Ever-forward: The 2013 Innovation Awards

The 2013 Innovation in Business honorees demonstrate vision, perseverance and the power of follow-through

There are those who would argue that innovation arises out of necessity — a result of such things as sagging sales, increased competition or challenging economic times. But the honorees of this year’s Smart Business Innovation in Business Conference demonstrate that the impetus for innovation does not need to be a reactive one.

This year’s class is dominated by manufacturers — eight of the 10 2013 honorees. Rounding out the group are a higher education institution and a venture capital/commercialization firm.

Of the honorees, several have developed dedicated innovation teams that are devoted to rooting out ideas wherever they originate. Most have designed detailed processes to test new ideas and bring them to market. Others have devoted themselves to research and discovering breakthrough technologies in the health care industry. One of this year’s honorees manufactures interactive science and nature products for kids. And yet another developed the next generation of LED lighting fixtures for the U.S. Navy.

We’ll be recognizing this impressive group of organizations and individuals on Sept. 24 at the 2013 Innovation in Business Conference, where they’ll be honored for their commitment to continuous improvement and refusal to rely on past success.

As part of the celebration, the theme for this year’s panel discussion is “Turnarounds & Transformations,” and we’ll present an insightful conversation with three executives who have been catalysts of change. 

■  Steven Demetriou, chairman and CEO, Aleris International Inc.

■  Robert Lee, principal, BLee Capital LLC and former CEO, Swiger Coil

■  Bob Cohen, founder and president, Centrus Group Inc.

We’ll discuss how to rediscover your true north, and why change is imminent no matter what industry you’re in or how much market share your company owns.

You’ll walk away from this event energized — not just by hearing the stories of our winners and speakers, but by also recognizing how and why innovation can be a powerful tool for any organization, no matter the industry or size. ●

Here are this years honorees:


Nelson Medical Enterprises LLC

Checkpoint Surgical


University of Akron

TPC Wire & Cable Corp.


Frontline International

EnergyFocus Inc.

DuneCraft Inc.


Saint Gobain Performance Plastics

Fairmount Minerals