TCCa Proudly Announces the Winners of the 2009 Innovation Awards, Presented by Lott + Barber
(Savannah, GA) October 22, 2009, 10pm – The drum rolled and the curtain parted tonight to unveil the latest and greatest Savannah innovators, the winners of the 2009 Innovation Awards. The victors were chosen from a tough field of nearly 100 applicants by an independent panel of local and regional judges that included State Representative Ron Stephens, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Craig Lesser, retired CFO/business consultant/angel investor Gordon Matthews, UGA Small Business Development Center Area Director Lynn Vos, WTOC General Manager Bill Cathcart, SCAD Professor of Graphic Design and Sustainable Design Scott Boylston, Executive Director of the US Green Building Council (GA Chapter) Leesa Carter, and a 2008 winner, Union Mission President/CEO Michael Elliott.
The second year for The Creative Coast Alliance’s (TCCa) trademark annual event brought together a diverse group of more than 400 and attracted a veritable ‘who’s who’ of local creative heavy-weights and technology buffs.
For the second year in a row, the Innovation Awards event was presented by Lott + Barber – a leading commercial architecture, sustainable design and land planning firm headquartered in Savannah. “We’re thrilled to help TCCa celebrate innovation and shine the light on those helping to make Savannah a true Creative Coast. Savannah has a history of innovation – our goal through this event is to honor those who are continuing the tradition,” said Forrest Lott, principal of Lott+Barber. “Tonight was perfect follow-up to last year’s ground-breaking inaugural event.”
Tonight TCCa and Lott + Barber “took it to the street” – Broughton Street, specifically – blocking it off between Lincoln and Abercorn Streets in front of SCAD’s Trustees Theater for conversation, cocktails provided by SEED Eco Lounge, and locally grown hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Earth to Table (Cha Bella’s catering arm.) The Awards presentation followed inside the Theater promptly at 8pm.
The mid-evening awards program highlighted the most pioneering personages of Savannah’s Creative Coast in five categories including Community, Education & Government; Small Business; Big Business; Sustainability; and the Howard J. Morrison Leadership Award. Jim Carswell, co-owner and operator of Spy Hop Productions, a local production company, served as master of ceremonies.
“Tonight we honored some of Savannah’s greatest innovators, true examples of local and successful knowledge-based business,” said Brynn Grant, TCCa’s Executive Director. “We pay tribute to local innovation through this event every October, but this kind of creative action is occurring every day. Through a new initiative we’ll be kicking-off soon called Actions Speak, we have plans to identify, empower and promote those doing new and meaningful things in Savannah all year long.”
Testament to the out-of-the-box planning that went into the event, the physical awards presented to the five winners were each themselves a work of art – literally. Handmade by Jerry Lancaster of Port City Metals, this year’s awards were made of a mix of shredded automobile parts from local scrap metal recycler Newell Recycling and scrap granite from Bella Terra Granite.
The 2009 TCCa Innovation Award WINNERS are as follows:
Innovative Achievement by a Small Business (less than 50 employees)
Who: Music Intelligence Solutions, Inc. (uPlaya)
What: Through uPlaya.com, Music Intelligence Solutions, Inc. provides interactive online services – including creative development, branding, social networking and discovery tools – for established and budding musicians and songwriters, producers, music supervisors, mobile distributors and anyone who has an affinity for music.
Why: The recently released site, uPlaya.com, provides users with music industry-focused services such as Hit Song Science™ and the Music Universe™, which provide technological feedback on the music’s viability in the marketplace and offers a first indication of a song’s success potential. Since creating a good song is only the first step in a complex machinery of hit creation, uPlaya™ also helps artists identify new fans, decide where to best place their music among the vast amounts of different markets, and promotes musicians through their social networking, promotional and PR resources to increase artist exposure. For consumers, uPlaya™ has a suite of services, including online and mobile interactive games, a music discovery application and a personalized streaming solution.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the Creative Coast Alliance. When our board of directors in Barcelona agreed to move operations to Savannah from San Francisco two years ago, the Creative Coast and others in the community stepped up to help make the transition a success,” said David Meredith, CEO of Music Intelligence Solutions. “We now have artist and record label customers from over 170 countries around the world, so we hope to be an example that companies looking for global growth can find a home here in Georgia.”
Innovative Achievement by a Big Business (more than 50 employees)
Who: Chatham Steel Corporation
What: “Steel Fit” Wellness Program designed to help improve employee health, thereby positively impacting company health care costs.
