Winners of 2016 Alabama Innovation Awards announced

One company provides physicians real-time patient-information about cost and risk data.

One company has developed software concepts, designs and prototypes for the aerospace and defense biomedical industries.

One is a shipbuilding company. Another is a molecular diagnostic company.

And one is a north Alabama businessman who has been a major influence on Florence area startups, as well as industries nationally and internationally.

They are all Alabama Innovation Awards winners.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Monday announced the winners of its 2016 Alabama Innovation Awards.

“These awards reflect EDPA’s commitment to encourage and celebrate innovation-based economic development across Alabama,” said EDPA President Steve Spencer.. “The Alabama Innovation Awards are the perfect opportunity to recognize companies, businesses and individuals who have transformed innovative ideas into a product or service that meets a need and delivers proven value.”

EDPA, through its Alabama Launchpad program, recognizes innovation and the vital role entrepreneurs, startups and innovators contribute to Alabama’s economy and new job growth.

The winners will be honored at the sixth annual Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in Birmingham on Aug. 30 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (BJCC), where Andrew Yang, founder and CEO of Venture for America, will be the guest speaker. For more information on the conference, visit

Also to be honored at the event is the Lifetime Achievement in Innovation recipient, Joel Anderson of Florence, chairman and director of Anderson Cos., which includes Books-A-Million, TNT Fireworks and Anderson Media Corp.

The winners are:

Corporate Innovator of the Year (small company, 1-50 employees)

IllumiCare, Birmingham, which provides a non-intrusive ribbon of information that hovers over a hospital’s electronic medical record, giving physicians real-time, patient-specific cost and patient risk data. IllumiCare helps hospitals improve clinical and financial outcomes.
Corporate Innovator of the Year (large company, 50+ employees)

CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC), Huntsville, which develops software, hardware concepts, designs and prototypes for the aerospace and defense, biomedical and life science, energy and materials and other industries, including the spinout SynVivo, a disruptive technology with a goal to revolutionize drug discovery and personalized medicine by providing the most realistic and dynamic in vitro platform for cellular behavior and drug response.
Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Manufacturing

Horizon Shipbuilding, Bayou La Batre, a shipyard recognized for its GORDHEAD collaboration software aiming to revolutionize the way shipbuilders and other manufacturers conduct business by improving communication more easily by sharing problems and quickly arriving at collaborative solutions.
Outstanding Public-Private Partnership for Innovation

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and iCubate, Inc., Huntsville. iCubate is a privately held molecular diagnostic company with a diagnostic test that would identify gram-positive bacteria such as staphylococcus, which are common bacterial blood contaminants. The company is housed in the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges.
Lifetime Achievement in Innovation

Joel Anderson, chairman and director of Anderson Cos., Florence, is recognized, among other things, for his major influence on Florence-area startups, as well as industries nationally and internationally, including pyrotechnics and wholesale distribution industries. He was an innovator of the use of computer technology in the magazine and book distribution business and is credited in making consumer fireworks safer through the American Fireworks Standards Laboratories.
“The Alabama Innovation Awards annually showcase and honor the best new inventions and innovations, and the awards process allows us to find stories that show innovation can occur anywhere in Alabama,” said EDPA Vice President Angela Wier.

EDPA received nominations for the award winners from across the state; the nominations were vetted by a validation committee.

The winners were selected by a judging panel under the chairmanship of ADTRAN Chairman and CEO Tom Stanton. In addition to Stanton, the 2016 judges are: Billy Harbert, CEO of BL Harbert International; Ralph Hargrove, president and CEO of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors; Harris Morrissette, president of China Doll Rice & Dixie Lily; Peggy Sutton, founder and president of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.; and Neill Wright, executive vice president of Liberty Bank.