The Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal put the local technology sector in the spotlight on Thursday night.
During a 30-minute program as part of the CalArts Expo, the school’s annual student showcase, the SCVBJ recognized six companies, two individuals and 15 students at its first Technology Awards – highlighted by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s selection as Tech Company of the Year and Scott Capistrano’s selection as CEO of the Year.
The second of the Business Journal’s three awards programs this year was sponsored by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, CalArts and SOS Entertainment.
While Chuck Alexander accepted the program’s top award on behalf of Stratasys Direct, he attributed the company’s success to the 220-employee team based in Valencia.
“Manufacturing is almost always about being able to blend the experiences, skills and craftsmanship of your people to create the customer’s vision,” said Alexander, the director of product management at Stratasys Direct, a pioneering company in 3D printing processes. “That’s what we do every day.”
In addition to Stratasys Direct, Alfred Mann Foundation (Visionary Excellence), Gamma Alloys (On the Cutting Edge), Kaiser Permanente (Excellence in Innovation), NTS (Excellence in Engineering) and Swihart Studios (Excellence in Creativity) were awarded for their contributions to the industry.
The co-founder and president of Status Not Quo, Capistrano was honored for promoting entrepreneurship in the local tech sector and for helping to grow the SCV’s reputation as an emerging tech hub.
He credited what he described as Status Not Quo’s “phenomenal team” for putting him in position to earn such recognition.
“I definitely view myself as the conductor,” Capistrano said. “They make it easy.”
Jeremy Stepan of Resurgence IT earned the other individual honor, recognized as the SCV’s Techie of the Year.
The student awards, given to featured projects from the Expo, celebrated Excellence in Creative Technology. The winners:
– Changting Lu, for “Uncapturable”
– Chloe Scallion, for “Visual Transmodulator”
– Dylan Freeman, for “Vibrating Electric”
– Eric Heep, for “Fraught Towers Pushing Down Monochords”
– Luka Fisher, for “Lavender”
– Shih-Lien Eugene Yen, for “Seom”
– Josh “Fritz” Friedensohn, Zachary “Pony” Golden, R.S. Buck, Kamyi Lee, Josephine Wang, Shay Willard, Chris Jungwoo Kim, Travis Moelter and Ritika Ramesh, for “FEATHER”
Immediately following the SCVBJ’s awards program, the Los Angeles Chapter of Pitch Globally Media debuted its sharktank-style pitch event in Santa Clarita, with local entrepreneur Zoltan Peresztegi emerging as the winner among 11 pitchers.
Peresztegi is CEO and founder of Gitential, which he described as a “bootstrapped” company of three people working to develop an affordable tool to improve transparency in software development efficiency and performance. Now, Gitential is working to finalize terms for its initial stream of outside funding that Peresztegi predicted would sustain the company for 12-18 months.
Of his experience at the Pitch Globally Media event, Peresztegi said, “It’s always good to win. It’s like a pat on the back, a good feeling.”
He later joked, “You win the opportunity to do more work.”
In taking the top prize, Peresztegi earned an opportunity for a private session with one of Thursday night’s panelists as well as the chance for an additional pitch to a panel of angel investors in the Silicon Valley.
The SCVBJ’s final awards program of 2018, set for Dec. 6, will honor the SCV’s top businesses. For more information, to submit nominations and reserve tickets, go online to www.scvbj.com/top-businesses-december-2018/.