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Starkey Laboratories Inc.

ABA10 WinnerCompany: Starkey Laboratories, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN
Company Description: Starkey Laboratories, Inc. is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn. The company is recognized for its innovative design, development and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Founded in 1967, Starkey employs over 3,500 people, operates 22 facilities and conducts business in over 100 markets worldwide.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Business Innovation of the Year

Nomination Title: Starkey S Series™

1. Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2009 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Starkey Laboratories, Inc., a global hearing technology company, launched the
new S Series™ family of hearing aids in April 2009. Melding industry-leading
technology with a focus on the patient’s lifestyle needs, S Series with Drive
Architecture™ creates an unparalleled listening experience. Designed to perform
in the most challenging listening situations, S Series with Drive Architectures
uses multi-core processing, similar to technology in computers to provide three
times more power than previous technology – delivering maximum performance,
comfort and personalization, while overcoming the challenges hearing aids have
traditionally presented like annoying feedback.

S Series was developed using evidence-based design, which means rigorous testing
was employed to prove the hearing instruments’ benefits before ever fitting a
patient with them. To overcome the stigma associated with the traditional
hearing aid, Starkey drew on the inspiration of modern architecture and
electronics in its design.

In October 2009, Starkey launched the S Series behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing
instrument featuring Sweep™ Technology, an innovation that took three years to
research and develop. This BTE replaces all of the traditional hearing aid
buttons and dials with an innovative touch surface that allows users to adjust
volume and change settings with the simple sweep or touch of a finger. The touch
surface is the same technology found on computer touch panels and smart phones.
The instrument, along with Starkey’s other standard hearing aids, includes
Advanced HydraShield™, Starkey’s proprietary moisture and corrosion protection
system. S Series also features T2, allowing patients to adjust hearing aid
volume or memories with a touch-tone phone.

The S Series BTE was designed for optimal patient acceptance, providing them
with a stylish, sophisticated alternative to big, bulky hearing aids, while
providing a simple, intuitive way to adjust the instrument. Patients in clinical
trials overwhelmingly preferred Sweep Technology to traditional controls in
every aspect including finding and making volume changes and finding the memory
control, as well as reliability, cosmetic appeal and overall preference. The
touch surface has a surface area of .32 inches, ten times more than a
traditional volume control wheel, allowing even those with limited dexterity to
easily adjust their hearing aids. Comfort and fit were addressed as well: the
casing was designed to comfortably fit over the ear and be nearly invisible when
worn. In addition, cosmetics researchers helped develop a sophisticated hair and
skin-tone color palette for the hearing aids, designed to complement and match
natural skin tones and hair colors.

The S Series BTE featuring Sweep Technology has won awards including a Consumer
Electronics Show Innovations 2009 Award and a Tekne Award from the Minnesota
High Tech Association.

S Series also addresses the needs of the clinical audiologist in several ways.
The fitting process is improved by integrating a measuring process to analyze
each unique ear’s individual acoustics. And the self-check system tests the
integrity of components and alerts the user if there is a problem. This
combination of features is unique in the hearing aid industry.

2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:

3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the nominee or the leader of the nominated company:

With over 30 years of industry experience to his name, Starkey President Jerry
Ruzicka is the driving force behind Starkey's manufacturing systems, quality
assurance systems, education programs, product engineering and facility expansion.

Ruzicka began his career as a Starkey technician. Today, his world-class
engineering group specializes in the research and development of mixed signal
hearing instrument integrated circuits. A teacher, lecturer and innovator,
Ruzicka has developed coursework in Quality Systems and Product and Project
Planning. He holds an associate degree in computer technology and a master's
degree in business management.