Two OHIO alumni receive Konneker Medal for product development and cancer therapy innovations

From Staff Reports
February 26, 2016

This article originally appeared on the Ohio University Office of Research Communications website. To view the story in its original form with pictures, click here.

Ohio University has awarded the 2015 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship to two alumni for their innovations in the fields of product development and cancer therapy.

Winston Breeden III, an alumnus of the Scripps College of Communication, and Joseph Jachinowski, an alumnus of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, were recognized for their accomplishments at the Ohio University Inventors Dinner on Feb. 10.

The Ohio University Foundation established the Konneker Medal to recognize current and former faculty members or students who have demonstrated excellence in innovation, invention, commercialization and entrepreneurship. The award is named for Wilfred Konneker, an Ohio University alumnus renowned for his contributions to these fields.

“Through the development of innovative ideas and products and the pursuit of new scientific and medical discoveries, Ohio University faculty, staff, students and alumni are making important contributions to society,” said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College. “The 2015 Konneker Medal recipients demonstrate how our former students are uniting ingenuity and entrepreneurship to devise creative solutions to a wide range of issues.”

Breeden (BSC ’93) started his product development career soon after college, when he helped develop and bring to market a patented adjustable bungee cord. A prolific inventor and successful entrepreneur, Breeden has built a company noted for innovation and commercialization of ideas to help people in their daily lives.

After an eight-year career at Highland Group Industries, Breeden launched Winston Products LLC, which introduced its first patented product in 2005. Winston Products is a product development company that markets eight different consumer products brands that encompass more than 1,500 items. Those brands include SmartStraps (tie downs), TowSmart (towing ball and ball mounts), CargoSmart (exterior car products), Swopt (brooms and cleaning utensils), FlatCat (golf accessories), Nature’s Way (bird feeders), SmartDock (smart phone holders) and Yonanas (healthy ice cream makers). The company is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and employs more than 50 people.

Through Winston Products, Breeden has developed relationships with every hard parts retailer in North America and now sells to more than 40 countries. 

Jachinowski (BSEE ’79) has a distinguished career as a leader, innovator and entrepreneur in the medical device industry. He has served as chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors for Mevion Medical Systems since 2009 and as the company’s president since 2012. Mevion developed the world’s first single-room proton therapy system for cancer therapy. This innovative product has made proton therapy a much more viable approach for treating cancer, as the system is cost-effective and accessible to a greater number of patients worldwide.

Prior to joining Mevion, he served as CEO and president of Elekta North America, a leading supplier of radiation therapy equipment, from 2005 to 2009. Prior to Elekta, Jachinowski cofounded IMPAC Medical Systems and served as its president and CEO from 1990 through its initial public offering in 2002 and culminating in its sale to Elekta in 2005. IMPAC was the world’s leading supplier of information technology in the oncology field. Prior to IMPAC, Jachinowski worked at Varian Medical Systems Inc., where he was responsible for leading the team that developed their innovative linear accelerator products from 1983 to 1990. 

Jachinowski began his career at SJE Laboratories, a company he cofounded with former Ohio University professor Edmund Schweitzer. SJE (now SEL) created some of the first all-digital protection and control instruments for electric power systems.

Nominations for the 2016 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship can be submitted through Oct. 31, 2016. Details about the nomination process are available on the Research Division website, https://www.ohio.edu/research/konneker.cfm.