The Pacific Northwest Regional Showcase, which is the final local event, was held in Seattle this year. Congratulations to all our Semi-finalists! Months of hard work in our accelerator program culminated in a 20-minute opportunity to impress the judges with their ideas and newfound knowledge about how to be successful.
The day began with judging held at one of our sponsors, Dorsey & Whitney. The twelve teams presented to two panels of judges who decided on the winners.
The evening program was held at the elegant Rainier Club in downtown Seattle. Teams had booths to display their companies and demonstrate their innovative technologies. This allowed the attendees to meet the teams and get to know them in more detail, which would be helpful for the People's Choice voting later in the evening.
First up on the agenda were welcoming remarks provided by Chairman of the Board, Richard Franklin who was in town to help us celebrate the event as part of the 10th anniversary of the Cleantech Open.
Once again, the teams took center stage, this time for two minutes a piece for an elevator pitch to impress the audience for the People's Choice award. [Spoiler Alert: one of the winners of the evening also was the People's Choice award recipient]. Later, the Principal of the People's Choice winner said in good fun, "it helps to have the event in my hometown, so I can have more friends vote for our team!"
The Cleantech Open is fortunate to have such a robust and eager alumni pool. We were fortunate to have three alumni CEO's join us to discuss their companies, challenges they have faced and to say how the Cleantech Open has helped them. It was great to see that they are all doing so well.
- David Kirtley, CEO of Helion Energy, makers of fusion energy generation systems
- Philip Appel, CEO of Ag Energy Solutions which converts agriculture waste into green energy
- Matt Rose, CEO of Apana, a water efficiency monitoring solution.
Tom Ranken, CEO of the Cleantech Alliance of Washington, a key Cleantech Open partner in Washington, did a bang-up job (as usual) of entertaining the crowd (and panel) and keeping the panel and audience engaged.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Jud Virden who is the Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy and Environment Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, impressed the crowd with the facts about how in the PNW, the states of Oregon, Washington (and B.C., Canada) lead the rest of North America in green energy production.
Winner, Winner, Chicken (or Risotto) Dinner
After a delicious dinner and talks by noted luminaries and illustrious alumni, we got down to the reason we were all there. No, not dessert, although we had that as well. Awards!
Ian Foraker, our Western Division Executive Director announced the winner of our Mentor of the Year, Chris Ajemian who helped mentor Protium Innovations and IntelliJet Marine.
The high quality of teams and diversity of innovative ideas made for an interesting judging challenge - always a good problem to have! This year we presented two finalist awards to the teams that stood out the most.
Thanks to enthusiastic Cleantech Open folks and an abundance of tables on which to bang, there was crowd-generated drumroll as the winners were announced over the cacophony (There were no rehearsals!) of tapping fingers.
One consistent theme throughout the Cleantech Open's "decade of impact" has been sponsors. As non-profit, we literally could not do anything without them. We were fortunate to have such terrific sponsors support us throughout the program year and for this event. The final four awards were presented by some of our sponsors.
Pam Neal, Sr. Program Manager/Clean Energy Liaison at Portland Development Commission, was also an event sponsor. Pam presented the People's Choice award. For the astute reader who noted above that the People's Choice award winner was also a final winner and has kept reading compelled by the building sense of drama, your wait is almost over, but we won't announce it here.
Priya Cloutier of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, one of the event sponsors, presented the sustainability winner, Tape-It-Easy, which is a designer and manufacturer of a machine for installing drip tape irrigation, which saves water compared to traditional systems.
Giving out one of the finalist prizes was Paul Forecki of Voxus PR whose firm was providing part of the award - $5k in PR services. That award went to EcoPro Polymers, which has a sustainable solution for particleboard building products.
The final award that you all have been waiting for was presented by Jennifer Spaith, a partner at sponsor Dorsey & Whitney. Jennifer noted that as a patent attorney her daily routine doesn't normally consist of opening envelopes to a drumroll and presenting awards on-stage! Perhaps it should, because she did great! The final winner of the evening (and yes, the People's Choice award) was Allumia, which helps finance industrial customers to upgrade their lighting to new energy-saving LED bulbs.
Next Stop, San Francisco
The three winners (Allumia, EcoPro Polymers and Tape-It-Easy) will travel south to San Francisco next month to compete in the Global Forum. We look forward to seeing them on stage again and wish them well. We also encourage all of the teams who participated in the 2015 Pacific Northwest Region of the Cleantech Open to attend the global forum to meet other teams, mentors, and of course investors who participate in the Global Forum. While we wish all teams from across the globe well, we are pulling for a Pacific Northwest team to win it all! No pressure!
By Chris Bradbury on in Western