Technical.ly Awards 2022 are underwritten by Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs. This article was independently reported and not reviewed by Comcast before publication. Comcast is a Technical.ly Ecosystem Builder client.
That’s probably pretty trite to say in 2022, after nearly three years of a pandemic and attendant global and domestic issues whose impacts on our economy and work culture have yet to be fully understood. But it’s nonetheless true, and a great reason to celebrate the things you — yes, you, the technologists and others who help make the Baltimore area a dynamic and fascinating place to be — have accomplished during 2022.
In that spirit, we’re back with the latest Technical.ly Awards, our annual recognition of the year’s top innovators, community connectors and inventions throughout Baltimore.
This year, we looked at those among you making a difference in their communities, workplaces and the Baltimore ecosystem at large. We sourced nominations earlier this month and curated the final list within the newsroom. Now it’s your turn to vote on those people, companies and innovations whose contributions to Baltimore tech’s vitality secured their spots on our list.
So, without further ado, read more about the nominees and cast your votes below:
Invention of the Year
What product, project or release this year is best poised to change its industry?
- Building in Baltimore guide — Earlier this year, the team at UpSurge Baltimore celebrated its first anniversary by dropping this handy guide of resources and incentives for those who wish to ground their companies (and lives) in Baltimore. Featuring a mix of government, corporate, educational and cultural resources, the guide builds on UpSurge’s work with Fearless and EcoMap Technologies on the Baltimore Tech Connect Portal.
- Maryland Digital Equity Scorecard Index Map — Informed by its prior “Disconnected in Maryland” report, the Abell Foundation collaborated with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Community Network of Maryland and other organizations on this project. Consider it a user-friendly heat map that shows just how much the digital divide impacts Marylanders, as well as who and where digital inequity hits the hardest.
- EquiScore BI — The signature product of The Equity Brain Trust (which made our 2022 RealLIST Startups roster under its former name, The Black Brain Trust) is a platform designed to help employers streamline and better understand just how well they’re fulfilling their own diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Staffers or consultants can use the tool to collect data, track progress and even score their company’s DEI efforts.
- Fivestar — Maryland’s recent granting of mobile sports betting licenses underscores just how much athletics matter in the Free State, including in its tech sector. The Hanover-based company’s namesake app allows fans to get in on the action by watching and rating clips from their favorite games.
- Sonosa Medical’s wearable sleep apnea tech — This MDC Studio spinout is working on a wearable ultrasound system that aims to both diagnose sleep-time breathing obstruction and provide therapeutic treatment.
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?
- Emily Durfee, Healthworx — Durfee’s recent promotion to a post as Healthworx’s director of corporate venture capital reflects her two-and-a-half years stewarding much of the CareFirst investment wing’s healthcare innovation work. This work has included guiding and co-managing the 1501 Health incubator for health tech and life sciences companies — an ever-important component of Baltimore’s entrepreneurship and tech ecosystem.
- Cody Dorsey, Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition — Since entering the executive director position in late 2021, Dorsey has led the coalition of digital equity-minded organizations and companies through over a year of evolving urgency around Baltimore’s endemic disconnectedness. This work included such victories as partnering with the Enoch Pratt Free Library to distribute Chromebooks to more young people and residents in need.
- Kelly Schulz, Maryland Technology Council — While she and the organization she took the reins of this year are technically based in Frederick County, Schulz’s influence on Baltimore’s tech prospects cannot be overstated. The former leader of the Baltimore-based Maryland Department of Commerce oversaw the launch of the state’s soft landing program; she now guides the MTC as it solidifies its reach into other parts of the state.
- Ed Mullin, Baltimore Regional Technology Council — A Baltimore-area tech mainstay, Mullin this year took on the leadership of the MTC’s first regional sub-council, which makes him a principal organizer of recurring panels and networking events for the area’s tech workers. He also continues to shape metro Baltimore’s tech pathways as CIO for Think Systems and executive director of the Baltimore Robotics Center.
- Tasha Cornish, Cybersecurity Association of Maryland — With cyber continuing to drive tech growth across Maryland amid an industry-wide talent gap, Cornish and her Baltimore-based organization are central forces in the organizing of and advocacy for the state’s cybersecurity sector. Just look to her op-ed following Gov. Larry Hogan’s implementation of cyber preparedness bills.
