Erskine Bowles, head of the University of North Carolina System, Matthew Szulik, the former top executive at Red Hat, and Mark Munday, chief executive officer of Elster Solutions, received the top individual awards at the annual NCTA “21 Awards” on Wednesday night.

A record crowd of some 800 people turned out at the Sheraton Imperial for the North Carolina Technology Association program that honors technology and public sector leaders from across the state.

NCTA, the state’s largest technology focused trade and lobbying group, recognized Bowles with its Public Leadership award. Earlier on Wednesday, Bowles was in Washington, D.C., unveiling plans for reducing the U.S. federal budget deficit as part of the deficit commission he co-chairs with former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson.

Szulik, who retired as chairman of Raleigh-based Red Hat earlier this year, received the Outstanding Achievement Award. Szulik joined Red Hat as its president in 1998, became CEO the next year and chairman in 2002. ((Szulik calls the award very humbling. Read here for details.)

Munday won the Technology Executive of the Year award in balloting conducted by NCTA for the 17th annual program. Eslter Solutions focuses of smart grid solutions for utility companies. Munday also is an inventor, having been awarded 31 patents.

SAS, the world’s largest privately held software company, received the Education Leadership award.

Other awards, by category:

Technology Industry Awards

• Software Company of the Year: SciQuest, Inc.
• Life Sciences Company: TransEnterix
• Best Product or Service Technology Company: APEX Analytix
• Most Innovative Technology Company: Axial Exchange
• Green Technology Company: CoaLogix
• Industry Driven Technology Company: Elster Solutions
• Best Internal Implementation of Technology: Family Dollar

Excellence Awards:

• Private Company: Epic Games
• Public Company: CommScope
• Customer Service Company: SoftPro
• Fastest Growing Company: Allscripts
• Leading Environmental Steward Company: EMC Corporation
• Corporate Citizenship Company: Google

Stage of Development Awards:

• Emerging Technology Company: CivaTech Oncology
• Small Technology Company: Inlet Technologies
• Mid-Size Technology Company: Connexion Technologies
• Large Technology Company: Cree

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