InnoVision’s 14th Annual Celebration of the Spirit of Innovation!

Logo for InnoVision

InnoVision 14th Annual Awards Dinner

The 14th Annual Celebration of the Spirit of Innovation in The Greater Midlands and Upstate of South Carolina was held last night at the TD Center in Greenville.  The annual awards celebration is the perfect chance to recognize and acknowledge businesses, organizations, governmental entities, schools and individuals for the significant advances they have accomplished during the year, all which help push South Carolina innovation to the forefront of the nation.

14th Annual InnoVision Awards Dinner

Attendees enjoying one another at the 14th Annual InnoVision Awards Dinner.

There were more than  270 guests on hand to celebrate the spirit of innovation and business in South Carolina, and to hear first-hand who the recipients of the 2012 InnoVision Awards were!  The energy in the room was in high gear all evening as guests mingled, networked, met new people, and enjoyed catching up with colleagues.

Our friend, Deveren Werne worked magic with the and Liquid Video Technologies teams to capture the essence of excitement and anticipation throughout the reception.  Our Summer Intern, Lauren Tompkins, enjoyed escorting the guests down the red carpet to get their photos taken by Jaime Werne.  So much fun!!

Jason Berns and Anna Locke

Key Note Speaker Jason Berns, Director of Open Innovation for Under Armour poses with InnoVision Advisory Board Member and Sponsor, Anna Locke.


Shea and Doug Kim

InnoVision Advisory Board Chair, Doug Kim with his wife, Shea Kim.

This was the first occasion that I have attended the event, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole night from start to finish!  Meeting up with the Southside High School SAMTeam was one of the highlights of the evening.  These kids, under the guidance of Mr. Tom Rogers and SSH Principal, Carlos Brooks, are doing amazing things with Android phones.  The team has even won a significant financial award from Google (yes, Google!) and last night, the SAMTeam received the Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Program Award sponsored by Michelin North America.  These kids are just fantastic, and I am so impressed with each of the students and their mentor, Tom Rogers.  Tom was a practicing engineer before “hanging it up” and devoting his life to teaching high school sciences, math and programming.  Talk about dedication!  Carlos Brooks, the principal at Southside High, told me that he remains continually amazed by the inquisitiveness and intelligence of the SAMTeam members, and how each is a very down to earth and successful student.  What a compliment!

Mr. Brooks, Mr. Rogers and the SSH SAMTeam

Carlos Brooks, Tom Rogers and Southside High School SAMTeam received the Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Program Award.

Jason Berns, Director of Open Innovation at Under Armour, delivered an informative and powerful presentation, wowing the entire crowd!  He shared not only the history of Under Armour, but the philosophies, passions and intentions for the company, especially when it comes to new product development and reshaping familiar products.  The company’s mantra is to work together to innovate, experiment, define and develop new products, in a collaborative manner.  Jason must have fielded 20 minutes worth of questions from the audience….A long-time board member remarked that he believed Jason’s Key Note Address was the best he remembers!  (Being a New England Patriots die-hard fan, I also enjoyed hearing Jason’s story about Tom Brady and the performing cotton hoody!)

Every award category is of importance and of significance to the InnoVision Advisory Board.  In fact, the Board looks forward to showcasing the new technologies, the businesses created because of new or refined technologies, and the people behind the scenes by providing a stellar Awards ceremony and meaningful professional development programs throughout the year.  The Advisory Board also desires to continue spearheading the very nature of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Greater Midlands and Upstate of South Carolina.

I believe that InnoVision received 44 applications this year.  The InnoVision Judging panel reside and work outside the state of South Carolina and are representative of a cross-section of backgrounds and experiences.  Each judge contributes their expertise and knowledge, and invests a significant amount of time to carefully evaluate each entry to determine the finalists and winners.  This year, Bob Mammerella coordinated the efforts between the InnoVision Advisory Board and the judges–that role takes a lot of time, effort and excellent communication skills!

Dr. Robert Mammerella, InnoVision Advisory Board Member

Dr. Robert Mammerella, InnoVision Advisory Board Member, coordinated the judging efforts     for the 2012 InnoVision Awards.

While each and every award is important, I was on the edge of my seat almost the whole evening, waiting for Anna Locke, with A.T. Locke to invite Steve Johnson, CEO and President of CreatiVasc, to the stage to accept the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award.  Steve’s surprise, delight and reaction brought tears to my eyes!  The video that Brian and Eric filmed included several of Steve’s colleagues and friends.  The contributors to this video tribute to Steve were authentic and genuine, and they shared their thoughts about Steve, his vision, determination and his relentless pursuit to help end-stage renal patients live a more comfortable life.  (More on that story later.)

Steve and Nancy Johnson

Steve Johnson, CEO and President of CreatiVasc with his wife, Nancy, on the Red Carpet.   Steve received the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award from the InnoVision Advisory Board last night!

I have met some of the kindest, most intelligent, determined and caring people by working with the members of the InnoVision Advisory Board, and I truly feel that it is both an honor and a privilege to be on the board.  There is a wonderful feeling of camaraderie among the board members, and each person has the mission of InnoVision ingrained in their heart and soul.   In fact, Wendy and I met our Summer (and whenever she has time to) Intern, Lauren Tompkins through her dad, Gary!

Gary and Lauren Tompkins

InnoVision Advisory Board Member Gary Tompkins shares a photo opp with his daughter, Lauren, at the InnoVision Award Dinner.

I will write more stories about InnoVision later, but do want to share toplines about the 2012 Award Recipients with our readers here:

Innovation in Education Award sponsored by Techtronic Industries NA:  Clemson University Social Media Listening Center

Technology Development Award sponsored by St. Jude Medical:  Proterra, Inc.

Technology Application Award sponsored by Immedion, LLC:  Sealed Air Corporation

Sustainability Award sponsored by Sealed Air Corporation:  Climax Global Energy

Small Enterprise Awards sponsored by SCRA Technology:  VidiStar, LLC

Community Service Award:  Greenville County Library System

Congratulations to all the 2012 InnoVision Award Recipients for a great job done!  Thanks to all the 2012 InnoVision Sponsors for your support!

Kathy Ham, DeLane Childress and Martha Winebarger

Three Amigos pose on the red carpet at the 14th Annual InnoVIsion Awards Dinner!



About Greenville Marketing Lab:  Greenville Marketing Lab works with local businesses to bring online and offline face-to-face with integrated marketing solutions. We are passionate about helping local businesses develop successful and innovative strategies to help build their brand, improve their sales and meet their objectives.  Wendy Lynam and Martha Winebarger are proud to serve on The InnoVision Advisory Board.