James Mayrose, chair and associate professor of engineering technology at SUNY Buffalo State, was recently honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for excellence in innovation.
Mayrose, who also serves as CEO of the private company Tactus Technologies Inc., was presented with a prestigious Tibbetts Award in a ceremony June 16 at the White House. He and 24 other heads of high-tech companies across the country were recognized for their roles in research and development for the government and for their success in driving innovation and creating jobs.
The Tibbetts Award is named for Roland Tibbetts, acknowledged as the father of the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, and is presented to individuals and businesses across the country whose technical innovations have advanced national priorities in research and development and benefited the federal government as well as private citizens.
"To be in the company of the other award-winners and to see what they’ve done was unbelievable," said Mayrose, who was nominated by the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State where he recently gave a presentation on his company, its products, and the SBIR program. "It was truly an honor to be invited to the White House and an experience I will never forget."
In 2001 Mayrose and two other colleagues started Tactus, a maker of virtual reality products for the education and industrial training fields. The company has since grown to 10 employees and has garnered more than $5 million dollars in federal research grants. Two of Tactus’s biggest products include VFrog, a virtual frog dissection simulator, and a virtual forklift safety trainer.
Along with its contributions to the field, Tactus has served as an inspiration to Mayrose’s students who see the possibilities of entrepreneurship as they pursue careers in engineering.
"It is the innovative entrepreneurs and high-growth small businesses like our award recipients who help power our economy and move it forward by creating new jobs and making our industries globally competitive," said Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA administrator. "Their accomplishments remind us all of how integral the success of high-growth small businesses are to making our country more globally competitive."