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02.2011 - Weidlinger Receives SBA Tibbetts Award for Advancing Tech Innovation with PZFlex®

The awards, which honor work initially supported by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) R&D grants, are presented to companies that are "beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology."

New York, NY; Mountain View, CA – February 15, 2011 – The U.S. engineering firm Weidlinger Associates®, Inc., developers of the 3D virtual prototyping and wave propagation analysis software PZFlex® (www.pzflex.com), received a Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Tibbetts Awards honor outstanding small businesses and individuals who participate in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The awards are presented to U.S. companies and individuals who are "beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology." Winners are selected based on "the economic impact of their technological innovation, and on whether they have met federal research and development needs, encouraged diverse participation in technological innovation, and increased the commercialization of federal research."

Weidlinger’s Applied Science & Investigations group initially developed PZFlex in 1992, sponsored by Phase I and II National Science Foundation SBIR grants. The software quickly became the premier tool of the ultrasound and piezoelectric industries. The tool’s developers, based in Mountain View, California, continued to expand its technical capabilities, applicability to other industries, and user base. Nineteen years later, creative engineers throughout the world use PZFlex to develop new products. The software’s export sales per year, particularly in Europe and Japan, now exceed the value of the original grants.

"Participation in the SBIR program has been the cornerstone of our strategy for innovation within Weidlinger Associates. This allows us to address important problems for our federal government customers and to adapt our technology to benefit the private sector as well," said Weidlinger President and CEO Raymond Daddazio.

Large discounts to academic institutions and support of student research ensure that the software is state-of-the-art and suited to diverse areas of research. Students who are trained using PZFlex typically graduate to industry positions, broadening the software’s exposure and applicability and strengthening relationships between the academic and business communities.

“PZFlex exemplifies everything that the SBIR program was designed to do—take a creative technical idea, bring it to practice, ensure a U.S. technological advantage, and use it to grow a business,” said PZFlex Business Group Director and Weidlinger Associate Principal Dr. Paul Reynolds. “Because our software can be applied across a wide range of industries—aerospace, telecom, wireless, medical, and alternative energy, to name a few—we view it as a tool that will continue to propel advancement in emerging technologies.” Dr. Reynolds accepted the award at a February 15 ceremony held in Washington, DC, which was followed by a reception at the White House for award recipients.

Weidlinger’s application for the award was supported by long-term users from around the world, some of whom became acquainted with PZFlex as graduate students. They included engineers from major ultrasound transducer companies (General Electric, Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, and Hitachi Ltd.), as well as sonar (Alba Ultrasound, Material Systems Inc.), other healthcare (Medicis Technologies), and bioinformatics (Sonavation, Inc.) companies. PZFlex distributors in Japan (CTC), and universities in the United States (University of Southern California, University of Virginia), New Zealand (Industrial Research Limited), and the United Kingdom (University of Leeds, University of Strathclyde, Institute for Medical Science and Technology at the University of Dundee), also supported the application, as did Food and Drug Administration researchers, who use PZFlex to advance cancer treatment.

The purpose of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs is to encourage research by U.S. high-tech companies with fewer than 500 employees. SBIR grants were first awarded in 1982, and STTR grants, requiring collaboration with an academic institution, in 1992. Commercial viability is an important consideration in choosing the projects to receive the Phase I, II, and III grants, which are funded by fixed percentages of 16 federal agency budgets. Since the late 1980s, Weidlinger has been awarded multiple SBIR grants.

PZFlex® is the registered trademark of virtual prototyping software first in world markets for medical therapeutics and sonar. It is the program of choice for all major U.S. and Japanese medical transducer manufacturers, as well as for scientists at prominent academic institutions engaged in studies of diagnostic and therapeutic medical ultrasound. Developed in the 1980s to improve the modeling of ultrasonic probes, PZFlex quickly became the most versatile member of a family of codes (FLEX) used to solve huge wave-propagation problems for the U.S. government. During the past two decades of intensive development, PZFlex has spawned numerous applications and attracted increasing numbers of clients. www.pzflex.com

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