RIT well represented at Digital Rochester GREAT Awards Sept. 19

Monday, August 7, 2017

Several individuals and companies with RIT connections will be lauded at annual event honoring entrepreneurship, innovation

Rochester Institute of Technology will be well represented at the 2017 Greater Rochester Excellence and Achievements in Technology Awards, presented by Digital Rochester Inc. The awards are Sept. 19 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The annual awards recognize and celebrate the Greater Rochester community’s entrepreneurial spirit in technological achievement for advancing commerce and resource conservation.

Finalists with connections to RIT were nominated in several categories.

The Emerging Tech Leader Award recognizes a high potential individual with fewer than five years in a technology industry who has already made significant contributions to the profession and has demonstrated the potential for exceptional leadership and continued service in the technology field. The nominees with RIT connections are:

Dan Schneiderman, FOSS@MAGIC research associate and community liaison. In addition to his work as an RIT/MAGIC Center affiliate, Schneiderman is known as a leader in the maker movement, defined as a technology-based extension of the do-it-yourself culture running the gamut from electronics, robotics and 3D printing to more traditional pursuits such as metalworking, woodworking and other arts and crafts. He is co-chair of Rochester’s Mini Maker Faire and was recently selected to represent New York state at the National Week of Making Kickoff at the White House. Schneiderman is also a 2012 graduate of RIT’s information sciences and technologies and political science programs.

Liz Gombert, user experience design manager, Paychex Inc., is a 2009 graduate of the new media design and imaging program in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

The Healthcare Technology Award recognizes the individual and/or organization that demonstrates achievement in application of innovative health IT technologies to transform healthcare delivery by improving quality, information sharing and/or patient care. Thuan Pham, director of software development for iCardiac Technologies Inc., a 2003 graduate of the computer science program in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, has been nominated for this award.

The Technology Leader Award recognizes a technology business leader responsible for an IT department. David Wilson, director of infrastructure, Paychex Inc., is a 2004 graduate of the information technology program in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences and is nominated for this award.

The Technology Innovation Award is presented to an organization that has shown sustained commitment and leadership in support of innovative technology creation that provided enabling services or resources for other organizations to reach their goals and objectives. Nominees for the Technology Innovation Award with RIT connections are:

Viggi Corp., makers of innovative children’s products that encourage natural and healthy movement, founded by RIT alumnus and former Saunders College of Business adjunct professor Sandra Turner, and Christalyn Snyder, a 2012 graduate of RIT’s industrial design program.

Datto Inc., the premier global provider of backup, disaster recovery and Intelligent Business Continuity solutions, founded by RIT alumnus and Board of Trustees member Austin McChord ’09 (bioinformatics).

The Digital Marketing Award recognizes the best use of digital marketing to promote brands, build preference and increase sales through various digital technologies. Lime Creative, a local design firm specializing in website creation, social media, branding, and print and digital marketing, is nominated for this award. RIT alumnus Reagan Burns ’07 (graphic design) is owner and creative director.

The Student Achievement Award is presented to a currently enrolled student or team of students at a Greater Rochester higher education institution who have showed leadership and skill in applying or advancing innovative technology for the betterment of themselves, their educational institution and/or the greater Rochester community. RIT students nominated for this award are:

Joan Bempong and team, nominated for their senior design project that creates an on-call interpreter app and corresponding back-end system that will allow assignment of on-call interpreters to individuals who need last-minute support. The system that the team developed will facilitate ad-hoc meetings between deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing individuals and would allow RIT personnel to request on-call interpreters in a manner similar to popular ride-share services. The team consists of Bempong (computer engineering from Irving, Texas); Jocelyn Lazo (computer engineering from Kearny, N.J.); David Stolze (industrial engineering from Fairport, N.Y.) and Andrew Kline (industrial engineering from Ledyard, Conn.).

Brandon Datko and team, representing DADCo. DADCo’s project utilizes electromyography to create consumer-based products that monitor muscle movements to accomplish different tasks. The DADCo team is Datko (marketing, Arnold, Md.); Joseph DiPassio (electrical engineering, Rochester, N.Y.); John Grosh (computer science, Salunga, Pa.); Dan Berg (mechanical engineering, Mayville, N.Y.); and Colin Fausnaught (software engineering, Williamsport, Pa.)

“The depth and breadth of RIT’s projects, businesses, students and graduates represented in the GREAT Awards is truly a testament to the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that RIT works so hard to create and maintain,” said Richard DeMartino, director of RIT’s Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship and professor in the Saunders College of Business. “We’re proud that the work of RIT students and graduates is being recognized by the Rochester community.”

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