Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Inductees

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The inventors of the flight simulator and SPANX® are among this year’s innovators elected.

TAMPA, Fla. – Sara Blakely, a graduate of Florida State University and the inventor of SPANX®, and the late Edwin Link, the man who invented the flight simulator in the 1920s, are among the seven inventors announced today as the 2018 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

This year’s class also includes Florida native Emery Brown, a member of all four National Academies whose research has advanced anesthesiology; Phillip Furman, whose discoveries have led to treatments for viral diseases such as AIDS; Richard Houghten, for his groundbreaking research that advanced the field of drug discovery; Sudipta Seal, whose work has led to nano-medicine breakthroughs; and Herbert Wertheim, an optometrist whose eyeglass lenses have helped prevent cataracts and other eye diseases.

All will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame 5th Annual Induction Ceremony & Gala on Sep. 7, 2018, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Click here to learn more if you, or your organization are interested in attending the event.

“We are delighted to announce this outstanding class of inventors whose work has had enormous impact on the state of 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 2018 inductees hold more than 180 U.S. patents,” said Berridge, “Among them are celebrated industry leaders and alumni and representatives of six Florida universities.”

“As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, we are honored to be inducting such a distinguished group of inventors,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and senior vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise at the University of South Florida. “The 2018 inductees’ accomplishments have advanced fields ranging from aviation to health care to fashion.”

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.