The Innovator Awards Luncheon celebrates the drive, passion, and spirit of innovators in North Central Washington while inspiring those whose who are just starting their journey. The 18th Annual Luncheon is presented by Giga Watt, Microsoft, Peoples Bank, and Stemilt Growers.
“World-class innovation and development is happening right here in NCW,” said Jenny Rojanasthien, GWATA’s Executive Director. “It is important for us to shine a light on those in our community - our neighbors, family, and friends - who are excelling in their industries, championing growth for our community, and paving the path for the next generation.”
All of the nominees will be reviewed by a panel of community judges who select the top finalists and winner of each category. The top finalists in each category will be announced live during GWATA’s Summer Social on August 2 at Highlander Golf Course. The winner in each category will be announced live at the 18th Annual Luncheon on September 26 at the Wenatchee Convention Center. Tickets for both events are available for the public to purchase at www.gwata.org.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Presented by Peoples Bank
This award is given to an entrepreneur with vision and the ability to see a need and fill it. They have courage to make change and the stamina to await results. This recipient will have displayed exceptional vision, leadership and innovation in building a new company, developing a new product or service, or have creatively developed a way to deliver an existing product or service to the marketplace.
The 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year nominees include:
- Beth Dew, Threads
- David Kaylor, Harvest Valley Pest Control
- Kevin Cox and Kyle Cox, Coaxsher
- Andy Metcalfe, Native Network
- Kathleen McNalty, Tutor Doctor NCW
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Presented by Stemilt Growers
Successful companies are those that aren’t afraid of change and face technology innovation head on. This award will be given to an organization, company, or department that has embraced technology to transform the work environment. This recipient will be using or creating technology in ways that advance production, improve efficiency, or differentiate their product or service for a competitive advantage.
The 2018 Innovative Technology Business of the Year (previously called Tech Savvy Business of the Year) nominees include:
- FieldClock LLC
- NCWLIFE Channel
- Logic 20/20
- Accor Technology, Inc
- Dr. Kate Evans & Dr. Bruce Barritt, WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center
STEM EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR Presented by Microsoft
This award recognizes educators who are pursuing innovative approaches to learning through STEM experiences. The recipient will demonstrate a passion for STEM education, and will be seen by their peers and community as an advocate for promoting STEM pathways for students.
The 2018 STEM Educator of the Year nominees include:
- Dale Blair, Wenatchee High School
- Sheena Zacherle, WestSide High School
- Bob Martin, Cashmere Middle School
- Brigitte Wiegand, Foothills Middle School
- Dr. Karina Vega-Villa, Wenatchee Valley College
- Doug Clay, Eastmont School District
- Shelly Charlton, Chelan High School
- Sarah Knox, North Central Regional Library
- Sally Knipfer, Pioneer Middle School
- Shannon Fallon, Icicle River Middle School
- Erik Helleson, Manson Middle School
- Aaron Hansen, Foothills Middle School
- Ray Birks, Wenatchee School District
PROBLEM SOLVING INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR Presented by eqpd
This award recognizes post-secondary (college, university, or training institution) students who have done innovative projects that address real-world problems. The recipient has demonstrated critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and problem solving, as well as demonstrated potential for success through leadership and learning.
The 2018 Problem Solving Innovator of the Year nominees include:
- 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
FUTURE TECHNOLOGY LEADER OF THE YEAR Presented by Giga Watt
This award recognizes K-12 students for innovative projects in technology. The recipient has led the project or participated in a hands-on, experiential manner in an innovative, unique technology project. The recipient will demonstrate potential success through leadership, learning, and technology skills.
The 2018 Future Technology of the Year nominees include:
- 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
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 www.gwata.org