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Three Galesburg area firms finalists for Innovation Awards - Galesburg, IL...

Three Galesburg area firms finalists for Innovation Awards

Fusion Tech, Blackburn Sampling, Cross-Fire LLC Three area businesses are among the 75 finalists for the 2011 Chicago Innovation Awards.

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Monday, when eight of the 10 area finalists traveled to the House of Blues in Chicago for a reception, it was learned that Fusion Tech of Roseville and Blackburn Sampling and Cross-Fire LLC, both of Galesburg, made it into the final round. The 10 winners will be named at a ceremony Nov. 8 at the Harris Theatre in Chicago. Gary Camarano, global strategy director of the Entrepreneurs, Business and Industry Network, based at the Sustainable Business Center, said from Chicago by phone on Tuesday, I think its just great. Its a wow moment. Everybody is real excited about this. A record 409 companies were nominated for the awards in this, the 10th year of the event. Camarano pointed out earlier that with 10 nominees, out of a four-county population area of 90,000, had a higher per capita number of nominees than the Chicago area. Having three businesses from our region as finalists for the innovation awards is tremendously exciting, Mayor Sal Garza said in a news release. Having three finalists is a testament to the innovation that is occurring in our region and stresses the importance of supporting entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas and generate jobs for the future. Blackburn Sampling, which uses chemically tested plastic tubes for hazardous material sampling, and Cross-Fire, which uses heat from a portable unit to burn contaminants out of the soil, have patented processes. In an interview earlier this month, Tom Malek, CEO of Cross-Fire, was asked what being chosen as one of the 10 winners would mean.

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It would mean a lot, Malek said. It would mean that instead of one guy getting the word out about the process, it would be mentioned in state and national publications. Blackburn is in the news today for another reason, as well. SBC officials announced Tuesday that the company signed a lease with the SBC, becoming the third tenant this year at the green business incubator. The company is the producer of Blackburn Coliwasa, a composite liquid waste sampler. The companys products are used by the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Harbors and other environmental agencies. Bob Blackburn, CEO of Blackburn Sampling, said, Having Blackburn recognized for an innovative product, the Blackburn Coliwasa (a device to safely test hazardous material), is a great confidence booster. The move is short in distance from 3021 W. Main St. to 2900 W. Main St. but is expected to be a giant step forward. According to the SBC news release, The company will double (its) assembly operation in preparation for future growth. The Register-Mail reported in early September that Fusion Tech was one of the 75 finalists. The Warren County firm is a custom fabricator. It produces installations for food industries, water treatment facilities and the bio-fuel industry. Dan Bentz, Fusion Techs general manager, said earlier the company has roughly doubled in size over the past three years. Bryan Ahee, vice president of Information Technology, said of the nomination, Whether we win or not, its an honor just to be nominated. This is a great acknowledgment for our companys vision and our employees hard work. Fusion Tech is rolling out Snaptivation, a product providing access to real-time information with quick response code and radio frequency identification technology solutions. Clients include museums, zoos, educational, food, retail and manufacturing industries. Camarano said the finalists are good news for the area. The SBC is apparently one of only two incubators of this type in the U.S., the other being in the Sacramento, Calif., area. There are a few trends emerging here, Camarano said. The first innovation is reemerging here in the west-central region. It may have been dormant for a while, but it is reawakening, and thats a good sign. Secondly, six of our 10 nominees were clean, green and sustainable businesses. Along with growing our existing industrial base, these are the types of companies we want to grow and attract. A third trend is the diverse nature of the nominees big, small; for profit, non-profit; no tech, hi-tech; and male, female; and minority. These are trends I think we all like seeing.

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3/27/2012 9:47 AM

Three Galesburg area firms finalists for Innovation Awards - Galesburg, IL...
Copyright 2011 The Register-Mail. Some rights reserved

Comments (1) Judy Guenseth 6 months ago Report Abuse You must be logged in to report abuse.

It is great that three area companies have been nominated and are in the top 75. Hats off to the individual companies and all the best to them in the voting. Login or register to post a comment: Login Username: Password: Forgot password Register Email: First Name: Last Name: I agree to the terms of use I am over 13 years of age

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3/27/2012 9:47 AM