazing a trail in the technology start-up
ecosystem in Champaign-Urbana. This is no accident. It is a deliberate attempt
of executing on a grand vision by the early founding team of Nuvixa.
Nuvixa was founded in 2009 by Sanjay Patel with a desire to
make video a much more useful way of communicating. His technical vision of
using new sensing devices, advanced algorithms, and new computing power to
radically expand what is possible with video has led to the growth of his
startup company. He is a pleasure to work with, spends time building
relationships and is great at listening to advice and making the best use of
resources around him.
Entrepreneur Advocacy Award
Entrepreneurship Specialist, Singleton Law Firm, P.C.
Throughout the years and in her various positions, Ms.
Kellner has been fostering entrepreneurship in our community. By consistently
visiting companies and businesses and bringing together young (and not so
young) entrepreneurs, she has been pivotal in growing the synergy that is
making Champaign-Urbana a high-tech community and brings us to celebrate this
wonderful event. Liz has worked tirelessly in the C-U startup community for the
better part of the past 20 years to help others realize their entrepreneurial
dreams. Many clients recognize the entire Kellner family's passion for the
community and would go so far as to call them not only advisors, but friends.
Economic Development Impact Award
Flex-n-Gate, Inc. (www.flex-n-gate.com)
A native of Pakistan, Shahid R. Khan came to the United
States at the age of 16 to attend the University of Illinois. As a student, he
began working at Flex-N-Gate, an Urbana-based company that manufactured
flexible roll-up gates for pickup trucks. By 1975, he was chief engineer for
the company, a position he held until 1978.
At the age of 27, Khan left Flex-N-Gate to start his own
firm, Bumper Works, a company that produced an innovative, one-piece metal
bumper design for trucks, eliminating welds that had the tendency to rust. The
design is now considered the industry standard.
Technology Transfer Award
Professor David Kranz
As co-founder of both Immuven founded in 2008 and Biodisplay
founded in 1999 (which was later sold to Abbott), Dave has demonstrated his
entrepreneurial vision and capability. Immuven is currently working on
developing new drugs based on the engineering of T Cell Receptor proteins to
treat infectious diseases such as strep and staph, as well as cancer. T Cell
Receptors have significant advantages over antibodies, as such Immuven has
received SBIR grants and funding from the NIH to advance the development of a
suite of products that will detect and treat antibiotic resistant organisms.
Dave Kranz has worked with the Office of Technology Management for over 22
years, has 21 invention disclosures and over 20 issued patents.
Innovation Discovery Award
Professor Yi Lu
A renowned faculty entrepreneur Yi Lu has already had commercialization
success with his DNAzymes for detecting heavy metals in environmental water
supplies, licensed to ANDalyze a company he cofounded. His new discovery was in discovering that DNA
can also be engineered to test for organic compounds such as glucose in blood
and other organic markers in biological samples.
Yi Lu has actively engaged with the Office of Technology
Management for over 15 years, has had 41 invention disclosures, 25 filed and 14
Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management Award
Brian Jurczyk Co-founder & President
Starfire Industries, Inc. (starfireindustries.com)
Brian Jurczyk started Starfire Industries in a garage with
his partner, Robert Stubbers. Over the last 7 years the company has grown to 17
employees and annual revenues of $1.4 million. They are the leaders in neutron
sources and a number of other exciting technical innovations. Brian has built a
fantastic team of people and found the best ways to fund the company and keep
it going without any venture capital. This is an enterprise still wholly owned
by him and his partners, yet it is brining real economic vitality to the
region, and its products and future are extremely bright. Brian, as CEO, is in
charge of finding the funding opportunities, writing proposals, negotiating
contracts, making contacts, hiring, and promoting a fantastic elan within the
company which has allowed it to succeed.
Betty Brennan, Founder
Taylor Studios, Inc. (taylorstudios.com)
Betty Brennan owns and has built a very successful business
from scratch. Her company is now a leader in the museum exhibit fabrication
industry and their unique, high quality custom made products are highly sought
after. They have a world-wide client base bringing significant revenue to
Champaign County from outside the community, state and country. She employs a
large number of creative people and runs a well-managed, forward-thinking
company using a very modern approach with a strong set of core values. For over
a decade now her company has won dozens of local and national awards both
inside and outside of the museum industry. Taylor Studios has been in Inc.
Magazine lists 3 times so far. Betty is a caring and active part of the
community, writes and shares about her business on a regular basis, and is both
helpful and encouraging towards others in business. She exudes a true and
classic entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for her business, her people, and
Student Start-Up Award
Jim Langer, Founder & President
Serionix, Inc. (www.serionix.com)
Serionix has developed a revolutionary technology that
substantially improves the efficacy and sustainability of the water
purification process. Doctoral students Jim Langer and Weihua Zheng are working
with Materials Science and Engineering Professor James Economy.
Jim is one of those high-energy, do-it-all kind of people
whose determination and drive is something that should be awarded. While
finishing his PhD, and raising a family, he manages to keep the momentum for
moving Serionix forward.
Innovation in Engagement
presented by Parkland College
The Service-Learning Program at Parkland College, under the
coordination of Brian Nudelman, an Associate Professor in the Humanities at the
College, has continued to explore and support innovative strategies by which
academics and engagement in our community can work in collaboration and for the
strengthening of both. From the creation five years ago of the Garden Hills
Homework Club, and afterschool program that partners Parkland students and
staff with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Garden Hills Elementary, to the various
trips the College's Dental Hygiene Program have taken in support of dental
health, both here and abroad, the Service-Learning Program at Parkland strives
to put in action the College’s mission, “to engage the community in learning.” As a direct result of these efforts, Parkland
College was pleased to have been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education
Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community
Service, recognition that the College’s support of community engagement and
service-learning is recognized and valued at the highest levels of our
community and country.