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News Archive Florida Inventors Hall of Fame to Hold 2017 Induction Ceremony Nov. 6

First scientist couple, USF professor who is co-inventor of DSL among top innovators honored

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2017) – The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame will formally induct eight inventors from across the state on Monday, Nov. 6, in recognition of their innovations that have revolutionized global communications, provided better healthcare, and advanced artificial intelligence and other modern technologies.

The induction ceremony and gala will be begin at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Tampa Downtown, 211 North Tampa Street. Interested media are invited to attend an availability with the new inductees at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Tampa ballroom.

Andrew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will be presenting official medals to the 2017 class, which collectively hold more than 270 U.S. patents. Joining the Hall of Fame is the first couple to be inducted, Drs. T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, who jointly hold 15 U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 8, the gala was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Due to the change, two inductees — Richard Gitlin of the University of South Florida (USF) and Issa Batarseh of the University of Central Florida (UCF) — are unable to attend. Designees from their respective institutions will accept the medals on their behalf.

This is the 4th annual ceremony for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, whose home is at the USF Research Park where the inventors are recognized in the Inventors Walk of Fame and in an exhibit of artifacts. The new honorees join 20 fellow Floridians and former Florida residents — including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Gorrie and Robert Cade — who have contributed to the state’s rich history as a leader in innovation.

The 2017 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame are:

  • Issa Batarseh, director of the Florida Power Electronics Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCF in Orlando, for inventing low cost, high efficiency micro-inverters for photovoltaic (PV) applications that led to the creation of the first compact single solar PV panel. Batarseh holds 31 U.S. patents.

  • Michael J. DeLuca, electrical engineer and IP counsel for NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light, in Juno Beach, for his groundbreaking technology known today as “voltage scaling,” which significantly increased the battery life of portable communication devices. DeLuca holds over 150 U.S. patents in a number of different fields, including electric power conservation, wireless communications, advanced interfaces, augmented reality, and digital camera technologies.

  • Kenneth M. Ford, co-founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, in Pensacola and Ocala, for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence and human-centered computing, and for his significant contributions to the United States and Florida’s technology and research communities. Ford holds two U.S. patents.

  • Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, internationally-lauded businessman, and current CEO and chairman of OPKO Health in Miami, who invented a revolutionary disposable punch biopsy tool, as well as various therapeutic methods for treating rhinitis, cell disease, and diabetes. Frost holds nine U.S. patents.

  • Richard D. Gitlin, State of Florida 21st Century World Class Scholar and Distinguished University Professor at USF in Tampa, for his innovative research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems that transformed communication technology. Gitlin, the co-inventor of DSL, holds 65 U.S. patents.

  • Thomas H. Maren, (1918-1999), physician, Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, and charter member of the UF College of Medicine faculty, where he chaired the Department of Pharmacology for 22 years. Maren’s research resulted in the invention and commercialization of Trusopt®, the first topical treatment for glaucoma. He is a named inventor on two U.S. patents.

  • T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, the first scientist couple nominated to the Hall of Fame, jointly hold 15 U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering, specific to laser-induced surface improvement (LISI) that have greatly contributed to increased patient safety and improved medical outcomes in facilities nationwide. Dwayne McCay is president and CEO of the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, and Mary Helen McCay is a native Floridian, Florida State University and UF alumnus, former NASA Payload Specialist Astronaut, and former director of the National Center for Hydrogen Research at FIT.

More information is at or contact

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FIHF) recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achieve¬ments have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. Founded in 2013 and housed in the University of South Florida Research Park in Tampa, FIHF was recognized by Florida Senate Resolution 1756 in April of 2014. FIHF encourages individuals of all ages and backgrounds to strive toward the betterment of Florida and society through continuous, groundbreaking innovation, and, by commending the incredible scientific work being accomplished in the state, to further the growth of Florida’s innovation sector.

Media Contact: Holly Behrend
(813) 974-1101