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Girls on Fire, the Triad’s first all-girl robotics team is recruiting new members to join this talented, spirited and driven group of young women. An information session for high-school age girls will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., August 25, at Inmar’s headquarters (635 Vine Street, Winston-Salem, North Carolina). The team will compete again this year in the robotics competition, which is offered through the NC FIRST Program.

No prior experience or skillset is required – just positive energy and a desire to contribute their unique talent and passion within a team environment. While the NC FIRST Program promotes interest in science, technology, engineering and mathmatics (STEM), those interested in graphic design, marketing, language arts, and other disciplines are important to the team as well.

The robotics competition program is the premier engineering challenge for high school students. Teams of students, working closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for young women to work together, learn and contribute their strengths to accomplish an incredible goal,” says Melissa Wittner, VP, Application Software Engineering, who serves as Executive Sponsor for Girls on Fire. “The sense of accomplishment they feel when they see their robot in action is very exciting and rewarding to experience for me as a women engineer,” adds Wittner.


Two Innovation Quarter tenants – Clinical Ink and RIA Solutions Group – have been listed among the country’s fastest-growing companies, a list the business magazine Inc. puts together each year of U.S. companies that have seen the greatest growth.

Clinical Ink was ranked 57th on the Inc. 5000 list, making it the highest ranked among the 15 in the Piedmont Triad and third among the 145 North Carolina companies that made the list.

According to the Triad Business Journal, Clinical Ink had received of $5.9 million in 2014 and “has seen 4,614 percent growth during the past three years and added 90 jobs to achieve a work force of 98.”

RIA Solutions Group, another Innovation Quarter tenant, also ranked on the Inc. 5000 list. The software development company, located in Biotech Place, develops scalable applications and systems that process massive amounts of data quickly.

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It’s been said that the beauty of a building has little to do with how long it lasts. It’s the construction of the foundation.

In recent weeks, the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has received well-deserved national and local media attention for its combination of office, recreation and residential development. While this coverage is accurate, there were a few visionaries who should also be recognized who helped lay the foundation for the area.

If it weren’t for organizations like Goler Community Development Corporation, founded in 1998 with a vision to transform a historic, downtown African American community into a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development, the Innovation Quarter might have been a bit of a tropical island amidst a wasteland. Goler CDC spent a lot of time and money reimagining the dilapidated warehouses, barbed-wire enclosed parking lots and overgrown, trash-laden lots that would eventually form the northeastern bookend to our city’s entertainment district and our Trade and Liberty streets Arts District.

Read the full editorial by guest columnist Mark Schaefer.


A long-planned rail trail in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter could be built next year, providing a potential biking and walking link between downtown Winston-Salem and recreational sites like Salem Lake.

Transportation planners are working to whittle costs out of the project after a bidding process this spring came in over budget, and now planners hope to put two phases of the work out to bid at the same time in October.

“We are going back and retooling the design in order to cut some things out and get the price under control,” said Greg Turner, the Winston-Salem assistant city manager.

The project is being built in two phases, though one contractor could end up with both projects and potentially bring them in at a lower cost, officials said.

The first phase of the trail will link Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the northern end of the Innovation Quarter by following the rail line through the research park. It will connect to Third Street at a side street called Fogle Street.

Read the full article.

(reposted from the Winston-Salem Journal)


Today’s editorial from the Winston-Salem Journal praises the Innovation Quarter’s revitalization efforts:

We’re admittedly impressed with the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. It has successfully revitalized a part of Winston-Salem’s downtown that was effectively lost, increased our city’s status as a biotech hub, created jobs and increased business opportunities, and is just plain fun and pretty to walk through.

The leaders of the quarter are working on a master plan for growth, the Journal’s Fran Daniel reported recently, and it relies heavily on community outreach and collaboration.

“We’re not an island,” Eric Tomlinson, president of quarter and the chief innovation officer for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told the Journal. “We are part of the fabric of the city, so we look to support the city and its communities, as well as seek their support for what we do.”

That’s wise; if the rest of the community is invested in its success, everyone will work together for that shared outcome.

Read the full editorial

Herbalife, an international nutrition company, knows it has a lot of options when it comes to expanding operations. And thanks to its partnership with Wake Forest Innovation Quarter tenant Forsyth Technical Community College – it continues to choose the Piedmont Triad area.

Part of Forsyth Tech’s partnership entails training many current and potential Herbalife employees in on-the-job skills. It is a partnership that influenced the company’s decision to expand their Winston-Salem location over other facilities. This developing relationship promises to benefit both partners as well as the surrounding community.

“It helps us to upscale our citizens right here in our area,” says Jennifer Coulombe, dean of Business & Industry Services at Forsyth Tech, “and it’s great for the business because it provides necessary training they might not otherwise have access to.”

