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The Inmar Analytics Forum is an annual event, held in Winston-Salem, NC, that brings together business professionals from the Promotion, Healthcare and Supply Chain industries to explore how data can be employed to drive conversion, create operational efficiencies and bring about improved business and patient outcomes. Offering attendees a variety of educational sessions featuring senior subject matter experts and world-class thought leaders, the Forum is an interactive information exchange delivering real insight into developing data-based solutions to today’s business and healthcare challenges. The Inmar Analytics Forum holds a unique place in the meeting space because of its focus on the practical application of data analytics and the attention given to using data to stimulate collaboration between manufacturers, retailers and healthcare providers/systems.

This year’s forum will be April 7-9, 2015. The Inmar Analytics Forum is a collaboration between Inmar and Wake Forest University. Learn more about this event.

Wake Forest Innovations presented its Innovation Award to Anthony Atala, MD, on February 6 for his breakthrough work in regenerative medicine and leadership as director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Atala, the W.H. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, is a world-renowned researcher and recipient of many awards and honors, including the U.S. Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society.

The award was presented to Dr Atala by Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD, chief innovation officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in recognition of Atala’s important contributions in the fields of urology and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Atala heads a team of over 300 physicians and researchers. Scientists are working on regenerative therapies for more than 30 different parts of the body. In 2003 he was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue and organ regeneration. Dr. Atala’s work was listed as Time Magazine’s top 10 medical breakthroughs of the year and as Discover Magazine’s Number 1 Top Science Story of the Year in the field of medicine in 2007. In 2009 Dr. Atala was featured in U.S. News & World Report as one of 14 Pioneers of Medical Progress in the 21st Century, and his work in 2010 was listed by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of 40 things to know about the next 40 years. Dr. Atala’s work was listed in the Huffington Post as one of 18 great ideas of 2011, in Time Magazine as one of the top 5 medical breakthroughs of the year in 2011, by the American Association of Retired Persons as one of the 50 influential people who will make life better in 2012, and by Time Magazine as one of 5 discoveries that will change the future of organ transplants in 2013.

Innovation Awards are presented to outstanding innovators in our community and are recognized at each Innovation Quarter Network Night, an event held every 3 months that offers Innovation Quarter tenants and the surrounding community the chance to network and interact in an informal setting. Sign up to receive invitations to these and other events in the Innovation Quarter.


Jeff “Smitty” Smith has been covering the Winston-Salem scene since the late 1990s in Smitty’s Notes, a website and monthly e-newsletter. His vantage point hasn’t changed – he’s lived in Albert Hall at the corner of North Chestnut and East First streets for the past 15 years – but much else has.

Smitty-Body-2For one, the city today has a whole lot more going on in terms of arts, entertainment, dining, nightlife and community events than it did when Smith produced his first newsletter, which went to about a dozen subscribers. And the district where Smith lives, now part of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter – has been similarly transformed.

A lifelong city resident, Smith started Smitty’s Notes in 1997. That same year, he made plans to move into a renovated building downtown, the former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Plant 256 on North Chestnut.

“The concept of living downtown was brand new at that time and it was considered somewhat of a risky venture,” Smith said.

A real estate developer had purchased the abandoned four-building factory – where Reynolds made Prince Albert pipe tobacco and its iconic tins – from Forsyth County in 1996 and started to convert it into a mixed-use facility with office, laboratory and residential components. The renovation project was near completion in August 1998 when the three main structures in the complex were destroyed in a fire that ranks as one the largest in Winston-Salem’s history. Only the fourth building – erected in 1917 as an addition to the original 1890s construction – survived the blaze, though not without suffering extensive damage.

That building was Albert Hall, named after the pipe tobacco. The fire damage was repaired during the fall and the building welcomed its commercial and residential tenants that winter.

Among them was Smith. With a condo in the larger complex no longer an option, he chose to move into Albert Hall – enticed in part by the opportunity to contribute to the design of his home.

“I basically designed my house,” Smith said. “I worked with the architect and picked out design elements, down to the electrical outlets. That probably wouldn’t happen today.”

Smith’s condo is one of 18 on the fourth floor of Albert Hall. Ranging in size from 550 to 2,000 square feet, the lofts today are home to 23 people.

The first three floors of the brick-facade structure contain office and laboratory spaces that are occupied by 15 tenants representing the commercial, government, nonprofit and research sectors.

