The Stevie® Awards have announced the twelve executives who will chair the specialized judging committees for the The 2017 (15th Annual) American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A.
All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations -- public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2017 awards honor achievements since the beginning of 2016 Entry details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/ABA. The extended final entry deadline is Friday, April 7.
Here are this year's judging committee chairs.
ANNUAL REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS:
Renee Mallonee, Director, Marketing
MONI Smart Security (formerly Monitronics), Farmers Branch, Texas, USA
Renee Mallonee has been with MONI Smart Security (formerly Monitronics) for nearly 10 years, starting as a Marketing Coordinator and working her way up to Director of Marketing. During her tenure, she has helped move the company from a B2B organization that operated primarily behind the scenes to one of the largest smart home technology and residential security providers in North America. Under Mallonee, the company underwent a complete rebrand, shifting to a more direct-to-consumer focus with national TV, print and radio advertising campaigns, new strategic partnerships, and a fresh take on communicating with consumers. She was awarded a spot on the Security Systems News 20 Under 40 list, and is widely recognized throughout the industry as a leader in marketing, branding, and communications. Mallonee is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she studied marketing and advertising.
On being appointed Chair of the Annual Reports & Publications Judging Committee, Renee told us: “The Stevie Awards provide an excellent platform for companies to showcase their outstanding achievements. Each new year of submissions generates a new benchmark for creativity and innovation. As a past winner, MONI knows how steep the competition can be, and we look forward to seeing what this year’s applicants will deliver.”
George Gallate, Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President
Merkle, Columbia, Maryland, USA
George is Merkle’s CMO and is also responsible for global development. He has 30+ years' experience in building and leading high-performing networks and teams globally. He has worked across all media, including seven years leading the global advertising, digital, and marketing services of Intel.
George joined Merkle in July 2014 following Merkle’s acquisition of RKG where he was CEO. Prior to RKG, George spent 27 years at Havas/Euro RSCG. He was the Global Chairman, and before that Global CEO, of Havas Digital, a network he had formed and led since 1997. Under George’s leadership, Adweek ranked Euro RSCG 4D (now Havas Digital) as the largest digital network globally for five years in a row.
From 2005 through 2008, George was Havas’ Regional CEO for Asia Pacific, India, and the Middle East with responsibility for 28 offices and more than 1,800 staff. He was based in Shanghai.
George has worked in most categories and has deep tech and B-to-B experience. He's led and worked on Intel and IBM globally, as well as Dell across Asia Pacific. George also has experience in B2C, having worked on Hershey’s, Volvo, Jaguar, National Australia Bank, Novartis, JetBlue, Hyatt, Sheraton, and 1-800-Flowers.
George is an accomplished industry speaker, thought leader, and innovator. He keynoted on “Digital – Data – Integration” at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in 2001, and spoke there again in 2010. He was the Jury President of the Cannes CyberLion Jury in 2002.
On being appointed Chair of the ABA’s Company/Organization Judging Committee, George commented: “It is a privilege to be associated with the Stevie Awards. The scope and depth of the awards make them one of the best representations of leadership and innovation in American business.”
Jennifer L. Foster, President
Catalyst Media Factory, Detroit, Michigan
Jennifer Foster is the Founder and President of Catalyst Media Factory. Founded in 2016, the company specializes in media relations and social media for small and start-up retailers, restaurants, non-profits, and professional service companies.
Catalyst Media Factory team members become an integral part of its clients' day-to-day business operations. Team members learn the businesses’ nuances and then create a plan of action that suits clients’ needs and drives results.
As someone who has been involved with the Stevie Awards for some years, Jennifer told us: “The American Business Awards truly showcase the best that American business has to offer. The awards enable organizations of any size, and in almost any category, to be recognized on the national stage for their innovative and ambitious accomplishments. It’s an honor to Chair the Corporate Communications/IR/PR Awards Judging Committee and to be a part of this process.”
CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUPPORT:
Natasha Chitre, Senior Client Partner
Novus Global Solutions LLC, North Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Natasha Chitre is a Senior Client Partner at Novus Global Solutions, a 21st century professional services firm that was designed from the ground up to deliver onsite consulting services at a lower TCO than offshore, and with a speed and quality that is unmatched by other consulting models.
Natasha is responsible for managing a line of business for Novus that focuses on driving technology projects. She is a Black Belt six sigma professional and is passionate about customer success.
Stephen Childs, Vice President, Global Human Resources
Panasonic Automotive, Peachtree City, Georgia, USA
Stephen Childs serves as the Vice President of Global Human Resources & Facilities for Panasonic Automotive, which is the leader in automotive OEM infotainment systems with $2.5 billion in revenue and over 6,000 employees. Stephen has more than 20 years of human resources and leadership experience and sits on the Executive Board of Panasonic Automotive. He began his career with the company in 1998 in the Talent Acquisition area and has held progressing management positions in the years since. Before joining Panasonic, Stephen was an entrepreneur in the staffing industry.
