WRALTechWire will host its second “Full Steam Ahead Awards” celebration on Oct. 24 at the Full Steam Brewery in Durham. Ten individual leaders and five companies will be honored at the free event. We also will be recognizing several life-time achievement winners. Save the date!

Only WRALTechWire subscribers can vote.

Voting is now open online.

However, anyone can attend the party. And it’s free. But you need to register online.

From its launch 11 years ago, WRALTechWire has been focused on the energy of high-tech and life science entrepreneurship, innovation. We’re taking that commitment a step further again this year with these awards which are designed to honor the individuals and companies that are so crucial to North Carolina’s future.

The categories for the awards:

Best of the Best

Ten individual winners will be named, all playing off the express train to success theme.

The categories:

• Mogul – Top investor/owner

• Conductor – Board chairman

• Engineer – CEO

• Fireman – COO (operations)

• Brakeman – CFO (spending)

• Signalman – CIO/CTO (technology/information/science officer/chief medical officer)

• Rookie – Top entrepreneur

• Steward – Mentor/advisor to startups

• Yardmaster – Developer/visionary driving regional development and/or a type of technology

• Inventor – Creator/mastermind

While mogul and inventor don’t refer specifically to railroads,moguls did build them and inventors created all that has run on tracks.

The Top Companies

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

The Nominees

Here are the selections for voters:


  • Jason Caplain and David Jones, Bull City Partners
  • Chris Heivly and David Neal, The Startup Factory
  • Dave Rizzo and Lister Delgado, IDEA Fund Partners
  • Christy Shaffer, Hatteras Ventures
  • Karen LeVert, Southeast TechInventures


  • Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor
  • Hugh Shelton, Red Hat
  • Tim Sweeney, Epic Games
  • Michael Zapata, Protochips
  • Henry Kaestner, Bandwidth
  • Ron De Lange, Tekelec/Oracle
  • Christy Shaffer, Hatteras Ventures


  • Brooks Bell, HQ Raleigh
  • Joy Parr Drach, Advanced Animal Diagnostics
  • Tom Pike, Quintiles
  • Stephen Wiehe, SciQuest
  • Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor
  • Robbie Allen, Automated Insight
  • Aaron Houghton, BoostSuite
  • Justin Miller, WedPics
  • Judd Bowman, Appia
  • David Morken, Bandwidth


  • Tom Kurke, Geomagic
  • Scott Fredenic, Automated Insights
  • Tobias Walter, Shoeboxed
  • Chris Chuang, Bandwidth


  • John Baule, ChannelAdvisor
  • Kevin Gordon, Quintiles
  • Karen Adams, Aerial Biopharma and Exodos Life Science
  • Bennett Love, BioKier Inc.


  • Nate Talbot, Spreedly
  • Steven Lorenz, Neuse River Networks
  • Robert Simora, Rail Inc.
  • Jay Strum, G1 Therapeutics
  • Ben Yerxa, Liquidia Technologies 

Rookie Entrepreneur:

  • Ginger Dosier, BioMASON
  • Leigh Ann Ryals, Able Device
  • Todd John, PlayerSpace
  • Ryan Becklland and Drew Schiller, Validic
  • Anil Chawla, ArchiveSocial
  • Jake Stauch, Neurospire
  • Coleman Greene, Sqord


  • Brooks Bell, HQ Raleigh
  • Adam Klein, American Underground
  • Dhruv Patel, Council for Entrepreneurial Development
  • Tom Looney, Seahawk Innovation Fund
  • Terri Lomax, Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Economic Development NC State University


  • Andy Schwab, First Flight Venture Center
  • Adam Klein and Michael Goodmon, American Underground
  • Brooks Bell, HG Raleigh
  • Sara Day Evans, Accelerating Appalachia


  • Rob Cotter, Organic Transit
  • Ping Fu, Geomagic
  • Bob Metzger, Kyma Technologies
  • Tim Sweeney, Epic Games
  • Jason Shih, BioResource International



  • ReverbNation
  • Bronto
  • Wed ics
  • Republic Wireless
  • Bandwidth
  • BioResource International


  • WedPics from Deji Mi
  • Lenovo
  • Intuit Health
  • Cree

Golden Spike:

  • WebAssign
  • PowerSecure
  • Red Hat
  • CloudWyze
  • Castle Branch
  • Appia
  • SAS


  • Biomason
  • Organic Transit
  • PopUp
  • Neuse River Networks
  • EdTechTrials.com
  • nCino
  • NextGlass
  • eSmart Meter
  • Advanced Animal Diagnostics

Riding Third Rail:

  • Semprius
  • Organic Transit
  • Republic Wireless
  • WebPics
  • Windsor Circle

So circle the date. You will want to be there.

Read more online about who were winners last year.