And those who now live and work in Albert Hall are far less isolated than the occupants were when the building opened. Numerous renovation and construction projects have in recent years brought a wide range of businesses, institutions and people into the former industrial district, giving it a new vibrancy.

“It was more than putting housing downtown,” Smith said of the neighborhood’s growth.  “There was a vision of different elements working together to create the environment we have today.

“I have to give the Innovation Quarter a lot of credit for creating the research park and rehabbing a number of historic buildings. It has made all the difference in our downtown, and people have followed.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, Smitty’s Notes now has more than 15,000 monthly subscribers.

“We have definitely come a long way since 1997,” Smith said.

Photos courtesy of Jay Sinclair

Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD, president of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, was interviewed by Shawn Fitzmaurice at SciWorks Radio on 88.5 WFDD about the concept of innovation. Along with explaining the difference between innovation and invention, Tomlinson describes the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter’s role in making Winston-Salem the City of Arts & Innovation.

Read the transcript or listen to the audio below.


Inmar, Inc., a retail technology company and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter tenant, releases survey data on holiday shopping trends. With U.S. shoppers spending less to fill up their gas tanks, they’re spending more filling up holiday stockings – according to a survey conducted by Inmar Analytics earlier this month that found 25 percent of shoppers planning to spend more on gifts this year than last. Another 49 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they plan to spend at least as much this year as they spent in 2013. And that spending is well underway, with 90 percent of the 520 shoppers surveyed on December 1 and 2 reporting they have already made a holiday gift purchase.

Read the full story.

Carroll-with-AwardWake Forest Innovations presented its Innovation Award to David L. Carroll, PhD, on December 10 for his innovative research and leadership as director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University. Carroll, professor of physics at Wake Forest, leads a research group that has developed such innovations as the Hybrid Sterling Energy Generator solar panel, the Power Felt thermoelectric fabric and field-induced polymer electroluminescent lights.

The award was presented by Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and chief innovation officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in recognition of Carroll’s important contributions in the field of alternative energy.

Carroll started a nanotechnology laboratory at Clemson University in 1997, which he moved to Wake Forest University in 2003. He holds a portfolio of twelve issued patent families and helped found startup companies to manufacture some of the products developed from his group’s research. His research interests include nanomaterials, light emitting device technologies, solar device technologies and medical nanosciences. He holds adjunct appointments at Wake Forest in cancer biology and biomedical engineering, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Innovation Awards are given at each Innovation Quarter Network Night, an event held every 3 months that offers Innovation Quarter tenants and the surrounding community the chance to network and interact in an informal setting. Sign up to receive invitations to these and other events in the Innovation Quarter.

“It takes a village,” said Sean Gaillard, principal of Wiley Magnet Middle School.

He was talking about the Future Innovators mentoring program, a partnership between the Winston-Salem school and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“A magnet school requires unique community support,” Gaillard said. “Last fall, I got with my instructional leadership team and as we thought about innovation we naturally thought about the Innovation Quarter. We also wanted to find a sincere community partner that supported our school mission of ‘Inspiring Innovative Minds.’”

Wiley has a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum that promotes dialogue and critical thinking, making it a perfect fit with the Innovation Quarter.

Gaillard reached out to the Innovation Quarter, he and his team were invited over for a visit and a conversation about how to make a lasting impact on students who might not otherwise have such an opportunity got rolling.

“We wanted a sustainable program, not just a one-time field trip for our kids,” Gaillard said.

Chad Campbell, communications director for Wake Forest Innovations, came up with the idea of matching 10 mentors from the Innovation Quarter with 10 Wiley students for personalized learning. “Individual mentors saved and changed my life,” Campbell said. “I have no doubt this program can do the same for these students.”

The one-to-one model was suggested and accepted, and the Future Innovators program was born.


At Wiley, teachers selected 10 seventh-grade students who showed an aptitude and high interest in STEAM-related activities to be the first Future Innovators. At the Innovation Quarter, Steve Susalka, associate director of commercialization at Wake Forest Innovations, was charged with finding 10 mentors. He didn’t have to look for long: Ten men and women representing a variety of fields quickly volunteered.

The program began in September with a two-hour session that started with the students meeting their mentors. “It was humbling and energizing to see these professionals connect with kids,” Gaillard said.

The hands-on learning experience during the first session focused on robotics, with the students programming Lego robots to navigate an obstacle course.

