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

The 2020 program recognizes an impressive cross-section of aspiring young inventors, successful startups and big thinkers.

Herewith, the roster of awardees, to date:

Master of Innovation
Anne-Marie Scheidt
Stony Brook University’s director of economic development, earns our top annual honor after decades of innovative contributions to SBU’s commercialization ecosystem (and, by extension, Long Island’s socioeconomic progress)

John L. Kominicki Legacy Award
William Mannix
Executive Director of the Town of Islip’s Office of Economic Development and the driving force behind building Islip’s reputation as “the most business friendly town on Long Island.”


  • WEBAIR, booked another busy year staying a step ahead of cybercriminals and expanding global operations. Big moves include a lucrative new deal with AVANT Communications
  • Chief Executive Officer James Hayward, who becomes a three-time Innovator of the Year after leading Applied DNA Sciences to another stellar year
  • Chief Scientist Arie Kaufman and Executive Director Satya Sharma of Stony Brook University’s Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, home to the “Reality Deck 2.0” supercomputer and much more
  • SBU Geosciences Professor Timothy Glotch, who’s helping NASA make space safer for humans


  • Dwayne Breining, executive director, Northwell Health Labs
    Northwell’s med-tech R&D division had another innovative year, including the introduction of LabFly, making it easy to take blood tests at home.
  • Stavros Zanos, researcher leading latest bioelectronics breakthrough from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research on electric vagus nerve stimulation.


  • Hoplite Power, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, which provides smartphone “charge-sharing” battery pack hubs
  • Qunnect, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, which is using light-matter interfaces at room-temperatures to securely store and transfer information
  • SuperClean Glass, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, with self-cleaning technology using electrodes to keep solar panels clear of dust


  • Michael Lai, Hofstra University, creator of rehab-focused mobile tech Cress Health. He won a bunch of awards and contests in 2019.
  • Then-Farmingdale State University senior/now-Stony Brook University MBA candidate Orville Davis, who captured first place in the 2019 NYS Business Plan Competition’s Energy & Environment category with a recycling-focused mobile app


  • Then-Roslyn High School senior Jeffrey Wu and current Jericho High School senior Wesley Pergament, who cofounded TeenHacksLI in 2018 to connect coders, academia and industry
  • Lynbrook Senior High School’s Kaylie Hausknecht, winner of the Physics and Astronomy category at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
  • Half Hollow Hills High School’s Poojan Pandya and Ward Melville Senior High School’s Leo Takemaru, winners of the Intel’s 2019 Microbiology category
  • The team behind West Hollow Middle School’s FarmBot, a student-crafted, student-coded “open source farming robot”


  • Marc Alessi, executive director of the Business Incubator Association of New York, director of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe and quite possibly the hardest working man in Long Island innovation
  • Ziqian (Cecilia) Dong, associate NYIT professor of electrical and computer engineering
    The NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Science investigator making use of multiple grants to explore the food/energy/water nexus, critical to urban planning
  • Raj Devasagayam, dean of the SUNY Old Westbury School of Business
    As part of its innovative Master’s Degree in Forensic Accounting program, SUNY Old Westbury introduces the Justice for Fraud Victims project
  • Terri Arnold-McKenzie, Hofstra University, program manager for diversity-focused capital-access program Ascend Long Island
  • Dylan Ander, Hofstra University business student and CEO of digital marketing agency Next Core Media


  • Irwin Pearl and Tom Williams, seventy-something founders of Sleep BioLogics, got their hands on an Italian patent and started manufacturing physician-prescribed, chemical-free compressed mattresses
  • Entrepreneurism: Arnold and Charles Vigliotti, who earned LIPA approval in 2019 for the Island’s first standalone large-scale anaerobic digester, coming soon to the Yaphank landfill


  • Foodpreneurs Marie and Louis Camassa of Calverton-based Lucky Lou’s Gourmet Rice Pudding – a journey from hot dog truck to diner to “the best rice pudding on the East Coast”
  • Inspired foodie Mayra Robayo, who packs Sayville-based startup Precise Gluten Free Foods (also soy- and nut-free) with tasty products, recipes and tips
  • East End Food Institute Executive Director Kate Fullam, who heads an ambitious and innovative team advocating for regional farmers, food-makers and consumers

Join us as we celebrate Long Island’s best and brightest ideas at the fifth annual Innovator of the Year Awards, March 24 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.

The Innovator of the Year Awards program is made possible each year by the continued support of Innovate LI’s sponsors
Hofstra University | Farrell Fritz, PC | Long Island Business Development Council | NYIT Nixon Peabody | Northwell Health | Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC | EisnerAmper | Ruskin Moscou Faltischek PC | SUNY Old Westbury | Farmingdale State College | Webair Town of Islip Economic Development | Stony Brook University Economic Development | Bridgeworks | Law Offices of Andrew Presberg