Why: In 1999, when most businesses were preoccupied with the impact of Y2K, Chatham Steel was instead trying to get a handle on the company’s rising health care expenses. They realized the correlation between managing employees’ health and the impact that it made on the company’s health care costs. Chatham Steel collaborated with INTERxVENT to track chronic risk factors and provided lifestyle management programs to its truck drivers to modify those particular risk factors. Once the results were realized, this successful pilot program developed into a company-wide effort. Today, they provide communications and rewards through wellness competitions and on-site services, a tobacco-use policy, drug/alcohol free policy, disease management program, pre-natal management program, employee assistance program, and safety incentive program. A premium has been placed on healthy food choices at work and wellness through personal mentoring, ongoing educational Lunch N Learns, semi-annual employee meetings with the President, awards programs, and ongoing cookouts to celebrate employees wellness achievements. There is no charge to the employee and covered dependents for wellness benefits.
“Chatham Steel understands that investing in its employees and their wellness is ‘smart’ business,” said Missy Jarret, Director of Human Resources for Chatham Steel. “Even though the economy has had an impact on employers benefits offerings, we continue to increase our benefits in health and wellness and without an increase in healthcare premiums. Providing a safe and healthy environment for our employees is one of Chatham Steel’s key values on our Roadmap for organizational success.”
Innovative Achievement in Sustainability
Who: Structured Green LLC
What: Eco-friendly product, process and community approach
Why: In addition to an original line of sustainable furniture, Structured Green’s specialty is in custom design work. From restaurants to hotels, boutiques to special event installations, Structured Green is dedicated to seamlessly bringing modern design and earth-sensitive practices to both individual and corporate clients. Pieces are built entirely in Savannah, GA using CNC technology for material efficiency. When not built from locally sourced reclaimed or FSC-certified woods, pieces are built from rapidly renewable bamboo ply, which is grown and harvested in South America. All finishes and adhesives are LEED compliant, Green Guard certified, no- and low-VOC. Wherever possible they prefer to use FDA-sanctioned, organic, food grade, Tung oil from Pennsylvania and Savannah-local, organic beeswax finishes. All hand finishing is done on premises and whenever possible the company works with local welders and artisans for special projects. With carbon-neutral, recycling and off-grid initiatives in place for this year, Structured Green hopes to be the paragon of the new “Eco-factory”.
“We hope that events like the Innovation Awards encourage Savannah to truly take on sustainability as the way forward as well as choosing local businesses first,” said Mike Ayres, owner of Structured Green LLC. “We would like to thank the Creative Coast for their encouragement of local businesses and are honored to win this award.”
Innovative Achievement in Community, Eduction or Government
Who: Savannah Music Festival
What: Off-season communications initiative resulting in new media programs, such as online streaming of Savannah Music Festival (SMF) concerts, and the new use of technology for internal data management.
Why: While the technology itself is commonplace, the successful integration of PURLs (personal URLs), SMF live radio (broadcasting online on GBP statewide and across 8 other states), eBlasts, Ticketing/Patron Development (interfacing its ticketing and development databases to create specific audience target areas), and its substantial Production Database (data/content that ties together the artists/vendors involved in the festival, from agencies and managers to sound and light companies, to volunteers and interns) is an innovative approach that could soon be taken to market for other festivals and presenting organizations. New media initiatives, coupled with publicity efforts, has increased the SMF profile both domestically and internationally. Over the last year, web visits are up in major US markets such as Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, as well as in Canada and Europe.
“We are thrilled to have been chosen for this award. Our communications efforts have always relied on two core elements: unique musical programming and the incredible atmosphere of Savannah in the early spring,” said Rob Gibson, Executive Director of the Savannah Music Festival. “With the wide variety of music that we present, it is essential that we rely on digital media to refine and customize our outreach. Many thanks, Creative Coast!”
Howard J. Morrison Leadership Award
Who: Stephen J. Stephens, Jr., Stage Front Presentation Systems
Why: This award honors an individual who exhibits outstanding commitment in Coastal Community leadership within the advancement of creativity, innovation or technology through his/her partnership building and collaboration-oriented contributions. Such contributions may be business, civic and/or educational in nature.
Note to Editors:
The Creative Coast Alliance (TCCa) is a 501(c) 6 organization dedicated to helping create, grow and attract higher-wage, knowledge-based businesses in the Savannah region. TCCa is currently funded by contributions from the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the City of Savannah. For more information, visit www.thecreativecoast.org.
A leading commercial architecture, sustainable design and land planning firm headquartered in Savannah, Lott + Barber excels at working with clients at every phase of a project, from site selection through grand opening events. Founded in 1990, the firm has been honored with numerous design awards over the years, including Historic Preservation Awards from Historic Savannah Foundation, Excellence in Architecture awards from the American Institute of Architects and a National Award for Outstanding Technical Merit in Metropolitan Transportation Planning from the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. For more information about Lott + Barber, please call (912) 234-5230 or visit www.lottbarber.com online.