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. – More than 40 companies, from startups to global power players, are in the running to receive one or more of five corporate awards in WRAL Tech Wire’s first “Full Steam Ahead Awards,” a salute to North Carolina’s tech and life science industries or companies using tech to help recreate the way they do business.

Our panel of judges (entrepreneurs, executives, investors – i.e. people who really know the business) have made their nominations, and the winners will be announced next Thursday, May 24, at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham.

We are playing off a full-steam railroad theme, and here are the corporate nominees:

I. The Express – Non-stop on way to success

  • Appia
  • EMC
  • SAS
  • Red Hat
  • LabCorp
  • Windsor Circle
  • ShoeBoxed
  • Sensus
  • Argyle Social
  • ShareFile (recently acquired)
  • iContact (recently acquired)

II. The Turnaround – (The railroad turntable, turning engines around to run in opposite direction) – A rebuilt, refocused or restructured company

  • Metabolon
  • Advanced Liquid Logic
  • BioAgilytix
  • ShareFile
  • SciQuest
  • Lenovo
  • SpringMetrics
  • Charles & Colvard

III. The Golden Spike – A solid, grind-it-out day-to-day company

  • Railinc
  • Bronto
  • ChannelAdvisor
  • Reverb Nation
  • Cree
  • Relevance
  • SAS
  • Red Hat
  • Quintiles
  • Geomagic
  • Two Toasters

IV. The Subway – A company emerging from stealth mode or relative obscurity

  • Xanofi
  • EvoApp
  • 519 Games
  • Fitsistant
  • ShareFile
  • Plotwatt
  • Valencell
  • Two Toasters
  • Semprius
  • BoostSuite
  • Bronto

V. Riding The Third Rail – A company achieving success on a deadly “third rail” where other companies have tried and failed

  • Appia
  • Netsertive
  • MCNC

For nominees in 10 individual award categories, read here.

Be sure to come to the party, which also will celebrate the 10th anniversary of WRAL Tech Wire.

There’s no charge to attend, but you need to register and space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Reserve your space today.