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Driving Innovation and Growth
Press Release
September 13, 2012

Detroit's SurClean Wins 4th Annual Brinks Innovation Competition 
Chicago-Area Companies HEVT and ARID Technologies Named Runners-Up

SurClean’s laser-based products incorporate a disruptive technology to replace the use of harmful chemicals, media blasting and other abrasives typically used in the removal of paint and other coatings from aircraft, vessels and bridges undergoing maintenance. SurClean’s system uses a laser beam to disintegrate and remove paint and other coatings like rust from substrate in a cost-effective, safe, energy-efficient, and earth-friendly way. The product SurClean has developed addresses safety concerns, environmental issues and hazards associated with the control and use of chemicals used in coating stripping, and eliminates the production of contaminated waste products in most cases.

Two Chicago-area companies were runners-up in the Brinks Innovation Competition. The first runner-up, Chicago-based Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT), was represented at the competition by CEO Heidi Lubin. HEVT provides the transportation industry with high-performance, efficient and cost-effective components and integrated systems that foster the adoption of electrified transport and yield significant savings in fuel economy.

Second runner-up, ARID Technologies, based in Wheaton, uses innovative membrane separation technology to reduce evaporation and harmful hydrocarbon emissions at gasoline stations. The company, represented at the Competition by Mary Ann Tiberi, currently offers four primary products, including PERMEATOR, for gasoline stations; Membrane CRU for retrofit of carbon adsorption systems at bulk loading terminals; ARIDAS 150, a stand-alone monitoring and data acquisition system that measures fueling station vent emissions and pressure profiles; and the Integrated On-Spot railcar loading and fuel-vapor recovery system.

The Brinks Innovation Competition is held annually at the Midwest Clean Tech Conference, which was held this year in conjunction with the International Manufacturing Technology Show.  The Brinks Innovation Competition helps emerging and venture-ready clean and green tech companies gain visibility for their technology and make connections with early-stage investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and financiers that are focused on clean technologies, along with corporate R&D and business development executives. Entries are judged by a panel of experts from regional universities, venture capitalists and business executives familiar with clean and green technologies.

Entries in the competition are required to provide solutions to global challenges in such areas as environmental technologies, renewable and alternative energy, infrastructure and community improvements, or green building science.  These solutions must offer competitive returns for investors and customers. Products, services and processes eligible for entry must improve and promote the productive and responsible use of natural resources; reduce or eliminate negative ecological impact; and provide superior performance at lower costs compared to other approaches.

About Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with bachelors and advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Brinks has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor and Indianapolis. More information is available at

About MRUN
The Midwest Research University Network (MRUN) is an alliance of university business development professionals dedicated to facilitating growth of technology spinout companies through start–up formation. MRUN provides a forum for universities, investors and entrepreneurs to work regionally in pursuit of local venture formation. More information about MRUN is available at

Global Midwest Alliance is the only business-led economic development group for the Midwest region. The Alliance facilitates collaboration among key stakeholders to provide access to global business opportunities to the Midwest and realize economic value from existing world-class assets in the Midwest. The Alliance focuses on programs and platforms that help high growth companies develop and expand markets for businesses based in the Midwest, encourage and assist international business activities in the region, and integrate business, financial and scientific resources for successful commercialization of technology in the Midwest.  For more information, visit

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CHICAGO – Global Midwest Alliance today announced that Detroit-based SurClean, a start-up that produces laser tools for removing coatings in an environmentally safe and energy-efficient manner, is the winner of the 4th Annual Brinks Innovation Competition. The competition was held on September 12 at McCormick Place during the 2012 Midwest Clean Tech Conference presented by the Global Midwest Alliance. Chicago-based Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT) and ARID Technologies
 were runners-up in the competition.

“The Global Midwest Alliance Clean Tech Conference and Brinks Innovation Award Competition has been an energizing experience, and we are grateful for the opportunity to present our laser-based coatings removal product before such an engaged and knowledgeable audience,” said Susan Sprentall, CEO of SurClean, Inc. “Winning the Brinks' Innovation Competition establishes additional credibility and generates exposure to potential investors for SurClean.”
Left to Right: Innovation Competition Co-Chair Kelly Burris of Brinks; Competition Winner Susan Sprantell, CEO of SurClean; and Allen Dines, MRUN