Stephen has won numerous industry awards, including the 2013 Society for Human Resources Management Atlanta Pegasus Award for Excellence in Human Resources. His team also won three 2016 American Business Awards: two Gold Stevie Awards, for HR Department of the Year and for Team of the Year; and the Bronze Stevie Award for Human Resource Executive of the Year.
Stephen is on the Executive Board of Directors of the Fayette County Chamber. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Greg Gomel, Founder
The Gomel Group, LLC, Plano, Texas, USA
Greg is the founder of The Gomel Group, a Veteran Owned Small Business in Plano, Texas. Greg is both a veteran with extensive leadership successes as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and a Senior Executive expert in the design, delivery, and continuous process improvement of cost-effective, high-performance IT organizations.
David Sonntag, President & CEO
Decibel Management, Alexandria, Virginia, USA
David has extensive experience creating, planning, and producing live events. David launched Decibel Management in 2007 in order to follow his passion for live events, experiential marketing, meetings, and conferences.
David manages a number of long-term clients and event properties. He has been an integral part of the National Book Festival since 2003 and for the past six years, David has served as event producer for the Festival. David was also selected as one of the producers for the 69th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Ceremony, held in Washington, DC in 2016. This included working with the Association on numerous events including the Induction Ceremony with Justice Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court; the Induction Celebration at the Mellon Auditorium; lunch meetings in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State; and the main awards dinner at DAR Constitution Hall. David was tapped again in 2017 for the 70th Annual Awards. David has also been a US multi-year producer for the National Small Business Week Awards for the US Small Business Administration.
Prior to forming Decibel Management, David oversaw events as a Vice President at the public relations firm FleishmanHillard, where he gained valuable experience on message development and delivery. David has also managed a number of mobile tours, including the DoubleTree by Hilton Cookie CAREavan and Little Things tours; the Crystal Light WaterWay Challenge; Say Boo! to the Flu tour for Clorox; and the Voices of Civil Rights Tour for AARP. Other clients have included Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, Governor Chris Christie, AARP, Texas Education Agency and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. David’s events have won numerous awards, including six Silver Anvils and two PR Week Awards. The reporting during the Voices of Civil Rights bus tour won a Peabody Award.
Kellie Sirna, Principal & Co-Founder
Studio 11 Design, Dallas, Texas, USA
Kellie Sirna is Principal of Studio 11 Design. She has spent nearly 15 years in the hospitality design industry developing her client-focused approach, and ultimately creating a firm that is talented, nimble, and energetic. Since the founding of Studio 11 Design in 2011, Kellie’s hospitality projects can be seen around the world: from Dallas, where Studio 11 is based; to the East and West Coasts of the United States; and to international markets like Haiti and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
In 2015, Kellie helmed the business development arm of Studio 11 and strategically launched two new services to differentiate her boutique firm from competitors: Brand Society, a brand identity component; and Lou Verne by Studio 11 Design, an in-house creative team specializing in art installations. These specializations now make Studio 11 Design an unparalleled one-stop-shop for design services. Boutique Design magazine featured Kellie in their May 2016 issue for developing a successful multidisciplinary design firm.
Kellie attended the University of North Texas, earning her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Interior Design and Merchandising in 2004. From there, she joined the global hospitality design firm DESIGN Duncan Miller Ullmann, where she managed design work, business development, marketing, and PR initiatives. Kellie finds inspiration in mentorship—she is involved in NEWH, a not-for-profit organization of professional women in the hospitality industry; the Dallas Women in Business Enterprise; and Young Leaders in Hospitality. She is also a member of the Hospitality Design Magazine board and participated as a product design juror at the 2016 HD Awards. In her spare time, Kellie is involved with Delete Blood Cancer DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center.
Allen Jernigan, Founder & CEO
My Marketing Department, Inc., Seminole, Florida, USA
In 2007, Allen Jernigan opened the flat-fee marketing company My Marketing Department, Inc. to assist business owners who do not have the time or employees to implement their own marketing plans. In 2009, Allen opened MMDprinting, MMDtradeshow and, in 2011, MMDpromo, to complement the parent company’s clients.
After leaving college, Allen spent 8 years with professional sports teams as the Assistant General Manager of Marketing & Sales for the Mobile BayBears, Double-A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and the Director of Promotions & Special Events for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Later, Allen became the Regional Director of Marketing for SunTrust Bank-Tampa Bay, overseeing 110 bank branches and 5 lines of business. He then moved to HomeDiscovery Real Estate Services and headed their marketing and sales for Florida. Allen is a past Chairman of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador Committee, a former Board Member of the Tampa Bay Inventors Council, and currently serves with the St Pete Mad Dogs Triathlon Club. He is a member of USA Today’s Small Business Team, the Tampa Bay Media Advisory Panel, and of USA Triathlon and USA Masters Swimming, and an IRONMAN Finisher (Austria 2016).
