Awards / Baltimore

Baltimore, it’s time to vote: Meet your 25 Awards nominees for 2023

There will only be one winner for each of our five categories: Invention, Tech Community Leader, CTO, Tech Company and Culture Builder of the Year. You have a say in who, so cast your vote through Nov. 30.

The annual Awards honor the top community leaders, companies and more. ( Brown) Awards 2023 is underwritten by Comcast. This article was independently reported and not reviewed by Comcast before publication. Comcast is a client.

Correction: Michele Thomas' title is CTO, not chief digital experience officer. (11/24/23, 1:15 p.m.)
Baltimore, it’s once again time to celebrate some of the best and brightest your local tech community has to offer: The Awards are back.

Guided by’s previous reporting and nominations from local tech community members, our newsroom identified 25 individuals across five categories in the running for this year’s awards program. But the final decision is yours — yes, yours.

Cast your vote by Thursday, Nov. 30, and the winners will be revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Check out this year’s nominees and give your support to your favorites. Cool?

Vote in the 2023 Awards

Invention of the Year

What product, project or release this year is best poised to change its industry?

  • The Mint — Richualist CEO Dawn Myers relocated to Baltimore with a mission to connect with Black women entrepreneurs. Her tool, The Mint, is tailored for the textured hair care market. Dawn successfully completed Baltimore’s Techstars Equitech Accelerator in 2023, with one of her nominators noting: “The Mint is a game-changer for curly hair.”
  • OnPoint Ventilation — As a 2023 undergraduate finalist for the national Collegiate Inventors Competition, the Johns Hopkins University student-led Bronchosleeve team is poised to change Baltimore’s health tech industry, or at least one-lung ventilation procedures.
  • ARMR Systems — This wearable hemorrhage control system is designed to enhance the survival prospects of combat veterans and similar audiences in situations where immediate access to advanced medical assistance may be limited.
  • Baltimore Tree Trust — The Tree Trust team collaborated to create “A Walk Through Patterson Park,” a digital story map featuring 11 key points using ArcGIS. The map, originally designed for a tree walk in collaboration with Patterson Park Audubon, serves as an interactive guide to the park’s topographical points, providing information on tree species, park structures and historical details. The project aimed to make green spaces accessible and educate the public about the environment.
  • Hacking Humans — This CyberWire network pod hosted by Joe Carrigan and Dave Bittner delves into the human side of cybersecurity, making technical topics accessible to the general public. The podcast emphasizes that anyone can be a target and discusses findings from a survey on cybersecurity understanding, revealing the need for improved education. Carrigan provides practical tips for digital security, making the podcast a valuable resource for a broad audience.

Vote in the 2023 Awards

Tech Community Leader of the Year

Who has most made this community better through coalition building, nonprofit work, access-minded initiatives, policymaking or other pathways?

  • Kendra Rice Parlock, VP of partnership development, NPower — Parlock was appointed as VP of the national tech training org in 2022 after serving as executive director of NPower Maryland. In that previous role, she oversaw programs in both East and West Baltimore where her aim was to leverage her STEM knowledge to offer guidance to NPower students.
  • Rebecca Rosenberg, CEO, ReBokeh — Rosenberg’s mission-driven company dedicated to assisting those with moderate vision impairment is not only shaping the future of technology but also empowering disabled Baltimore founders to chart a unique path. In carving this distinct journey, she is actively shaping the technological landscape and influencing how people perceive and engage with the world.
  • Kory Bailey, CEO, UpSurge Baltimore — The newly appointed head of this “equitech” org makes the noms list for what his nominator said is Bailey’s ability to bring the community together with grace, especially amidst the death of EcoMap Technologies CEO Pava LePere. His leadership title might be, but the ability to gather is not new for this 2022 RealLIST Connector.
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library — Clearly not a human, and that’s OK because maybe institutions deserve love in this category, too. According to its nominator, the “user-friendly” Pratt Library system has a commitment to enhancing digital access, evidenced especially in its team’s outdoor Wi-Fi efforts, partnerships with city gov and Chromebook distribution.
  • Brittany Young, founder and CEO, B-360 — What more needs to be said? This Black woman is aiming at bringing the nation’s first dirt bike campus to Baltimore and secured $3 million in federal funds to do just that.

Vote in the 2023 Awards

CTO of the Year

Who is leading groundbreaking technical work within their company or organization? (Similar titles beyond CTO were accepted.)

