13 Area Businesses Nominated for 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards

August 16, 2012 04:36 PM
The nominations for the 21012 Chicago Innovation Awards are in, and the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region  will again be well represented with 13 area businesses nominated out of a total of 380 for this prestigious award. Last year, of the 409 total nominees the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region produced 10 nominees and three finalists, and this year's crew of nominees looks equally impressive. 
The Chicago Innovation Awards were founded ten years ago by Tom Kuczmarski, President of Kuczmarski & Associates, an Innovation Consulting firm, and Dan Miller, Business Editor of the Chicago Sun Times.  According to Kuczmarski, "We started the awards because we were tired of hearing the Midwest called 'the Rustbelt'. The awards are a way to recognize and celebrate innovation here in the Midwest, and a survey 0f 27 of our past winners showed that they have  created over 10,000 new jobs, added over $21 billion in revenues and received 1,009 new patents. Innovation is what helps companies, and the economy to grow and thrive." Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director for the EBI Network added, "Our Galesburg/West Central nominees are making a statement that innovation can happen anywhere - small towns, rural America, not just large cities - and their impact on local economies can be very dramatic. Companies like these are the engine for job growth in our country."
This year's nominees from the region include Stainless Reflections, Lamboo, Inc., Sitka Salmon Shares, Alexis Field House Co., Flipple, Blackburn Sampling, Inc., Green Winds, Fusion Tech, Inc., the Sustainable Business Center, the En Season Café, Allen Environmental, Inc., Trustivo, and Pennycress Energy Co. While there are several repeat nominees in this year's group, they are joined by newcomers Lamboo, Pennycress Energy, Allen Environmental, Alexis Field House, Sitka Salmon, and Trustivo.
State Representative Don Moffitt said, "These are challenging times for business, but to see this much innovation coming out of our region is encouraging. If our businesses and local economy are to grow we have to start and keep innovating. Galesburg and the EBI Network are helping to ignite the innovative spirit here, and that's very important. We need to see more of this in the state and country as well. I'm very pleased with the efforts we're seeing."
City of Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza added, "I am pleased with the innovative efforts of all our businesses, but it's not enough. I am going to challenge the EBI Network and our business community to be more innovative and entrepreneurial in their efforts. We have made progress but we cannot stand on our past successes, we have to continue to move forward, and we will continue our efforts to foster a pro-growth atmosphere here in West Central Illinois."
This year's nominees are a varied group and cover industries involved in developing new building materials (Lamboo, Inc.), to finding ways to deliver sustainably caught fish direct to consumers (Sitka Salmon), providing easy infant  feeding (Flipple) and developing a cover crop with renewable energy potential (Pennycress Energy).  Bob Blackburn, CEO of Blackburn Sampling, a repeat nominee, commented, "The EBI Network got us thinking more innovatively, and we have responded with a new patent, a larger facility, three new employees and a dramatic increase in sales. Innovation can help any business. Whether it's a new product, a new way to reach your customers or a new way to produce your product, innovation can help. I'd encourage any business to contact the EBI Network and find out more about the innovation programs they can become involved in."
The 2012 Chicago Innovation Award finalist will be announced in September and the 10 award winners will be acknowledged at the award ceremony on October 22, 2012 at the Harris Theatre in Chicago. Last year's event filed the theatre with over 1500 attendees including many of the Midwest's top companies and industry groups. For further information on the Chicago Innovation Awards please contact Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director of the EBI Network.
Pictured from left to right are some of the West Central Illinois' contingent to the 2011 Chicago Innovation Awards Nominee reception at the Chicago House of Blues. Pictured above Gary Camarano, Cesar Suarez and Eric Dilts of the city of Galesburg's Economic Development team; Linda Maleck, CrossFire; Bob Blackburn, Blackburn Sampling; Tom Maleck, CrossFire; Gary Lay and associate, Green Winds; Sri  Deivasigamani, IntelliHot; Bryan Ahee, Dan Benz, and Kurt Schafer, Fusion Tech; and Ryan Lilly, city of Galesburg. 


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