The Stevie Awards Blog

The 2018 Stevie Awards for Great Employers Final Deadline Extended through August 9

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, announced today that the final entry deadline for the third annual competition has been extended to Thursday, August 9. The Stevie Awards for Great Employers honors the world’s best companies to work for and the HR teams and professionals, HR achievements, new products and services and suppliers that help to create and drive great workplaces.

SAGE 2017 new
“We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was July 18. Gallagher emphasizes that no additional late fees will be charged for entries submitted through August 9, and late entries will not be penalized in the judging process. All organizations now have three more weeks to prepare and submit their entries.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

All individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The 2018 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2017. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/HR.

Stevie Award winners in the 35 Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blending of the ratings of professionals and the votes of the general public. Public voting will open on July 23.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers will recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year
  • HR Achievements
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • More than 50 New Product & Service Categories

Close to 100 professionals worldwide, working on a number of juries, will determine the Stevie Award winners. Finalists will be announced on August 15. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced at a gala event in New York City on September 21.

Tags: hr awards, new product awards, best new product or service, best new products, employer of the year

Wedding Cake Delivery Device Prevents Three Tier Tumbles

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 09:18 AM

A wedding cake is that rare culinary creation that customers remember for years to come. Naturally, bakers pour their hearts into every delicious detail, whether it’s a pattern of elaborate swirls or elegant, sugary flowers.

Then, of course, they have to transport their handiwork to the reception. That’s where things can get scary. Each unexpected stop or dip in the road has the potential to turn a masterpiece into mush.

Juli Chapin knows this as well as anyone. In the late 1980s, she started a bakery specializing in wedding cakes in the Northeast region of the United States, and she sympathizes with bakers who have to deal with this precarious transport situation. Traditionally, people like her would put each cake tier into a cardboard box and stack the tiers, one on top of the other, at the venue.

cakesafe“It’s extremely nerve-racking and limits the designs you can create since the majority of the decoration needs to be applied to the stacked cake,” she says. “Bakers have even shut down their wedding cake businesses due to the high stress involved in transportation and the risk of being sued by a bride if something happens to the cake in delivery.”

An Invention Is Born

In Chapin’s case, it helped being married to an engineer who had a knack for solving tricky problems around the house. Upon hearing about her transit issues, her husband, Scott, came up with a clever solution: a rigid container with a stainless steel dowel that ran through the center of the cake to keep it nice and secure. Thanks to a double-walled exterior, it also protected the contents from rain, wind, and scorching summer heat.

For a long time, the couple simply saw it as a convenient solution to their own business problem. The results, however, were so good (in 20 years, Chapin never had a cake damaged on its way to a reception) that they started wondering if the contraption had a broader appeal.

In 2009, the Rhode Island couple started marketing the device to bakeries around the country as the “CakeSafe.” From the start, it was clear they had struck a chord with a lot of bakeries when showing off their invention.

Chapin recalls the early days, when Scott worked around the clock at their home to keep up with demand.

“He’d run his CNC table all night long making products for orders that needed to be shipped the next day,” she says. “He'd hear the machine stop, pause the movie he was watching, and go downstairs to set up the next run on the table.”

Despite the hard work, Chapin says it’s been satisfying to help people in the same situation she was once in.

“Bakers now deliver to mountaintop venues in the snow, down gravel roads with potholes, and on congested highways, all with no stress at all.”

One baker told the couple that she slammed on her brakes on the way to an event, causing her CakeSafe to flip over in the car. She expected to see a pile of crumbs inside but instead found the dessert perfectly intact.

“We've received many phone calls from bakers crying tears of joy because they were able to reopen their wedding cake businesses or grow their businesses because they no longer had any fear of delivery,” says Chapin, who eventually scaled back her own bakery to focus on CakeSafe.

Stevie Award Is Icing on the Cake

Since starting the business nearly a decade ago, Scott hasn’t stopped innovating. The company now offers CakeSafe in a variety of sizes; a safe for cupcakes; spray booths for airbrushing desserts; and a host of other baking implements.

“Scott genuinely loves inventing products to help bakers and to make their lives easier,” Chapin says of her husband, who recently won a Silver Stevie® Award for Product Developer of the Year in The 2018 American Business Awards® . “He never turns down a custom order and is constantly inventing new product lines.”

The company’s reputation within the industry belies its small staff, which only recently moved out of the Chapins’ home into a separate location.

“Whenever customers call the office and Scott or I pick up the phone, they tend to clam up,” she says. “They might say, ‘I never expected to get to talk to you. I'm talking to a celebrity!’ Little do they know, we are only a team of six.”

To this day, the company handcrafts all CakeSafe products, but it’s all a labor of love.

“All the employees have such a passion for their jobs,” she notes. “Scott is a big reason for that.”

It’s gratifying, Chapin notes, for her spouse—and the business he started—to get the extra attention.

“Scott is a brilliant and caring man who deserves to be recognized for his outstanding achievements in the bakery product field,” she says proudly. “Winning a Stevie further legitimizes the company so customers can rest assured their products are coming from a reputable source.”

Tags: new product awards, best new products

Who's Coming to The 2018 American Business Awards on Monday?

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

The 2018 (16th annual) American Business Awards® - the U.S.A's top honors open to all organizations operating in the U.S.A., and feature a wide variety of categories to recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace- will be presented this Monday, June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.  More than 650 nominees and their guests will attend to be presented with their Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards.

The presentations will be broadcast live, beginning at 6:45 pm ET.

ABA 2017 new3

Here are the organizations that as of this writing will be represented at the event on Monday:

3Dazer
4Life Research
A.wordsmith
ACES
Advance Financial
Aflac
AIG US Life
Allianz Global Assistance
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allscripts
Anthem Foundation
Aragon Advertising
Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.
ArmadaCare
ASG Technologies
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Asure Software

Avasant
AXA
Barclays
BD
Best Western Hotels & Resorts
BetterAir
BGRS
BIA
Blis
Bloomberg Environment
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
BluePay Processing
BlueToad Inc.
botkeeper
Brightstar Corp.
Brillio
Burst
Cathy Turney
Century Business Solutions
Church & Dwight
Cigna
Cisco
Citi
CityOf.com
Clevens Face and Body Specialists
Company
Concentrix
Condeco
Constant Contact Waltham MA
CoverMyMeds
Create Health Plans
Cruise Planners an American Express Travel Representative
Cummins
Cytellix
Davies
Deloitte
Delta Dental of California
DGC International
DHL
Diligent Corporation
DirecTv
Dow Jones
DraftKings
Dynamic Blending
Eff Creative Group
Emory University
Entercom
EpiFinder
Estee Lauder
Evergage
Fidelity Investments
FIS
Fiserv
FlightScope
ForeverCar
Formativ Health
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Geisinger Health
Generali Global Assistance
George P. Johnson
GL group
Globalization Partners
Glossive Technologies
GN Hearing
Gorilla Safety
GREAT WINE Inc.
Gregory FCA
GuideWell Connect
Hannaford Supermarkets
HCL America Inc. - Ritesh Jain
Health4TheWorld
Heraeus Incorporated
Hire For Hope LLC
HMS
HomeServe USA
IGEL
Ignite Sales
IGT
InfinityQS International
Information Builders
Intel Corporation
International SOS
Invesco
ISG
Jefferson County in Golden CO
John Hancock Financial Services
JVZoo
Karmic Labs Inc.
Keriton
LanguageLine Solutions
Lightcast.com
Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions
Lycored
Makers Nutrition
Makovsky
Marriott International
MDwise
Mercedes-Benz USA
Merck
Meritor
Merkle
MetTel
MONAT Global
Motus
Movember Foundation
Mphasis
NBCU
nCino
NFL Player Benefits Office
Nutrisystem
Oncor Electric
OptumCare Operations
Outreach Process Partners LLC
Pacific Expeditors
PAIRELATIONS LLC
PAN Communications
Panasonic Automotive
Panda Restaurant Group
Parkmobile
Paychex Inc.
Port It Global Inc
Primrose Schools
Progrexion
Public Employees' Benefits Program
QLess Inc.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
RB
Realtor.com
Relic
Revenue Optimization Companies, The
Roth Staffing Companies L.P.
Safeguard Business Systems Inc. Dallas TX
SamsonPR
Scaffidi Restaurant Group
SCAN Healthplan
Scott Hospes
Shade Tree Auto
Sharpen Technologies
Social Finance Inc
SoftPro
Soleo Health
Spark
SparkPR
Spartan Invest
State Street Corp
Sterling Staffing Solutions
STYLE Advertising
Symantec
T and T Consulting Services Inc.
T. H. Easter Consulting LLC
TCS
TekLeaders
Terra Dotta

TGI Fridays
Thomson Reuters
Toshiba America Business Solutions
Transfermate
Trianz
TriNet
TrustLogics
Truth Initiative
TycoonAdvertisingGroup
U.S. Army Headquarters Installation Management Command
UBS
United Educators
United Way Worldwide
UnitedHealthcare
Upsher-Smith Laboratories
Valley Forge Fabrics
Vanguard
Verizon
WebPT
Worldwide Clinical Trials
Xperiel Inc.

Tags: marketing awards, new product awards, entrepreneur of the year, communications manager, female entrepreneurs

Supercharge Your App With Skuid

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 @ 12:51 PM

Enterprise apps should stop forcing people to think like machines. That’s what Skuid believes and has been working on since they were founded in 2013. They believe apps should behave more like the humans who use them, so everyone can thrive in a digital world. With Skuid’s simple-to-use but incredibly robust tools, anyone can build highly complex, bespoke enterprise apps. More than five million users in 32 countries use Skuid to engage with each other, with data and with new customers in meaningful ways—all without writing a single line of code. That’s why they won a Stevie Award in a New Product of the Year category of The 2017 American Business Awards.

More Human, Less Machine

Skuid.jpgSkuid helps customers quickly build a user experience and adapt it on their own, without expensive code or engineering resources. Instead of coding a unique solution for every customer, Skuid empowers the customer to customize. Skuid CEO Ken McElrath is a designer and an entrepreneur. Ken's background in design has a significant impact on how Skuid operates.

“Skuid is founded on the belief that software should be more human and less machine—that software should work the way people work instead of forcing people to behave like machines.”

Skuid gives customers the individual components to create the impressive structures of an app, while at the same time making the structure easy to change and to scale.

Consistent Results

Skuid recently commissioned Forrester Research to do a study on the value customers get from using Skuid. The study found that Skuid delivers an ROI of 365%, has a payback period of just one month and has a 73% faster development time than other solutions. Ken says they quickly grew into a platform that would give anyone (not just an IT professional) the power and ability to assemble bespoke apps without writing code.

“Companies are demanding better ways to develop apps and employees are demanding that their enterprise apps be as intuitive and easy to use as the personal apps on their iPhone. Skuid has been successful because we deliver solutions that work. That's why we're working with 10% of the Fortune 100.”

Major Validation

Skuid believes they’ve been successful because they consistently deliver results. These results have attracted attention from Fortune 100 companies to SMBs and non-profits. Skuid has over five million users across 30+ countries and in various verticals. Skuid’s customers are diverse in many ways, but they’re united by a dedication to greatness. When the Stevie Awards caught wind of Skuid, Ken says they also helped validate their hard work.

“A Stevie Award has helped add to Skuid's third-party recognition and validation. Having won such a prestigious award and up against more than 10,000 entries from other organizations is a huge honor. The fact that more than 190 professionals worldwide, including industry analysts, journalists and other industry experts, participated in the judging process is major industry validation.”

They don’t settle for “good enough” in the way they do business, which is why they use Skuid—to create exceptional user experiences that accelerate sales productivity, supercharge customer service and amplify efficiency.

Not Like Anything Else

When it comes to enterprise software, one size doesn’t fit all. No company is exactly like another, and each company needs different systems to support their unique business process. Those with the resources spend millions to try to customize with code, but this slows everything down and creates significant maintenance overhead. Writing code to customize a generic solution is expensive, inflexible and far from optimal. Ken believes Skuid has figured out how to service this intricate challenge.

“Because apps built with Skuid are bespoke—made to order—they align to a user’s business needs perfectly. This means that rather than forcing a user's business processes into an off-the-shelf enterprise software solution, Skuid users can tailor their business apps to unlimited degrees without writing code.”

Because each app is tailored to user needs, Skuid customers have seen massive productivity gains to drive success. Skuid is perfectly positioned to meet this need. 

Tags: new product awards, service awards

Never Too Far from Helping Others with United Way Worldwide

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 02:22 PM

We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when someone finds a job that will help them provide for their family or when more people are able to access quality, affordable healthcare. United Way Worldwide fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.

United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit, supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and more than $4.7 billion raised every year. So it’s no surprise they received the Gold Stevie Award for Best Annual Report and for “New Product of the Year, Education, K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution” in The 2017 American Business Awards.

Anyone Can Help Everyone

united way people.pngProviding a platform to make a bigger, deeper difference is what Southerlyn Worsham, Director of Public Relations at United Way Worldwide, says is a top priority when getting involved with United Way Worldwide.

“We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities.”

United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more.

The Importance of Celebrating Lasting Change

It’s hard to quantify the value of helping people around the world, especially at United Way’s scale. But lives being changed for the better can be acknowledged and celebrated with awards that represent the hard work people do day in and day out. Southerlyn enjoys sharing these stories as testaments to the difference that communities can make when we come together to create lasting change.

“Our team is awed by the awards and the double victory. Our entire office is so proud of the two awards and have been congratulating each other. It has been amazing for morale and pride. These victories have reignited our passion to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.”

The Gold Stevie Award in The 2017 American Business Awards for Best Annual Report was given to United Way Worldwide for their multi-media annual report about their efforts and results, including 1,800 locations, 40 countries, six continents, served by 2.8 million volunteers and 9.8 million donors. The annual report details individual efforts, collective results and large-scale impact in childhood success, youth success, financial stability and access to healthcare.

The Versatility of Giving

Giving money to fuel community solutions, volunteering your time or lending your voice to a cause that matters to you are just some of the ways people can get involved. United Way also allows people to gift stock with stock transfer instructions provided.

In keeping with the times of constant innovations for sending money, you can now even donate using Bitcoin, by giving to the United Way Worldwide’s Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund drives the development of new technology and new strategies to expand their reach and impact in communities around the world. Also, every year, millions of employees around the world launch campaigns to support local United Way solutions that improve education, financial stability and healthcare.

Tags: new product awards, annual report awards, best new product or service, best new product, best annual reports

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers Final Deadline Extended through August 9

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Second Annual Awards Honoring World’s Best Workplaces Continues to Accept Nominations

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, announced today that the final entry deadline for the second annual competition has been extended to Wednesday, August 9. The Stevie Awards for Great Employers honors the world’s best companies to work for and the HR teams and professionals, HR achievements, new products and services and suppliers that help to create and drive great workplaces.

“We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was July 19. Gallagher emphasizes that no additional late fees will be charged for entries submitted through August 9, and late entries will not be penalized in the judging process. All organizations now have three more weeks to prepare and submit their entries.

SAGe female winners-1.jpgAll individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The 2017 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2016. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/HR.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Stevie Award winners in the 35 Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blending of the ratings of professionals and the votes of the general public.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers will recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year
  • HR Achievements
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • More than 50 New Product & Service Categories

Professionals on three international juries will determine the Stevie Award winners. Finalists will be announced on August 16. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced at a gala event in New York City on September 22.

Tags: hr awards, new product awards, best new product, solution provider awards

Education Program Helps Struggling Students Turn the Page

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 @ 12:41 PM

Thanks to growing charter school and homeschooling movements in the U.S., parents have more options than ever when it comes to their children’s education. Selecting the right school for one’s child ‒ and helping them succeed in that environment ‒ has become more of a process than it was in the past.

Stevie Award-winning Founder / Director of New Heights Educational Group, Pamela Clark, experienced this first-hand when she was deciding where to enroll her young children. Clark home-schooled her children before finding the right charter school for them.

NHEG-Logo-with-Banner.jpg

At the local charter school, Clark took on leadership and mentoring roles. Despite her affinity for these independently-controlled schools, she noticed that certain students were falling behind. Those with learning and emotional difficulties, like autism and ADHD, had a particularly tough time getting through the curriculum.

What those students needed, she thought, was a place they could go for additional support. And so, in 2006, New Heights Educational Group was born.

Filling in the Educational Gaps

The organization became a single destination where families could get help deciding where to educate their children, improve their literacy skills and find a library of reading materials for dealing with challenges.

At its core, New Heights Educational Group is a one-on-one tutoring program that focuses in on areas where the student needs extra attention. Teachers and students are required to meet three hours a week over a three-day period.

“We found that fill-in-the-gap type tutoring is necessary in order to reach students that have been left behind in traditional settings,” Clark says.

This focused approach has yielded dramatic results, she notes. Several students who were on the verge of dropping out of high school before they received tutoring from NHEG have now graduated. One student who suffered from seizures at a young age was able to jump three grade levels in science and four grade levels in math in a little over a year.

Parents with children facing learning disabilities found an environment where they could explore new strategies and share their experiences with others.

“In addition to successful, child-focused learning techniques, families are able to cope with their children’s struggles better because of increased social support,” she says.

If anyone could empathize with someone struggling because of a lack of outside help, it was Clark. Neither her father nor her two brothers ever graduated from high school and her mom wasn’t always there to help with her studies. She had also faced numerous health ailments throughout her life, in large part from  being malnourished as a child.

Thanks to New Heights, she’s making sure other students don’t have to deal with those same hardships. The organization recently won the Silver Stevie in The American Business Awards for Organization of the Year in the Small Nonprofit or Government category, which was awarded during a June 20 gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.

“This is such an honor,” Clark said afterward. “Every day our team of 81 volunteers work to promote our work in bettering education for all families, regardless of school choice, background or beliefs.”

Continuing to Grow

Eleven years after starting the venture, Clark continues to grow New Heights. It currently draws students from several states, thanks in part to its flourishing online solutions.

With help from Kathryn Stout, author of Natural Speller, the organization has created a free online version of the book for students learning to read and spell. Clark and her team also developed a free financial literacy course to help youths make wiser decisions with their money.

The journey into the digital realm has proven to be a fruitful one. New Heights garnered a second Silver Stevie this year in the New Product or Service of the Year category for its PK-12 Personalized Learning Solution.

In addition to helping students advance in school, Clark has also positioned the organization as a leading voice in educational strategies. On top of the monthly educational magazine it recently launched, New Heights started an Internet radio program that now boasts more than 24,000 listeners a year.

Clark and company published a book entitled One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success in 2015 and released a second, Unraveling Reading, late last year.

Even as she faces ongoing health issues, Clark continues to serve as the engine for the program. She oversees the dozens of volunteers who provide tutoring through New Heights, offers training to teachers and continually researches new strategies for helping students reach their potential.

“Educational changes are slow moving and very little improvements are ever made,” says Clark. “So the work that nonprofits do are very important and normally don't receive the attention they deserve.”

Tags: new product awards, new product of the year, best new product or service, education awards

Winners Announced in 2017 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite New Products

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jun 07, 2017 @ 10:32 AM

Awards to Be Presented at Gala Ceremony on June 20 in NYC

Cirkled in is the top winner in the 2017 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite New Products, a feature of The American Business Awards, the U.S.A.’s top business awards program, which are now in their 15th year.

The nationwide public vote was conducted last month, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in a variety of product categories. More than 38,000 votes were cast.  To win, a category’s leading vote-getter had to have received at least 100 votes.

ABA peoples choice-2.jpgCirkled in, the Redmond, WA based company won the most People’s Choice Stevie Awards in two categories, Education - Classroom Mgmt and Education - Cloud-Based. 4LifeTransform Burn collected the most votes of any nominee.

The crystal People’s Choice Stevie Awards will be presented to winners at The American Business Awards’ banquet on Tuesday, June 20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, NY. Tickets for the event are now on sale. There, the winners of peer-adjudicated Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards will also be presented their awards. More than 550 nominees and their guests are expected to attend.

All new products and services recognized as winners in the new product awards categories of this year’s American Business Awards were eligible to be included in voting for the people’s choice awards.

The winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products are:

B2B Products: Qstream's Coaching Hub
B2B Services: Arise Starmatic Scheduling System
Computer Hardware: IGEL UD Pocket
Consumer Electronics: Anki's Cozmo
Consumer Products & Services: 4LifeTransform Burn
Content - Content Marketing: Thomson Reuters' Checkpoint Marketing Social Media Solutions
Content - Other: AT&T Global Video Player
Content - Reference/Legal: Enquiron
Content - Sales/Marketing Intel: Ignite Sales Customer Engagement Management Platform
Education - Classroom Mgmt: Cirkled in School Offering
Education - Cloud-Based: Cirkled in School Offering
Education - Game/Virtual/Other Curric: Advantexe Learning Solutions Drivers of Business Performance Business Simulation
Education - Other: United Way Worldwide, NFL, Verizon and Everfi: Character Playbook
Health & Pharmaceuticals: Makers Nutrition's Private Label Product Line
Industrial: Magline LiftPlus
Software - Big Data: CareerBuilder's Customer Health Score Tool
Software - Cloud App/Service: FieldEdge
Software - Cloud Backup/Storage: Quest Rapid Recovery v6.1
Software - Cloud ERP: Intacct Contract and Revenue Management
Software - Cloud Infrastructure: Wind River Titanium Control
Software - Content Mgmt: Built.io Contentstack
Software - Data Visualization: Lucky Orange Dynamic Heatmaps
Software - Ecommerce: Ve Interactive VePanel
Software - Endpoint Security Mgmt: Dell Data Guardian
Software - FinTech: Ingo Instant Payments
Software - Human Capital Mgmt: RiseSmart Insight
Software - Identity/Access Security: IdentityForce's UltraSecure+Credit (Version 5.1)
Software - Infrastructure/Platform AAS: FIS Merchant Processing System
Software - Integration Solution: West Video Meeting Gateway
Software - Learning/Workforce Dev: Articulate 360
Software - Marketing/PR: Digital Air Strike's Mission Control
Software - Mobile On-Demand App: Equo by Runzheimer
Software - Network Security: Cisco Stealthwatch 6.8
Software - Other: MindTickle
Software - Payments: BluePay?s Premier Payment Gateway
Software - Relationship Mgmt: Vlocity Communications
Software - Supply Chain Mgmt: PRO Unlimited's Wand VMS
Telecommunications - Product: Nextivity's Cel-Fi GO

Tags: new product awards, best new product or service, best new products, new service awards

Judging Committee Chairs Named in The 2017 American Business Awards

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 01:04 PM

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.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Here are this year's judging committee chairs.

ANNUAL REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS:

Renee Mallonee, Director, Marketing
MONI Smart Security (formerly Monitronics), Farmers Branch, Texas, USA

17 ABA PUBS Chair.jpgRenee 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.”

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION:

George Gallate, Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President
Merkle, Columbia, Maryland, USA

17 ABA CO Chair.jpgGeorge 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.”

C17 ABA PR Chair.jpgORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/IR/PR

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.”

