WINNER: RANDY K. BLUE

This award recognizes the top Chief Information Officer in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. Nominees must have demonstrated leadership, driven innovation, and delivered value to the organization. Nominees must be leaders in their own IT organization and have made a difference for an organization based in or with a significant presence in Middle Tennessee. Commitment to the technology community is also an important aspect of this award. Nominees must currently be a CIO or senior IT professional in the organization and reside in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: SUZI EARHART

This award is presented to an individual who contributes to the technology community of Middle Tennessee through involvement, leadership and excellence in giving back, as identified through open nominations. Nominees will be judged on tech community involvement and impact. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges. Examples include: educating our next generation technology leaders; volunteering in the tech community, including K-12 or higher education tech programs; leading, supporting, or growing tech community groups or programs, such as tech user groups or tech professional mentoring programs; supporting efforts to expand or improve the available technology work force through training, mentorship, or otherwise supporting tech professionals; and/or supporting non-profit, government or education through donating needed technology, and/or time and talent. Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee.

WINNER: BILL SIMPSON

This award is presented to the top Chief Technology Officer in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. Nominees must have driven innovation and delivered value to their organization and its customers through their visionary leadership of a technology-based product or service development or delivery. Nominees must be leaders in their organization and have made a difference that positively impacts Middle Tennessee. Commitment to the technology community is also an important aspect of this award. Nominees must currently be the CTO or senior IT professional in the company and reside in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: JASON BARNETT

This award is presented to the top senior IT security professional in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. Nominees must have demonstrated leadership in their field, improved the security of their organizations’ data and technology resources, created a security-conscious culture, and delivered value to the organization. Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee. Nominees must be leaders in their organization and have made a difference that positively impacts Middle Tennessee. Commitment to the technology community is also an important aspect of this award. Nominees must currently be a senior cyber security professional in the organization. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: JASON KING

This award is presented to the top data scientist or business intelligence professional in the Middle Tennessee region as identified through open nominations. Nominees must have demonstrated measurable business impact through the use of data science. They should also be viewed as technological leaders in their own organization and in the community. Involvement in user groups, participation in hackathons or competitions and furthering the development of the region’s technology community is a plus. Commitment to the technology community is also an important aspect of this award. Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: SHEILA GIBSON

This award is presented to an individual who advocates for traditionally underrepresented minorities in technology in Middle Tennessee through leadership, mentorship, and community activism, as identified through open nominations. Nominees will be judged on community impact and advocacy for underrepresented minorities in tech such as women or ethnic and racial minorities (Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, Asian, Native American). Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges. Examples include: leading diversity and inclusion efforts in the community or in an organization, raising awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion in tech, mentoring minority students or professionals, or other efforts to advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion in the Middle Tennessee tech workforce.

WINNER: CULTURALLY TECH

This award is presented to the technology company or team in Middle Tennessee making an outstanding and successful effort to improve and promote diversity and inclusion within their organization, as identified through open nominations. This initiative must predominantly make an impact in Middle Tennessee. The winning company must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to successfully implementing diverse hiring practices, promoting collaboration and diverse thinking to produce innovative products or business solutions, or providing tools and resources to advance creative and effective inclusion initiatives. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: ALI BAKHTA

This award recognizes the top Emerging Leader in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. The Emerging Leader of the Year award is presented to an individual who demonstrates excellence in delivering business results through others. Nominees should have demonstrated success in developing leadership skills and self-awareness to make a difference in the performance of their team. They should also be seen as leaders in their own IT organization and in the community. Leadership engagement in user groups and local technology events is a plus. Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee. Nominees will be judged on business results and employee development. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: AARON MONTLARY

This award recognizes the top individual Innovator in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. This award is presented to an individual who has created or implemented an innovative technology-based product, service or process that enhances customer experience, profitability, efficiency, or life experience. Nominees must currently reside be based in Middle Tennessee and the innovation must, at a minimum, positively impact a community in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: COLLEEN HOY

This award recognizes the top Product Manager or lead in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. Nominees for this award are individuals that have demonstrated exceptional insights and intuition to understand and deliver upon the needs of customers. Nominees have demonstrated exceptional ability to define, prioritize, build, communicate, and measure the success of their product. Measurements of success may include:
• Defining and delivering differentiated products that meet customer needs
• Determining product-market fit and validation
• Increasing installed base, revenue, and profitability
• Creating delighted customers who generate positive word-of-mouth referrals
• Capturing ever increasing market share, both short term and long term
Nominees must be currently a Product Manager or lead in the company and reside in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: KEVIN HUBER

This award is presented to the top software engineer in the Middle Tennessee region as identified through open nominations. Nominees must have demonstrated leadership, driven innovation and delivered value based on their technical aptitude to the organization. They should also be seen as technological leaders in their own organization and in the community. Involvement in user groups and furthering the development of the region’s technology community is a plus. Nominees must currently reside in Middle Tennessee. Nominees may be employed within an organization or be self-employed. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: TAYLOR DESSEYN

This award recognizes the top tech influencer in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. Nominees for this award have produced and managed online content to successfully promote their brand and Middle Tennessee’s tech community. The marketing activity of the influencer must have measurable analytics to show viewership, engagement, and impact. Nominees must currently be an individual within an organization or self-employed in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: JUICE ANALYTICS

This award is a celebration of a technology organization in Middle Tennessee that creates technology products or services to support the region’s economic health. The company must be innovative in its use or delivery of technology-based products and services. Nominees must be headquartered in Middle Tennessee. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.

WINNER: EMILY HINES

This award is presented to an outstanding high school educator in Middle Tennessee who has exhibited exceptional dedication to and innovation in the advancement of technology education, as identified through open nominations. Nominees will be judged on the innovation of their tech education curriculum or program, the accessibility of the program to a broad and diverse base of students, and the impact of the program on the students, school, and community. Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges. Only high school educators working in Middle Tennessee are eligible for this Award.

WINNER: MPLOYER ADVISOR

This award recognizes the top tech start-up in Middle Tennessee as identified through open nominations. The winning company must have used technology in a new and innovative way to obtain success, be headquartered in Middle Tennessee, have a founder actively working in the business, and have annual revenues of no more than $1,000,000 (not including investment). Finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges.