2019 Submissions

The 2019 Entry Period runs from June 3 to July 19, 2019. While self-nominations by innovators (companies, entities, individuals) are preferred, third-party nominations are most welcome. Eligible entries will be judged on novelty, market need, economic impact and disruption.

Entries must be submitted via the ONLINE ENTRY FORM, hosted by the Sacramento Business Journal, and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The innovation must be created or a primary portion of the work on the innovation must have been performed by a Sacramento-region entity. Sacramento-region is defined as Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.
  • The innovation must have been recently developed. Because many innovations do not have a clear-cut beginning or end in its evolution, the organizers have chosen not to set a definitive timeframe on the entry’s creation.
  • Innovations from academic entities must be in/near the commercialization stage.
  • Innovation must fit appropriately into one of the eight entry categories below.
  • Submissions must include company/entity logo and a photo of the innovation or innovating team. Supplemental materials are encouraged and welcomed, such as marketing brochures, news articles, videos, diagrams, and client testimonials.

2018 Award Categories:

  1. ADVANCED MANUFACTURING (utilizes advanced systems for information management, robotics, and workplace organization)
  7. SOFTWARE (consumer/enterprise, social media, apps, gaming, cloud, big data)
  8. SUSTAINABILITY (including clean technology, energy, water, climate change adaptation, green building)

2018 Selection Committee (subject to change)


Steve Mills, Partner, DCA Capital Partners
Tracy Saville, CEO, Herba, Inc.; CFO, Khemia Manufacturing
Gino DiCaro, VP of Communications, California Manufacturing & Technology Association (CMTA)
Tony Lopez, Vice President of Operations, Pride Industries
Mark Haney, Chief Dreaming Officer, HaneyBiz
John Krueger*, Executive VP, Greater Sacramento Economic Council
Jennie Ly, Manager, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Tom Henry, Stoel Rives LLP  [non-voting liaisons]


Joe Schmidt, Senior VP Business Development & Strategy, BioConsortia, Inc.
Mary Busch, Director of Innovation, Blue Diamond Growers
Julie Morris, Academic Coordinator, Food & Agriculture Industry Immersion at UC Davis
Trish Kelley, Senior Vice President, Valley Vision
Ryan Sharp, Associate Director, Venture Catalyst, UC Davis
Ashish Malik, CEO, Bee Vectoring Technologies International, Inc.
Parastoo Yaghmaee, Ph.D., VP of Process Solutions & Validations, Ziel Process Solutions, LLC
John Selep, President, AgStart
Jeremy McInturf, Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Matt Struhar, Attorney, Stoel Rives LLP [non-voting liaison]
Melissa Jones*, Office Managing Partner, Stoel Rives LLP Agribusiness [non-voting liaison]


Louis Stewart*, Chief Innovation Officer, MOFIE, City of Sacramento
Amanda Blackwood, President & CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber
Maya Wallace, Code for Sac
Aaron Anderson, Principal, Impact Venture Capital
Diane Parro, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Davis
Stuart Drown, Deputy Secretary for Innovation & Accountability, CA Government Operations Agency
Brandon Weber, I/O Labs & The Urban Hive
Khaim Morton, Deputy Secretary for Legislation, CA Government Operations Agency
Chris Russell*, Partner, Stoel Rives LLP Emerging Companies [non-voting liaison]


Katherine Cota, Executive Director, Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Harry Laswell, CEO, Powerhouse Science Center
Kristie Amanna, Senior Engineer, Intel Corporation
Amit Gattani, Senior Director of Segment Marketing, Embedded Solutions Group, Micron Technology, Inc.
Tim Keller, Founder, Inventopia
Mike Rizzo, Chief Banking Officer, Capital Region, Five Star Bank
Mang Fang, Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Philip Wang, Stoel Rives LLP Litigation [non-voting liaison]

MEDICAL & HEALTH: MedTech & BioPharmasupported by MedStart

Cary Adams, JD, CEO, MedForce Accelerator / Almond Tree Capital
Judith Kjelstrom, PhD., Director Emerita, UC Davis Biotechnology Program
Warren Smith, Ph.D., Professor, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department, California State University, Sacramento
Chris Wood, Senior Director, Mercy Neurological Institute, Dignity Health
Dushyant Pathak*, Assoc. Vice Chancellor, Office of Research, ED Venture Catalyst, UC Davis
Meg Arnold*, Managing Director, Valley Vision
Matt Phillips, Director of Business Development, StemExpress
Robert Groth, Head of Sales and BD, Twenty Billion Neurons GmbH
Yasmin Seyal, CFO, Techiya
Barry Curtis, Assoc. Dir., Strategic Technology Marketing, Office of Research, UC Davis
Tracy Shafizadeh, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Communications, Evolve BioSystems [2016 WINNER]
Zane Starkewolfe, Associate Director, UC Davis, Venture Catalyst
Andrey Gaynaliy, Manager, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Matt Bethards*, Bart Giddings, Alex Oh, and Jon Miles, Stoel Rives LLP Tech & Life Sciences [non-voting liaisons]


Roger Akers, Managing Partner, Akers Capital LLC
Laura Good*, Cofounder, StartupSac
Vaibhav Nadgauda, Partner, Moneta Ventures
Corley Phillips, Director, Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy
Kim Box, President & CEO at Gatekeeper Innovation, Inc.
John Peters, Chairman, Sacramento Angels
Scot Sutherland, PhD., Director of R&D, Pondera Solutions [2017 WINNER]
Jon Gregory, Venture Banking Manager & VP at Five Star Bank
Mark Harrison, Partner, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Sylvia Arostegui & Eric Skanchy, Stoel Rives LLP Development [non-voting liaisons]


Gary Simon, Chairman, CleanStart, Inc.
Nicole England, Teichert Construction
Jim Alves, Economic Development & Partnerships, SMUD
Dave Sanders, WorldBridge Partners
Angela DePaoli, President & CEO, Bargas Environmental Consulting
Rob White, Chief Strategist, Sierra Energy [2016 WINNER]
Mark Humbert, Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP [non-voting]
Allison Smith & Sarah Kozal, Stoel Rives LLP Energy & Natural Resources [non-voting liaison]

*Steering Committee Member

Conflicts of Interest Policy: In the event that a Selection Committee member has a “tie” or connection with a nomination, they will be asked to disclose the relationship to program organizers and abstain from voting on the category in which the related nomination is being judged. All Selection Committee members shall be objective and unbiased in group discussions and evaluations.