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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.


In Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, residents can see artist Laura Lynn Lashley’s work on a larger-than-life 100-feet long nature-inspired mural. It is a focal point of Bailey Park, the newest addition to the creative landscape in the urban innovation district.

Like the true artist that she is, Lashley did not come to the project with pre-conceived notions. She took some color chips and followed her intuition that led her to paint an abstract scene depicting clouds, sun and sky. The soothing mural stretches underneath Bailey Park’s special events stage and frames out landscaped gardens.

“Laura’s mural is the perfect addition to Bailey Park,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “Her bright and airy artwork provides a wonderful backdrop for this central meeting place for innovation and creativity.”

Laura Lashley’s long-time commitment to Winston-Salem made her the right choice for the project. Her work is seen throughout the city; her paintings and murals can be found at businesses, galleries, coffee shops, a restaurant and a school, to name a few. Walk into Yadkin Riverkeeper’s interior office and you will see Lashley’ work. Over dinner at Mary’s Gourmet Diner you can gaze at an inspired Lashley piece. Beer lovers enjoy her art at Small Batch Beer Co.

Lashley is a true “art farmer” and has worked for decades with Winston-Salem artists groups like Seed, a collective with a mission to “plant” art in the city. The former Art-o-mat artist has made more than one studio her home, dating back to Atelier in the arts district. Volunteering in galleries is in her blood along with organizing fundraisers for various causes and donating art to organizations such as the Arts Based School.

Lashley’s current project for the Fairfield Inn & Suites (walking distance from the Innovation Quarter) is a collaborative effort with artists from The Enrichment Center. She also transforms personal spaces for residential clients.

When she is not on a job location Lashley keeps her creative juices flowing at the Electric Pyramid Studio, a former funeral home and barber college located just one block north of Wake Forest Biotech Place. Lashley shares that space with 16 other artists. Some of her work finds its way to Design Archives™ Emporium where buyers can take home a piece of wearable art in the shape of an apparel piece or a painted purse.

Recently Lashley passed by Bailey Park on the way to Krankies Coffee. For an instant she wondered what city she was in. “Innovation Quarter has totally transformed the city,” she said. “It blows my mind.”

Learn more about Laura Lashley’s art at

Children will once again help adults build, program and operate robots at the Robot Fun Run Community Challenge, to be held Friday, June 19, in the atrium of Wake Forest Biotech Place.

The third annual competition, which is open to the public free of charge, will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Cook Medical, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, the event features up to a dozen teams of two to five adults representing area businesses and institutions, with each team having a middle school-age mentor.

The challenge for the teams is to build and program a Lego Mindstorms robot to perform specific tasks, then have it execute those tasks during multiple 2½-minute runs on a thematic playing surface with the goal of scoring as many points as possible. The team that accumulates the most points will be presented a Lego trophy by Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“This is a great event that features technology, teamwork and creativity and produces plenty of surprises and smiles,” Tomlinson said.

The team representing Inmar edged Carolina Liquid Chemistries to capture last year’s title. Small Footprint won the 2013 event, finishing just ahead of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

One purpose of the Robot Fun Run Community Challenge is to increase awareness of and participation in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ robotics program, which is designed to engage middle school-age children in science and technology. The program’s main event is the annual Forsyth County Robot Run, a competition in the fall that involves robotics teams from the system’s 17 middle schools.

Wake Forest Biotech Place is located at 575 N. Patterson Ave. in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Free event parking will be available in Innovation Quarter Lot P1, which has entrances on East Fifth and North Chestnut streets.

Soaring arches and points that look like they were taken from a Moravian star would grace bridges over Business 40 if the folks at Creative Corridors get backing for their ideas, as the time approaches for making final decisions on how the downtown freeway will look when renovations are complete.

The Business 40 renovation doesn’t start until 2016, but city and state officials will be making decisions this summer on how the roadway will look.

The bridge that’s likely to get everyone talking the most is a proposal to turn the Strollway crossing of Business 40 into a “land bridge” that will take people over the freeway without taking them out of the trees and shrubs.

Read the full article at the Winston-Salem Journal.