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Nashville tech startups, enterprises + pro's vie for NTC laurels
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THE NASHVILLE TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL 's 2023 NTC Awards event is February 16, 2023, within the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.

The nonprofit's annual assay of tech prowess involves, as we reported in detail in 2019, judgments of tech leadership and innovation from judges who literally represent centuries of experience, in times good and bad.

Two months from now, NTC judges' expertise will be focused on hopefuls in the 14 categories listed below. The winners of each Award will be chosen by 5-person judging panels created for each award. Candidates, finalists, winners and and 70 participating judges were drawn from the ranks of both NTC members and non-members.

The 2023 NTC Awards' overall presenting sponsor is Amazon. The presentation sponsors for individual awards are named at the end of each award's descriptive paragraph, below. As of Dec. 12, 2022, only three of the 14 Awards remain available for corporate or institutional presentation sponsorships. Award sponsors' representatives participate in the presentations of individual awards, among other privileges. The NTC team has more information.


TECHNOLOGY COMPANY OF THE YEAR

REALTRACS
Brentwood (1996)
Stuart White
President/CEO

SmileDirectClub
Nashville (SDC)
David Katzman
Chairman/CEO

L3 Harris
Nashville (LHX)
Acq: ForceX 2015
GM David Cotham

Whether the winning company's growth was organic, M&A-driven or accelerated by PE backing and public offerings, this award will be bestowed on "a technology organization in Middle Tennessee that creates [and innovatively uses or delivers] technology products or services to support the region's economic health." TechCo of the year award sponsor: Fortinet.


TECHNOLOGY STARTUP OF THE YEAR

AZRA AI BRIYA NIGHTSCAPE

One of these three startups -- all of which are headquartered in Mid-Tennessee -- will be recognized by NTC judges as the region's "top tech start-up" in this region. Azra was created by a former Digital Reasoning executive-turned-entrepreneur. Briya was spawned in Tel Aviv. Nightscape is the invention of a Los Angeles founder who adopted Nashville as home. Perhaps "vision" is one of these companies' shared traits. The NTC Award winner will have "used technology in a new and innovative way to obtain success"; will have at least one founder actively working in the business; and, will not yet be operating beyond the $1MM annual-revenues mark. Startup COY sponsor: Comcast.


MID-TN TECH COMMUNITY LEADER OF THE YEAR

Charles Apigian
BelmontU BDC
Allie Feiner
Alliance Bernstein
Yesenia Sevilla
The Wond'ry VU

This award will be presented to an individual who contributes to the betterment of this region's Tech community through their "involvement, leadership and excellence in giving back," with emphasis on "tech community involvement and impact." Sponsor: HCA Healthcare.


CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO) OF THE YEAR

Carman Wenkoff
Dollar General
Casey Santos
Asurion
Karl Sprules
Alliance Berstein

The CIO of the Year is to be chosen from among nominees who are current CIOs or senior IT professionals in organizations that are based in and-or which have a significant presence in Middle Tennessee. "Nominees must have demonstrated leadership, driven innovation, and delivered value" to their organizations, as well as having demonstrated commitment to this region's Tech community. CIO of the Year award sponsored by KraftCPAs.


CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER (CTO) OF THE YEAR

Nagireddy Kudithini
Nissan
Rob Mills
Tractor Supply
Trevor Hinesley
Soundstripe

Each nominee is a CTO or senior IT professional resident of Middle Tennessee who has proven to 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 recognized as leaders in their organization and must have made a difference that positively impacts this region. CTO Award Sponsor: VACO.


DATA SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR

Christi French
AZRA AI
Jason Parker
HCA Healthcare
Shruti Sharma
Ingram Content

The winner will be designated "the top data scientist or business intelligence professional in the Middle Tennessee region [who has] demonstrated both measurable business impact through the use of data science" and commitment to the further development of the region's tech community. Other considerations include involvement in user groups, and participation in hackathons or competitions. Data Scientist of the Year sponsor: QlickQ.


CYBER SECURITY LEADER OF THE YEAR

TJ Bean
HCA Healthcare
Hannah Newman
L3Harris ForceX

Timothy Miller
Morgan Franklin

The winner among nominees will be designated this year's "top senior IT security professional in Middle Tennessee." They will have "demonstrated leadership in their field, improved the security of their [organization's] data and technology resources, created a security-conscious culture, and delivered value to the organization." They will also have "made a difference that positively impacts Middle Tennessee" and demonstrated commitment to the region's technology community. Cybersecurity award sponsored by Microsoft.


DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (D&I) INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Corner
to Corner
Blacks
in Technology
Nashville
Alliance Bernstein

The winning diversity and inclusion initiative will have been driven by a Mid-Tennessee technology company or team that has made "an outstanding and successful effort to improve and promote diversity and inclusion within their organization" and predominantly within Middle Tennessee. The initiative will demonstrate "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." Sponsorship role available as of Dec. 12, 2022.


DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (D&I) ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR

Sam Zaza
MTSU
Marquinta Harvey
Belmont Univ.
Brittany Cole
Entrepreneur Center

This award will go to a person who is resident in this region and who "advocates for traditionally underrepresented minorities [in the Middle Tennessee technology workforce] through leadership, mentorship, and community activism... 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)." Sponsor: Deloitte.


INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR

Andrew Mitchell
Mech. Licensing
Collaborative
Bryan Hunter
HCA Healthcare
Robin Shah
Thyme Care

This award recognizes the nominee who is the deemed the foremost Middle Tennessee Innovator. That person will have created or implemented an innovative technology-based product, service or process that enhances customer experience, profitability, efficiency, or life experience, and which has benefited one or more communities within this region. Sponsorship role available as of Dec. 12, 2022.


EMERGING LEADER OF THE YEAR

Elizabeth Mitchell
CGI
Janean Vance
HCA Healthcare
Sean Gannon
UDIG

This award recognizes a current or alumnus member of NTC's Emerging Leaders in Technology (ELITE) program, which at this time cumulatively includes at least 137 individuals. (See latest ELITE cohort announcement here and ELITE's 2021 syllabus here.) 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 and are a present or past cohort member of the NTC ELITE program. Nominees will be judged on business results and employee development. Nominations are open and finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges. Emerging Leader award sponsored by Nissan Americas.


SOFTWARE ENGINEER OF THE YEAR

Teresa Vasquez
Repped in Tech
Trinity Terry
Eventbrite
Kurtis Pritchard
HCA Healthcare

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. Nominations are open and finalists will be judged by a panel of independent judges. Award sponsored by Asurion.


PRODUCT MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Katie St. Francis
Realtracs
Joshua Burnell
Asurion
Hugh Dylan
UDIG

This award recognizes the top Product Manager or lead in Middle Tennessee. The nominees are individuals that have demonstrated exceptional insights and intuition in the course of understanding and delivering products required by customers. Nominees have also demonstrated exceptional ability to define, prioritize, build, communicate, and measure the success of their product. Such successes 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; and, capturing ever-increasing both short- and longer-term market share. Sponsorship role available as of Dec. 12, 2022.


TECHNOLOGY EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

Stephanie Finley
Rutherford CSNC
Pete Mueller
Ravenwood HS
Kelly Carey
MNPS

This award is presented to an outstanding educator, director or education administrator in Middle Tennessee who has exhibited exceptional dedication to and innovation in the advancement of technology education, as reflected in their technology education curriculum or program, the accessibility of the programming to a broad and diverse base of students, and the positive impact of those programs on the students, school, and community. Award co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University and Belmont University.

.last edited 12 December 2022 1640 hrs CT

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