Inventors Hall of Fame highlights stars of Florida Innovation

John Cotter is working on his latest invention, a reimagined agriculture fence post. 

"Using recycled materials, reducing the number of trees that are cut down every year. It is meant to mimic a fence post that is a round fence post," said Cotter.

He is getting his PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida. He said he wants his product to not only be sustainable but less expensive.

"Because of the elevated price of lumber my hope is that it will be cost competitive," said Cotter.

And he said it could avoid supply issues for consumers and fencing contractors.

"The quality of the fence posts that are available and a lot of them wind up having to buy fence posts from Georgia," said Cotter.

Jamie Spurrier is surrounded by the work of innovation MVPs who started out much like Cotter.

She's the program manager at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame at USF.

"As a way to celebrate innovation in Florida, inventors in Florida and to kind of change the culture here in Florida and celebrate inventors the way we would celebrate heroes or national stars", said Spurrier.

On the tour of the Hall of Fame, you'll see familiar names and products.

Among them Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone of Firestone Tires, Dr. Robert Cade, the man behind Gatorade, Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx shapewear and even a star from Hollywood's golden era.

"The very well-known Oscar-nominated actress Hedy Lamar, who is known for her amazing innovations for the secret communications system which helped lead to frequency hopping which led to Bluetooth and GPS and everything we know today," said Chloe Bear, a marketing specialist with Florida Inventors.

Dr. Norma Alcantar, an Associate Dean for research in the USF College of Engineering is a recent inductee for her invention, using parts of cactus to filter water.

"A really great honor for me to be recognized," said Dr. Alcantar.

"We come to innovation and invention because people see a problem that needs to be solved, and it could be something as simple as a fence post," said Spurrier.

Cotter may not be in the hall of fame yet, but he's hoping he'll see his fence posts far and wide one day soon.

"They buy them everywhere and just use them," said Cotter.

Tours of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame exhibit are free.

Guided tours are also available by contacting

For more information about the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Museum visit: