Olathe & Southwest Joco

Twenty-two area companies to be honored for innovation

Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star

Twenty-two Kansas City area companies will be honored for their innovative use of technology at an inaugural event Thursday at Kansas State University’s Olathe campus.

The “Ingenuity Award” winners will be highlighted as part of an afternoon program called Ingenuity Central, which will bring together entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate executives and local and state government officials to talk about business innovation.

The program, scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., was created by Kansas State University’s Innovative Campus, 22201 W. Innovation Drive.

“Ingenuity Central creates a unique environment for representatives of these groups to leverage cross-industry concepts, to stimulate relationships and promote further innovation and business growth,” Prema Arasu, the chief executive officer of the university’s Olathe campus, said in a statement.

The end result of the event, he said, is to help create “collaborations on new business ideas and new product concepts.”

The 22 companies being recognized were selected from an initial group of about 200 area companies recommended by business leaders.

The winners: Aerotek, Aratana Therapeutics, Bio-Microbics, Black & Veatch, blooom Castle Creations, Dimensional Innovations, DuPont, EyeVerify, FitBark, FocalHealth, Garmin, Google Fiber, John Deere, MRI Global, NetSmart, PepGel, Red Dirt, SCD Probiotics, Shatto Milk Co., SmartVet and Smart Warehousing.

The program will also feature a keynote address at 3:30 p.m. on cyber-security by Nathan Garrett, an attorney and former Federal Bureau of Investigation counter-terrorism special agent.

A panel discussion on “What’s Keeping Greater Kansas City from being the Silicon Valley of the Midwest” is set for 5:15 p.m. Panelists are Neal Sharma, principal and chief executive of DEG; Maria Meyers, senior director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Innovation Center; and Tim Petty, executive vice president of U.S. Bank of Kansas City. Program moderator is Jim Holland, regional managing partner of Fisher & Phillips.

Program supporters said they plan to make Ingenuity Central an annual event.

For more information, including a full schedule: http://www.ingenuitycentralkso.com/IngenuityCentralKStateOlathe2015/index.htm

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.