Avnet Express' Drive for Innovation Celebrates Six Months of Inspiring People and Technology

Traveled 14,414 miles through 17 states and interviewed 500+ people at 100 companies

Mar 8, 2012

PHOENIX and SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovation: dead in America? Hardly. After six months of driving around the nation and interviewing more than 500 engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, educators and students, our research shows quite the opposite -- innovation is thriving in America.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120308/AQ66461)

Avnet Express' Drive for Innovation – a year-long, cross-country road trip focused on uncovering innovation in the electronics industry, is celebrating six months of uncovering inspiring people and innovation in technology. Now at the half-way point of this exciting journey, we're pausing to note just a few of the innovation stories from our log book. They range from the sublime and sophisticated to the simple and powerful:

  • Nanoforge, a startup company emerging from Duke University in N.C. is bringing to market copper nanowires using a low-cost, high-volume production process. Nanoforge's nanowires can be used in displays, solar cells and other applications and promises to lower cost and upset conventional application assumptions.
  • Nextreme Thermal Solutions is making small, inexpensive devices to harvest energy from thermal differentials. Clamp the prototype onto a homeowner's sink's hot- and cold-water pipes and it generates enough power to illuminate a small light bulb.
  • Two buddies, one a hockey coach, the other an embedded designer, are working together to make a helmet-mounted shock sensor able to send a constant stream of data to iPad and iPhone apps for coaches and parents.
  • When Rockwell Collins teamed up with Lectronix, in Lansing, Mich. to build more effective and compact communications systems for police squad cars, Lectronix's chief executive officer put his experience as a pilot to great use in the design.
  • To encourage and nurture engineering and computer-science students at the University of Massachusetts, administrators and professors have created a crash pad of sorts. In the subterranean M5 maker-space, students have access to space, parts, computers, software, probes and snacks to work on school projects and just be technologically creative.

"The Drive for Innovation is about finding and telling stories of great engineering everywhere," said Brian Fuller, editorial lead on the Drive for Innovation. "Whether it's Middleton, Wis., Schaumberg, Ill., Wilmington, Mass., Huntsville, Ala. or College Park, Md., the story is always about standing on the shoulders of the inventors of the past and moving the technology and the economy forward, relentlessly."

Since July 2011, the Chevrolet Volt has been making periodic stops throughout the journey, where Fuller, the driver of the Chevrolet Volt, has been blogging and posting video updates about his experiences.   Fuller has travelled 14,414 miles and through 17 states.  Fuller has made 100 interview stops, interviewed more than 500 people at 100 companies.  Additionally, he has completed 114 blog entries uploaded 130 videos as well as 261 images.  The multi-faceted program is anchored by a website that features content from the road trip, a drive tracker and an interactive map that highlights the tour as well as games and prizes to fuel community engagement.

"When Avnet Express embarked on this journey we weren't sure exactly what to expect," said Beth Ely, senior vice president, Avnet Express. "As we've followed along, the rich stories that Brian has uncovered have truly shone a bright spotlight on the innovation that Avnet sees everyday in our customers," said Beth Ely, senior vice president, Avnet Express. "As we progress, we look forward to helping share these incredible stories of American innovation with the rest of the world."

Avnet Express gives design engineers and purchasing professionals online access to the world's largest catalog of electronic component products, which tops five million parts. Avnet Express offers parametric searching capabilities and the ability to upload a bill of materials (BOM) for easier sourcing of products and a consistent global platform of localized content. The site can be accessed in nine languages and 13 currencies.

Check www.driveforinnovation.com for upcoming locations and to sign up to follow the stories and request that the Volt pull into your town or city for a visit.  Upcoming stops on the "Drive for Innovation" road trip include:

  • Phoenix
  • Los Angeles
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • and more

To learn more about Avnet Express, visit avnetexpress.com.  To follow the "Drive for Innovation" and the Chevrolet Volt as it travels across the United States, visit www.driveforinnovation.com.  Follow the "Drive for Innovation" on Facebook and Twitter.

About Avnet Electronics Marketing

Avnet Electronics Marketing is an operating group of Phoenix-based Avnet, Inc. that serves electronic original equipment manufacturers (EOEMs) and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers in more than 70 countries, distributing electronic components from leading manufacturers and providing associated design-chain and supply-chain services. The group's website is located at www.em.avnet.com.

About Avnet, Inc.

Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT), a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest distributors of electronic components, computer products and embedded technology serving customers in more than 70 countries worldwide. Avnet accelerates its partners' success by connecting the world's leading technology suppliers with a broad base of more than 100,000 customers by providing cost-effective, value-added services and solutions. For the fiscal year ended July 2, 2011, Avnet generated revenue of $26.5 billion. For more information, visit www.avnet.com.

About UBM Electronics

UBM Electronics is the global leader in media and marketing solutions for the electronics industry.   UBM Electronics delivers results for the key influencers and decision makers involved in the design, development and commercialization of technology through its market leading brands, peer communities and professional education services.   More than 1.7 million engineering professionals engage with UBM Electronics brands which include EE Times, EDN, Design News, Test & Measurement World, TechOnline, EBN, Datasheets.com, Designlines and Embedded.com across the globe to accelerate technology sales. The international electronics community gathers at UBM Electronics market leading events such as the Embedded Systems Conferences, DesignCon and ARM Technology Conference to share, learn, discuss, and advance the critical issues and challenges facing the electronics industry. Additionally, UBM Electronics provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation marketing, integrated media, custom solutions and research.  UBM Electronics is part of UBM (UBM.L) a global provider of media and information services for professional B2B communities and markets.

For more information on UBM Electronics please contact:
Felicia Hamerman, Vice President, Marketing
T: 516.562.5652, E: felicia.hamerman@ubm.com

For more information on Avnet Express please contact:
Bethany Helvie, Public Relations, Avnet Electronics Marketing
T:  480.643.7183, E: bethany.helvie@avnet.com

SOURCE UBM Electronics