News Room

2016 Innovation Celebration Winners Announced

Over 400 people gathered at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for the 11th Annual Innovation Celebration on the evening on January 22nd 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 the 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

Award Winners

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award
Pens to Lens

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award

Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Advocacy Award
Paul Magelli

Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award
Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award
Mike Folk

Innovation: Longevity Award

Innovation Transfer Award – University of Illinois
Dr. Paul Hergenrother

Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award – University of Illinois
The Wernsing Family

Innovation in Engagement Award – Parkland College
Dean Marietta Turner

The EDC is pleased to work with the following sponsors of Innovation Celebration 2016: the University of Illinois’ Technology Entrepreneur Center, Research Park, Office of Corporate Relations, and Office of Technology Management, along with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Parkland College, Singleton Law Firm, Serra Ventures, Pavlov Media, BRG Sports, City of Champaign, Village of Rantoul, Martin Hood Friese & Associates, EpiWorks, Illinois Applied Research Institute, Fox Development Corporation, Ramshaw Real Estate, Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC, U of I Employees Credit Union, Surface 51, M2 on Neil, and McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff.

A special thanks to 40 North for producing the videos.




Innovation Celebration 2016: An eye-opening evening, Smile Politely
Excellence honored, The News-Gazette
#INNCEL Tweets & Posts, Storify