The Greater Nashville Technology Council on Thursday evening announced the winners of its 12th annual NTC Awards in an event broadcast live from Stage Post Studios to more than 400 online attendees.
The hybrid in-person-and-virtual program was co-hosted by Brian Moyer, the Council’s president and CEO, and author, corporate and community leader Derek Young. The evening featured representatives of about 100 technology companies and related organizations in Middle Tennessee and celebrated winners in 16 categories, including two new awards: Diversity and Inclusion Advocate of the Year and Technology Educator of the Year. Tractor Supply was Technology Company of the Year, and Lindsey Morgan of Vaco was announced as NTC’s Champion of the Year.
“This past year presented challenges for our region and country that we never could have anticipated. And through it all, the greater Nashville tech community continued to shine by giving freely to assist those in need, by innovating to solve problems, and by protecting and supporting our local tech workforce,” Moyer said. “This year, it felt all the more important to celebrate our region’s tech leaders and their impactful work.”
Here are this year’s winners along with links to their chats about their work Thursday night with Relationary Marketing’s Clark Buckner.
Tech Start Up of the Year: Healing Innovations
Healing Innovations is a medical technology company that specializes in developing robotic technology to help people walk. Its team is composed of robotic engineers, neurosurgeons, PM&Rs, PTs, medical device experts and more. Healing Innovations is built on the belief that increasing access to rehabilitation will help many people walk again.
Emerging Leader of the Year: Austin Dirks, GreenLight Medical
Dirks is a veteran of the health care, medical device and technology industry, and he currently serves as founder and CEO of GreenLight Medical. He started GreenLight Medical six years ago with a vision to create a software platform that helps hospitals and physicians get the medical technology they need for patient care.
Software Engineer of the Year: Shree Mijarguttu, BOS Framework
Mijarguttu leads product success engineering at BOS Framework. Her eight years of multifaceted experience have shaped her into an engineer who effortlessly brings together technology, business and people skills. Shree received a 4.0 GPA in her master’s program and she’s passionate about travel and the intersection of technology, philosophy and business.
Innovator of the Year: Kathleen Ongena, RDR Wellness
Ongena founded the algorithm for RDR Wellness’ brainwave sounds and created more than 70 sounds that will be displayed, mixed and used on the Sonata APP. She also worked on and created the Sonata Device, which contains seven binaural brainwave sounds that can help with specific mental and physical conditions such as stress, PTSD, pain and poor sleep.
Infrastructure Engineer of the Year: Billy Thurman, Ingram Barge
Thurman is the director of infrastructure at Ingram Barge, where he’s responsible for leading data, network and systems teams in the delivery of cost-effective, innovative and secure solutions that add value by aligning with business goals. He’s passionate about bringing new technologies, automation, and continual improvement to organizations.
Tech Educator of the Year: Richard Brent Greene, Franklin High School
Greene is the Cybersecurity, Autonomous Vehicles and Computer Science teacher at Franklin High. He holds a B.S. degree in mathematics, an M.Ed. degree in second education-mathematics and endorsements in mathematics, earth science and technology/engineering. In 2019, he was honored with the National Center for Women and Information Technology Educator Award.
Community Leader of the Year: Alishah Novin, Celero Commerce
Novin has been working in technology since 1991, when his older brother Sal taught him BASIC on a Zenith 286, QBASIC on a 486, and Visual Basic on a Pentium. Alishah worked with Sal for eight years, where Sal taught him you can never be too busy to help a friend, and never have too many friends to help a stranger.
Diversity and Inclusion Advocate of the Year: Amy Harris, Middle Tennessee State University and WiTT
Harris is an associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Information Systems and Analytics at MTSU. In addition to her “day job,” she serves as a vice president of Women in Technology Tennessee, as logistics lead for the Greater Nashville Analytics Summit and as WiTT’s representative to The Table.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year: Asurion
In early 2020, Asurion launched Tennessee’s first in-house Software Engineer Apprenticeship, providing the company’s hourly employees with the opportunity to up-skill into one of the most sought-after professional roles in the Nashville area. This program is helping to foster diversity in tech and to build the region’s tech talent pipeline with an eye toward long-term growth.
Data Scientist of the Year: Edmund Jackson, HCA Healthcare
Jackson is chief data scientist at HCA, one of the nation’s leading providers of health care services. He is responsible for raising the bar for the organization’s use of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve clinical quality and operational efficiency.
Technology Team of the Year: L3 Harris ForceX
L3 Harris ForceX’s S2GR Gunship Team develops systems and urgent upgrades for Special Ops warfighters. Whether they’re increasing pilots’ ability to view the battlefield, further innovating with all-weather capabilities or improving overall situational awareness with mission management software, the Gunship Team plays a critical role in keeping the military safe.
NTC Champion of the Year: Lindsey Morgan from Vaco
Morgan is senior director of consulting services for Vaco and played a major role in launching the Tech Coach Program. She volunteers one to two times per month, spending time coaching Go Tech students by hosting mock interviews and talks on how to interview and write a good resume. She has also rallied her team at Vaco to volunteer to this program, bringing onboard an additional five people. She has consistently donated her time and efforts to the NTC and is a valuable asset to the community.
CTO of the Year: Cory Moore from Ingram Barge
Moore is director of technology and development at Ingram Barge. He has two decades of experience providing technology and marketing solutions to various companies and he’s been working at Ingram Barge since 2017. His previous experience includes marketing and technology consulting for Above The Noise and a marketing executive role at Gibson Brands, where he led web content, marketing technology, creative services and social media.
Security Leader of the Year: Curtis Clan, State of Tennessee
Clan is chief information security officer for the State of Tennessee. During his 23 years working at the state, he has moved from network engineer to manager to director, and in 2015, to his current role. Curtis is extremely passionate about being a servant leader and providing secure services to the citizens of Tennessee.
CIO of the Year: Stephanie Dedmon, State of Tennessee
Dedmon has been CIO for the State of Tennessee since October 2018. She is responsible for all operational areas of the state’s central IT organization, Strategic Technology Solutions. This includes managing the team’s IT service delivery, technical infrastructure development and support and customer service management, along with a workforce of almost 1,300 IT professionals.
Technology Company of the Year: Tractor Supply
The largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, Tractor Supply has been passionate about serving its unique niche — as a one-stop shop for recreational farmers, ranchers and all those who enjoy living the rural lifestyle — for more than 80 years. The company operates more than 1,900 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states as well as an e-commerce website.