US: Inventors honoured

The Chicago Toy and Game Group honoured toy and game inventors at the first Toy and Game Inventors Event (TAGIE).
Publish date:
Social count:

This year’s winners were determined by toy and game fans, who cast their vote online at the TAGIE Web site.

The TAGIE award for Inventor of the Year for Excellence in Toy Design went to Steve and Jeff Rehkemper of Rehkemper Invention and Design; Inventor of the Year for Excellence in Game Design went to Gary Donner and Michael Steer of Random Games and Toys; and Inventor of the Year for Rising Star/Rookie Inventor went to Colleen McCarthy-Evans and Joyce Johnson of Toying with Games.

Also, Jeffrey Breslow, creator of the popular Ants in the Pantsä board game and many other well-known toys, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the toy and game industry. Breslow, who began his inventing career under the famed Marvin Glass, recently retired as president and co-founder of Big Monster Toys (BMT), the world’s largest toy and game inventing studio. An estimated 78 per cent of American households own toys designed by BMT.

“We are thrilled to honor the great minds behind our country’s favorite toys,” said Mary Couzin, executive director of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. “We recognise the talents of people in many industries, and it’s time these creative individuals receive credit for their contributions.”

Steve and Jeff Rehkemper of Rehco, LLC (winners, Excellence in Toy Design) re-invented the flying toy category – developing the first remote-controlled toy helicopter. The company’s products have generated more than $1 billion in combined sales and include clients such as Mattel, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, Tiger and Spin Master.

Garry Donner and Michael Steer (winners, Excellence in Game Design) of Random Games & Toys gained major success with Pocket Trivia – selling more than 10 million units under the Hoyle brand.

Colleen McCarthy-Evans and Joyce Johnson (winners, Rising Star/Rookie) met at a “Game Design for Fun and Profit” class and became business partners in 2002. After only six years, the company has already been recognised for: In a Pickle and Aunt Millie’s Millions (sold by Gamewright); There’s a Fly in My Soup and Beeline (sold by Basic Concepts); Pokemon Pokeball Flip, Be the Expert, Pandamania and Dig that Dinosaur (sold by Pressman) and Disney Fairies Fancy Flight and To Know Me Is To Love Me (sold by Danawares).

Speakers at the ceremony included numerous experts in the field, including those in product acquisition for some of the world’s largest toy companies, toy and game historians and experts, game buyers for large retail companies, consultants, graphic designers, game inventors and more.


Toy & Game Inventors Workshop 2014 review

The first Toy & Game Inventors Workshop took place in September, as budding toy creators grasped the opportunity to pitch their ideas to some of the biggest companies in the industry. Billy Langsworthy reviews the event and explains how it marks the beginning for a new inventor-shaped string to ToyNews’ bow.

Featured Jobs

Vivid Job Logo 620 x 349

Digital Marketing Executive - Toys & Games

Vivid is Britain’s biggest toy company and the 20 largest in the world. With offices across the globe, they sell an amazing portfolio of toys and games to over 60 countries. Vivid is best known for its association with blockbuster brands and is very excited about future opportunities around the world.


UK Sales Agents

Liberty House Toys have been appointed as the exclusive UK distributor for the BiOBUDDi brand, and we are pleased to introduce this new unique, innovative and exciting range of 100% environmentally-friendly toy building blocks. We are seeking experienced sales agents with existing network in the toy retail market.

Gameplan Job Logo 620 x 349

Head of Product Development & Marketing

Our client is a privately owned French toy and games manufacturer which sells through distributors in forty countries. The company develops and sells innovative electronic interactive toys and games for the educational and gaming markets, and also takes suitable licenses. To progress its successful business development a Head of Product Development & Marketing is to to recruited.

HIT Entertainment Job Logo 620 x 349

Licensing Systems Administrator

The Contract System Coordinator is a newly created role to support the deal term entry process into Mattel’s new Contract Management System for its Licensing business. The role will support the Business Teams at the Deal & Amendment phase of the contracting process and act in conjunction with the System Administration team.