The 15-year-old Charlotte Blue Diamond Technology Awards nomination process did not run well last year, says Chad Solomonson co-chairman of this year’s event.

“The awards event itself was probably the best we’ve ever had last year,” Solomonson says, “but we’ve streamlined the process for nominations.”

Sponsored by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Information Technology Council (ITC), the awards recognize companies and business leaders for technology innovation. And, as Solomonson points out, “You don’t have to be a technology company to win an award.”

It’s a high-end event held at the Blumenthal, hosted by local celebrities and attended last year by over 700 people. Proceeds from the event, which charges sponsors from $10,000 to $2,000 for various levels of support, go to support technology in Charlotte Mecklenburg schools.

Chamber members pay $75 each to attend the awards ceremony. Non-members pay $85.

But Jill Purdy, known for her public relations work with Convey and other Charlotte companies, says among other things, last year’s winners didn’t receive as much attention as the awards are intended to provide winners.

“This year’s awards committee is making strides to spread awareness about them,” Purdy says. For one thing, the Chamber’s Ventures magazine featured profiles of two of last year’s winners, and Medic.

Streamlined Nominations

Last year’s nomination process proved cumbersome and time-consuming, so changes have been made to streamline things this year, Solomonson says. The nomination process has been simplified as a result.

This year those who wish to nominate a company or person for one of the awards can view them as word documents from the Blue Diamond Awards website rather than going through last year’s online process. “They can just print them out as a word document to check them or pass them around, then email them in,” Solomonson says.

Nominations opened this week and remain open until October 31. “We’ll have a kick-off event in mid-September, a blast of the brand and we’ll release more details soon,” says Solomonson, who co-chairs this year’s event with ettain’s Dan Royle.

Solomonson says that in addition to smoothing the nominations process, this year they have refurbished the web site, raised the number of judges to 30, and are trying to extend the reach and visibility of the event. “We’re targeting some companies such as the Compass Group and Family Dollar which haven’t been involved in the past. Duke Energy is doing call center work for us on a volunteer basis.”

Award Categories

The awards include:

The Dr. Richard Neel Award for career achievement, which recognizes an individual for professional and volunteer accomplishments over the course of their career in the local technology industry.

The Joanna R. Baker Award for corporate community leadership recognizes a corporation’s contribution to Charlotte workforce development. The best corporate use of information technology for customer service focuses on how the nominated company addresses customer needs, detailing the use of technology.

The best corporate use of information technology award recognizes how technology solved a specific business challenge. It’s judged by how innovative the solution is and metrics that measure its tangible value.

The best information technology product award recognizes how it solved a business need.

The most prestigious award is top growth company of the year, which measures a firm’s revenue and profitability, number of employees, clients, locations and capital infusion. It requires validation from the company’s chief executive or chief financial officer.

Finally, the “diamond-in-the-rough” award recognizes the same factors as the growth company award for early stage companies and also requires C-level validation.

MetaLogix on the move

Solomonson is vice president of marketing for Charlotte’s MetaLogix, which he co-founded with Greg Mayer, president. Both were formerly with Core Technology Partners, which closed last year in May.

The company, which was named Microsoft’s Managed Partner of the quarter in June, also just became a reseller of Hewlett Packard’s Sharepoint products. Among the offerings is a digital scanning server, which lets users scan paper documents that can then be managed in the Sharepoint program.

MetaLogix sells services, consulting and products associated with Microsoft’s Sharepoint web portal. Sharepoint lets companies centralize activities, processes and documents and integrate them with other systems online.

MetaLogix also sells web parts for Sharepoint that make it more valuable to specific users, such as its “Agenda Central” which MetaLogix created for city, county and state governments to do their agendas.

“It’s very cost effective for governments and it’s not a six-month deployment and half a million dollars,” says Solomonson. He said the lighter version takes about six weeks to get up and running.

The company also recently added the City of Salisbury to its client list for Agenda Central. The City of Charlotte is also a client.

Solomonson says dealing with the longer sales cycle of state and municipal governments is a challenge, but that “it’s a huge market and we’re going to continue to grow our portfolio.”

The company’s other clients include Pergo Laminate Flooring and Monroe-based Colfax Pump Group.

He says the company expects to move its 10-person staff of employees and contractors from small offices in Ballantyne into larger uptown Charlotte offices in a few months.


The Blue Diamond Awards”