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Seven regional entrepreneurs, inventors receive 2013 Innovation Awards

From staff reports | Mar 19, 2014
Entrepreneur of the Year Sean Jones.
Entrepreneur of the Year Sean Jones. Photo credit: Sway the Crowd Productions.

ATHENS, Ohio (March 19, 2014)—Seven regional entrepreneurs and inventors have been named recipients of the 2013 Innovation Awards, which celebrate creativity and innovation in southeastern Ohio.

The awards were announced March 18 at Ohio University's Baker Center Ballroom. TechGROWTH Ohio, a public/private partnership administered by the university's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, hosted the second annual event to recognize outstanding advances in business and technology in the region.

Forty-six individuals were finalists for the Innovation Awards, which were judged by panels of external reviewers. The recipients are:

Sean Jones was named Entrepreneur of the Year. Jones is the founder of QuickLoadz Container Mover Systems LLC based in The Plains, Ohio. The company invented a new way to move ISO Sea Shipping containers over land by truck. The process increases efficiency while reducing cost and damage to merchandise. 

Gerardine Botte, Ohio University Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Innovation. Botte has developed a coal-to-graphene process, called C2G, which converts coal into a high-value, clean energy storage conversion material.

Co-founders of Affine Technologies Chad Mourning and Scott Nykl won the award for Outstanding Student Innovation. The current and former Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology doctoral students developed a 3D visualization suite for aircraft vehicles.

The award for Outstanding Social Innovation went to Jennifer Simon, director of Ohio University's Innovation Center, for leading the efforts to bring a prototyping manufacturing center to the Athens campus. This center allows access to fast, low-cost 3D printing for both educational and business purposes.

Matthew Blankenhorn took home the award for Outstanding Green Innovation for his efforts as founder of Aluminastic Corporation of Ironton, Ohio. Blankenhorn's company has developed a novel advanced material which utilizes recycled aluminum to meet specific customer needs. The new material results in higher strength, increased formability and a superior finish compared to standard aluminum alloys. 

Michelle Greenfield was recognized with the Outstanding Woman in Innovation award. Greenfield's work with Third Sun Solar has enabled the Athens, Ohio company to provide clean power solutions for more than 400 customers since it began to install solar panels in 1997.

In addition, Ohio University awarded the 2013 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship to Athens, Ohio inventor and entrepreneur William Beale, a former mechanical engineering faculty member in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

TechGROWTH Ohio is a program funded by the state Third Frontier program, Ohio University and industry sponsors to provide investments and business expertise to startup companies in southeastern Ohio. It is part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes programs that support university and regional technology commercialization and small business incubation.

The event was sponsored by Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Vice President of Research and Creativity, Russ College of Engineering and Technology and Scripps College of Communication; Bricker & Eckler Attorneys at Law, WesBanco, CGI, Quidel and AT&T. 



Contacts: Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu ; Jane New, (740) 597-1551,  new@ohio.edu.