“Our goal was to create an engaging program that highlighted the many varied disciplines here in the Innovation Quarter,” Susalka said. “The students learned quickly that there was more than one way to overcome an obstacle and used a trial-and-error approach to generate solutions.”

Daniel Yohannes, associate director of product innovation and commercialization services at Wake Forest Innovations, enjoyed his first experience with the youngsters from Wiley. “The students were a wonderful reminder of how infectious the joy and enthusiasm of learning can be,” he said. “And the lesson of teamwork in the robot challenge and throughout the morning is one that never really gets old.”

In their monthly sessions at the Innovation Quarter throughout the school year, the Future Innovators will learn about microbiology, computer science, regenerative medicine, digital design and biomedical engineering, with all activities related to their classroom studies. And, as in most educational programs, the students will have a test at the end. In May, the Wiley students will present their own innovative ideas to a panel of the Innovation Quarter experts in a contest modeled after the television program “Shark Tank.”

“We believe it is incredibly important to offer these young people the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the exciting developments in science and technology that are happening here,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “We’re also looking forward to seeing them demonstrate their intelligence, imagination and ingenuity.”

The mentoring program is off to a promising start. Quickly, new friends have been made and bonds have been formed.

At the end of the session in September, as the students and mentors sat down for a healthy lunch, Susalka’s young protégé called out, “Hey, Steve. We saved you a spot!”

Inmar, a company that operates intelligent commerce networks, today announced that 2.14 billion coupons (including offers for both food and non-food items) were redeemed during the first nine months of 2014. Of all the offers redeemed so far this year, 40.8 percent came from Free-Standing Inserts (FSIs), which represented the largest share of redemption among all “major” methods — those with more than 20 million redemptions.

Although FSIs remain the predominant method for redemption, shoppers’ desires for convenient ways to save continue to fuel significant growth in digitally discovered coupons. “Clips” of paperless digital coupons, which consumers load directly to retailer loyalty cards, exceeded 650 million during the first three quarters of the year. Redemption of these coupons, referred to as Load-to-Card (L2C), has more than doubled since 2013. At the same time, Inmar estimates that 600 million Print-at-Home (PAH) coupons were printed during this same nine month period — with a measured average redemption rate of 11.23 percent.

“Shoppers want convenience when it comes to finding ways to save and their surging use of Load-to-Card coupons shows us that,” says Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts. “The increasing capability of marketers to personalize and target these paperless offers is only going to grow their popularity among shoppers and enhance their effectiveness as tools for engagement and conversion.”

While L2C offers enjoyed explosive growth, FSIs still accounted for the majority (91%) of the 251 billion coupons distributed during the nine-month period. The 251 billion total represents a small decline in overall distribution (-1.7%) compared with the same period last year. Overall redemption was also down slightly (-2.5%) at the end of Q3 2014 versus the end of Q3 2013.

After FSIs, the most popular methods with shoppers (in terms of redemption volume) for the first nine months of 2014 were Instant Redeemable and Instant Redeemable Cross-Ruff which, together, accounted for 22 percent of all coupons redeemed. Other in-store methods garnering significant shares of redemption were Electronic Checkout with an eight percent share of coupons redeemed and Shelf Pad, representing 5.7 percent of the coupons redeemed during this period.

As marketers continue to experiment to find the right formula for motivating acquisition and driving redemption, face values for distributed coupons — at the end of Q3 — were up for both food and non-food offers ($1.15 and $2.05, respectively). However, the redemption period for food and non-food coupons distributed contracted (down to 2.4 months and 1.9 months, respectively).

Inmar has been in the promotion industry for more than 34 years and currently processes and analyzes more than 2.3 billion coupons and related campaigns annually, making it an expert in planning, executing and measuring promotions. In addition to providing promotion management, coupon processing, business intelligence and consulting, Inmar closely monitors coupon distribution and redemption across the country and regularly reports on trends and activity in this sector.

Media Contact:  Sharon Joyner-Payne, SVP, Marketing,, +1 336.631.7663


Inmar is a technology company that operates intelligent commerce networks. Our platforms connect offline and online transactions in real time for leading retailers, manufacturers and trading partners across multiple industries who rely on Inmar to securely manage billions of dollars in transactions. Our Promotions, Supply Chain and Healthcare platforms enable commerce, generate meaningful data and offer growth-minded leaders actionable analytics and execution with real-time visibility. Founded in 1980, Inmar is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with locations throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

For more information about Inmar’s products and services, please call 866.440.6917 or visit


Forsyth Tech officially opened its newest location today at 525@vine in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem, which is now home to the college’s Business & Industry Services Division.

