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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

Inmar, a company that operates intelligent commerce networks, today announced that it is joining other members of the Triad tech community to co-sponsor the first Triad Software Developers Conference. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, at Flywheel Cowork at 525 Vine Street in Winston-Salem. Like Inmar, Flywheel is located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter,

In addition to Inmar, software company Small Footprint, staffing and consulting firm ettain group and Flywheel Cowork are sponsoring the day-long event. The conference targets software development professionals and will feature expert speakers, panelists, and instructors, as well as hands-on learning and networking opportunities.

Those interested in attending can learn more and register at

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.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center today announced plans for a new medical education building for its School of Medicine. Funding for this $50 million capital project is part of a larger capital campaign that will be publicly launched next summer.

The medical education building will be located in the former 60 series R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company complex, adjacent to 525@vine in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Construction will begin immediately with plans to be ready to welcome medical students in July 2016.


The medical education building is Wake Forest Baptist’s most significant capital improvement project reliant upon philanthropy in decades.

“Wake Forest School of Medicine’s presence in Winston-Salem is a tribute to philanthropy,” said Wake Forest Baptist’s Chief Executive Officer, John D. McConnell, M.D., “and we owe our thanks to leaders like James A. Gray and Bowman Gray whose example continues to inspire us. Building upon that legacy, we embark upon this exciting component for the School, which is also contingent upon philanthropic leadership.  We continue to look to our partners who have helped make an investment in the health of the community, the economic base of downtown Winston-Salem and the future of medicine and innovation in biomedical science and information technology in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“Hand in hand with our philanthropic efforts, the Medical Center is fortunate in that Building 60-3 is a historic property, which qualifies the project for Historic, New Markets and State Mill tax credits,” McConnell added. “These tax credits significantly lower the cost of this project and make it possible, but because those tax credits sunset on Dec. 31, 2014, timing is crucial. That is why we are starting immediately.”


The timing of the opening of the medical education building will coincide with Wake Forest Baptist introducing one of the most advanced medical school curriculums in the country, and will allow medical students to prepare for real-life experiences in the most modern of settings available for clinics and exam rooms, complete with the new informatics and technologies commonly used in patient care today.

In addition to training in the most advanced environments for outpatient clinics, medical students and faculty will learn in small group learning spaces, an anatomy lab, clinical skills labs and patient simulation suites, while support services including a student lounge, kitchen, faculty offices and meeting spaces will enhance student life and mentoring opportunities.

Wake Forest School of Medicine Dean Edward Abraham, M.D., said the time has come to create a medical training facility that matches the school’s reputation as providing one of the highest quality programs in the country.

“Our medical school’s present facilities have been the training ground for our students since 1969. They have served us well, but our model of patient care has dramatically changed since then. Medicine has fast-forwarded to the digital age with computer-guided imaging and surgical procedures, lasers instead of scalpels and electronic medical records that allow patients to look up their medical test results, speak to their doctors and make appointments from their laptops and cell phones,” Abraham said.

“We will soon be introducing a leading-edge medical education curriculum that will prepare our highly qualified students to become outstanding physicians, and thus we must have the appropriate facilities to accommodate current learning and teaching styles and space to grow.”

The Medical Center’s fundraising effort for the project has already begun, according to James W. Johnston, chair of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Campaign Cabinet.

“Our volunteers and community leaders are enthusiastic about this significant philanthropic endeavor, which will sustain and grow the incredible legacy of medical education at Wake Forest School of Medicine,” Johnston said.

The 168,000 square-foot building will be developed in partnership with Wake Forest Baptist’s Innovation Quarter partner, Wexford Science + Technology, LLC, a BioMed Realty Company. “Wexford is honored and excited to be in a position to continue to expand Wake Forest Innovation Quarter through the development of a new training facility for Wake Forest School of Medicine,” said Daniel Cramer, Wexford’s senior vice president of development. “The introduction of this prestigious institution into the Innovation Quarter is further validation that it is one of the top knowledge-based communities in the U.S.”

The new medical education building adds to the growing synergy among the city’s academic institutions and supports technological collaboration, entrepreneurial opportunities and community involvement as well as social, economic and professional growth to its residents.

President, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Eric Tomlinson, D.Sc., Ph.D., said, “The addition of Wake Forest Baptist’s medical education program to the rapidly expanding Innovation Quarter marks a further milestone in our development as a leading hub for innovation in biomedical science and information technology with an emphasis on research, education, business and product development. The vibrancy of the growing student base here demands the Innovation Quarter be ready for their presence with opportunities for further learning, accommodation and recreation. We will be ready.”

View images from the press conference.

Inmar, Inc., a retail technology company and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter tenant, announced this week that it has teamed up with Price Chopper to offer consumers more options and efficiency in e-coupon shopping. The Golub Corporation selected Inmar, headquartered in the Innovation Quarter, to manage the digital coupon program for the Price Chopper Supermarkets AdvantEdge Card shopper loyalty program. Through the deal, Price Chopper gains access to Inmar’s nationwide network, and shoppers will benefit from this collaboration through greater access to coupon offers from a wide range of popular brands. Inmar’s management also adds a new product-specific search function and unlimited coupons for loyalty program members. Inmar, Inc. assumed responsibilities for the digital coupon program on December 1, 2014.

Read the full story.

Eric Tomlinson, D.Sc., Ph.D., president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, will address a plenary session of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) 2014 International Conference, to be held Dec. 2-5 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Tomlinson’s speech on Wednesday, Dec. 3, will describe the positive impact the Innovation Quarter has had on the Winston-Salem area while touching on the importance of having an anchor institution, the value of reusing of abandoned space and the challenges of re-imagining an urban district.

“I’m looking forward to sharing some of what we’ve accomplished and learned here with colleagues from around the world,” said Tomlinson, who is also Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s chief innovation officer.

The AURP, based in Tucson, Ariz., is a professional association dedicated to fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships. Its membership includes research, science and technology parks in the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries.