GWATA will host the Innovator Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, September 26 at the Wenatchee Convention Center to honor all 33 nominees and announce the recipient of each award. The 18th Annual Luncheon is presented by Giga Watt, Microsoft, Peoples Bank, and Stemilt Growers.
During the luncheon, awards recognizing local businesses and entrepreneurs will be presented. Peoples Bank will present the award for Entrepreneur of the Year. This award goes to an entrepreneur who has the vision and ability to see a need and fill it. The finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year are:
- Beth Dew, Threads
- David Kaylor, Harvest Valley Pest Control
- Kevin Cox and Kyle Cox, Coaxsher
Stemilt Growers will present the award for Innovative Tech Business of the Year (previously the Tech Savvy Business of the Year). This award is presented to a company, department, or organization that has embraced technology to transform the work environment or created a new technology to benefit an entire industry. The finalists for Innovative Tech Business of the Year are:
- Accor Technology
In addition to the business awards, there will be three awards showcasing educators and students. The recipients of each award will receive a scholarship to go towards their education or classroom materials. GWATA is seeking help from the community to raise funds for the scholarships through the eqpd “Built-For-A-Purpose” program. Supporters can purchase a limited-edition GWATA LastBag from the Twisp, Washington manufacturer eqpd (pronounced “equipped”), and 100 percent of the retail profit will go directly into the scholarship fund. Learn more about the a program at www.gwata.org/innovators/scholarship.
eqpd will present the award for Problem Solving Innovator of the Year. This award goes to a post-secondary student enrolled in a college, university or trade school who is demonstrating critical thinking, creativity, and leadership in their studies. The finalists for Problem Solving Innovator of the Year are:
- Rebecca Schmidt, University of Washington/Wenatchee Valley College
- Porter Lumpkins, Michael Olmstead, and Bernardo Farias; Wenatchee Valley College
- Kathryn Mock, Wenatchee Valley College
- Gretha Eifert and Mirsa Cassiano; Whitworth University/Wenatchee Valley College and Brigham Young University-Idaho/Wenatchee Valley College
Giga Watt will present the award for Future Tech Leader of the Year. This award is presented to a K-12 student who is demonstrating leadership and innovation through a class project. The finalists for Future Tech Leader of the Year are:
- Natalie Valdez, Wenatchee High School
- Titus Petersen, Manson High School
- Brayden Brown, Wenatchee High School
- Team FBI (Female Bot Intelligence) VEX Robotics Team, including: Miranda Mayak, Lucia Musacchi, Taylor Reyes, Asanatou Ceesay, and Annaliese Gordon; Foothills Middle School
Microsoft will present the award for STEM Educator of the Year. This award is presented to an educator or community member who demonstrates their passion for STEM education and promotes STEM pathways for students through their work. Finalists for STEM Educator of the Year are:
- Dale Blair, Wenatchee High School
- Brigitte Wiegand, Foothills Middle School
- Sarah Knox, North Central Regional Library
Learn more about the finalists and nominees by visiting www.gwata.org/innovators.
GWATA invites the community to attend the Innovator Awards Luncheon on September 26 to help recognize all of the nominees and finalists, and hear the announcement of the recipient of each award. Tickets are $55 for the public and $40 for GWATA members. Tickets can be purchased online at www.gwata.org or by calling 509.661.9000.
Since 1999, GWATA (the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance) has served as the region’s tech alliance, championing growth and development in North Central Washington. As a 501(c)3, GWATA’s mission is to bring people and technology resources together to create a thriving community. For more information visit