CTO of the Year
Who is leading groundbreaking technical work within their company or organization? (Similar titles beyond CTO were accepted.)
- Justin Elszasz, City of Baltimore — The City’s chief data officer has maintained his role through other changes in the municipal government’s tech-related leadership and continues to manage the Open Baltimore program for data transparency.
- Jamie Gurganus, University of Maryland, Baltimore County — While not directly building tech for her employer, Gurganus serves UMBC as a faculty member; associate director of the STEM ED Research, Engineering and Computing Education Program; and director of the Center for Integrated Research, Teaching and Learning.
- Adebisi Oladipupo, Morgan State University — The CIO of Maryland’s largest historically Black university has managed its digital assets amid a tremendous push to make Morgan State the first public HBCU with an R1 research designation.
- Biswajit Ganguly, The Baltimore Banner — 2022’s biggest news in regional media was easily the launch of the Banner, which Ganguly joined this summer after holding director-level engineering positions with Bloomberg Industry Group and the Space Telescope Institute. He now oversees the tech operations of this growing media operation, which also launched a mobile app within several months of its launch.
- Rajiv Uppal, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — Uppal has led the Woodlawn-based federal agency’s IT operations since 2018. During that time, he has brought experience from the US Digital Service Team into managing CMS’ systems architecture.
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?
- Galen Robotics — A newly closed $15 million Series A makes this 1100 Wicomico-based biomedical robotics company among the highest-raising local companies. Its import was captured in an inaugural open house that featured appearances from Mayor Brandon Scott and other prominent tech scene stakeholders.
- Pixelligent — The East Baltimore nanotech firm’s recent $38 million raise underscored investors’ faith in its PixClearProcess for synthesizing materials at the nano level. It’s come a long way from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it had to file back in 2007.
- Femly — The startup’s dedication to menstrual care and education manifests in eco-friendly products dispensed in bathrooms at such locations as M&T Bank Stadium and Brown Advisory. Each Femly product provides users with a QR code linking to reproductive health ed resources — a reflection of its push to help its users make more informed health decisions.
- CraniUS — With a former Under Armour exec and two recent Johns Hopkins University undergraduate alums in leadership positions, the neurotech startup posted one of Baltimore’s largest Q2 raises before closing a $19.4 million Series A this October. It’s committing these funds toward prototypes of a flagship device for delivering medicine directly to patients’ brains.
- Rendia — Once known as Eyemaginations, Federal Hill’s Rendia built its reputation on software that helps eye and ENT doctors better communicate with and manage the care of their patients. Its technology caught the eye (pun absolutely intended) of PatientPoint, which acquired Rendia earlier this year.
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.)
- Ashley Williams, Clymb — Through her company (previously known as Infinite Focus Schools, under which it was recognized as a 2021 RealLIST Startups honoree), Williams has made a market case for software that helps young people prioritize and manage their own emotional wellness. By doing this, among other smaller-scale advocacy to make children’s happiness a policy priority, she is helping future generations take their well-being into their own hands.
- Barbara Eucebio, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation — This recent Goucher College alum came to Deutsch first as an intern before moving up to the position of digital equity coordinator this spring, making her a pivotal steward of the foundation’s wide-ranging work to bridge Baltimore’s endemic digital divide.
- Michael Peace, M.A.P. Technologies — Peace has spent the past few years turning the West Baltimore computer repair shop into a robust gaming center where people can play and engage with the growing esports economy. He’s carried his passion for tech exposure and opportunities into a recent position as a technology manager for the Green Street Academy charter school.
- Q Ragsdale, Impact Hub Baltimore — Ragsdale’s work as Impact Hub’s director of acceleration builds on a career spent at the intersection of arts, content production, business development, technology and creative direction. This work, on behalf of small businesses throughout Baltimore, received a due spotlight in the latest season of GoDaddy’s YouTube series, “Made in America.”
- Eden Rodriguez, EcoMap Technologies — The ReaLIST Startups honoree’s head of people operations carries her employer’s focus on developing equitable and accessible ecosystems into its internal operations. She pushes for similar equity throughout the industry as a board member for Baltimore Tracks.
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