THE CHICAGO TOY & GAME GROUP ANNOUNCES
2016 TOY & GAME INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS
CHICAGO, Ill. (November 22, 2016) – The winners for the ninth annual Toy & Game Innovation (TAGIE) Awards are in! The TAGIE Awards paid tribute to toy and game inventors from around the world whose creative imaginations and playful inventions resulted in today’s most enjoyable play products. At this year’s awards ceremony, excellence was recognized in the categories of Toy Innovator, Game Innovator, Rising Star Innovator, and Digital Toy or Game Innovator. The winners were selected by their industry colleagues and the public.
TOY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: David Yakos, Steamline Design with Lionel Trains for Mega Tracks
Presenter: Jeffrey Breslow, Toy Designer for 41 years
GAME INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jeremy Posner, Big Monster Toys with FatBrain Toys for Coggy
Presenter: Jeff Pinsker, President of Pressman Toy
RISING STAR INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Alice Brooks, Roominate with PlayMonster for Cotton Candy Carnival
Presenter: PJ Palijo, Vice President of Product Design & Development for NBC Universal Consumer Products
DIGITAL TOY OR GAME INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Phoebe Hayman, Seedling for Maze
Presenter: Robin Raskin, Founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT)
Excellence was also recognized in the categories of The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award, Lifetime Achievement, and Inventor Advocacy. The honorees for these categories were selected by a closed jury of industry-based judges.
The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award went to Special Olympics Chicago. Special Children’s Charities has been supporting Special Olympics Chicago programs since 1969. Their primary mission is to promote, foster and encourage physical and mental health and improvement for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and closely related developmental disabilities. The award was presented by Ellen Hassenfeld Block, a registered occupational therapist, business owner and philanthropist. James “Skinny” Sheahan, Director of Corporate Development at Special Olympics Chicago, accepted the award on behalf of the Special Olympics.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Honoree was Reyn Guyer, who developed and licensed Twister game to Milton Bradley/Hasbro and developed and licensed NERF BALL to Parker Brothers/Hasbro. He was inducted into the Hasbro inventors’ Hall of Fame in 1986. The award was presented by Phil Sage, Director of Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations at Hasbro.
The Inventor Advocacy Honoree was awarded to the UK Inventor Dinner Committee. This committee puts together the most unusual dinner each year for charity during the London Toy Fair. They are creative and show some of the less well known London landmarks by choosing a different, and hopefully inspiring, venue each year. The award was accepted by Simon Skelton, the co-founder and face of Big Ideas!
The evening was hosted by Richard Gill, a longtime member of the industry, as Skip Towne and the Greyhounds, Chicago’s #1 Blue’s band, entertained the guests along with Andy Roo Forrest, partner at Forrest-Pruzan, guest vocalist on guitar for a couple of numbers. Rich Mazel, Hasbro’s Head of Toy Acquisitions, presented the keynote speaker, Steven Fink, co-owner of Bang Zoom Design Ltd.
This year’s fun-filled evening was sponsored by Hasbro (Presenting Sponsor), NBC Universal, Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, Toy Industry Association, Michael Kohner Corporation, Jeffrey Breslow Sculpture, JMP Creative, Maya Group, McGill and Associates, The Playmakers, Peggy Brown Creative, Global Toy News, and Chicago Toy and Game Group.
For more information about the TAGIE Awards Gala visit chitag.com/tagies.
About the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
The Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc. promotes and hosts initiatives designed to encourage and promote the power of play and invention in social, educational, and professional environments. Chicago Toy & Game Group initiatives include the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG), the Toy & Game Innovation Awards (the TAGIEs), Inventor Conferences for New and Professional Inventors and Product Acquisition Executives, the Young Inventor Challenge, the Young TECH Challenge, Play in Education Conference, DiscoverGames Inventor Co-op, the PlayCHIC Fashion Show, and the Chicago Toy & Game Foundation. For more information, visit www.ChiTAG.com.