Avnet Express' Drive for Innovation Marks Last Stop Highlighting Companies Innovating in Vancouver

Year-long program culminates with 30,838 miles traveled through 24 U.S. states and interviewed 750 people at 245 companies

Jun 27, 2012

PHOENIX and SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --As the Drive for Innovation makes its last pit stop on its year-long journey across North America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, the success of the program proves that technology innovation is thriving.  This week, Brian Fuller navigated his General Motors Chevrolet Volt towards Saturna Green Systems, Avigilon and Delta Controls. These three companies couldn't be more different and yet – they have one thing in common: they are innovating right here in North America. As the year-long program comes to a close, we look back on where we've been. In total, the Drive for Innovation has featured more than 750 stories shared by engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, educators and students on www.driveforinnovation.com.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120627/SF31065-INFO)

The Drive for Innovation is an inspired initiative in partnership between UBM Electronics, the daily source of essential business and technical information for the design engineering and electronics industry's decision makers, and Avnet Express, the e-Commerce engine for Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT). 

A few of the top innovations the Drive for Innovation discovered along its journey include:

  • Adapteva: A Lexington, MA company demonstrates how to build 16 custom floating-point cores in a 65nm chip that deliver 50 GFLOPS consuming less than a watt for just $2 million.
  • GATR Technologies: A Huntsville, AL company looks at a problem from a different angle and finds that sometimes thinking simple is the best solution. 
  • Harris Corp.:  Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have defined the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and this Melbourne, FL facility believes robots are part of the solution.
  • Nextreme Thermal Solutions: What's the coolest renewable-energy application? A Durham, NC company is capturing energy from heat differentials.
  • Out of the Box Exhibits: This Madison, AL firm demonstrations a simple idea that could transform how electronics companies do trade show exhibits.
  • Penveu: An established Dallas, TX electronics firm is not only shaking up its own business models but using smart-bomb technology to disrupt the classroom.
  • Rockwell Collins: One of the challenges of effective design is shrinking the design cycle. Enter Cedar Rapids, IA's Rockwell Collins' virtual prototype software.
  • Shockwave Impact: In Hoffman Estates, IL, a heart-felt concern for kids meets engineering ingenuity and supply- and design-chain collaboration to bring new levels of safety to hockey.
  • TDI Power:  A lot of people want to be able to run power tools from an EV (or any vehicle for that matter). Hackettstown, NJ's TDI Power is getting a step closer.
  • TE Connectivity: How do you ensure that electric vehicles are completely safe? Troy, MI's TE Connectivity and Drive for Innovation sponsor starts with smart connectors.

"The Drive for Innovation has given Avnet Express the opportunity to reach a broader base of design engineers and expose its readers to innovation taking place right in their own backyards," said Beth Ely, senior vice president, Avnet Express. "As we make our final stop, Avnet would like to thank everyone who came along for the journey."

"As we conclude our year-long quest for technology innovation on the road, it's been an honor and a privilege for me to meet and interview so many electronics engineers around the country, in a fun and creative way," said Brian Fuller, editorial lead, Drive for Innovation. "I look forward to continuing to uncover and celebrate innovation in the electronics industry by showcasing the breakthroughs and inspiring stories as we continue to fuel our audience with inspiring stories for the next year."

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.   Over the past year, Fuller has travelled 30,838 miles and through 24 states throughout the U.S. and Vancouver, British Columbia.  Fuller has made 245 interview stops, interviewed 750 people at 245 companies.  Additionally, he has completed 420 blog entries uploaded 180 videos as well as 520 images. To view an info-graphic of these milestones, click here.

The Drive for Innovation program offered games and prizes throughout the year to fuel community engagement.  Avnet Express awarded a new Chevrolet Volt to a sweepstakes winner.  Seattle-based Engineer Ted T. Yan, at the Boeing Company, was selected as the winner of a new General Motors Chevrolet Volt.  Click here to read a story about the sweepstakes winner.

In addition, the Drive for Innovation hit its apex in January with the complete disassembly of a Chevrolet Volt. The three-day teardown highlighted the technology used inside the car down to the board and chip level.  Removing about 600 components from the car, the team of engineers examined each part in detail, even taking note of circuit designs and individual integrated circuits used.  Click here to see a time-lapse video of the Chevrolet Volt teardown.  Avnet Express will give the Formula Electric Team from the Arizona State University Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering the keys to the disassembled Chevrolet Volt that was used in the teardown to further examine the vehicle, its parts and functionality at the conclusion of the Drive for Innovation program

Earlier this month, Avnet Express announced plans to donate Fuller's Chevrolet Volt to Chances for Children Arizona, a nonprofit that gives children in low-income families a chance at a healthier lifestyle.  To help further its commitment to improving quality of life by supporting partnerships and programs that provide access to sports, physical education, and character education or youth, Chances for Children Arizona will transform the car into the "Get Motivated" car, allowing families greater access to health education programs that they might not otherwise be able to attend.

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.

The Drive for Innovation website (www.driveforinnovation.com) will continue to feature content from the road trip and new innovative stories.  Additionally, it will offer a monthly newsletter to fuel community engagement.  To sign up for the newsletter visit: www.driveforinnovation.com.  To learn more about Avnet Express, visit avnetexpress.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, delivering 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 2.2 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, DESIGN, 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, go to www.ubmelectronics.com; follow us at @ubm_electronics to get the latest UBM Electronics news.

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