Meet the Finalists: Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

This January, Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine hosted The Innovation Awards 2020, an inaugural event honoring local people and companies in 13 categories.

Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine teamed up to present The Innovation Awards 2020, a new program honoring companies and leaders—CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and others—driving innovation in North Texas.

Here are the winners and finalists for Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods.

W I N N E R

Bioworld Merchandising

Rajeev Malik has combined pop culture and streetwear with his ability to predict the tomorrows of the ever-shifting consumer market. Leveraging an opportunity to expand, Malik steered his empire, Bioworld Merchandising, to specialize not only in music-based goods but also commodities featuring other forms of entertainment. Serving as a hands-on mentor and investor for more than 500 employees, Malik is always the first to invest in their fresh ideas—however risky they may be. Over the past 12 months, he has actively invested in e-commerce platforms and diversified Bioworld’s capabilities to secure an upper hand in the ever-evolving realm. “Innovation is not only about creating something radically new but also challenging the status quo, always trying to get better and finding ways to solve problems,” he says. —Sooha Ahn

F I N A L I S T S

Mary Kay

Addison-based Mary Kay is at the forefront of innovation in the cosmetics industry. “Innovation is creating or identifying a meaningful way to fulfill an unmet need or solve a problem in a superior manner,” Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green said. To meet that challenge, the Addison-based makeup maker opened its new Richard R. Rogers Manufacturing/R&D Center (R3) in 2018 in Lewisville. The 453,000-square-foot facility supports future growth for made-in-America cosmetics and is the home to the company’s global manufacturing and research and development operations. In 2019, Mary Kay announced a groundbreaking multi-partner initiative called the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator designed to inspire and educate entrepreneurial women worldwide. It’s a strategic consultation with six United Nations agencies. “This global initiative is designed to inspire, educate, and empower women entrepreneurs around the world,” Green said. “The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator initially will be available in six languages, with more to come as the program expands to 192 countries.” While its scope is global, Mary Kay has a prominent place in Dallas-Fort Worth. “North Texas has a great and growing track record for inspiring and fostering innovation,” Green said. “The diverse DFW business community attracts and connects entrepreneurs and investors from across the country and around the world.” —Lance Murray

Solaris Technologies Services

Irving-based Solaris Technologies Services is one of the nation’s top manufacturers of mobile cellular towers. The genesis of the company came when a customer told CEO Evelyn Torres Gomez about the problem they were encountering in trying to extend one of their client’s coverage in the metro area. The customer mentioned the obstacles they encountered with permitting and zoning that prohibited new permanent structures. Gomez tackled the problem and started to design and create a high capacity mobile tower that would support the coverage expansion, but which avoided the zoning issue a permanent tower structure would face. That problem-solving led to a company shift for Solaris, transitioning it into an award-winning mobile tower manufacturing company. Gomez is supporter of STEM education and has sponsored Wylie SMARTgirls—a scion and math program for fifth- through eighth-grade girls in the Wylie ISD—for the past five years via mentorship, engineering seminars, and judging their science fair projects. —Lance Murray

VARIDESK

Founded in 2013 by CEO Jason McCann, Coppell-headquartered Varidesk has set about revolutionizing office furniture and equipment, most notably with its height-adjusting standing desks, movable wall panels and a host of accessories. The standing desks started as a way to help a friend with back pain but has grown into an international business that sells its products in more than 120 countries. “We started with a single product—the standing desk—that quickly became a global phenomenon with over 3 million users in over 120 countries,” McCann says. He said that the company listens to its fans to nurture innovation and grow. “By listening to your fans and creating a culture of learning, you can keep your eyes open to these opportunities, even once you’ve already experienced success,” McCann says. Last year, Varidesk branched out with a new office concept—space-as-a-service locations Varispace in Las Colinas and Varispace Southlake. “From a professional perspective, I’m excited about the team we’re building and the positive impact Varidesk and VariSpace are making in their lives and lives of our fan base,” McCann says. —Lance Murray

E X P L O R E   M O R E

Click each link below to take a closer look at each finalist in all 13 categories.

CIO/CTO of the Year

Corporate Innovator of the Year

Startup Innovator of the Year

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Energy

Innovation in Finance

Innovation in Food and Beverage

Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

Innovation in Placemaking

Innovation in Retail

Innovation in Technology

Innovation in Transportation

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