  • Thomas Jones — With a background in operations that progressed through to cloud technologies and mobile computing, Jones’ priorities in his role as CTO for Baltimore City Public Schools are not unlike the ones he named when he became interim City of Philadelphia CTO over a decade ago. Jones’ tenure as a career-long CTO has long featured a focus on enhancing the connectivity of the humans associated with the organization he might serve while reimagining how our cities or schools might connect to its inhabitants, making him a shining example of a tech-driven leader.
  • Matthew Lim — As a full-stack developer and cofounder-slash-CTO of TechSlice, a software development product agency established in 2017, Lim is deeply passionate about leveraging software solutions to save and improve lives. Leading a team of senior technical experts, he is dedicated to transforming innovative concepts into commercial reality. Lim is also a prominent advocate for UpSurge Baltimore’s “equitech” concept in Baltimore, championing diversity of thought and equality within the tech industry.
  • Ramon Richards — Assuming his role at T. Rowe Price in the early fall of 2023, Richards oversees technology business solutions, tech services and architecture functions. He also previously served as a chief information officer at Fannie Mae where his foci was software engineering, cybersecurity, enterprise data and production support.
  • Tim Kulp — With three decades of experience, Kulp serves as the chief innovation officer at Mind Over Machines, where he aims to empower individuals with creativity and technology. Under Kulp’s leadership, Mind Over Machines specializes in architecting large-scale IT systems, rescuing failing projects, stabilizing businesses, and transforming data into revenue.
  • Michele Thomas — Stepping into her role as CTO this year within Gov. Wes Moore’s executive branch, her focus has been on implementing core enterprise services with an aim at enhancing service delivery. Thomas’ role was one of four newly established roles for Maryland’s govtech landscape.

Vote in the 2023 Awards

Tech Company of the Year

What promising startup or growth-stage company is tackling an interesting problem, shaping its industry or inspiring a brighter collective future?

  • Aptabridge Therapeutics — This Baltimore-based biotech company aims to create next-generation immunotherapies to tackle areas of unmet medical need. Its team represented Baltimore at one one of the worlds largest biotech conventions and was a Johns Hopkins University President Venture Fellowship recipient this year.
  • Mindgrub — From 8-bit video games to promote tourism to teaching AI to generate musical compositions for Baltimore’s local symphony, digital agency Mindgrub is leveraging its understanding of technology to create digital solutions for its clients.
  • NasaClip — Founded and led by CEO Elizabeth Clayborne, NasaClip is what it sounds like: an adjustable nosebleed rescue device. The Baltimore-based healthtech company aims to make navigating the world of nosebleeds less tricky.
  • The BlkRobot Project — Under the guidance of 2023 RealList Engineers honoree Jason Harris, this project provides coding and robotics courses for elementary-aged youth. It also educates middle schoolers on artificial intelligence and hosts a mini-space camp centered around a rocket launch. Beyond imparting tech skills, the program cultivates curiosity and innovation, laying the groundwork for a brighter future among participants.
  • Onyx Technology — Launched in 2020, Onyx is dedicated to leveraging Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resources standards to offer health plans a comprehensive range of products and services aimed at facilitating healthcare data interoperability.

Vote in the 2023 Awards

Culture Builder of the Year

What empathetic leader or organizer is making their workplace or professional group more inclusive, resilient or engaging? (“Leader” doesn’t need to mean they hold a leadership title.)

  • Ginny Peters-Rodbell — This Fearless product designer is a player in implementing human-centered design practices at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of Information Technology. Known by her nominator for her adaptability and collaborative spirit, she creates a “welcoming atmosphere” for her team. She also received praise for building personal connections, being authentically herself and actively seeking input from others.
  • Hafeezah Muhammad Backpack Healthcare (formerly called Youme Healthcare) is led by CEO Muhammad, a Muslim woman advocating for peace in the Eastern Mediterranean. The telehealth platform offers mental health services, medication management, and therapy to children and families. Muhammad, a chief founding member, aspires to ring the Wall Street bell in her hijab. Backpack is recognized for accessible therapy through a recent rebranding and two acquisitions.
  • Sherrod Davis — The CEO at EcoMap Technologies brings a perspective to his role underpinned by his degree in philosophy. Formerly the COO for the Baltimore-based entrepreneurial resource platform startup, Davis now leads the team in honoring the legacy of cofounder Pava LaPere, who tragically passed away earlier this year. He continues to demonstrate the team’s commitment to preserving LaPere’s vision.
  • Tasha Cornish — This executive director of the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland (CAMI) brought nearly a decade of nonprofit leadership experience to her role where she serves over 600 members by leading CAMI’s educational programs, community resource development, and cyber career networking initiatives. Notably, she works to highlight cybersecurity professionals through CAMI’s Cybersecurity Awards.
  • Lyndsae’ Peele — A former banker and co-creator of the metaverse ecosystem Zubachee, envisions Web3 as a transformative force for ownership and business growth. In response to the challenges revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Peele recognized a need for access to capital for Black women entrepreneurs. She is building a Web3 marketplace that offers tailored tools and support, aiming to empower and uplift Black women in business during this new era of technological evolution.

Vote in the 2023 Awards

Companies: Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. / ReBokeh / Backpack Healthcare / Meta / TechSlice / EcoMap Technologies / UpSurge Baltimore / b.well / Fearless / Mindgrub / B-360 / Enoch Pratt Free Library / T. Rowe Price / Mind Over Machines / Johns Hopkins University / Baltimore City Public Schools / Comcast
Series: Awards

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