525@vine, a former tobacco factory that was recently redeveloped and renovated into a mixed-used laboratory and office building, houses Forsyth Tech’s R. J. Reynolds Corporate Training Center, BB&T Biotechnology Program, Wells Fargo Nanotechnology Program, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce, BioNetwork and Small Business Center.

The opening ceremony featured remarks by college and Innovation Quarter officials followed by media tours of the renovated space.

“We are excited to be expanding our presence into Winston-Salem’s vibrant downtown,” said Forsyth Tech President Dr. Gary Green. “Our location in the Innovation Quarter reflects the vision of the college to bring together services for business and industry under one roof where we can intersect with the business community as our client instead of the individual student.

“Here in the Innovation Quarter, we are at the epicenter of local economic development, making our business services more accessible than ever before, and creating opportunities to build new and even stronger collaborations that support the growing needs of our business community.”

Forsyth Tech’s 24,000 square feet of innovative work space at the Innovation Quarter was funded with $7 million raised through its Momentum Capital Campaign, which came to a conclusion in 2013, and includes lab facilities, computer labs, flexible classroom and meeting room space as well as small and large collaborative work areas.

Forsyth Tech at Innovation Quarter will serve more than 1,200 students each year as well as a growing number of corporate clients and small business owners through the:

  • J. Reynolds Corporate Training Center, which supports the college’s corporate training partnership programs and provides services for Innovation Quarter tenants
  • Small Business Center, which offers workshops, seminars, individual business counseling and a resource library for business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Lab facilities for the college’s Wells Fargo Nanotechnology Program, the only two-year nanotechnology program in the southeast
  • BB&T Biotechnology Program, the largest biotech program of any community college in the state, and
  • Offices for BioNetwork, the statewide biotechnology workforce initiative run by the North Carolina Community College System.

The 525@vine building was constructed in 1926 by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and used as a blending and processing plant. In restoring and renovating the 234,000-square foot building, the new owner, Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company, employed both state and federal tax credits that are available to qualified developers of income-producing spaces in historic industrial structures.

Media Contact: Martha Murphy, Public Relations Director, The Ruben Rink Co.,, +1 336.397.5407

About Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech provides students with flexible educational pathways to a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech is the fifth largest community college in North Carolina and serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.  

Clinical Ink, a provider of electronic data-capturing technology for clinical research, has relocated its headquarters to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

Clinical Ink’s new corporate office spans 7,676 square feet and is located on the first floor of the recently unveiled 525@vine building, a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. factory that underwent a $75 million renovation led by building owner Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company.

“The synergistic culture at the Innovation Quarter makes it a natural fit for our headquarters,” said Doug Pierce, the company’s president and co-founder. “There is significant opportunity for innovation and collaboration at every turn, both of which are central to our success as a solutions provider for clinical research.”

At Clinical Ink, employees are surrounded by opportunities to collaborate. For example, in the center of their new facility is a free-standing cube already nicknamed the “Cube of Collaboration,” in which employees have four dry erase walls to collaborate and brainstorm ideas for clients.

“Clinical Ink makes a great addition to the Innovation Quarter as its pioneering work in information technology and clinical research is internationally recognized,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

Clinical Ink offers solutions for domestic and international clinical research trials. Its principal product is SureSource®, an award-winning proprietary electronic platform that provides users with a paperless system for the fast and accurate recording of data, comments, explanations and other information required in clinical trials. The company, founded in Winston-Salem in 2007, also has an office in Horsham, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

525@vine offers tenants world-class research facilities with added amenities right outside its doors. Clinical Ink employees look forward to the Fall opening of Bailey Park at East End, a 1.6-acre park with green space and an outdoor stage, and the future Rails-to-Trails, a 20-mile walking and cycling trail that will follow an unused railroad track through the heart of the Innovation Quarter, eventually connecting to the Salem Creek Greenway.

In addition to Clinical Ink, current 525@vine tenants include: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Division of Public Health Sciences and Department of Physician Assistant Studies; the Innovation Quarter YMCA of Northwest North Carolina; and Flywheel, a co-working innovation space. Forsyth Tech at Innovation Quarter soon will join the list.