RIT entrepreneurship will be on display at Digital Rochester awards Sept. 22

Friday, September 9, 2016

GREAT Awards honor local entrepreneurial spirit, technology and innovation

Rochester Institute of Technology will be well represented at the 2016 Greater Rochester Excellence and Achievements in Technology Awards, presented by Digital Rochester Inc. The awards are Sept. 22 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The annual awards recognize and celebrate the Greater Rochester community’s entrepreneurial spirit in technological achievement for advancing commerce and resource conservation.

Finalists with connections to RIT were nominated in several categories.

  • Hz Innovations Inc., nominated for the Rising Star Award, was founded by a team of RIT students and created Wavio, a sound-recognition technology system designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing people become attuned to sounds in their homes. Hz Innovations Inc. is Greyson Watkins (computer security, Durham, N.C.); Chrystal Schlenker (interpreting and business, Rochester, N.Y.); Nicholas Lamb (electrical engineering, Waterloo, N.Y.); and Zach Baltzer (microelectronic engineering, Hilton, N.Y.). The Rising Star Award, intended for early-stage or second-stage start-up companies, recognizes an outstanding entrepreneurial individual or startup company that leveraged emerging innovative technology and lean start-up skills to establish a viable new business or market segment that demonstrably contributes to the Greater Rochester community.
  • IMSWorkX Inc., nominated for the Technology Innovation Award, was founded by RIT graduate Shannon Chevier ’99 (software development and management, MS). IMSWorkX Inc. launched from RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator in 2015 and is a telecommunications software company providing service layer applications and solutions for the emerging all-IP communications network.

Student Achievement Award nominees are:

  • ThermApparel, founded by Bradley Dunn (MFA, industrial design, Baltimore); Kurtis Kracke (MFA, industrial design, Rochester, N.Y.); and Crystal Mendoza Paulin (biomedical engineering, Dallas). ThermApparel is a lower cost, discreet, flexible garment that assists patients with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or other conditions, by regulating body temperature in hot weather.
  • Bikelomatic Complexity, founded by Jesse Jurman (software engineering, Rochester, N.Y.); Steve Kroh (software engineering, Hookset, N.H.); Ethan Jurman (software engineering, Rochester, N.Y.); and Matthew Waite (software engineering, Conklin, N.Y.). Bikelomatic Complexity is working with Adventure Cycling to produce a web and mobile application to help cyclists document their experiences on tour. 
  • Smart Toy, founded by Erika Madison (international business, Sodus Point, N.Y.); Mariana Pinheiro (MFA, industrial design, Brazil); and Doug Huang (MFA, industrial design, Taiwan). Smart Toy is a series of interactive instruments designed to stimulate the senses of children with low-motor coordination skills through the use of textures, sounds, vibrations and light patterns.
  • AWARE, founded by Emmanuel Dodoo (electrical engineering, Ghana) and Ethan Kersat (international business, Clayton, N.C.). AWARE tracks driver fatigue and provides real-time alerts.

The Student Achievement Award is presented to a currently enrolled student or team of students at a Greater Rochester higher education institution who have showed leadership and skill in applying or advancing innovative technology for the betterment of themselves, their educational institution and/or the greater Rochester community.

“The depth and breadth of RIT’s projects and businesses represented in the GREAT Awards is truly a testament to the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that RIT works so hard to create and maintain,” said Richard DeMartino, director of RIT’s Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship and professor in the Saunders College of Business. “While our primary goal is to provide a quality education as it relates to innovation and entrepreneurship, business creation is also important. We’re proud that the work of RIT students and graduates is being recognized by the Rochester community.”

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