Businnes Innovation Awards
Teen leads group honored by EDC for 'innovative spirit'
- By LAURA LAYDEN
- Naples Daily News
- Posted September 15, 2011 at 5:25 p.m
For her “innovative spirit,” Katie Price became the youngest winner of the Collier
County Economic Development Council’s Excellence in Industry Awards.
The awards — handed out at a luncheon Thursday — recognize innovative local industry
leaders and entrepreneurs. The event, held at the Hilton Naples off U.S. 41 south
of Pine Ridge Road, coincides with Florida’s 28th Annual Industry Appreciation Week.
It drew a crowd of about 280.
In search of a project for an “Invention Convention” a few years ago, Katie Price,
the daughter of Naples councilman Gary Price, came up with a practical idea — charging
her iPod while riding her bike. She was in fourth grade.
The EDC’s leadership told Price — now in the eighth grade — they looked forward
to her next invention.
“Katie, you better get your business card ready,” quipped Lois Thome, a co-anchor
for WINK News at 5, who led the awards ceremony for the EDC.
After receiving the award, 14-year-old Katie, a student at Gulfview Middle School,
said she was glad to share her invention, which won her the top award in a regional
science competition a few years ago.
She attached a small portable generator to the back of her bike, which charges her
iPod battery as she pedals. She mounted the iPod onto the handlebars of her bike,
along with a speaker, so she can listen to her music without headphones.
“Some of our friends want her to make it for them,” Gary Price said. “We already
The EDC gave out nine awards this year. The other winners are:
- MyEnviro.com, Medium Business, Innovation Award
Kevin and Michelle Borders, the founders of MyEnviro.com, have created a virtual,
around-the-clock, Internet-based monitoring system to detect changes in moisture
or temperature in a home, alerting owners to a potential problem. The duo came up
with the invention after their parents’ home in Michigan flooded twice while they
were in Naples. The company’s software runs on a home computer.
- Arthrex Inc., Large Business, Innovation Award
The company has revolutionized arthroscopic and orthopedic surgery, with the development
of more than 5,000 state-of-the-art medical devices sold worldwide. Arthrex continues
to expand in Collier County.
- Taray International, Export Excellence Award
The company is a supplier to the tire and retread industries worldwide and exports
to more than 70 countries around the world. Taray designs retread plants and handles
equipment installation and training, as well as supplying spare parts and state-of-the-art
- Florida Specialties, Business Expansion Award
Based in Immokalee, the company got its start 25 years ago as a grower, packer,
shipper and broker of produce. In 2009, Florida Specialities expanded its operations,
investing in new processing equipment to introduce a new product called Blue Ribbon
Beans. The beans are packaged in microwavable bags and sold to grocers and food
- Naples Soap Co., Entrepreneurship Award
Deanna Kelley opened the Naples Soap Co. in 2009, having searched with no luck for
a solution to her daughter’s eczema. When she couldn’t find quality organic soaps,
she made her own. The company has growing worldwide sales.
- IberiaBank, Civic Responsibility Award
Since coming to Collier County in 2009, the bank has donated more than $600,000
to local organizations and its employees have racked up hundreds of volunteer hours.
- Collier County government, Green to Gold Award
The Green to Gold Award recognizes leadership in creating cost effective solutions
to environmental challenges. The county has embraced forward-thinking programs that
conserve resources and save taxpayer money including using motion detection devices
for lights and vending machines.
- OnFast, Newcomer Award
The company, less than a year old, offers businesses one gateway to market everywhere
online. OnFast simplifies marketing efforts, delivering a company’s message across
multiple social media outlets. Its services integrate many online marketing tools
including blogs, press releases and coupon creation.
“The awardees have show perseverance and commitment to succeeding and growing in
Collier County,” Thome said. “The EDC has been a great asset to these companies
and many others over the years.”
Tim Cartwright, the EDC’s chairman-elect, said the awards are a good way to salute
business leaders and entrepreneurs for creating jobs and strengthening the local
“The county, region and state benefit when businesses invest in our community, from
a more diversified tax base to improved education to enhanced job opportunities,”
Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden