TechEDGE 2014 Regional Technology Award Winners Announced

 October 21, 2014 

LYNCHBURG, VA — TechEDGE, the Region 2000 Technology Council’s annual conference and 11th annual regional technology awards, took place on October 21, 2014 in downtown Lynchburg.  TechEDGE is an annual event hosted by the Region 2000 Technology Council that focuses on connecting the region’s technology community, celebrating their accomplishments, and looking forward to the future in technology.

This year’s theme explored how technology and technology-based businesses and organizations are “Shaping the future of Virginia’s Region 2000”.  The event featured eleven speakers grouped around three major themes: 1) Technology Based Economic Development (TBED) in Virginia’s Region 2000; 2) Science and Engineering Programs in the Region’s Colleges and Universities; and 3) Technology Based Workforce Development. Bob Stolle with the Center for Innovative Technology provided the keynote to begin the conference.  The event culminated with a networking reception that included Region 2000 Technology Council member exhibits.

The TechEdge regional technology award recipients were recognized for excellence in innovation, leadership, and dedication to the technology community.  The Region 2000 Technology Council is pleased to share the 2014 award winners as follows:

Technology Company of the Year: Blue Ridge Optics

Blue Ridge Optics was formed in 2006 by company President Walter Siehien, Chief Engineer who has over 30 years of thin film coating experience. The company designs, manufactures, and supplies precision thin film coatings and advanced optics for the world’s most advanced laser applications.  Being at the forefront of technological innovations for the phototonics industry, Blue Ridge Optics is where most of the world’s leading researchers turn for solutions to their most challenging problems.

Innovator of the Year: Mike Pop

Over the last 22 years, Mike Pop has contributed 15 US patents while employed at AREVA. He was recently recognized for his 15th patent; it defines AREVA’s Methanol Technology, which protects against corrosion in the water reactor internals of a boiling water reactor. Accepted by the industry as a new technology for Reactor Vessel Internals Protection, it has been included in the 2014 revision of the EPRI BWR Water Chemistry Guideline. Other patents from Mike cover filtration products, nano-material and nano-fluids applications, eddy current techniques improvements, methods to analyze deposition on nuclear fuel, and methods to protect internals in nuclear reactors through applications of methanol in reactor water – just to name a few.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Dustin Slightham

Dustin left the Fortune 500 world to pursue his passions, which led him to build Carrot Saver, a native application built to serve our local community by offering consumers deals with local retailers. Carrot Saver was the springboard to Dustin developing Carrot Creates three years ago and which is experiencing dramatic increase in growth. Carrot Creates pursues digital and tech based solutions that produce data driven ROIs for their customers. Their services include developing mobile applications, web based software applications, and digital marketing campaigns.
STEM Educator of the Year: Carolyn Jones

Carolyn, a teacher at Holy Cross Regional Catholic School for the last 18 years, not only teaches computer science to pre-K through 12th grade students, but is also the school’s technology coordinator.  Her tireless efforts include creating and implementing a multi-disciplinary approach to her computer science class instruction.  For example, fourth grade social studies students may produce brochures on various regions of Virginia, or fifth grade students may produce Easter artwork using words that symbolize the season.  More exciting, is that all elementary students may participate in learning an “hour of code.” Carolyn’s efforts also include the acquisition of Nooks for the fourth grade classrooms and Chrome books for the fifth grade, coaching Jr. First Lego and First Lego teams, and helping to organize a software coding camp this past summer.
The Region 2000 Technology Council is a part of the Region 2000 Business and Economic Development Alliance, a member organization of the Region 2000 Partnership.

Virginia’s Region 2000 Partnership is a collaborative network of organizations with a unified vision to provide regional development leadership within the 2,000 square miles that surround Lynchburg, Virginia. We provide a single point of contact to the public and private sector for regional planning services, economic development, marketing, and workforce training.

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