The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – So what individuals and companies will our panel of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders select as some of the best technology and life science executives and companies in North Carolina?

Join us Thursday, May 24, at the Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, for the first annual Full Steam Ahead Awards and find out.

The finalists will be announced tomorrow, but you need to register today. There’s no charge – but space is limited.

Our panel of judges (entrepreneurs, executives, investors – i.e. people who really know the business) will name winners in these categories:

  • Mogul – Top investor/owner
  • Conductor – Board chairman
  • Engineer – CEO
  • Fireman – COO (operations)
  • Brakeman – CFO (spending)
  • Signalman – CIO/CTO (technology/information)
  • Rookie – Top entrepreneur
  • Steward – Mentor/advisor to startups
  • Yardmaster – Developer/visionary driving regional development and/or a type of technology
  • Inventor – Creator/mastermind

We also will name five corporate winners:

  • The Express – Non-stop on way to success
  • The Turnaround – (The railroad turntable, turning engines around to run in opposite direction) – A rebuilt company
  • The Golden Spike – A solid, grind-it-out day to day company
  • The Subway – A company emerging from stealth mode
  • Riding The Third Rail – A company achieving success on a deadly “third rail” where other companies have tried and failed

Finally, we also will have a “people’s choice” winner – someone nominated and selected by Tech Wire readers.

Reserve your space today.