Atlanta skyline

Welcome to our first roundup of the DIG the Innovators series — a bi-weekly brief on the latest and greatest from leading brands and fiercely ambitious entrepreneurs across the South. These are the people and companies who make our #SucceedInTheSouth motto ring true. Let’s jump right in:

Atlanta scores big

Turns out, the Falcons aren’t the only Atlanta team making news lately. Both the Hawks and the Braves were recently named among the nation’s most tech-savvy professional sports teams — and for good reason. The Hawks partnered with Experience, an Atlanta-based tech company, to launch a fully digital and mobile ticket plan, fans can now interact with a (pretty epic) 3D video mapping court projection system, and earlier this month their EVP, Brand and Innovation & Chief Creative Officer Peter Sorckoff was recognized as a member of the TAG Game Changers – Sports Technology list. The Braves’ VP of Marketing, Adam Zimmerman, recently hinted at the possibility of augmented reality at their new ballpark development, and last summer, the team partnered with Atlanta Tech Village, even hosting a weekend-long hackathon where local entrepreneurs could pitch new fan experience solutions to the club. Oh and by the way — both Sorckoff and Zimmerman are DIG ICON speakers this April.

Taking flight in South Carolina

Boeing South Carolina recently launched two new innovation efforts at their North Charleston production facility, home to the company’s second 787 Dreamliner final assembly. The “innovation cells” – collaborative brainstorm rooms on the production floor – and “EDGE teams” – small groups of mechanics and engineers who work alongside each other to create product solutions – have already set a record number of invention disclosures (like a quad-bot cell that uses robots to build fuselage sections).

A high note for Lowe’s

The Mooresville, North Carolina-based home improvement giant recently appointed Jocelyn Wong as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Wong will oversee the company’s media agency review (Lowe’s spent nearly $360 million on domestic measured media in 2015) and lead the brand’s strategy as they navigate both staffing and consumer shopping changes.

VW supports Tennessee’s young minds

Volkswagen Group of America, which has a huge presence in Chattanooga, recently partnered with the State of Tennessee to establish a $1 million science lab program. Called Volkswagen eLabs, the program will provide at least fifteen Hamilton County middle and high schools with the opportunity to create science labs with emerging technologies like automated manufacturing equipment, 3D printers, robotics, and renewable energy kits.

Don’t trash this Atlanta startup

Founded in Louisville and now based in Atlanta, Rubicon Global makes the waste industry look cool with cloud-based trash and recycling solutions. Earlier this month, the “Uber of trash” was honored with an Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and they just inked a global partnership (plus a $50 million funding round) with SUEZ, a Paris-based sustainable resource management company. That brings Rubicon’s total funding to nearly $150 million.

Stay tuned for more Southern innovation highlights, and as always – give us a shout on Twitter if there’s something we should include.

Photo credit: Fox Sports South