2019 Innovator of the Year Awardees

Innovate Long Island is proud to announce the winners of its fourth annual Innovator of the Year awards. The list includes multiple awardees in technology, clean energy, health science/medical devices, invention and craft food & beverage. Two special categories – no boundaries and high school student innovation – hold especially outstanding award winners.

The 2019 program recognizes an impressive cross-section of aspiring young inventors, successful startups and big thinkers:


  • Mitch Maiman ~ CEO, Intelligent Product Solutions


  • Yacov Shamash ~ Vice President for Economic Development, Stony Brook University


  • Half Hollow Hills High School East junior William Banai, who as a sophomore earned “Top 10 in the World” honors at the 2018 DECA International Career Development Conference
  • Danielle Kelly of the Friends Academy in Locust Valley and Audrey Shine of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, who teamed up to win the 2018 Spellman HV Electronics Clean Tech Competition
  • Jonathan Preminger, who as a third-year student at Hofstra/Northwell’s Zucker School of Medicine invented the ultraviolet-powered SteriLocker, a patented garment sterilizer
  • Unispan, Hofstra University’s student-run record label and a big part of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which achieved several firsts in 2018


  • Old friend Aaron Foss, whose uber-successful robocall blocker Nomorobo has hurtled past the 1 billion-calls-blocked plateau
  • Jericho-based iTutor, a 2013 startup offering online tutoring and standardized-testing prep assistance for K-12 students
  • Cutting-edge Smithtown-based innovator MIDI Medical Product Development


  • Legendary Feinstein Institute researcher Betty Diamond, responsible in 2018 for multiple publications and breakthroughs in her relentless investigation of lupus
  • Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Renee Pekmezaris, who’s exploring home-telehealth options specifically for Spanish-speaking patients
  • Stony Brook-based iCell Gene Therapeutics, which works closely with China-based researchers on the development of “chimeric antigen receptor-engineered drug therapeutics” – including potential cancer treatments
  • James Hayward, president and CEO of Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences, which is spreading its DNA-based authentication and supply chain security solutions around the world


  • StorEn, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, which is advancing the clean-gen science of revolutionary vanadium-flow batteries
  • Allied Microbiata, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, which battles environmental contamination with unique microbes and enzymes
  • Hofstra University Assistant Biology Professor Javier Izquierdo, a microbiologist looking to improve local plant health and turn agricultural waste into cutting-edge biofuels.


  • Margaret and Bruce McDonough, founders of health pet-food startup Talk Treats to Me
  • Valley Stream-based green thumbs Peyton and Melanie Marsh, proprietors of the City Leaf Farm, an indoor “vertical farming” enterprise
  • Taylor Knapp, founder of Peconic Escargot, Long Island’s first-ever snail farm


  • Garden City’s Cradle of Aviation Museum, honored for its 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo moon landing (and Long Island’s critical contributions)
  • LG Studios, the new Edgewood video-production mecca spearheaded by Lorraine Gregory Communications, Mirrorland Productions and the Drake Media Network
  • Ashley Heather, founder of iHamptons and The Spur, a rapidly expanding “private co-working and entrepreneur’s club” for East End entrepreneurs
  • The SnappyXO Design Innovation and Robotics Camp, a joint effort of the Plainview-based Composite Prototyping Center, Dix Hills-based Mechanismic Inc. and the Stony Brook University-based Manufacturing & Technology Resource Consortium


  • Lisa Abbey, the entrepreneurial founder of eco-friendly, travel-size beauty-products specialist Flygirl Beauty Brands
  • Steven Bofill, Brian Bofill and Brian Shimmerlik, the big brains behind Bethpage-based Vengo Labs and its next-generation personal-products vending machines
  • Chris Kane, creator of West Islip-based foodie-friendly loyalty app MunchMoney, which retooled its tech (and Long Island-focused strategy) and wound up launching nationally

Join us as we celebrate Long Island’s best and brightest ideas at the fourth annual Innovator of the Year Awards, March 26 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The morning begins with registration and networking at 8 a.m., followed by continental breakfast and the awards ceremony, with everything wrapped up by 10 a.m.

Award recipients will be profiled on the Innovate Long Island website and in a special print supplement distributed at the event. Sponsorship opportunities are available HERE.

Registration and more information

Contact Marlene McDonnell with questions via marlene.mcdonnell@innovateli.com.