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SSMARt Innovation Awards



“We receive feedback, each year, on how impressive the innovation and talent is within this community. We welcome area businesses, entrepreneurs, educators, and students to put forth nominations to help us recognize and showcase innovation achievements in the Algoma district.”

- Don MacLennan, Acting Executive Director, SSMIC


Congratulations to our 2016 SSMARt Innovation Award Winners!

The 11th annual SSMARt Innovation Awards hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) took place on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. 
Held at Grand Gardens Downtown Sault Ste. Marie, the luncheon event celebrated the science and technology sectors within the Algoma region.  
The SSMARt Innovation Awards honours companies and influential individuals for their innovative contributions to the science and technology sectors of the Algoma District. 

Meet our 2016 SSMARt Innovation Award Winners

Eight “Innovation of the Year” awards were awarded at the ceremony. Click here to view a video of our winners.

Innovation Company of the Year – STUFFF Lubricants Inc.

Founded by Bill and Vikoria Betournay of St. Joseph’s Island, STUFFF Lubricants Inc. manufactures non-toxic, environmentally-friendly lubricants and penetrants that are biodegradable, renewable and made from 100% recycled canola oil feedstock.  Since launching in 2014, STUFFF has been progressively growing – even securing a partnership with Home Hardware Canada, and is currently leading the bio-based lubricant market by offering products with applications that are suitable for the environment. Learn more at www.stufff.ca and www.facebook.com/stufff.ca

Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year – Micaela Mansfield

Micaela Mansfield is an innovative educator who encourages the use of technology in her classroom to enhance her students’ learning and capabilities. Micaela has incorporated a ‘flipped classroom’ method of teaching, using Google Apps for Education, plus a variety of other applications.  In partnership with a colleague, Micaela has helped create an app, called iCanProgress, that supports authentic assessment, documentation of student progress and visible student learning in the classroom with customizable rubrics and checklists, and it links directly back to the Ontario curriculum. 

Micaela has recently accepted the position of Curriculum Coordinator for Kindergarten to Grade 6 for the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board.

Innovation Project of the Year – Innovative Teachers Inc. for iCanProgress app

This project was created in Sault Ste. Marie by teachers, for teachers. Innovative Teachers Inc. aimed to strengthen communication between teachers, students and parents regarding student progress through the development of an app, called iCanProgress. This project is committed to transforming assessment practices in Ontario Elementary Education (K-8), focusing on providing educators with an intuitive platform that combines learning goals, success criteria, and descriptive feedback with parental engagement.  iCanProgress was officially launched in September of this year and currently has over 1,300 students at over 15 schools across Ontario. 

Innovation Researcher of the Year – Dr. Isabel Molina, Associate Professor with the Biology Department at Algoma University

Dr. Isabel Molina’s innovative research will impact industries ranging from forestry to biomaterials and biofuels, with much experience and expertise in the field of plant biology. Her passion is evidenced by her contributions in working with other researchers studying the genes responsible for making and maintaining the fatty acids and waxes plants use to assemble their cuticles. Helping plants – especially crops – to better withstand drought and high temperatures is increasingly important in an era of climate change.

Dr. Molina has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) for a collaborative research project with The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Oklahoma, titled “A class II KNOX gene, KONX4, controls see physical dormancy.

Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship – Entomica

Entomica inspires learning in Sault Ste. Marie for both locals and tourists to the region by providing the community with an opportunity to experience and interact with spectacular insects from all over the world – acting as a catalyst for social engagement and education.  Entomica is the only insectarium, zoo, natural history museum, and science centre in Canada that not only allows, but also invites each and every visitor to hold the different insects in an effort to inhibit fear and teach people that insects are a natural and critical part of our world and environment. 

Entomica recently won two prestigious science awards in the same year from the Canadian Association of Science Centres, including Best Program for a Small Institution, and one for the Making a Difference in Canada Award.

Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year – Conner Flood

Conner Flood, an Algoma University graduate currently working on his Masters of Mathematics (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo, has been working on many innovative projects, including an induction proof generator that has been launched on the Wolfram|Alpha website as a free tool for students. Conner is now focusing on completing his thesis, which involves designing and implementing a web application for Mathbrush – a pen recognition application, which is used for recognizing mathematical expressions as you draw them. 

Conner has also been involved with an application that assists users with completing kitchen-related tasks using syndetic assistance processes.  As well as conducting research on Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) that allow people with locked-in syndrome to communicate without moving a muscle and implementing various networking solutions including a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).  

Innovation in Web and Social Media – Invasive Species Centre for their Asian Carp Campaign

Through the deployment of the Asian Carp Campaign, the Invasive Species Centre developed invaluable digital and social media tools -- a website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, and a seven-part Webinar series – informing people of the dangers of Asian Carp in the Great Lakes www.asiancarp.ca , www.facebook.com/asiancarpca and www.twitter.com/asiancarpca. This science-based, multi-platform campaign has met the informational needs of audiences by targeting students, youths, professionals, members of Indigenous communities, academia, and naturalists in the Great Lakes Region.  The campaign has developed easy-to-use products and materials that are appropriate for multiple audiences and circumstances.

Innovation Youth of the Year – Michelle Delorme

Michelle is a grade 11 student at St. Mary’s College who has a passion for botany and community outreach and engagement.  Under the supervision of her science teacher, Mrs. O’Donnell, Michelle has taken the initiative to create and maintain a vegetable garden at St. Mary’s College.  Michelle strategically planned and planted different produce amoung 10 raised garden beds.  The harvested produce was weekly donated to St. Vincent de Paul or the Soup Kitchen.  Michelle also maintains exceptional grades, while volunteering and working at other organizations in the community. She is a Duke of Edinburgh award recipient, competitive swimmer and Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club Coach.


Award Descriptions:

Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship

This award acknowledges an individual, organization or collective who has demonstrated leadership and innovation in the science and/or technology sector that has had a significant social, cultural or environmental impact in their community. The social innovator of the year will have used science and/or technology as a catalyst for positive change. This can be in the form of entrepreneurship and/or community initiatives and covers both non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Innovation Youth of the Year

This award acknowledges an individual up to grade 12, who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology sector through education, volunteering or sheer passion for the industry.  Contributions may be through outstanding academic achievement; leadership in the area of science and/or technology, community involvement, leadership, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year

This award acknowledges an individual who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology sector through his/her university/college work.  Contributions may be through outstanding academic achievement; leadership in the area of science and/or technology transfer, or the commercialization of new technology; development of innovative processes and products; diversity of research, scholarship, leadership, entrepreneurship.

Innovation in Web and Social Media

This award acknowledges the individuals/organizations within the Algoma District responsible for developing effective use of web and/or social media for campaigns and/or ongoing promotion. This award category is open to both organizations and web design/media companies.

Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year

This award acknowledges a teacher or professor, who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology sector through education, volunteering or sheer passion for the industry.  Contributions may be through use of innovative teaching methods in the classroom (i.e. engaging students with web 2.0 methods such as podcasts, blogs etc.); leadership in the area of science and/or technology, community involvement, leadership, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

Innovation Researcher of the Year

This award acknowledges a researcher, who has made a substantial contribution to the science and/or technology sector. The researcher's contributions have had an impact on a field of science or technology, policy, planning, etc. and do not necessarily need to have been commercialized to be considered for this award. Researchers demonstrate leadership in the area of science and/or technology research and advancement, community involvement, and leadership.

Innovation Project of the Year

This award acknowledges an organization whose science and/or technology project demonstrates leadership and/or creative use of science and/or technology.  An ideal project would include benefits such as the advancement of the organization, improvement of client/customer services and positive impact on the science and/or technology community or the community at large. The project must have demonstrated tangible success/return to the organization. This award is designed for organizations that are not necessarily science and/or technology companies but are using technology and/or science as an enabler to better serve their operation and/or clients. Pilot projects are acceptable nominations.

Innovation Company of the Year

This award acknowledges a company’s leadership through the innovation of its science and/or technology products, services or research, the sustained growth of its assets and its dedication to community involvement.  Science and/or technology should be the primary focus of this emerging or expanding company.

Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support and helping make the 2016 SSMARt Innovation Awards possible; including Gold Level, presenting sponsors OLG and Village Media.


Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support and helping make the 2016 SSMARt Innovation Awards possible; including Gold Level, presenting sponsors OLG and Village Media.



Innovation Company of the Year – Veracity Asset Management

Veracity Asset Management utilizes technology as the foundation of its cloud-based, collaborative ‘Community for Utilities’, providing a platform for utilities to manage mutual aid, critical spares and surplus assets. In 2014, Veracity entered the U.S. utility market; in the past 12 months their membership has grown to include over 1,000 utilities, represented by more than a dozen utility associations across nearly 20 states.

 Innovation Educator of the Year – Miguel Garcia-Ruiz, Algoma University

Miguel Garcia- Ruiz employs low-cost and easy-to-use technology such as ‘electronic sensors’ in all classes, allowing users to connect everyday objects to computer programs. To enhance students’ learning experience, Miguel has developed a new course on human-computer interaction where students will develop significant skills such as creativity, thinking out of the box and interface design for digital products.

 Innovation Leader of the Year – Jeff Cardoso, 8:56 Ltd.

With over five years of experience in project management and the ability to speak 27 different computer codes, Jeff Cardoso has been fundamental in helping grow 8:56, overseeing company initiatives and processes, managing the company’s application development department and international business development. Jeff offers in-depth web and app development services and is a trusted source for web site software and programming information within the region.

 Innovation Project of the Year – Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail (Jude Ortiz)

Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail brought together intersecting histories, along with a diverse cultural and ecological approach to help show all the wealth the community has to offer to people living here, and tourists visiting the community. The information is now available through mobile devices and a trilingual printed guide and audio tour.

 Innovation Researcher of the Year – Chunhua Zhang, Algoma University

Chunhua has performed research in the emerging field of geospatial research and precision agriculture and has published 3 recent papers in this area. Additional research in the areas of remote sensing of mangroves and karst environments has yielded 11 publications in the past 3 years. Chunhua joined Algoma University in 2012 and plans to collaborate with fellow AU researchers on a project to apply aerial images to monitor ranch conditions.

 Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship – Gore St. Café

Gore St. Café is more than just a café; the owners/operators offer their space for artists to showcase their talents. Gore St. Café has developed a Supper Club, offering fresh produce to customers to buy during a market that they host. They are innovating social entrepreneurship in the community by offering pay-what-you-want and bartering options for patrons to pay for their meals. The operation doesn’t have a regular, permanent menu; instead they use social media to keep their customers aware of the available meal options as they change.

 Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year – Mandy Ehnes

From July 2014-2015 Mandy worked as an NOHFC intern at Algoma University, and set-up and ran a bioacoustic migration monitoring system with 24 microphones located from Thunder Bay to Point Pelee. She engaged volunteers to run each station; student volunteers scanned recordings and analyzed the data. As an undergraduate, Mandy compared the efficacy of two recording technologies for identifying individual birds of a single species. The research being completed solves ecological monitoring problems and tests new ways to apply bioacoustic tools to answer ecological or behavioural questions.

 Innovation in Web and Social Media – Miramar Design Studio Inc.

Wacky Wings required a robust and comprehensive suite of web based applications to address the needs of two local restaurants along with the growing number of other locations in Ontario. Miramar designed, developed and deployed completely customized solutions including: public web site, mobile version, content management system, secure manager resource library, on-line air hockey game, VIP club registration, promotion/coupon campaign system, analytics and on-line ordering.

 Innovation Youth of the Year – Jordan Winter

After her family acquired honey bees, Jordan set about the task of researching tried and true over wintering techniques of hives in Northern Ontario. This grade 11 Korah student’s aim is to determine the best strategies to ensure the survivability for the over wintering of honey bees in Northern Ontario. She developed a survey to determine hive orientation, hive ventilation, feeding over the winter months, insulation materials, location to major crops and several other variables.

Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre