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NOVA Innovation Competition 2012

Selection of the Finalists

Choosing the NOVA Innovation Competition 2012 finalists was a lengthy and thoughtful process. It started back in April 2012, when startups from all over the world were invited to submit their innovative business ideas in construction products, advanced materials, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability to Saint-Gobain. From a total of 168 entries received by the competition deadline in July, the field was narrowed to 39 semi-finalists, and then ultimately to the 8 finalists who competed in the final round at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Francisco.

Each of the competitors went through a stringent review process by a panel of in-house and outside experts, which included representatives from Saint-Gobain, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. Green Building Council — Northern California Chapter, and Webcor Builders.

As part of the finalist selection process, the panel considered a variety of criteria in deciding which of the businesses offered the best strategic fit with Saint-Gobain. Factors included technical potential, market/business potential and management team potential. The judges also considered the startups’ potential for success in the market as well as the potential for partnership with Saint-Gobain. The semi-finalists were ranked, evaluated, and then re-ranked based on input from both Saint-Gobain’s internal team and the outside experts. The resulting 8 finalists represent the most promising of the startups and had the opportunity to present their innovative business ideas to Saint-Gobain in a live speed-dating format at Greenbuild.

Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Timeline

Meet The Jury

A judging panel consisting of Saint-Gobain business leaders selected the winners of the NOVA Innovation Competition 2012.

Armand Ajdari Prior to joining Saint-Gobain, Armand Ajdari had an academic career as a physicist in CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) in France. He was head of a research lab at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles in Paris from 1997 to 2007, and authored or co-authored more than 120 scientific papers and several patents. Armand taught graduate courses in several universities and schools in France. Additionally, he spent two years in the USA, first as a visiting scientist at Harvard University and then as a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT. He is currently the R&D Vice President for the Innovative Materials Sector of Saint-Gobain and was previously the Deputy R&D Vice President for the Saint-Gobain Group.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Armand Ajdari
Didier Roux studied chemistry and physics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of St. Cloud and earned a Ph.D in 1984. He published more than 150 international publications, and has earned 13 patents. He has been awarded prizes and distinctions including the Grand Prix IBM materials and the Grand Prix of the French Academy of Sciences Mergier Bourdeix. Didier holds the Silver Medal of CNRS. Interested in applications of research, he participated in the creation of two startups in 1994. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences (Institut de France) and the French Academy of Technologies. In 2005 he was appointed the Research and Development Vice President for Saint-Gobain and is currently Vice President of R & D and Innovation.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Didier Roux
Claude-Alain Tardy graduated from Ecole Centrale de Paris and received his MS in industrial engineering & engineering management from Stanford University. He joined Saint-Gobain Vitrage as a production manager in 1981, became Managing Director Saint-Gobain de Colombie in 1985, followed by Managing Director of Eurofloat, Vice President of Corporate Planning, Vice President Norton Abrasives North America and Asia, Vice President Saint-Gobain Glass Europe, and Chief Operating Officer of Saint-Gobain Insulation Activity. Claude-Alain is currently President of Saint-Gobain Gypsum and Vice President of Eurogypsum Association.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Claude-Alain Tardy
Jean-Pierre Floris graduated with a degree in engineering from the Ecole des Mines de Paris. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Paris and a master’s degree in Economic Systems Planning from Stanford University. He was President of the Alumni Association of the Ecole des Mines de Paris and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ecole des Mines. Within Saint-Gobain Jean-Pierre has held various positions including Financial Controller, Technical Manager and Plant Manager in a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain and Corning, Industrial Director of Saint-Gobain Desjonquères, Managing Director of the Specialty Containers activity, General Delegate of Saint-Gobain for Spain and Portugal, General Delegate of Saint-Gobain for the Brazil / Argentina / Chile zone, President of the Innovative Materials Sector, and is currently Senior Vice-President in charge of the Packaging Sector and of the oversight of the Innovative Materials Sector
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Jean-Pierre Floris
Gérard Aspar graduated from the Business School of HEC Paris (Hautes Etudes Commerciales) in 1976. The same year, he founded K par K, where he was appointed President in 1989. Gérard transitioned to GME in 1992, where he served as President until the company’s acquisition by Saint-Gobain in 1996. He then became General Manager and created La Plateforme distribution concept in France. Since then he has held several positions within Saint-Gobain, including Director of International Operations and New Concepts for Saint-Gobain Building Distribution and Corporate Chief Marketing Officer of the Saint-Gobain Group.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Gerard Aspar
John Crowe earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University and an M.B.A. from Boston College. In 1978 John joined Norton Company (which was acquired by Saint-Gobain in 1990) as a process engineer. Over the years, he has held various positions in engineering, financial management, business development, marketing and sales, and general management in the company's Advanced Ceramics and Crystals businesses. John has also held the following positions: President of the Fluid Systems Division of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, President of Bearing & Seal Technology, Division President of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, President of Saint-Gobain Abrasives and has been the President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Corporation, the North American operations of Saint-Gobain, and of CertainTeed since 2011.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: John Crowe
Julia DiCorleto earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering & materials science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D in polymer science/chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to her industrial career, Julia spent two years at the JJ Thomson Physical Laboratory at the University of Reading in Reading, England. She joined Saint-Gobain Abrasives in 1995 as a Research Supervisor. She has worked in R&D for the Abrasives and Performance Plastics Divisions and held the positions of Director of Business Planning and Technology for the Composites Sector of Plastics, Business Manager for the Extruded Films Business and General Manager of the Foams Business before accepting her current position as General Manager of the Foams & Tapes Business Unit of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Julia DiCorleto
Claude Imauven graduated from École Polytechnique and Ingénieur au corps des mines. He began his career in 1983 at the French Ministry of Industry, where he held several management positions in public administration, including positions on the Minister's Foreign Trade and Industry staff. His career at Saint-Gobain began in 1993 within the Flat Glass Division, where he became Vice President of Industrial Policy, then Vice President Industry and Finance. In 1996, he was appointed General Delegate for Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Returning to France in 1999, he joined the Pipe Activity as Chief Operating Officer of Pont-à-Mousson SA. In 2001, he became Chairman & CEO of that company and President of the Pipe Activity. Since April 2004, he has been Senior Vice President of Saint-Gobain and President of the Construction Products Sector.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Claude Imauven
Rose Lee holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She joined Saint-Gobain in 1999 as Director, Strategy & Planning for CertainTeed’s Exterior Building Products businesses. Rose has served as Director, Strategy & Planning for CertainTeed, Executive Director, eBusiness, for CertainTeed, Vice President, Information Technology for Saint-Gobain in North America, Vice President and General Manager of CertainTeed’s Pipe & Plastics business as well as Vice President and General Manager, High-Performance Refractories & Crystals for Saint-Gobain Innovative Materials.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Rose Lee
Tom Kinisky started his career with Saint-Gobain in 1990 when he joined the Northboro Research & Development Center as Director of the Technical and Analytical Services Group. He has served in the Abrasives branch of the company, first as Technology Director of Worldwide Bonded Abrasives, then as Vice President of Technology and New Business Development. Tom moved into general management in 2002, when he was named President of Saint-Gobain Crystals. He is currently President of the Performance Plastics business within the High Performance Materials Sector of Saint-Gobain.
Saint-Gobain 2012 NOVA Competition Jury Member: Tom Kinisky
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