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Innovative leaders celebrated in northwestern Ontario

Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre held annual awards ceremony Nov. 22
From Left are Tim Larocque, of Confederation College, Advisor of the Year; Scott Butcher of Meaglow, Innovative Company of the Year; Dr. Miranda Lock of BioNorth Solutions, Innovative Project of the Year; Christopher Silver of Silver Vantage Software, Young Innovator of the Year; and Trina Diner of the Regional Stroke Network, Innovation Hero of the Year.

The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre celebrated the region's contributors to business on Nov. 22, during the 14th annual RBC Innovation Awards.

Winners in five categories were recognized for their innovative contributions.

"We're proud to acknowledge and celebrate innovation in northwestern Ontario, recognizing the hard work and passion of these innovative individuals and companies, as they play a vital role in our community," Jeff Coull, the centre's executive director, said in a news release.

A list of winners follows:

Innovative Company of the Year: Meaglow

Meaglow has been selling its gas plasma sources to the semiconductor industry, replacing legacy sources that were less than optimum for current applications. The company has a unique set of designs that have greatly reduced oxygen contamination problems and provide a higher flux of active plasma species. Sales have been made to such high-level customers as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories, U.S. Naval Research, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, among many others. Meaglow-designed, locally built plasma sources have now been distributed to 15 different countries.

Young Innovator of the Year: Christopher Silver, Silver Vantage Software

Chris Silver has started Silver Vantage Software as a spinoff from his master's program at Lakehead University. Silver Vantage Software is at the forefront of next-gen safety technologies, bridging the gap between innovation and real-world needs. Using advanced thermal sensors coupled with cutting-edge software algorithms, they have created a system that autonomously detects falls, significantly slashing response time during emergencies.

Marv Detweiler Advisor of the Year: Tim Larocque, Chris Grenke, Greg Gagnon, and Chris Von Bargen at the TEC Hub at Confederation College

The innovation centre is honoured to present the prestigious Marv Detweiler Advisor of the Year award, an accolade that symbolizes dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to the collective pursuit of innovation and growth. The recipients of this year's Advisor of the Year award have truly distinguished themselves through their exceptional efforts in supporting the innovation centre team and their clients with product development, industry insights, and troubleshooting. They are the embodiment of a collaborative spirit, always ready to lend a helping hand. Congratulations and thank you to Tim Larocque, Chris Grenke, Greg Gagnon, and Chris Von Bargen from the TEC Hub at Confederation College.

Innovation Hero of the Year: Trina Diner of the Regional Stroke Network at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation

Trina Diner is the manager of the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, and interim manager for cardiac rehab and cardiac diagnostics. Trina's unwavering commitment to improving stroke care in Northwestern Ontario is nothing short of remarkable and inspiring to those around her. Her substantial contributions to the conception, design, data acquisition, analysis, and manuscript of developing NWO Navigate: An App for Navigating Stroke Care exemplifies her dedication to enhancing health care in the region. Trina's vision has paved the way for the creation of NWO Navigate, a groundbreaking application that addresses the critical issue of timely access to stroke care.

Innovative Project of the Year: BioNorth Solutions

The societal impact of their project is immense. Through the deployment of their Plant Growth Promoter, they have not only helped increase crop yields but have also bolstered socioeconomic prospects. This includes job creation, improved livelihoods for farmers, soil remediation, and a reduction in health risks associated with excessive fertilizer use. In an age where sustainability is paramount, BioNorth Solutions' initiative stands as a prime example of responsible corporate citizenship.