• Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees

    Prolific industry inventor and first scientist couple among top innovators elected

    TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 22, 2017) – Michael J. DeLuca, a prolific inventor whose work spans multiple industries, and a married couple who have collaborated on numerous patents, Drs. T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, are among the eight inventors announced today as the 2017 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

    This year’s class also includes Issa Batarseh, whose innovative research led to the creation of the first compact single solar photovoltaic (PV) panel; Kenneth Ford, for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence and human-centered computing; Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, and internationally-lauded businessman who invented a revolutionary disposable punch biopsy tool; Richard Gitlin, for his inventive research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems; and the late Thomas Maren, for inventing Trusopt®, the first commercialized topical treatment for glaucoma.

    All will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame 4th Annual Induction Ceremony & Gala on Sep. 8, 2017, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

    “We are delighted to be announcing this class of exceptional inventors whose work has greatly impacted Florida and our nation,” said Randy Berridge, who serves on the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and as chair of the selection committee.

    Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprising distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida.

    “Collectively, the 2017 inductees hold more than 260 U.S. patents,” said Berridge, “Among them are two industry inventors, the founder of one of the nation’s premier research institutes, and representatives of four Florida universities.”

    “The accomplishments of this year’s inductees have been recognized by national and international organizations with many other honors and awards,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at the University of South Florida, and a 2015 inductee. “We are honored to be inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”

    The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame was recognized by the Florida Senate in 2014 with a resolution sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes that commended the Hall of Fame “for its commitment to honoring inventors and celebrating innovation, discovery, and excellence.” The Hall of Fame is located at the University of South Florida in Tampa and supported, in part, by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

    The 2017 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame:

    – Issa Batarseh, director of the Florida Power Electronics Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, for inventing low cost, high efficiency micro-inverters for photovoltaic (PV) applications that led to the creation of the first compact single solar PV panel. Batarseh holds 28 U.S. patents.

    – Michael J. DeLuca, electrical engineer and IP counsel for NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light, in Juno Beach, for his groundbreaking technology known today as “voltage scaling,” which significantly increased the battery life of portable communication devices. DeLuca holds over 145 U.S. patents in a number of different fields, including electric power conservation, wireless communications, advanced interfaces, augmented reality, and digital camera technologies.

    – Kenneth M. Ford, co-founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, in Pensacola and Ocala, for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence and human-centered computing, and for his significant contributions to the United States and Florida’s technology and research communities. Ford holds two U.S. patents.

    – Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, internationally-lauded businessman, and current CEO and chairman of OPKO Health in Miami, who invented a revolutionary disposable punch biopsy tool, as well as various therapeutic methods for treating rhinitis, cell disease, and diabetes. Frost holds nine U.S. patents.

    – Richard D. Gitlin, State of Florida 21st Century World Class Scholar and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, for his innovative research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems that transformed communication technology. Gitlin holds 60 U.S. patents.

    – Thomas H. Maren, (1918-1999), physician, Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, and charter member of the UF College of Medicine faculty, where he chaired the Department of Pharmacology for 22 years. Maren’s research resulted in the invention and commercialization of Trusopt®, the first topical treatment for glaucoma. He is a named inventor on two U.S. patents.

    – T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, the first scientist couple nominated to the Hall of Fame, jointly hold 15 U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering, specific to laser-induced surface improvement (LISI) that have greatly contributed to increased patient safety and improved medical outcomes in facilities nationwide. Dwayne McCay is president and CEO of the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, and Mary Helen McCay is a native Floridian, Florida State University and UF alumnus, former NASA Payload Specialist Astronaut, and former director of the National Center for Hydrogen Research at FIT.

    More information is at www.FloridaInvents.org or contact info@FloridaInvents.org.

    The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FIHF) recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achieve¬ments have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. Founded in 2013 and housed in the University of South Florida Research Park in Tampa, FIHF was recognized by Florida Senate Resolution 1756 in April of 2014. FIHF encourages individuals of all ages and backgrounds to strive toward the betterment of Florida and society through continuous, groundbreaking innovation, and, by commending the incredible scientific work being accomplished in the state, to further the growth of Florida’s innovation sector. FloridaInvents.org

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