UNHInnovation Hosts Eighth Annual Innovators' Dinner

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UNHInnovation (UNHI) hosted the eighth annual Innovators’ Dinner on October 4th to celebrate and encourage the commercialization of innovative ideas generated through UNH research. The dinner was held in the Huddleston Ballroom where faculty, staff, students, and industry partners gathered to recognize the UNH community for its hard work, which resulted in a record-breaking over $1,000,000 in commercialization revenue in FY18.

The evening began with a cocktail hour, and guests enjoyed passed hors d'oeuvres, a selection of craft beer and Peter Paul wines, and live music from a jazz band featuring several UNH students. After the cocktail hour, guests took their seats and were served a delicious three course plated dinner crafted by UNH catering. The dinner tables and the room at large were decorated with pumpkins that were developed by Brent Loy, plant biologist at the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. The pumpkins were grown at the Woodman Horticultural Research Farm and generously donated for the event.

During the dinner presentation, Marc Sedam, managing director of UNHI and associate vice provost for innovation and new ventures, outlined UNH’s successful commercialization activity and UNHI’s notable achievements throughout the past fiscal year. The 2018 innovators that were celebrated included first-time disclosers of an innovation, innovators of licensed products, registered trademarks, and issued patents. In Sedam’s message, he reminded the audience that while it is important to recognize the individual contributions of each UNH innovator, their work is a piece of the larger picture. The outputs of the university’s $100+ million research portfolio have a positive social and economic impact on the world. 

The evening’s presentations included the naming of Tim Winters, senior IP manager at the UNH InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL), as Innovator of the Year. Tim has worked at the UNH-IOL for over 17 years and has spent his career implementing new strategies to meet the UNH-IOL's mission and pave the way for innovation. Tim was chosen for the award because of his critical leadership role in growing UNH-IOL’s software solution INTACT into a fully viable commercialized product. INTACT started as a home-grown software solution for testing networking equipment and has since grown to become the largest globally-licensed product that has been developed at UNH, earning over $1.2 million in revenue since 2013. INTACT has helped the global internet community ensure a successful deployment of the next generation of internet protocols, namely IPv6, for supporting the growing Internet.  

“We are proud to honor Tim for his leadership in growing and developing INTACT along with many of the UNH-IOL’s other innovations during his time at UNH,” said Sedam. “Anyone that has used the internet has benefited from INTACT and it is a great example of how UNH IP commercialization can have a big impact beyond the university.”

To close out the evening’s events, this year’s Innovators’ Dinner also featured the announcement of the inaugural inductees into UNH’s new Alumni Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, which was created by the UNH Entrepreneurship Center thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The Hall of Fame celebrates the innovation and entrepreneurship of UNH alumni, and inductees are selected from nominated individuals who have achieved entrepreneurial success with ventures as a founder, co-founder, or owner, and have also given back to the community in a meaningful way. The inductees honored this year included (in alphabetical order): Katie Bouton '96, founder & CEO of Koya Leadership Partners; M. Christine “Chris” Dwyer ’72, senior vice president of RMC Research Corporation; Peter T. Paul ’67, chairman of Headlands Asset Management; Chris Rondeau, ’94, CEO of Planet Fitness; and David Shaw ’73, managing partner of Black Point Group. After the inductees were announced, they were each invited to the podium and challenged to briefly outline a problem he or she sees in the world today and suggest how UNH could help solve that problem. 

“Including the Hall of Fame induction in the Innovators’ Dinner this year was a perfect way to bring the celebration of UNH ideas full circle and recognize the UNH community throughout all points of the innovation process.” said Sedam. “It was a great opportunity to ask experienced innovators who have achieved success in their ventures what UNH should be working on next to solve the challenges of the future. We hope their stories and suggestions will inspire the faculty working on the next generation of UNH innovations.”

The Annual Innovators’ Dinner is always a great opportunity for UNHI to showcase and celebrate the creative outputs of the university and to look ahead to the goals and objectives of the coming year and beyond.  UNHI is already planning for next year’s dinner and we look forward to celebrating the innovations and accomplishments of FY19.

Are you a UNH innovator with a big idea? Check out our website to learn more about innovation disclosure and how UNHI can help you reach your commercialization goals. https://innovation.unh.edu/disclose-innovation