Spirit of Innovation Award Finalists Announced

Jonathan Taplin To Headline Luncheon Tuesday

Monday, November 12, 2012

Four Chattanooga area companies have been selected as finalists for the 2012 Spirit of Innovation Award, which the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce will present at its 12th Annual Spirit of Innovation Luncheon on Tuesday. All finalists will be honored during the event, which will take place from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The Spirit of Innovation was the first regionally-based innovation awards program and remains one of the only events designed to promote and foster cutting-edge business activities in a specific geographic area. This year’s honorees are American Bicycle Group, Motion View Software, LLC, Sherman + Reilly, Inc. and Woople, LLC. The Spirit of Innovation Award recognizes companies for innovative products, services and ways of doing business in the Chattanooga region.

Along with the Spirit of Innovation Award presentation, the Chattanooga Technology Council will name the winners of the Early Innovator Award, which honors emerging technology-based companies that have produced a groundbreaking prototype product or beta stage software application that represents the potential for a significant competitive advantage.

Jonathan Taplin, director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab, will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon. Throughout his career, Mr. Taplin has held a variety of executive leadership roles in the digital media entertainment and international communication management fields. As the owner of two patents for video-on-demand technologies and a founder of the video-on-demand company Intertainer, Mr. Taplin helped pioneer new content delivery systems for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Due to his innovative work in this field, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Mr. Taplin to the California Broadband Task Force in 2006.

In addition to his work in broadband, Mr. Taplin also served as Bob Dylan and The Band’s tour manager in 1969 and produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets, as well as 26 hours of television documentaries and 12 feature films, which have been nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and featured at The Cannes Film Festival multiple times.

About the finalists

American Bicycle Group (ABG) designed, engineered and manufactured the titanium legs for Curiosity, the $2.5 billion NASA rover which successfully landed on Mars Aug. 6. Best known as the maker of Litespeed and Quintana Roo, its signature lines of titanium and carbon bicycles, ABG fabricated the titanium framework supporting Curiosity’s combined wheels using Chattanooga craftsmanship and materials. Thanks to ABG’s efforts the Mars rover landed with pinpoint accuracy on its wheels rather than airbags – a first in aerospace history. This innovation allowed Curiosity to spend more of its limited lifespan collecting data and less time orienting itself. As Curiosity continues to collect priceless scientific information on locally-manufactured legs, ABG is emerging as a point of convergence between Chattanooga’s manufacturing heritage, outdoor story and ability to produce advanced technology. 

Motion View Software, LLC developed a leading edge method for correcting orthodontic tooth alignment. Using Motion View's 3D Laser Scanners and Ortho Insight 3D software, orthodontists can convert scanned tooth impressions into 3D models and identify ideal positions for the orthodontic brackets for each tooth. This process saves vast amounts of office time and money by eliminating the need to make plaster models while also significantly reducing orthodontic treatment time for the patient. With the speed, automation and accuracy these technologies provide, orthodontists can now assess a patient and apply custom-made braces in a fraction of the time of traditional methods. Motion View's method also enables practitioners to provide more "direct to ideal position" tooth movement. This causes less trauma to the teeth and helps to ensure healthier gums, bone and tooth roots while offering higher quality long term results and shorter treatment times.

Sherman + Reilly, Inc. created the Safe Zone Cab System, a fully-environmental enclosure for power line operators which includes a suite of features designed to protect them from potential danger. Ranked by OSHA as the ninth most dangerous job in the U.S., power line operators are regularly exposed to a myriad of environmental, operational and application risks. To minimize those threats, Sherman + Reilly built the Safe Zone Cab System, which encloses operators and features full digital controls and video surveillance of external conditions. In addition, the design also provides noise suppression, ergonomic seating and heating and air conditioning. This system represents a major change in the traditional approach to designing stringing equipment. As the product continues to take hold in the utility field, it is expected to emerge as an industry standard.

Woople, LLC designed a simple, affordable, fun and efficient eLearning platform. Woople allows anyone to educate, motivate and communicate in real time. Founded in 2009, Woople provides world-class education for strategic business partners ranging from Fortune 50 companies to small businesses. Through the eLearning platform, users can easily upload their own content or subscribe to customized learning experiences created by professional providers, trainers and teachers. Woople’s built-in accountability system enables managers to view user progress by day, week, month or year for single users and groups. Woople encourages users to participate in content creation and system development by granting them access to all backend tools. Though many platforms aimed at user-generated education are currently on the market, Woople is the first to provide an organizational solution that also enables individual users to be contributors.

To make an individual or group reservation for the Spirit of Innovation Luncheon, please contact the Chattanooga Chamber events hotline at 423 763-4366 or events@chattanoogachamber.com. Tickets cost $40 for members and $45 for non-members. Advance registration is required.  

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