Updated March 30 at 1:30pm

PBN announces 2009 Innovation Awards


(Updated, Sept. 11, 10:30 a.m.)

PROVIDENCE – Providence Business News today announced the winners of the fourth annual Innovation Awards competition, sponsored by PBN in partnership with the R.I. Economic Development Corporation.

In a change to its format this year, PBN has named winners and finalists in six industry categories for products or services that were judged to represent game-changing innovation for either the company or the markets that it operates in. In addition, there are winners in three categories that celebrate individual innovators, as well as one that honors champions of innovation, either individuals or institutions.

Industry category winners are:

• In the Energy and Environment group, SGE, an engineering firm previously known as Northeast Engineers & Consultants Inc., with significant worldwide operations that has created a renewable energy division that builds wind energy turbines (including the new one in Portsmouth) to respond to the changing energy environment. Previously, the company was the winner in PBN’s 2005 Business Excellence Awards competition in the business excellence for companies with fewer than 100 employees division.

Finalist: Plasticycle Technologies, a plastics recycling business.

• In the Health Care and Biotechnology group, IlluminOss Medical, the maker of a revolutionary product that uses a light-activated monomer to hold broken bones together for quicker healing. The product is in human trials in Europe. IlluminOss founder Robert A. Rabiner was previously named Innovator of the Year in the 2007 Innovation Awards competition.

Finalist: EpiVax, research and immunological product company, whose founder, Anne S. De Groot, was given the 2009 Business Women Career Achievement award earlier this year.

• In the Information Technology category, Greenbytes, the maker of inline deduplicating data storage appliances that use energy efficient innovations to bring down the cost and carbon footprint of data centers.

Finalist: A2B Tracking Solutions, which recently won a Defense Department contract to track every piece of materiel it owns.

• In the Manufacturing and Construction category, Isis Biopolymer, the developer of a programmable drug delivery system in a compact patch that is designed to deliver the precise dose of medicine at the precise time it should be delivered.

Finalist: distill studios, the designer of the recycled shipping container office building.

• In the Professional Services group, Law Video Forum, which has created a video library of law questions and answers that can be searched by the general public, based on the premise that a video library will be easier for lay people to understand than written answers to questions alone.

There was no finalist in this category.

• In Social and Community Services, Johnson & Wales University, for its Veggin’ Out program, which provides culinary and nutrition education at farmers’ markets and produce distribution sites, and helps to increase produce consumption among low-income residents.

Finalist: Potter League, which recently completed a new 19,500-square-foot animal shelter.

For the categories for individuals, the winners are:

• Innovator of the Year: Jeffrey Morgan, a professor of medical science and engineering at Brown University, whose research laboratory has garnered grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Veterans Affairs Administration and the Rhode Island Science & Technology Advisory Council.

• Rising Star Innovator: Charlie Kroll, founder of Andera, the provider of online account creation software to the banking industry. Kroll is a three-time winner of PBN’s 40 Under Forty award.

• Student Innovator: Rajiv Kumar, founder of Shape Up Rhode Island, the company-based wellness program.

• Innovation Champion: Amgen, the maker of biopharmaceuticals has put in place a series of programs to foster innovation, including classes to teach its employees how to spot innovation opportunities within the workplace. Earlier this year, Amgen was named one of the Best Places To Work in Rhode Island by PBN and the Best Companies Group.

Finalists in the Innovation Champion category were the Business Innovation Factory, a nonprofit founded by former EDC head Saul Kaplan to foster innovation through its annual BIF Summit and individual projects in a number of industries; and the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, for its Center for Entrepreneurship and director Jodie Woodruff, that helps students develop and execute business plans.

The winners of this year’s Innovation Awards will be feted at a dinner Sept. 23, at Bryant University’s Bello Center. Tickets are available by calling (401) 273-2201, ext. 107, or by e-mailing Events@PBN.com.

Sponsors for the 2009 Innovation Awards are Bryant University, Cox Business, Gasbarro’s Wines and the R.I. Science and Technology Advisory Council.


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