2018 Innovation Celebration Winners Announced

CHAMPAIGN, IL, March 30, 2018 – Over 300 people gathered at Parkland College for the 13th Annual Innovation Celebration on the evening of Thursday, March 29th to recognize 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.

Innovation Celebration is hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and community sponsors. For more information, visit www.innovationcelebration.com.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award
Serve as change agents by creating and implementing sustainable solutions to reshape society, benefit humanity, and address social concerns.

Salt & Light

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award
Formed by students in the last three years and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.


Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award
Formed in the last three years, and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.


Entrepreneurial Excellence: Paul Magelli Advocacy Award
Actively engage, encourage, coach and mentor entrepreneurs in the community, and provide extensive support to help them achieve success.

Stephanie Larson
Carly McCrory

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award
Demonstrates expertise in assembling resources, creating an organization, and working to build and implement effective action plans.

Cindy Somers – Spherion Staffing

Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award
Has made a significant economic development impact in the community and continues to demonstrate their commitment to Champaign County.


2018 Innovation Transfer Award—University of Illinois
Recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact.

Dr. Donna Cox – Advanced Visualization Lab at National Center for Supercomputing Applications

2018 Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award—University of Illinois
Recognizes an individual or team from the University of Illinois that has channeled their experience living with a disability into positive change through the creation of new products, environments, or protocols that enhance quality of life.

Mark McCarthy – Access Illinois

2018 Innovation in Engagement Award—Parkland College
Recognizes an individual or group at Parkland College who has shown support of the college’s community engagement mission.

Adam Porter – Perimeter Road Sound Recordings

The EDC was pleased to work with the following sponsors of our 13th annual Innovation Celebration: the University of Illinois’ Technology Entrepreneur Center, Research Park, Office of Corporate Relations, and Office of Technology Management, along with Parkland College, Lodgic Everyday Community, Carle, Serra Ventures, Surface 51, Singleton Law Firm, City of Champaign, Ramshaw Real Estate, Litania Sports Group, Pixo, Hatch Ag Group, IllinoisVENTURES, Huawei R&D USA, Aqueous Solutions LLC, Personify, AARP, Hanson Financial, Community Solutions Incubator at the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, II-VI EpiWorks, Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC, and Busey.

A special thanks to Five Foot Productions for producing the videos.




Businesses, individuals feted at 13th annual Innovation Celebration - The News-Gazette

13th Annual Innovation Celebration held in Champaign - FOX 55/27 Illinois

Here’s who won awards at this year’s Innovation Celebration - Smile Politely