This year the Hassenfeld Humanitarian Award goes to Peter and Andrew Brown for their work with the Toy Trust and Help a London Child. An industry veteran, Peter has worked at Palitoy, Tomy and now at Flair with his son, Andrew. Peter is also responsible for helping launch Playmobil in the UK and K’NEX outside of the US.
When Peter received the Lifetime Achievement award from the British Toy & Hobby Association in 2011, Alan Hassenfeld said, “Peter embodies all that is good in the toy industry” and spoke of his “untiring efforts to help children in need.” Peter joined the Toy Trust, which raises money from within the toy industry for children’s charities, when it began in 1991 and has been a member ever since. At the end of last year Andrew competed and took 2nd in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge to raise money for the Toy Trust and Help a London Child. He rowed 2,935 miles across the Atlantic Ocean – alone – and it only took him 40 days! If you’d like to read more about his adventure: http://www.andrew.rowtheatlantic.com/
The Lifetime Achievement award is going to be presented to the Coster family – Theo, Ora, Boaz and Gideon. If you haven’t heard of them I’m POSITIVE you’ve heard of some of the inventions! They’re probably best known for the Hasbro classic, Guess Who? as well as the ThinkFun favorite, Smart Mouth. Boaz, Theo and Ora’s son, is the co-inventor of the childhood staple, Elefun. Personally, I spent quite a bit of time playing two of their many creations during family road trips: Play on WordZ (1986, Milton Bradley) and Travel Yahtzee. No doubt my mother bought them both because they found clever ways to keep the dice contained but still roll-able!
Theo and Ora (at right) founded their business in 1965 in Tel Aviv, Israel and after using the name Matat for a few years changed it to Theora Design (created by combining their names). An additional interesting tidbit about Theo Coster is that he was a classmate of Anne Frank and produced a documentary featuring him and 5 other classmates called Classmates of Anne Frank, which lead to a book called We All Wore Stars: Memories of Anne Frank from Her Classmates. If you’d like to see more of the products created by the Coster family and Theora Design you can head to their website: http://theoradesign.com/
This year there is a NEW award being given for Inventor Advocacy and the first to receive this award is Mel Taft. I asked Mary Couzin, founder of the TAGIE awards, why the Inventor Advocacy award was added and why Mel Taft was chosen to receive it and here’s what she had to say:
“The TAGIE awards have always been focused on the inventor community and we thought it was important to include and recognize those who have advocated for inventors. Over the years many professional inventors have suggested we recognize Mel so we’re happy to be honoring him this year.”
Taft graduated from Harvard Business School in 1949 and then jumped into a position at Milton Bradley. According to “The Playmakers,” by Tim Walsh, Taft encouraged Milton Bradley to “advertise on TV like toy giants Hasbro and Mattel.” And the result was impressive, as Milton Bradley became the largest game company in the world, even surpassing rival Parker Brothers! But Mel also had a great eye for good ideas. Over the years he worked on games like Operation, Twister and Simon – just to name a few! At one point Mel said, “independent inventors contribute more than 50% of the good ideas companies market and 75% or more of the big hits.” He knew that keeping an eye out for engaging product from inventors was good for business, and even challenged inventors to push the envelope with what they presented.
Ron Weingartner, co-author of the “Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook” wrote a wonderful post on Mel on his blog back in 2010 that I urge you to read: http://toydreamers.blogspot.com/2009/12/where-have-you-gone-millens-w-taft.html
If you are interested in finding out more about the TAGIE awards and how you, yes YOU can attend please visit: http://www.tagieawards.com/
If you are attending T&GCon – your ticket is already included in the conference price! If you are interested in signing up, why not do it now and save $100 off the conference by using The Game Aisle’s coupon code! http://www.thegameaisle.com/discount-to-toy-game-inventor-con/