Fermilab innovation and entrepreneurship highlighted at inventor recognition event

Held virtually for the second year in a row, the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer’s 2022 Inventor Recognition ceremony celebrated more than 50 inventors, creators and innovators from across Fermilab.

In late February, senior leadership from Fermilab and the Department of Energy celebrated more than 50 inventors, creators and innovators from across the laboratory during the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer’s 2022 Inventor Recognition ceremony.

Head of OPTT Cherri Schmidt served as host and welcomed more 90 guests to the annual event. Held virtually for the second year in a row, the ceremony honored the efforts of individuals whose work increases industry engagement in quantum science and technology, artificial intelligence and data science initiatives.

To kick off the ceremony, Schmidt highlighted the successes of the IARC team, which secured $5.5 million in new funding to transition technology originally developed for science applications to a platform that can be used for a variety of industrial applications. She also celebrated the steady growth of the lab’s patent portfolio over the last eight years — a direct outcome, she said, of the active engagement of the laboratory’s research community in the innovation process.

Next, Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer praised the inventors, software creators, entrepreneurs and the OPTT for reinforcing “a new spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship” at Fermilab. “All of us are thinking about this as part of our everyday life,” Lockyer said. “This has changed dramatically over the past few years – it’s really been fantastic.”

Whitney Begner, deputy site office manager, called the awards ceremony not only one of her favorite Fermilab events, but also an “opportunity to celebrate the innovation and the leading-edge research done by the staff at the lab.” Jim Siegrist, associate director of science for High Energy Physics at DOE, added his congratulations to recipients, noting the importance of technology transfer successes for broadening the impact of the laboratory’s science.

The DOE’s Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, Vanessa Chan, had her own words of praise for these efforts. “We’re here today to recognize important contributions and achievements of inventors, creators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of fundamental science who are, through their distinguished work, also scientists helping maintain the U.S.’ status as the world leader in particle physics research,” Chan said. “That’s no small thing.”

Chan also delivered a message from leaders in Washington. “[We] recognize and understand that this cornerstone of work you are all doing is setting the pace for technological innovation, and we value it. We value you. Congratulations,” she said.

This year’s ceremony recognized achievements in engineering, technology development and entrepreneurship. Those recognized included:

  • Jeny Teheran, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, 2021 Servant Leadership Award.
  • Shaorui Li, Polsky Center, University of Chicago, 2021 Lab Innovation Fellowship.
  • Benjamin Hansen, Cryogenic Society of America, Excellence in Cryogenic Operations and Support.
  • Jay Theilacker, Cryogenic Engineering Conference, 2021 Samuel Collins Award.
  • Juan Estrada, American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields, American Physical Society Instrumentation Award.
  • William Boroski, Stephen Kent, and Brian Yanny, Association for Computing Machinery, ACM SIGMOD Systems Award.
  • Awardees who had patents issued in 2021: Akim Babenko, Sujit Bidhar, Lance Cooley, Grzegorz Deptuch, Farah Fahim, Daniil Frolov, Robert Kephart, Thomas Kroc, Aaron Sauers, Ding Sun, Alexander Shemyakin, Gregory Saewert and Tom Zimmerman.
  • Disclosures submitted by: Shreyas Bhat, Dennis Box, Gustavo Cancelo, Benjamin Cohen, Bruno Coimbra, Vito Di Benedetto, David Dykstra, Juan Estrada, Lisa Goodenough, Chris Green, Mohamed Hassan, Hyunwoo Kim, Kyle Knoepfel, Thomas Kroc, Andrew Lathrop, Shaorui Li, Marco Mambelli, Marc Mengel, Guillermo Fernandez Moroni, Brian Nord, Andrew Norman, Adam Olson, Kevin Retzke, Patrick Riehecky, Aaron Sauers, Prasanth Shyamsundar, Gabriel Spahn, Leandro Stefanazzi, Chris Stoughton, Javier Tiffenberg, Steven Timm, Ken Treptow, Brandon White, Neal Wilcer and Xingchen.

At the conclusion of the event, Lockyer received special recognition for being named Officer of the Order of the British Empire, one of the highest ranks in the United Kingdom’s order of chivalry. The recognition capped off a memorable afternoon of celebration for the entrepreneurs, innovators and creative thinkers who have contributed to the steady growth in Fermilab’s patent portfolio.

Congratulations to all the awardees honored at the annual Inventor Recognition ceremony.