On December 8th, Tech in Motion is proud to present the 2nd Annual D.C. Timmy Awards, which will be held at 1776 Crystal City. The “Timmys” are hosted by Tech in Motion in tech hubs across North America, with the goal of acknowledging the local companies and individuals that strive to create the best places for technology professionals to work in. After all the votes are in, the finalists in each city come together for one celebratory evening where the winners are crowned as the best (1) technology manager, (2) technology work culture, and (3) tech startup. Here are D.C.’s impressive finalists.
Best Tech Manager
Andrew Willis – VP, eCommerce Technology of Customink
Andrew implements “blameless postmortems,” where the focus should be on the problem itself rather than the person who caused it. In addition, he supports the managers by having regular one-on-ones with the team and on a bi-weekly basis. He also hosts a team meeting called “Gossip, Rumors, and Lies,” where employees can talk about anything in a safe place.
Andrew’s balanced look on innovation and pragmatism greatly impacted a rebuild of the Online Design Experience, using a modern stack of React w/ Redux.
David Wolfand – VP, Engineering of United Income
Under David’s management, career growth is measured less by title and much more by the opportunity to learn new skill sets, hone existing abilities, and demonstrate an ability to kick ass. David has promoted the growth of his team through the use of continuous deployment of code, moving away from the typical two-week release cycle. The team is honing their Agile and Lean skills even further, delivering value to members the moment it is ready.
David and his team are developing a financial services web-based product that does not have any of its own servers, making it near-infinitely scalable (so long as Amazon has the servers) no matter the popularity of the application.
Matt Hagopian – VP, Engineering of LiveSafe, Inc.
Matt is dedicated to providing growth and development opportunities for his team. He encourages employees to attend conferences, speak or present at local Meetups, and holds the team responsible to the individual goals that they set for themselves. He is also a vocal advocate for cross-team collaboration.
LiveSafe provides an enterprise-class mobile safety communications platform, comprised of a robust, cloud-based Command Dashboard and a user-friendly customizable mobile application to enable the community to engage on safety and security related issues directly on their smartphones.
Philip Schmitz – CEO of CharityEngine
Philip has cultivated a culture of achievement recognition. Every Friday during lunch, the team reads nominations that coworkers have written based on individual successes during the week. The individual with the most votes wins a gift card for their hard work. This has created a camaraderie across the entire CharityEngine team that encourages creative solutions, but also cross-disciplinary partnerships and appreciation.
CharityEngine was created by BIS Global as a way to help nonprofit clients by providing integrated customer relationship management email and website management, payment processing, and eCommerce tools.
Rami Essaid – CEO of Distil Networks
Rami is a believer in ensuring that the individual and cultural goals should always be in sync. He offers to help employees make the next step in their careers should they choose to leave Distil. He has also been instrumental in developing the company culture and works tirelessly to maintain a high company morale, whether through the implementation of unique company perks or a company trip to SXSW.
Distil Networks uses a bot detection product paired with a team of experienced security analysts to provide real-time threat monitoring, analysis, investigation and response, as well as post-incident reports and best practices to ensure a 24/7 managed security service customized to each user’s unique security policy.
Best Work Culture
Once a month, AOL engineers submit prototypes of cutting edge projects that provide a new service or application that benefits the technology teams. The project is assessed and if deemed viable, the submitter gets the opportunity to work on the project for a month to make it a reality. The engineer is even excused from dedicated project work while the prototype project is being completed.
AOL offers new and exciting applications that help streamline, reduce costs, and provide quicker software solutions to the market
Aspire’s product is built completely in-house, and consistently improved by their team. Every person is involved in product suggestions, design features, and testing. The product team spans sales, account management, and fundraising to truly solve the needs of every piece of the business. This transparency allows anyone to learn about product design and technical implementation.
Aspire’s easy-to-use platform and dedicated team of support staff lets one quickly coordinate events in their office, from catered lunches and happy hours to wellness programs.
Deloitte Digital starts every week with a Monday Huddle, where 120+ employees gather together to share any relevant and interesting articles, short films, or other materials. In addition, they integrate themselves into the local DC design scene by hosting creative dev and front end technology meetups.
Deloitte Digital brings human-centered design to the federal government through workshops with clients. This collaboration allows clients to fully integrate their ideas into their products and applications.
The first rule in Leverege’s culture book is “Use your best judgement in all situations.” This approach encourages employees to take risks and approach problems in their own unique way. They further reinforce this mindset by holding a weekly Show-and-Tell where every team member shares the interesting projects they’ve been pursuing.
Leverege offers an IoT Platform that is the industry’s first fully-integrated product designed from the ground up. Their platform meets the needs of all business users from the C-suite executive focused on the corporate bottom line to the junior engineer charged with the day-to-day technical operations.
Every two weeks, LiveSafe lets the engineering team demo new features that they’ve created to the rest of the company, teaching them about the functionality and processes along the way. In addition, they explore new technologies as a team and regularly attend Washington, DC Meetups together.
LiveSafe offers an enterprise-class mobile safety platform fueled by crowd-sourced intelligence, maps, analytics and other features. Their goal is to enable the community to engage on security and safety issues directly from smartphones.
Not only is continued education encouraged, it’s expected at MapBox. Departments across the company actively engage and teach each other relevant information for the betterment of themselves. Along with this, MapBox pays ticket and travel expenses for any employee looking to go to a conference. For example, a group of designers was sent to the NACIS Conference.
Mapbox builds and offers a multitude of tools to developers to add location-based services to their apps and websites.
MobilePosse recognizes that professional development is more than just schooling and training. Through shadowing and observing senior leads, junior level employees are able to learn in collaborative and personal ways. These collaborative and personal interactions allow employees to gain unique experiences first-hand.
