Thinking Media- Learning Blade was named to the University of Florida’s 2018 Gator100 during a ceremony at UF’s J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Gator100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or led by UF alumni. Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.
Thinking Media was selected due to the growth of its 4th product: Learning Blade, an online program with a game-based format intended to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM subjects. The program allows students to choose among a wide variety of activities based on societal problems, exposing students to more than 100 different STEM careers and technologies. Learning Blade was developed by Chattanooga entrepreneurs and UF Chemical Engineering alumni Sheila and Dr. Dane Boyington, and it is currently being used in over 3,000 schools nationwide, including statewide in Tennessee and Arkansas.
Shelia Boyington said she and Dane developed the program to meet a need, as many students across the state are graduating high school not prepared for the increasing number of well-paying STEM jobs. "Learning Blade was designed to expose students to STEM career opportunities that they have not be aware of," she said, adding that interesting kids in STEM fields at a young age is one of the best ways to strengthen our nation’s workforce.
Dr. Dane and Sheila Boyington, founders of Thinking Media, met at the University of Florida in Honors’ Chemistry class and have been married for over 34 years and running their company for over 22 years. One might say they had “chemistry!”
The Gator100 honors UF alumni from across the university who are founding and growing amazing companies around the country,” said Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida. “It’s an incredible affirmation of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the Gator Nation.”
To qualify for the Gator100, companies must have been in business for five years or more as of Oct. 1, 2017, and have had verifiable annual revenues of $250,000 or more in 2014. Additionally, a UF alumnus or alumna must have met one of the following three leadership criteria:
1. Owned 50 percent or more of the company from Jan. 1, 2014, through Oct. 1, 2017; or
2. Served as company’s chief executive from Jan. 1, 2014, through Oct. 1, 2017; or
3. Founded the company and been active as a member of the most senior management team from Jan. 1, 2014, through Oct. 1, 2017.