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Awards / Comcast BENgineers / Events

Meet the winners of Philly’s 2019 Awards

On Thursday, we celebrated the innovative people and companies we cover all year round, including our inaugural RealLIST Engineers.

Comcast Senior Software Engineer Justin LaRose accepts the BENgineers' Culture Builder of the Year at the 2019 Awards. (Photo by Sam Markowitz)
When the work is done and the end of the year is nigh, it’s important to take stock of what’s been accomplished.

On Thursday evening, the team gathered with more than 100 industry leaders, community influencers and city change-makers to do so at our 2019 Awards. We were hosted by Guru at its Center City offices to honor the communities we cover all year round.

In addition to celebrating the seven individuals and organizations who won awards for culture, innovation, growth and more, we also recognized our RealLIST Engineers, our first-ever list of 20 influential technologists in the region. These folks are the engineers who bring some of the most notable technology to life and make sure everything works seamlessly while also bettering their communities.

When we announced the categories and nominees for our 2019 Awards back in October, we received hundreds of votes and an outpouring of support among nominated organizations. Thursday was our chance to celebrate and let folks shine for the wonderful work they do in Philly’s tech community.

The seven categories, and their winners — determined by entirely public vote — are:

Invention of the Year: Lilu’s pumping bra

The hands-free breast pumping bra with automated massage, founded by Adriana Vazquez while finishing her master’s thesis at the University of Pennsylvania, funded itself via Kickstarter and began shipping products to customers late this summer.

CTO of the Year: Mark Wheeler, CIO, the City of Philadelphia

Wheeler is the the chief information officer of the City of Philadelphia, whose Office of Innovation and Technology participates in initiatives such as the Digital Literacy Alliance and more recently released a public-facing plan and set of strategies to drive innovation and change within city government.

Deputy CIO for Innovation Management Andrew Buss accepted on Wheeler’s behalf.

Startup of the Year: Nerd Street Gamers

The Northern Liberties-based, VC-raising esports company organizes tournaments in a bid to develop the next generation of esports talent around the county. The company has recently pulled in a $12 million Series A round with Five Below, and planned its Localhost gaming spaces in a handful of the retailer’s locations.

VP of Software Development Kevin Clough accepted the award.

Growth Company of the Year: goPuff

The delivery company founded by former Drexel University students is building a 30,000-square-foot headquarters at 3rd and Spring Garden streets. It reports employing over a thousand people and a spokesperson said the company has about 150 locations.

CFO Mark Gaudiosi accepted the award.



Corporate Innovation of the Year: ComcastNBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs

The space on the third floor of Comcast’s new skyscraper hosts an accelerator and programing throughout the year to support early-stage ventures. This year’s its graduated two cohorts of startups, including one in October that included NICKL, which decided to move its HQ to Philly because of the accelerator, and the women-run sports newsletter The Gist.

Culture Builder of the Year: Comcast BENgineers

The telecoms giant’s quickly growing professional organization for Black engineers that promotes public speaking and community building took home the award for Culture Builder of the Year.

Comcast Senior Software Engineer Justin LaRose accepted the award.

Impact Leader of the Year: Ashley Turner, organizer, Philly Tech Sistas

The lead organizer of Philly Tech Sistas built the tech training organization from the ground up, adding programing, running events and growing a network of volunteers to support its growth in the last few years.

At the end of the awards ceremony, the RealLIST Engineers joined us on stage for some recognition, and a group photo.

The inaugural RealLIST Engineers are:

  • Chris Alfano, CTO, Jarvus
  • Armard Bellamy, software engineering manager, Guru
  • Aaron Bauman, senior software engineer, Message Agency
  • Domitrius Clark, UI engineer, machineQ
  • Karissa Demi, senior software developer, City of Philadelphia
  • Miguel Guerreiro, manager of engineering, Jornaya
  • Eric Heydenberk, technical cofounder, QuotaPath
  • Cathy Lennon, senior software engineer, Stitch
  • Krista Lewis, product design lead, Chatham Financial
  • Lindsey O’Niell, senior product manager, Crossbeam
  • Max Pollack, CTO, Leagueside
  • Ken Rimple, director of training and mentoring, Chariot Solutions
  • Bryan Sadler, full stack and IoT developer, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
  • Pam Selle, senior software engineer, HashiCorp
  • Ricardo Signes, CTO, Fastmail
  • Kathryn Stracquatanio, senior UX engineering manager, Comcast
  • Jon Wagner, CTO, Vivid Seats
  • Annie Rose Webb, director of web development, Hopeworks Camden
  • Courtney Wilburn, lead DevOps engineer, Wirecutter
  • Michael Winslow, director of software dev and engineering for core applications, Comcast

And shoutout to our sponsors for the evening: Comcast, machineQ, Pinnacle 21, Fastmail, Message Agency and our host Guru.

Companies: Philly Tech Sistas / Nerd Street / Gopuff / Lilu / City of Philadelphia / Comcast /
Series: Awards

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