Mobile Posse provides mobile carriers and OEMs a platform that delivers salient messages from the operator to the subscriber. This provides an option for consumers to receive content they love to their smartphone’s home and lock screen.
Optoro believes that fostering an environment of autonomy and creativity is crucial to reaching groundbreaking solutions. They promote a creative culture by hosting events intended to spark innovative thinking and encourage employees to question current processes. For example, they host an internal “Hackathon” day once a month where each person in the tech department chooses a challenge facing their company and codes an original solution. The winners receive additional funding in their Professional Development accounts, enabling them to access a wide variety of resources beyond Optoro.
Optoro offers an end-to-end reverse logistics solution that helps retailers process, manage, and sell their returned and excess inventory.
SkyBitz continually encourages its employees to take professional development courses, host trainers to come in, and they encourage employees to share their technical expertise and knowledge with each other. Most recently, they provided Azure Cloud Training to some of their engineering team members.
SkyBitz offers SaaS-based solutions that provide rapidly deployable solutions for enterprise and local fleets, tank monitoring, and petroleum logistics.
Hackathons are a great tradition at Ventera. They sponsor a variety of technology focused Hackathons called “Hack.Ventera.” Engineers also participate in similar events hosted by clients and other organizations. This gives employees an avenue to test new technologies and ideas while collaborating and innovating with people outside of current projects in a fun environment while delivering tangible proof of concepts and solutions to clients.
Ventera is a professional services organization that supports a variety of technology needs, such as Agile, plug and play automated testing, and AI-influenced predictive modeling across both Government and Commercial customers.
Best Tech Startup
BigParser’s team is headed up by a former Yahoo Engineering Manager. They stay focused on the goals for the day there and respect everyone else’s space and time.
BigParser is on a mission to connect the world’s data through its three main apps, Grids, Share, and Plug.
Brllnt’s goal has always been to build an open and collaborative culture inspired by thinkers and entrepreneurs. The Co-Founder, Chief Marketing Officer, and Director of Operations are focused on growing and supporting the local DC community.
Brllnt’s doesn’t just build platforms. The team collaborates to build brand strategies, identities, and marketing campaigns.
Gravy’s team is led by a serial entrepreneur and previous executives from AOL, Neustar and AT&T. They are focused on the goal of building an open-environment to foster interaction, collaboration, reward, and recognition in the workplace.
Gravy is a mobile, location-based customer intelligence platform. Using verified attendances at local events and venues, it identifies and predicts segmentation and consumers’ preferences.
InnovatorsBox values long-term growth. With flexible hours and locations, they want their staff to constantly learn and craft their tangible and intangible skills as professionals such as how to best manage time and energy, and effectively balance multitasking.
InnovatorsBox teaches creativity, builds community, and raises public awareness of the importance of creative thinking for all individuals. By providing a supportive community and educational resources, everyone has the opportunity to integrate creative thinking into their lives and careers.
MetiStream’s leadership has founded the DC Area Apache Spark Interactive Meetup to foster community collaboration on Spark, which has since grown to 2,000+ members. The next project is to grow the DC/VA/MD Big Data Healthcare Meetup to spearhead innovation in healthcare.
MetiStream has developed a framework that integrates FHIR, a progressive API-enabled healthcare standard, with Apache Spark. This combination targets improvements in patient experience and uses genomics to provide personalized health recommendations.
NotionTheory only accepts those who are passionate. Every member of the team has either started their own venture, has former startup experience, or is mostly self-taught in their expertise. They choose their projects based on how well they will be able to leverage each team member’s expertise with the goal of making a truly collaborative effort.
NotionTheory creates custom Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for brands while also building in-house products. They spent one-and-a-half years building their own VR framework, which allows users to build virtual reality applications IN virtual reality.
Rize has always known that the company will succeed only if its customers are successful. By never losing sight of this very important truth, the work environment has never been driven by either seniority or the bottom line. Instead, each member is a consummate forward-thinker who focuses on knowing how the financial industry will evolve and unfold.
Rize’s online savings platform uses behavioral design and automation to help customers save an average of 10% of their income towards goals they care about. They help customers understand what they can achieve and provide the means and confidence to help customers reach their goals.
Senseware has effortlessly created an open community of trust, transparency, respect, support, and laughs. Everyone works in one room and they aren’t afraid to question and challenge each other. Team members push each other and help each other grow.
Senseware is a Smart Building Solution that wireless monitors performance across all Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, and Plumbing systems to run more cost-effectively. They’re building the one true smart-building.
United Income runs Agile on two-week sprints. Every single person commits to work for the two week sprint and then demos what they accomplished to the entire company at Demo Day. They hold each other accountable across teams. They struggle together and they celebrate together. Everyone is responsible for their work, and everyone is responsible to the team.
United Income is building a financial technology solution to improve retirements. They offer a hybrid solution that combines web-based products and access to financial advisers to provide guidance to users and make it easy to stop worrying about finances and focus on the fun of the future.
The team at Virgil Security has led multiple DARPA projects delivering next-gen technologies in cognitive radios, cross layer networking optimization, data fusion, distributed sensor networks, dynamic spectrum access, machine cognition, mobile ad hoc networks, and an array of foundational technologies.
Virgil Security is delivering software-based security building blocks to developers so that they can quickly and easily add security to their own products. Their goal is make every software developer an applied cryptologist.
The Timmy Awards ceremony will celebrate the local technology community and also recognize not only the winners, but the entire D.C. community for creating a great business environment to thrive in. The event itself will be a great opportunity to network with finalists and other members of the tech community.