We had the honor of attending Tech Nite 2017, hosted by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council at The Hotel Roanoke. The event was attended by roughly 450 local entrepreneurs, scientists, developers, educators, leaders, and support professionals for the booming technology sector found in the Roanoke and New River Valley.
The keynote speaker, Bonz Hart, was incredible. In 1993 Bonz founded Meridium with the vision of helping the world’s asset-intensive industries through effective Asset Performance Management software and services. In September of 2016 GE Digital purchased the rest of Meridium for an enterprise value of 500 million dollars. He allowed his story to be the backdrop for his ideas and takeaways, which made his remarks compelling and engaging. We love this storytelling approach he used.
With all the reason in the world to be proud and boastful Bonz is humble and focused first on others. He spoke of the importance of approaching entrepreneurship as a team. He explained that entrepreneurs are doing a very hard thing and to be successful they need to be backed by a supportive group. Bonz also encouraged everyone to approach their job as if they owned the company because that creates a big picture and team focus. Bonz was inspiring and celebrated the unity and special qualities of the Roanoke and New River Valleys.
Our Founder, Caitlyn Scaggs, was honored to be the emcee at this event. She was responsible for the awards portion of the ceremony. As she prepared to announce award categories and prior to welcoming presenters to the stage she shared the following:
As I gaze out across this room I am struck by the fact that the people here this evening are making our global community a healthier, safer, and more exciting place—through their technology. I’m also privileged to gaze out at top educators, who are supporting and growing the next generation—the brilliant minds that will continue to improve and advance technology in the years to come. Let’s not forget, technology and innovation do not exist in a vacuum, those who support the growth of technology through their investments, leadership, professional services, and expertise are a significant part of our regions success. Standing before you all, regardless of your role within this technology community, is an honor and an inspiration. With that, let’s allow ourselves to be further inspired by recognizing some of our colleagues who have made significant achievements or contributions over the last year.
We are thrilled for all the award nominees, and those who were selected as winners– all of which truly do inspire. Congratulations to the following winners:
- Regional Go to Geek: Thomas “Tweeks” Weeks, Virginia Tech Cyber Range
- STEM Educators: Nick Cornwell, Montgomery County Public Schools & Hannah Weiss, Science Museum of Western Virginia
- Entrepreneur: Baraka Kosongo, Volatia Language Network Inc.
- Innovator: Josep Bassaganya-Riera, BioTherapeutics
- Regional Leadership: Greg Feldmann, Skyline Capital Strategies
- Rising Star: Qualtrax
- Ruby Award: Sam English, Attention Point
It was an excellent and energizing event. We were grateful to be part of a special gathering that celebrates all that is wonderful about technology in our area.