The Cove lit up with excitement and anticipation as hopeful tech teams gathered for the third annual OC Timmy awards, hosted by Tech in Motion. The Timmys seek to honor the best in innovation through management, work culture, disruptiveness, and, most recently, diversity across North America. Although the awards are only three years old, winners have already made an immense impact both within and outside of the tech world. Previous winners include recognizable names such as Jet.com, LearnVest, Venmo, TripAdvisor, Gilt, Constant Contact, Casper, and Instacart. Chelsea Villabolos, field marketing manager for Workbridge Associates and the Tech in Motion event series, shared the significance of the Timmys. “We are really excited. We have so much to celebrate. This year, we had many, many entries, but managed to narrow it down. So, everyone here is a winner,”said she. Additionally, the 2017 Timmys saw 10,000 votes–a new record for the growing event.
Ash Kumra, a presidentially recognized top 100 entrepreneur, award winning author, and CEO of Youngry, served as MC for the evening. He asked the audience, “How many of you are OC based?”. Once a few people raised their hands, Kumra smiled, “You are in a great time. People talk about burgeoning communities, but OC has its own kind of flare. You now have amazing spaces like the Cove and Applied Innovation to support the tech community.” He went on to state, “OC has produced 33,000 tech jobs in the last five years. It is a great tech hub.” With the promise of future success in the region, Kumra welcomed the first award of the night. Tech in Motion chose winners based on an average of public vote, and a panel of judges, including Terry Dear, VP of Software Development at Bankruptcy Management Solutions, Robert Davis, principal at Y7 Collective, LLC, Grant Van Cleve, president at Tech Coast Angels Orange County, and Bryan Cunningham, executive director at the UCI Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute.
Dear presented the first award, Best Tech Workplace for Diversity, a new addition to the Timmys. She highlighted the importance of gender diversity in the technology community, sharing that it often lacks women innovators. She provided key facts as to how women benefit the workplace in terms of ideas, innovation, and leadership. The finalists for this powerful award included Advantech, Autogravity, Cylance, Devise Interactive, Foxtales, GlobeChat, Illuminate Education, MeridianLink, RoadTrip Nation, and Tribal Scale. Autogravity, a company dedicated to connecting car buyers directly with dealers via in phone apps, was the runner up. The winner of the Diversity award was Illuminate Education. Illuminate is an “education company doing technology,” that provides educational materials to boost the success of both students and educators. The Illuminate team said, “We are first and foremost an education company, which means that we always put diversity first.”
The next award was Best Tech Manager to honor those responsible for the organization and innovation happening within these companies. Taylor Decker, tech manager at the Eureka building, presented, and noted the need for recognition of those who direct such meaningful businesses. Finalists included Alex Oakley, Christopher Leake, Doug Pfiffner, Joe Lindsay, Jon Clarke, Joshua Bradley, Michael Gilmore, Nik Puni, Sohrob Raja, and Tom Fedro. The runner up was Doug Pfiffner, chief technology officer of Numecent, Inc. Numecent is a software tech company that revolutionizes the way we use cloud storage in terms of app installation. Jonathan Clarke, VP, Software Development and QA, BitCentral, Inc., took first place. Clarke expressed a kind sentiment toward his co-workers, “They work with love and they make things happen.” BitCentral is a software company that produces tech that enables content producers to provide the most up to date, pertinent information to their viewers.
Best Tech Startup came next. The presenter, Bryan Cunningham, commented, “being the best tech startup in OC basically means that you’re the best startup in the world.” Finalists included Bitvore, Dude, Foxtales, Globechat, Grok, Insellerate, MeridianLink, Monet Networks, Redwood Code Academy, and Tribal Scale. The runner up was Tribalscale, a software design and development company that specializes in web, mobile, and emerging technologies. The winner was Grok, another company in the cloud industry. Grok focuses on stopping glitches in the cloud before they become a problem. The Grok team thanked the community for believing in their goals, even though it started as a small town company based in San Clemente, CA.
Robert Davis presented the last award for the Best Tech Work Culture. This recognizes the company with the attitude and elements necessary to create an innovative environment. As Davis put it, “Culture is key. Once maintained, it is very hard to break.” Finalists included CIE Digital Labs, Kofax, Mobilityware, MSC Software, PriceSpider, Razer, SendGrid, Syspro, Teletrac Navman, and Ytel. Teletrac Navman, a company changing the GPS space, won first runner up. MSC Software Corporation was the first place winner. The team shared their own sentiments on culture, “If you set the culture, you’ll have a great ride.” MSC creates software to make it easier and more efficient for engineers to actualize their designs.
Overall, the best of the best in tech got to mingle and network while celebrating impressive accomplishments and milestones at this year’s record breaking Timmys.