McDonough to innovators: TJ was right

McDonough to innovators: TJ was right

About 280 tech entrepreneurs, along with a handful of politicians and higher ed administrators, donned black tie—or at least black—last night at Farmington Country Club for the 2008 Charlottesville Innovation Awards, presented by the tech-loving Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC). Winners included Meddius, a healthcare support company; Musictoday, the music ticketing and merch company started by Coran Capshaw and now owned by Live Nation; Cellular Materials; Computers4Kids for community involvement; Western Albemarle teacher Beth White; Elizabeth Pyle of Pyle and Associates; Lika Kolker of Leapfrog Solutions; and Michelle Prosser of Energy Focus for her leadership in CBIC.

Keynote speaker William McDonough delivered a quickie version of his boilerplate “Cradle to Cradle” talk, opening with an invocation of Thomas Jefferson, who, he said, “saw himself as a designer first.” “The earth belongs to the living” McDonough quoted TJ as saying in a letter to fellow great thinker John Adams. And the point of Cradle-to-Cradle design, said McDonough, onetime UVA architecture dean and now one of the world’s leading voices for just, sustainable, non-polluting design and technologies, is to honor that wisdom. “Being less bad is not being good,” he said, repeating a favorite line. “Efficiency won’t save us.” He also uttered his by-now famous axiom “Waste is food,” which may have made the assembled contemplate what was on their plates at that moment passing as salmon.

McDonough concluded his brief Power Point presentation by showing some of his firm’s marquee projects, an astounding array of green roofs and solar-powered business campuses for clients like Nike, Wal-mart, Herman Miller and the Chinese government, which truly spoke to the power of unfettered innovation as well as a healthy budget and worldwide connections.

"I’d like to thank Coran Capshaw, who had a spark in his eye 12, 14 years ago," said MusicToday’s Del Wood, accepting the CBIC Spotlight Award on behalf of the Crozet-based ticketing and merchandise company.

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