Allen graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Communications with minors in Public Relations and English. He is married to his college sweetheart, Pepir, and they live and train for triathlon races together in and around the Tampa Bay, Florida area.
In a break from working and training, Allen told us: “As a judge for the Stevie Awards for many years, I am continually amazed by the innovative and creative ways businesses market their companies. Most people do not see or understand how much is involved in putting together a marketing campaign, live event, online promotion or an entire marketing team. The Stevie Awards bring the details and those behind the scenes out in front for all of us see, celebrate, and congratulate.”
NEW PRODUCT & SERVICE:
Alec Stern, Co-Founder
Handy Cane LLC, Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Alec Stern is currently the co-founder of the recently launched Handy Cane, an award winning, patent-pending, all-in-one walking cane and reaching grabber. Concurrently, Alec is co-founder of Most Corp., which designs, manufactures, and delivers patented consumer products, precision motion products, and medical devices.
Previously, Alec was the Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Executive-in-Residence for the Small Business Innovation Program at Constant Contact. Alec is a member of Constant Contact's founding team and was one of the original three in an attic. During his tenure with the company through IPO and acquisition, he assumed a wide range of responsibilities and senior roles in strategic partnerships, channels, and business development. Alec was also responsible for the creation and development of Constant Contact’s channel partner programs and spearheaded strategic innovation, community-based entrepreneurism, and vertical industry thought leadership for the company.
Engaging with hundreds of startups and small businesses annually, Alec serves as a judge, mentor, and advisor for accelerators, schools, universities and programs such as TechStars, MassChallenge, MIT Start Smart, Lean Startup Challenge, the Stevie Awards, and the United Way Youth Venture. As an angel investor and limited partner in the G20 Venture Fund, Alec is also an investor in a number of rising companies. He has been a featured speaker for international, national, and regional small business; for startup, nonprofit, and industry conferences; and for colleges and universities. Alec is active on the Board of Directors, Board of Advisors or Executive Committees for organizations including BoardOnTrack and Nix86. He is an appointed member of the City of Boston Neighborhood Innovation District Committee, the 128 Innovation Committee, and Boston’s Small Business Advisory Council as well as a founding organizer of the CityStart Boston Civic Innovation program. Alec holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a BS from Syracuse University.
On being invited to Chair the New Product & Service Judging Committee, Alec commented: “Innovation is the lifeblood of companies of all sizes. The ability to create new and improved products and services, and finding ways to better serve customers, are key to all companies' future growth and success. Winning a Stevie Award would be the ultimate recognition for these great achievements.”
Tod Plotkin, Principal & Executive Producer
Green Buzz Agency, Alexandria, Virginia
After four years shaping one of the top video departments in the entire National Basketball Association (for the Washington Wizards), Tod Plotkin started Green Buzz Agency. As Founder and Principal, he oversees video content creation for iconic advertising campaigns including the Ad Council's #1 Campaign: Love Has No Labels. Additionally, his agency created the most viewed/shared branded video on Facebook in November 2016 for Cricket Wireless and Upworthy.
His agency's other clients include Lockheed Martin, Hilton Worldwide, Under Armour, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Marriott International, American Red Cross, Johns Hopkins University, Quaker Oats, American Diabetes Association, the World Bank, and other large institutions.
Tod Plotkin is a leading voice in digital content. He speaks monthly at national conferences on digital video strategy for organizations like PR News, Public Relations Society of America, and the American Marketing Association. Tod is a Gold Steve Award Winner (2), Emmy winner for best short format content, and Webby Honoree in the online video category.
Eric N. Shapiro, Founder & CEO
ArcTouch Mobile & Connected Experiences, San Francisco, California, USA
Eric’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit have helped him successfully launch three startups, including ArcTouch. After working as a product manager and evangelist at Apple, he founded Zero G Software (acquired by Rovi) and later Caustic Graphics (acquired by Imagination Technologies).
A deeply knowledgeable technologist, Eric and former college roommate Adam Fingerman founded ArcTouch in 2009, shortly after the introduction of the first iPhone. Since then, the two have built a team of more than 100 product strategists, designers, and engineers. The team has served more than 150 brands and businesses–including NBC, Honeywell, Yahoo, CBS, Guess, Salesforce, and Audi–creating engaging experiences for mobile and emerging IoT platforms, from phones and tablets to chatbots, voice assistants, VR, and AR.
Eric has an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, and a BS degree from Tufts University in engineering and computer science.
On being appointed Chair of the Websites/Apps Judging Committee, Eric told us: “We at ArcTouch are proud to be involved with the Stevie Awards, and my Committee is looking forward to honoring the most innovative companies in Websites & Apps.”