Forsyth Tech will provide hands-on training for new Herbalife employees at the company’s Winston-Salem facility. When it comes to in-class training, Herbalife will turn to Forsyth Tech’s Innovation Quarter location.

Read the story

Promotion industry veterans Inmar and Cincinnati-based Scanner Applications today announced Inmar’s acquisition of Scanner Applications. Joining Scanner Applications and Inmar creates an unmatched suite of consumer and trade promotion solutions for Retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers and their brands as both work to meet rapidly evolving shopper expectations.

Scanner Applications adds turnkey solutions for trade promotion management and tracking services to Inmar’s offerings, which include digital and paper coupon and rebate processing and settlement, digital coupon distribution, promotion analytics, and shopper behavior research. The Scanner Applications Suite is another pillar in Inmar’s Promotion Network that will extend solutions for manufacturers and retailers, whether they use digital or paper coupons, rebates, trade promotions or temporary price discounts. These capabilities are crucial as shoppers increasingly demand flexibility and personalization from the brands and retailers they frequent.

“In the trade promotions space, Scanner Applications is without a doubt the leader in validated trade promotions,” says David Mounts, Inmar Chairman and CEO. “Never before has one company been able to manage all promotion-related activities on a single platform and provide analytics and reporting relative to their performance.” John Ross, President, Inmar Analytics, adding that, “Retailers using Inmar analytics to optimize trade promotion effectiveness know that results drive more trade funds. We are very pleased to have Scanner Applications’ very talented and creative team on board at Inmar and to expand the solutions we can now deliver to all clients.”

“After 25 years of successfully growing our pay-for-performance business model, we are excited to join Inmar and their comprehensive promotional services offering,” says John Gibson, Scanner Applications President and CEO. “Our clients will benefit from our having access to Inmar’s technology resources and expertise and (we) look forward to rapidly deploying enhancements and growing the services we offer to our clients.”

As part of Inmar, the Scanner Apps team will continue to operate from its Cincinnati location, enabling Inmar to extend its presence in that area of the U.S. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, Inmar operates from more than 30 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Media contact:
Sharon Joyner-Payne

Is the next Jack Dorsey or Drew Houston somewhere in the Winston-Salem area? North Carolina seed investment program The Startup Factory is out to find out, and they are working with Innovation Quarter’s Flywheel to do it. 

The Startup Factory has chosen to hold its first Bootcamp — a week-long program designed to help hopeful entrepreneurs flesh out their business models and make industry connections —  at Flywheel this August. It is a move that The Startup Factory founders credit to the growth and excitement around Innovation Quarter and Winston-Salem’s commitment to growth and expansion in the tech world.

Read more about it here. 

What began five years ago as a program to help contain the rising cost of healthcare for the company and its associates is now a movement that is comfortably a part of Inmar’s culture. From the bikes that line the company’s bike storage room to the backpacks filled with gym clothes for lunchtime workouts at the Innovation Quarter YMCA, Inmar’s corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is full of driven professionals who are passionate about their work and their wellness.

And, the team is putting up the numbers to prove their commitment is paying off. Inmar was named the Healthiest Employer for the second consecutive year by the Triad Business Journal and has been in the top three in its category for five consecutive years.

In addition to logging more time with their sit/stand desks in the stand position:

  • In 2014, overall inpatient health claims spend decreased by 24% from the prior year.
  • Cardiac as a percent of admissions decreased from 12.5% to 8.3%.
  • Inmar’s plan experienced more than $600,000 in savings through associate participation in the Cigna Health Advocacy Program and Medical Management.
  • Inmar has consistently had over 90 percent participation in its Wellness Program.
  • In 2014, more than 200 associates and family members participated in the company’s second annual 5K; some participants had never run or walked a 5K.

And, during a time of increasing healthcare costs, the premiums associates pay for health insurance within Inmar’s plan have not increase over the past two years.

“We are, of course, very pleased with the statistics we’re seeing from the program,” says Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts. “But, it’s the people and lives behind these statistics that are the real story. When we improve our wellness, we change our legacies and improve quality of our life for ourselves and our families.”

Media contact:
Sharon Joyner-Payne

The final installation of the a 3-part series on the Innovation Quarter, “Challenges loom in Winston-Salem Innovation Quarter’s future,” by Fran Daniel at the Winston-Salem Journal hit newsstands Sunday morning, June 29, 2015. Read one blogger’s response to this story.

Innovation District. Cool. What’s an innovation district?

Big Winston-Salem Journal front-pager on the challenges facing downtown’s Innovation Quarter:

Its gradual shift from a research park to an innovation district in recent years has put Wake Forest Innovation Quarter on a path to developing a work, live, learn and play culture and community in Winston-SalemRead the full post.