Bring on the fire-breathers and the leotard-clad dancers. Roll in the Shakespearian stage sets and tribal drummers. It’s Pittsburgh Tech 50 time.
The region’s annual party, thrown by the Pittsburgh Technology Council, celebrated the best and brightest tech and life sciences companies in typically campy style. Held at the Wyndam Grand downtown, the evening is all about the growing success of local companies and entrepreneurial endeavors in the areas of life sciences, machine learning, manufacturing, gaming and IT.
"After 16 years, Tech 50 is still the apex of recognition for technology visionaries," said Audrey Russo, CEO, in her opening remarks.
Among the highlights:
Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi of Compunetix, Chorus Call and Compunetix in Monroeville was named CEO of the Year. The Italian-born businessman started his first company in Pittsburgh 45 years ago, growing it into three companies and more than 460 employees today.
ALung Technologies on the South Side won Life Sciences Company of the Year. In accepting the award, ALung’s Jim Sweeney wondered if he should have toted along their Hemolung breathing technology for the fire breathers in the show.
Schell Games on the South Side was no surprise as the Interactive and Application Developer of the Year, a company that has been going strong 11 years running. As Jesse Schell noted, “People believe in the vision that games can change the world.”
Shortest speech of the night went to soft-spoken Luis von Ahn of Duolingo, whose team picked up Startup of the Year. "We're From Carnegie Mellon and we’re a bit shy,” von Ahn whispered into the mike. “Can we go now? Thank you."
Several of the company CEOs were out of the country and unavailable to accept their awards personally, which can only be taken as a good sign.
Other winners were:
Advanced Manufacturer of the Year: Industrial Scientific Corporation
Innovator of the Year: Aethon, Inc.
Tech Titan: ANSYS, Inc.
Solution Provider of the Year: Avere Systems
Writer: Deb Smit