TJA-logoThe Vermont Technology Alliance, an industry trade group representing Vermont’s tech businesses, is proud to announce the finalists of the 2014 Vermont Tech Jam Awards, sponsored by Merchants Bank.

There are two awards: The Innovation Award is presented to the individual or business with the most innovative new product, application of technology, or way of doing business. The Ambassador Award is presented to an individual or business whose leadership and actions positively represent Vermont as a home for technology business, and whose efforts help put Vermont “on the map” as a place for technology businesses to start, succeed and grow.

A distinguished panel of judges evaluated the entries: Patricia Moulton, Secretary of Commerce & Economic Development; Dr. John Cohn, IBM Fellow; Matt Dunne, head of community affairs for Google; and Seven Days Publisher/Co-Editor Paula Routly. The group reviewed the entries and determined the top three finalists in each category.

Finalists for the Innovation Award

  • Greensea Systems, Inc., Richmond
    Vermont may seem an unlikely location to design software that guides underwater vehicles, but Ben Kinnaman has built a thriving business in landlocked Richmond. Over the last six years, Greensea Systems has installed systems for more than 350 remotely operated vehicles. Its latest products, Balefire, a control and navigation system, and Endal, a sonar plugin, have been recognized for delivering improved efficiency and performance in ROVs. The Balefire and Endal products are tested in Lake Champlain, and Greensea regularly works with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and Middlebury College.
  • Stone Environmental Inc., Montpelier
    Tropical Storm Irene demonstrated in no uncertain terms where Vermont is vulnerable to flooding. What if there were a tool that could predict such devastation before it occurred? Stone Environmental has developed an app to help communities worldwide do just that. The company’s Stormwater Resilience product lets businesses and governments interpret and understand large amounts of data by creating 3-D visualizations, maps and web applications to solve problems associated with climate change and environmental stewardship. By anticipating the impacts of significant rainfall, communities can prioritize investments to prevent damage to roads, homes and buildings. Stone used data from Vermont’s own city of Barre to develop the app, which was a finalist in the UN Climate Resilience App Challenge.
  • IBM, Essex Junction
    IBM’s Vermont facility has been generating lots of headlines recently, but few of them have been about the company’s groundbreaking technological advances. If you own a cellphone, chances are it contains at least one chip manufactured by IBM in Vermont. The IBM Microelectronics facility develops and manufactures semiconductor chips used in a range of mobile and consumer products. IBM Vermont engineers developed and introduced its next-generation technologies for building chips for radio frequency front-end modules for use in smartphones and tablets that are 30 percent smaller and provide 30 percent better performance, resulting in improved cellphone connections, fewer dropped calls and longer battery life. More than 10 billion Vermont-made silicon chips based on its radio-frequency technologies have been shipped worldwide.

Finalists for the Ambassador Award

  • Girl Develop It, Burlington
    Girl Develop It is a national nonprofit organization that provides affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn web and software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction. The Burlington chapter, founded in 2013 by Maureen McElaney, has 475 members and seeks to strengthen the local tech community through diversification. GDI Burlington has hosted more than 36 meetups and technical workshops in various programming languages, awarded 16 class scholarships, and taught 233 students software development skills to help further their careers in the local tech industry.
  • Bradley Holt and Jason Pelletier of Found Line, Burlington
    As the principals of Found Line, Holt and Pelletier have provided web and mobile development services for nonprofit organizations, from Vermont Public Radio to Common Good Vermont. The two have been leaders in building the local tech community through their work organizing Burlington’s PHP users group, Vermont Code Camp, BTV Gig, National Day of Civic Hacking and Code for BTV. They have been involved in the development of a Civic Cloud for Burlington and helped secure a $35,000 Knight Foundation grant for the program. In 2013, Holt and Pelletier were selected as Code for America brigade captains for their role in organizing Code for BTV. Holt is chair of the board at Vermont Community Access Media and a member of the Mayor’s BTV Ignite Advisory Committee.
  • University of Vermont Computer Science Department, Burlington
    The UVM Department of Computer Science has grown dramatically over the past four years. Enrollment during that time has increased from 90 to 250 students, 44 percent of whom hail from Vermont. Coming soon: a $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to award 16 four-year scholarships, with the goal of broadening the representation of women and underrepresented minorities. UVM computer science students are required to do community service, and faculty are involved in K-12 education, both through an online robotics program, and by teaching computer science concepts in Vermont schools. Research projects include a $3 million NSF-funded project focused on Smart Grid technology in Vermont.

Award winners will be announced during the exhibitor mixer at the Vermont Tech Jam on Friday, October 24 at Generator — Burlington’s new maker space in Memorial Auditorium. Each will receive a handcrafted robot statuette designed for the occasion by Burlington sculptor John Brickels.

The Vermont Tech Jam is a job fair and tech expo organized by the independent newsweekly Seven Days and the Vermont Technology Alliance. The 2014 Tech Jam, underwritten by and MyWebGrocer, is Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, at Memorial Auditorium in downtown Burlington.

Job seekers across the region come to the Jam to talk with recruiters from dozens of Vermont’s fastest-growing and most innovative companies; students and career changers attend to find internships and educational opportunities. In addition to and MyWebGrocer, Vermont Tech Jam sponsors this year include: BioTek Instruments, Logic Supply, Champlain College, Keurig Green Mountain, Merchants Bank, the Vermont Technology Alliance, the Vermont Technology Council, Burlington Telecom, the Vermont Agency of Education, IBM and Middlebury Interactive Languages.

Click here for the Tech Jam schedule and a list of exhibitors.