BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Three Alabama businesses will be honored this week as leading innovators in their fields.
Among this year’s winners is ZeroRPM of Cullman, named Corporate Innovator of the Year in the small company category.
The company is being recognized for its ZeroRPM Idle Mitigation System that allows a vehicle to idle without running the engine.
ZeroRPM Chief Executive and Chief Technology Officer Lance Self said it is an honor for the company to be recognized for something that is in its DNA.
“As a fast-growing technology company, innovation has been required in our processes and systems, as well as in our products. Innovation is our way of life and the team has been excited by the award,” he said.
The school was awarded $200,000 from the Alabama Innovation Fund in 2012 to use to support ZeroRPM in its launch. The Innovation Fund, administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce, provides key support for academic programs that generate new business ventures and create jobs.
“The state of Alabama, Cullman Economic Development, and Wallace State Community College were all instrumental in ZeroRPM’s launch and early incubation,” he said. “We could not imagine better support or a better place for an entrepreneur to launch a company than Cullman, Alabama.”
In addition, Wallace State and the University of Alabama at Huntsville have provided ZeroRPM with exceptionally well-educated employees, Self said. More than half of the ZeroRPM team has been educated by the two schools.
As for the future, Self said the company’s vision is to sustain the growth trajectory of its first five years over the next five years.
“We will accomplish this with innovative employees who deliver innovative solutions to our customers,” he said.
The award winners were chosen from a pool of 88 nominations from across Alabama. Other winners are:
- Quality Filters of Robertsdale: Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Manufacturing. The company is being recognized for its advanced manufacturing methods and lean business processes in cutting the lead time for filter deliveries from three to four weeks to averaging five days or less.
- Diatherix of Huntsville: Corporate Innovator of the Year in the large company category. The award recognizes the company’s groundbreaking pathogen detection technology, which enables healthcare providers to more accurately determine the cause of an infection and determine multiple infection sources.
- Jim Hudson, co-founder of Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, also will be honored with an award for Lifetime Achievement in Innovation.
The annual awards, which started in 2014, are just one of the ways EDPA spotlights entrepreneurs and innovators in Alabama.
The awards will be presented during an Oscars-style celebration at the Alabama Theatre. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Thomas L. Friedman will be the keynote speaker before the awards.
“The EDPA Innovation Awards showcases the most innovative companies in our state,” said EDPA President Steve Spencer. “The winners, and for that matter all of the nominees, are leaders in their spaces, driving forward Alabama’s innovation economy.”
The award winners were selected by a panel of judges, under the chairmanship of ADTRAN CEO Tom Stanton. The panel includes Ralph Hargrove, president and CEO of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors; Tharon Honeycutt, founder and president, MSB Analytics; Gene Moorhead, professional EOS Implementer; Peggy Sutton, founder and president of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.; and Neill Wright, executive vice President of Liberty Bank.
“This will be a wonderful night celebrating the incredible ideas, imagination and ingenuity in the state,” EDPA Vice President Angela Wier said. “Congratulations to all the 2017 winners.”
The EDPA is a key economic development ally of the Alabama Department of Commerce.