Local Entrepreneurs Celebrate a Good Year with Good Causes
(Charlottesville, VA) -- The cash and champagne were flowing Thursday night, May 18, 2017 as Central Virginia's leading innovators toasted the recipients of the 2017 CBIC Awards and CBIC gave away $7,500 in scholarships and grants supporting science and technology education and student entrepreneurship. The annual event's inspirational speaker was Charlottesville's own Brian Calhoun, co-founder of Rockbridge Guitars and inventor of the board game craze, Chikapig.
Stephanie Passman, a gifted resource teacher for Stony Point Elementary, an Albemarle County public school, was awarded the 2017 CBIC Educator of the Year and a $2,500 CBIC Tech In Education grant in support of educational activities encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. Ms. Passman works both sides of the Blue Ridge, helping educate aspiring teachers at Mary Baldwin University's College of Education in Staunton. Since 2003, CBIC has gifted more than $30,000 to area teachers to further the use of technology in area classrooms.
CBIC Educator of the Year was just one of a dozen awards announced at the annual gala hosted by the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC). Upwards of 400 local innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and business, government, and education leaders gathered for the 19th Annual CBIC Awards Gala held at the Boar's Head Inn Thursday, May 18. Executive Director Tracey Greene, co-chair of the gala, explains the importance of The CBIC Awards to central Virginia:
"This annual gathering seeks to inspire and inform as well as to further the creation of a community where we celebrate each other's accomplishments and recognize individual contributions to our innovation-based ecosystem. The gala also encourages attendees to develop relationships that create a fertile future for growth and expansion."
Below is a list of the 2017 CBIC Award Recipients.
(Please let CBIC know if you would like photos or interviews with any of these honorees. A complete list of the finalists for the 2017 CBIC Awards is here.)
- The 2017 CBIC Business of the Year is Silverchair which partners with publishers to integrate and deliver scholarly and professional content from a single platform, helping transform digital content into industry-leading applications.
- Baron Schwartz was honored as 2017 CBIC Entrepreneur of the Year. Schwartz is the founder of VividCortex, which provides database monitoring tools and services, and is the lead author of High Performance MySQL. "VividCortex's success reflects the support of the community around it," said Schwartz upon hearing of his nomination.
- Inspirational innovator Brian Calhoun had the honor of sharing the CBIC Gala spotlight with his brother, Benton Calhoun, named 2017 CBIC Innovator of the Year. Dr. Calhoun teaches in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UVA. He co-founded PsiKick, Inc., with Brendan Richardson and David Wentzloff to commercialize self-powered wireless sensors.
- Center for Open Science is the 2017 CBIC Start-Up of the Year. As the world of scholarly research and publishing is being transformed by advances in information technology, the Center for Open Science works to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research.
- A major booster for student entrepreneurship in the region, CBIC recognizes a student entrepreneur or start-up that is inspiring young people with successful innovation. The 2017 CBIC Student Entrepreneur Team of the Year is AgroSpheres, which is commercializing inert bioparticles that, among other things, can prevent crop loss from frost or pests without risking contamination of the environment.
- WillowTree has been on a hiring tear! The mobile product agency works with consumer brand powerhouses such as Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo to power their mobile marketing initiatives. The company credits a collaborative environment that focuses on continuous learning and unlimited opportunities for their rapid growth – fast enough to earn WillowTree 2017 CBIC Job Creator of the Year.
- CBIC wishes to thank Katie Murphy, our 2017 CBIC Volunteer of the Year. Katie is a CBIC Board Member and has chaired CBIC’s Marketing Communications Committee for several years. In addition to her work as Marketing Manager for the UVA Foundation and managing the UVA Research Park, Katie chairs the volunteer planning committee for the 4 the Wounded 5k, an annual 5k benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Katie is one of hundreds of volunteers that make CBIC's educational mission possible. If you'd like to volunteer, CBIC welcomes your help!
- 2017 CBIC Social Good Award This award is voted on at the CBIC Gala and the recipient will be posted on the CBIC Gala website once the event concludes. The finalists for the 2017 CBIC Social Good Award are Community Investment Collaborative, providing support for area entrepreneurs; MadiDrop PBC producer of inexpensive water treatment solutions; and ReinventED Lab supporting educational improvement with programs such as Spark at HackCville and the Tom Tom Youth Summit.
Tech Tour Scholarship Recipients
Annually at the CBIC Awards Gala, CBIC presents $2,500 scholarships to two junior or senior high school students who plan to pursue education beyond high school in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math). Since 2003, CBIC has gifted $40,000 to students through the CBIC Tech Tour Scholarship program. This year, the CBIC Tech Tour Scholarships were awarded to:
- LIAM GODBOLD Liam is a junior at Holy Trinity Homeschool. He is very interested in bioinformatics and researching microbiology. He placed first in Microbiology at the 2016 Piedmont Regional Science & Engineering Fair. After attending college, he hopes he can be employed at a company like Hemoshear, a destination that inspired him on the Tech Tour. He writes that “I think it is essential for high schoolers to get a taste of technology in fields like computer programming, the biological sciences, and engineering. Tech Tour provides all of those opportunities resulting in well-rounded students.”
- ISAAC McSHERRY Isaac is a senior at William Monroe High School. He attended the 2015 Tech Tour as a student, worked with MITRE this past year for his senior internship and was part of the MITRE team presenting at the Tech Tour this year! He writes that this “experience has been life-changing, and I am constantly reminded of the ways in which Charlottesville has a unique technological community with endless opportunities. I aspire to be working towards the goal of making cancer less of a burden on human lives and society ten years from now.”
To be eligible, students must have attended at least one CBIC Tech Tour, a day-long event that introduces area students to our region’s technology companies and exposes students to the diverse career possibilities offered by our regional technology community.
Each annual tour organizes upwards of 400 area middle and high school students who collectively visit as many as 80 technology related companies and organizations in a single day! The hands-on visits allow students to meet employees and experience the innovative applications of technology in unique and specialized operations.
- Date: Thursday, May 18, 2017
- Time: 5:15 - 7 p.m. Cocktail Reception; 7 - 9:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony
- Location: Boar's Head Inn, 200 Ednam Dr., Charlottesville, VA 22903
- Website: http://cvilleinnovation.org/awards.
ABOUT CBIC: Educate, Advocate and Celebrate
As the region's technology council, CBIC promotes innovation and entrepreneurship and supports growth and success among the Charlottesville region's technology-focused organizations. CBIC provides a forum for ideas and a collective voice on behalf of the technology sector. Through collaborative partnerships, educational resources and strategic relationships, CBIC enhances, publicizes, and champions technology initiatives that strengthen economic and social vitality in our area.