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TIMMY Awards Celebrate the Workplaces that Drive Innovation

It was appropriate the 3rd annual Chicago TIMMY Awards were held on a day of record breaking heat. Some of Chicago’s hottest, most talented and innovative companies gathered for the Tech in Motion TIMMY Awards at 1871 September 22, packing an energetic Auditorium. The awards recognize the best places for tech professionals to work in Chicago -- from companies that excel at embracing diversity to businesses with visionary leaders.


Judging for the four awards -- which were given based on an even split of public voting and the decision of a panel of experts -- included some of the most celebrated and recognizable faces in Chicago tech:

  • Sandee Kastrul, President and co-founder of i.c.stars, a non-profit technology and leadership training program for inner-city adults.
  • Troy Henikoff, Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners, and co-founder of Excelerate Labs, the predecessor of Techstars Chicago.
  • Emile Cambry, BLUE1647 founder and Chicago filmmaker, professor and social entrepreneur.

The evening was MC’d by author, speaker, comedian and Axios Director of Platform Architecture Andy Boyle, who seized on a tech-savvy audience with a routine that riffed on everything from Ruby on Rails to Wordpress.

Each category of the TIMMY Awards -- Best Tech Work Culture, Best Tech Workplace for Diversity, Best Tech Leader and Best Tech Manager -- featured a winner and a runner-up. The winners were:

    • Best Tech Workplace for Diversity: Jellyvision, with Brad’s Deals taking runner up. J. “Steven” Young accepted the award on behalf of the company's leadership, noting the award for diversity had personal importance as he was fired from a position 29 years ago for being gay. 1871 was also a finalist for the diversity award, which COO Tom Alexander noted “Just the fact that there’s an award for that is so f-ing cool.”
    • Best Tech Manager: Dr. Alok Choudhary of 4C Insights, with Vadim Vladmirskiy of Nerdio accepting the runner up award. 4C Insights is a data science and media technology company. Choudhary is known for his philosophy that it isn’t the technology that makes a company successful, it’s the people.
    • Best Tech Work Culture: Solstice, with West Monroe Partners as the runner up. With some of the loudest cheers of any company present at the event, Solstice -- an innovation and Emerging Technology Consulting firm -- has been named one of the 100 best places in the country for young people to work and has made headlines for its awesome office.
    • Best Tech Startup: ItemMaster, with Strike Social as runner-up. ItemMaster -- a spinoff of food delivery giant Peapod -- “leads with culture” among its employees. Based in the Loop, the company raised $7.5 million in seed funding late last year.

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