Chamber Announces 6 Kruesi Award Finalists

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Six Chattanooga-area companies have been selected as Kruesi Award finalists. The award recipient as well as the other finalists will be recognized at the Chattanooga Chamber’s Spirit of Innovation Awards Luncheon on April 29.

The finalists are: Airnet Group, Inc., Andersen Flaps, Inc., Collier Construction Company, DJO Chattanooga, Thermal Transfer Composites, LLC and Utiliflex, LLC. Each of these companies will exhibit their innovative products at the luncheon.

Along with the Kruesi Award winner, the recipient of the Chattanooga Technology Council’s Early Innovator Award will be announced at the annual event.

Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America, will deliver the keynote address at the event which begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Convention Center.

The Kruesi Award recognizes companies for innovative products, services and business practices that have been created and implemented by businesses in the Chattanooga area.

Each year the Kruesi Award recipient receives a statue, symbolizing creative thought. This year for the first time the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (SACC), Southeast Chapter, in cooperation with Swiss International Air Lines, will provide the Kruesi Award winner with an all-expenses-paid trip to Switzerland.

“This additional reward is appropriate since the Kruesi family is of Swiss origin, and Switzerland is a country which prizes creativity and ingenuity,” said attorney Wendell J.W. O’Reilly, chairman of the SACC, Southeast Chapter. “Both Switzerland and the U.S encourage research and experimentation and foster a culture which esteems and rewards innovation. The trip, which will be arranged with the assistance of the Swiss Trade Commission and the Swiss Consulate in Atlanta, will provide the recipient with the opportunity to visit peers in Switzerland.”

Finalists

Airnet Group, Inc. -- Airnet has developed a comprehensive broadcast messaging suite of products and back-end support technology. Using data enrichment as the hub of all activity, a client may choose from subscribed emailing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling, Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging, direct to preferred printing equipment, or traditional land line calling to communicate a message. Jeffrey Averbeck is CEO and owner.

Andersen Flaps, Inc. --Andersen Flaps is a contender for designing the Eco-Flap, a patented mud flap for trucks with a 75 percent open surface area which allows water and air to flow through the flap. The flaps reduce the spray from trucks in the rain to make roads safer and also reduce the drag effect, resulting in a fuel savings to the trucking industry of about three percent, depending on conditions. Barry Andersen is inventor of the Eco-Flap and president of the company.
Collier Construction Company -- Collier Construction pioneered the "Whole Systems Approach" to construction. This approach combines off-the-shelf products and sustainable building practices. The benefits of a Whole Systems Approach include a minimal environmental impact; improved home quality, interior air quality and home longevity; and reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs. Ethan Collier is president and CEO.

DJO Chattanooga – DJO Chattanooga developed the Moveo XP exercise platform for the medically complex patient. This platform combines the benefits of traditional tilt table standing with active exercise. This combination allows patients who are incapable of supporting full body weight to participate in graded weight-bearing activity at an earlier stage in their rehabilitation. Lee Cross is CEO.

Thermal Transfer Composites, LLC -- In 2005 Thermal Transfer Composites began a program to develop a new line of aluminum-silicon carbide (Al/SiC) composites with the goal of increasing the thermal conductivity by a minimum of 20%, while reducing the manufacturing costs by a minimum of 25% over their then current product offerings. Two and a half years later the company surpassed its goals with the introduction of the Primex Ultra line of Al/SiC composites. Thermal performance has now increased by 42% and production costs are reduced by more than 30%. Dan White is president and CEO.

Utiliflex, LLC -- UtiliFlex, based in Chattanooga, has developed the Juice software platform that enables electric utilities to use smart-meters to allow customers to monitor, manage and purchase electricity as they need it, via the web, text message, phone and in person. Juice promotes energy conservation by providing consumers with real time usage, balance and pricing information. Utilities use Juice to manage their grid and smart meters as well as allowing flexible payment solutions for their customers in the U.S, Caribbean and developing countries such as Guyana. Joe Gordon and Mike Harrison are partners in the company.

Reservations for the Spirit of Innovation Awards Luncheon may be made by calling 423-763-4366 or emailing ckelly@chattanoogachamber.com.


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