News Room

2017 Innovation Celebration Finalists Announced

CHAMPAIGN, IL, January 17, 2017 – The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce finalists for the 12th Annual Innovation Celebration in recognition of those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University’s economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community.

Innovation Celebration is not merely an award for accomplishment, but a benchmark of success for those outstanding individuals, organizations and corporations who are nominated and selected to receive this prestigious award. Additionally, Innovation Celebration serves as a tangible collaboration between the Champaign County EDC, University of Illinois, Parkland College, and the community.

The winner of each award category will be announced at Innovation Celebration 2017, held at Parkland College on Friday, March 3, 2017 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. To RSVP and learn more about the event, visit

Award Finalists

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award
Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) – Champaign Unit 4 Schools
The Art of Science – Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
AWARE (Accelerating Women And underRepresented Entrepreneurs)

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award
Amber Agriculture

Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award
Reconstruct Inc.
Petronics (Sprite Robotics)
PhotoniCare, Inc.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Advocacy Award
BIGG Success
Coattails, LLC
Jed Taylor

Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award
II-VI EpiWorks
Flightstar Corporation

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award
Sanjay Patel – Personify
Beth Ladd – Caterpillar Data Innovation Lab
Laura Bleill – & University of Illinois Research Park

Innovation: Longevity Award
APL Engineered Materials, Inc.
Litania Sports Group
Surface 51

2017 Innovation Transfer Award Recipient – University of Illinois
Dr. Frederic Kolb

2017 Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award Recipient – University of Illinois
Arielle Rausin

2017 Innovation in Engagement Award Recipient – Parkland College
Jenni Fridgen

The EDC is pleased to work with the following sponsors of Innovation Celebration 2017: the University of Illinois’ Technology Entrepreneur Center, Research Park, Office of Corporate Relations, and Office of Technology Management, along with Parkland College, Singleton Law Firm, Serra Ventures, City of Champaign, Village of Rantoul, Bridge – Champaign County’s Virtual Incubator, Martin Hood Friese & Associates, Fox Development Corporation, Ramshaw Real Estate, Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC, Hanson Financial, AARP, Surface 51, Guth & Associates, Pixo, Carle, IllinoisVENTURES, Huawei, II-VI EpiWorks, Adjacency, and Frasca International, Inc.




Agriculture Instructor Wins Community Innovation Award, Parkland College

Professor recognized for ag work, WCIA 3 News