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A Publication of WTVP

Most people aren’t thinking about graduation right now, considering school just went back into session after summer break, but at Peoria NEXT we are always thinking about graduation. The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center concentrates on nurturing startup companies that are focused on technology and innovation, and preparing them to graduate to the wide, and sometimes wild, world of business. After two years in operation, the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center has celebrated three graduations.

Endotronix graduated from the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center in early 2009 and is now located in East Peoria at GEM Terrace. This medical device company is developing a minimally invasive wireless monitoring device that can transmit from a patient’s body. The devices will monitor a patient’s cardiovascular health from within his or her heart and blood vessels using a combination of radiofrequency identification and microelectromechanical technology. This will allow for real-time monitoring of the patient’s health inside and outside of the medical care facility, meaning the patient can be monitored remotely so they don’t have to deal with long-term hospital stays. More than 60 million people in the United States alone could benefit from this technology. Endotronix expanded its operations by partnering with Validus Technologies, Inc.

Lumec Control Products, Inc. graduated this summer and moved to a location in north Peoria. The company is dedicated to creating next-generation process control technologies, having devised its flagship product, the Dynamic Orifice Valve, which opens and closes faster than current devices in operation. This valve design is based on nearly a decade of research, development and prototype testing. Not only does it provide unparalleled fluid flow control, the valve is also able to provide accurate flow measurement and remote maintenance diagnostics.

Intellihot Green Technologies is another tenant company that is making great strides in developing a tankless water heater. Its founders recently announced that they are locating their manufacturing component in Galesburg with plans to keep their business headquarters in Peoria. This company recently received some great national press after being selected by technology mogul Bob Cringley as one of the top start-up companies outside of Silicon Valley. It will be featured on Cringley’s cable reality show starting in January.

These three companies represent the broad base of the technology-related research and development happening throughout this region. The Innovation Center has 10 more tenant companies working on projects in the fields of robotics, medical devices, biotechnology and renewable fuels, to name a few. There are several other technology start-up companies interested in the Innovation Center and the work being done at anchor organizations such as Caterpillar, Bradley University, the medical community, the Ag Lab and other area businesses and entrepreneurs.

When we talk about technology in the Peoria area, some people groan as if the words “technology” and “Peoria” don’t belong in the same sentence. But they couldn’t be farther from the truth. This region has an amazing amount of technology and research activities, and every day, more and more ideas are put to the test with hopes of making it to graduation. iBi

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