The winners of the 6th annual Tech Jam awards were announced during a Friday afternoon awards reception at this year’s Jam. Each year, the Vermont Technology Alliance, BTV Ignite and Seven Days recognize outstanding local leaders through the awards, which honor an innovator, a newcomer, a startup and a tech ambassador. Each winner receives a handcrafted robot statuette designed by clay artist John Brickels.

After a public nomination round, the judges narrow the field to a few finalists in each category, and the public votes on the winners.

This year’s distinguished judges were:

  • John Burton, president, NPI Technology Management
  • Nick Donowitz, chief operating officer, THINKMD
  • Alex Meyer, vice president, Renaissance Information Systems
  • Jennifer Graham, marketing communications manager, C2
  • Nick Grimley, economic development director, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Photo caption: Tech Jam Award Winners 2017 (l. to r.) Jake Blend; Brook Chipman, Shannon Mitchell and Marguerite Dibble of GameTheory; Berenice Fernandez and Gary Tilden of Protean. David Feinauer not present. (James Buck for Seven Days)

The winners of the 2017 Tech Jam Awards:

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award, presented by BTV Ignite, recognizes any product or service that demonstrates exciting thinking and market momentum. The purpose of this award is to inspire and reward excellence and shine a spotlight on Vermont as a home to innovation.

2017 Winner: GameTheory
GameTheory bridges the gap between game methodology and the business community by bringing games outside of the entertainment space an into other industries to drive change and meet goals, using the power of fun and engagement.

Newcomer Award

Given to an energetic and exciting new entrant into Vermont’s technology scene over the last 24 months, this award demonstrates Vermont’s “pull” as a technology hub and recognizes new talent that calls Vermont home.

2017 Winner: Jake Blend
Since joining Generator two years ago, prototype shop leader Jake Blend has earned a reputation as a creative artist/tinkerer. He’s been named Maker of the Year at the Champlain Mini Maker Faire and has earned recognition from the event’s Adopt-a-Maker program and the Road Pitch challenge.

Startup Award

The Startup Award recognizes a tech-based business or individual business entrepreneur that started in Vermont during the past 24 months, and demonstrates exceptional creativity, ambition, organization and market potential. It’s purpose is to recognize and celebrate Vermont’s homegrown entrepreneurial spirit.

2017 Winner: Protean
This e-portfolio tool that enables students and teachers to capture and track learning happening anywhere, anytime, is being piloted in more than 2,000 schools.

Ambassador Award

The Ambassador Award recognizes a business, organization or individual who leads the support, promotion and growth of Vermont’s tech economy and ecosystem. The purpose of this award is to celebrate and motivate collaboration, shining a bright light on good actors across Vermont’s technology sector.

2017 Winner: David Feinauer
As assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Norwich University, David leads the school’s innovation and entrepreneurship efforts. He also had the vision to bring FIRST Lego League to Vermont, establishing an annual state-level competition for Vermont youth.