Gathering at the Joseph A. Floreano Convention Center for the 2017 Greater Rochester Excellence and Achievements in Technology (GREAT) Awards, dozens of the brightest minds in Rochester’s booming tech field mingled, offering up details of their companies’ platforms, missions and innovations. The an annual event hosted by Digital Rochester celebrates the best of the best in Rochester’s tech landscape.
Digital Rochester President Nicole Mahoney said the continued growth of the GREAT Awards, which were launched in 2010, is a testament to the powerful drive in the Rochester tech industry.
“To see how it’s grown and evolved since 2010, and with no shortage of brilliant ideas, is really exciting,” Mahoney said.
Causewave Community Partners, a company which created a digital media bank to help nonprofits build and grow their brands, won the award for best in digital marketing. Lime Creative, Hillside Family of Agencies and The Digital Hyve were finalists.
CloudCheckr won the award for emerging tech over finalist Admit+. CloudCheckr provides cloud storage management for companies, offering an average of 30 percent storage savings per year.
The award for emerging tech leader saw three bright young minds recognized for their potential to change the tech landscape: Dan Schneiderman, Valentina Peric and Liz Gombert.
Schneiderman, a research associate and liaison at RIT, whose focuses include open-source projects and organizing monthly speakers and community hackathons, took the award.
“I want to give a special thanks to my family for supporting every crazy idea I’ve ever had,” Schneiderman said, accepting his award.
The award for health care honors companies who had made strides to better patient services by way of innovative tech. This year, the nominees included iCardiac Technologies and Carestream, with Carestream ultimately taking the win.
Carestream is known for innovative solutions to medical imaging systems. This year, they were recognized for their Onsight 3-D Extremity System, a compact device which captures images of extremities via cone-beam technology.
Honoring the brightest members of the community yet to begin their careers, the student finalists recognized University of Rochester’s Melissa Becker, RIT’s Brandon Datko and RIT’s Joan Bempong.
Becker, whose work is on creating safer and more efficient lithium ion batteries, took the award. The applications for Becker’s research include use in creating safer electric cars.
“Imagine what would happen if what happened with the Samsung phones happened to electric cars,” Becker said. “It could be catastrophic.”
The award for tech innovator recognized companies which have used fresh ideas in the tech field to sustain their company. Datto won over fellow finalists iVedix and Viggi Corp. Datto creates products and services sold to small to medium-sized businesses at a monthly recurring revenue.
The final award of the evening recognized a single person leading Rochester’s innovative tech marketplace. The winner, of a company constantly pushing to create better products to serve the community and clients, was David Wilson of Paychex, beating out Aaron Newman of CloudCheckr.
“This is humbling. I wouldn’t be here without my great team,” Wilson said. “And I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family, my wife and my kids who have to deal with a dad in IT.”
Closing out the ceremony, Mahoney called for several rounds of applause for all of the competing finalists.
“The reason I love Digital Rochester is that I get to hang out with all of you guys, and to see all of the great work you all are doing to keep Rochester on the map as one of the nation’s biggest tech regions,” Mahoney said.