Peoria Start-up Named Illinois’ Most Innovative Company
A Peoria NEXT Innovation Center graduate has been named Illinois’ Most Innovative Company and received a $30,000 cash prize. Lumec Control Products won the “Innovate Illinois” statewide entrepreneurial and innovation competition for 2010. There were nearly 90 entrants this year and Lumec becomes the first ever downstate company to receive the award. Paul Luebbers, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Lumec, pointed out, “Winning this award proves that a Central Illinois company, relying on local resources, can successfully compete with anybody, anywhere.”
Innovate Illinois is statewide entrepreneurial competition where high-growth businesses have the opportunity to be named the most innovative company in the state by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Both early and late stage companies are eligible to compete in “Innovate Illinois”. Lumec is an early stage company categorized as a company with an idea for an innovative product, service, or process that has yet to be commercialized or implemented as of September 10, 2010, and once deployed would have a lasting impact on the state of Illinois.
Semifinalists were selected from three different regions: Southern, Central, and Northern Illinois. Then they presented their businesses and innovations to a panel of judges in a fast pitch format. “Our team, led by our CTO Paul Luebbers, did an outstanding job of presenting a very technical product to a diverse panel of judges as well as demonstrating how our flow control products save energy, time, and money” says Steve Ogonek, CEO of Lumec.
The Lumec team says it has benefited enormously by being in and “graduating” from the collaborative, entrepreneurial environment of the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. “The center has been a source of valuable contacts, and the mentorship of Executive Director Shad Sleeth has been invaluable. Kip McCoy and the Heartland Partnership are outstanding facilitators and advocates for the area’s businesses both young and old. And, as we have moved toward commercialization, several members of the Central Illinois Angels have been very helpful in improving all aspects of running the business,” says Ogonek. These valuable, cooperative resources reinforce Lumec’s commitment to a local manufacturing supply chain and reliance on local and regional sources of materials and labor.
Two other central region companies were runners-up: Diagnostic Photonics of Champaign and Dr. Paul's Piggy Paste of Washington. Dr Paul’s Piggy Paste was a runner up in a different category.