17 ABA CSS Chair.jpgCUSTOMER 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.

HUMAN RESOURCES:

Stephen Childs, Vice President, Global Human Resources
Panasonic Automotive, Peachtree City, Georgia, USA

17 ABA HR Chair.jpgStephen 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.

17 ABA IT Chair.jpegINFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:

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.

LIVE EVENTS:

David Sonntag, President & CEO
Decibel Management, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

17 ABA LIVE Chair.jpgDavid 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.

MANAGEMENT:

Kellie Sirna, Principal & Co-Founder
Studio 11 Design, Dallas, Texas, USA

17 ABA MGT.jpgKellie 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.

MARKETING:

Allen Jernigan, Founder & CEO
My Marketing Department, Inc., Seminole, Florida, USA

17 ABA MARKET.jpgIn 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

17 ABA NP Chair.jpgAlec 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.”

VIDEOS:

Tod Plotkin, Principal & Executive Producer
Green Buzz Agency, Alexandria, Virginia

17 ABA VIDEO Chair.jpgAfter 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.

WEBSITES/APPS:

Eric N. Shapiro, Founder & CEO
ArcTouch Mobile & Connected Experiences, San Francisco, California, USA

17 ABA WEB Chair.pngEric’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.”

Tags: hr awards, marketing awards, American business awards, new product awards, judges, final judges

Chargebacks911: Reducing Costs, Enriching Understanding, and Recovering Revenue

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 04:52 PM

Chargebacks911 won Gold and Silver Stevie Awards in The 2016 American Business Awards for Best Business-to-Business Product and New Product of the Year - Software Commerce Solution. 

The 2017 American Business Awards are accepting entries through April 7. Review the entry kit here. Learn more about New Product Awards.

We spoke with Gary Cardone, CEO of Chargebacks911 to learn more about the organization and what winning Stevie Awards has meant to their successes.

chargebacks banner.jpgIn a sentence or two, what does your organization do?

Chargebacks911 is dedicated to eliminating chargeback fraud (friendly fraud, family fraud, unauthorized claims and mis-coded disputes) for merchants, issuers, and acquirers. Last year, we safeguarded over 2.4 billion online transactions in 87 countries, working hand-in-hand with thousands of e-stores all over the world.  In a nutshell, we take the guess work out of chargebacks, which means reducing costs, enriching understanding, and recovering revenue. 

What is the vision behind your organization?

Our vision is simple: begin and end with a win-win scenario. When it comes to chargeback fraud, everyone is victimized: merchants pay fees and lose money to fake claims, banks devote expensive resources, and consumers end up paying higher prices and forfeiting friendly policies. 

We are passionate about identifying the true source of the problem and not just treating the symptoms.  Everything we do is backed by an ROI guarantee that is only possible due to our first-hand expertise and technology. Our vision has been built upon a mission to bring our understanding and workable results to enough merchants and banks that as an industry, we can overcome the growing chargeback problem. 

Ironically, this type of vision does not leave us without a business. Helping merchants achieve sustainability and growth is our primary goal, and understanding the best methods to use for managing chargebacks is a key component. There will always be disputes or issues to resolve between buyers and sellers. What is most relevant is the innovation undertaken to meet these growing requirements–a vision that keeps pace with evolving technology and consumer behavior...this is where we fit!

Is there a story or reasoning behind the nomination?

Our two company founders–Monica Eaton-Cardone and Gary Cardone–were jointly selling products online in 2010, when they were victims of chargeback fraud.

Chargeback fraud is an unjustified refund that’s forced upon merchants, occurring when a cardholder reports an unwarranted charge to their bank. The burden of proof is then on the merchant to defend the legitimacy of the sale, which is an extremely difficult threshold for online purchases, card-not-present transactions and shipped merchandise. Merchants lose $40 billion annually to chargebacks and the payments industry suffers even higher losses as a result.

Monica and Gary searched for a company to protect them from chargeback fraud, but to their astonishment, no such company existed. So, they studied chargebacks and became expert themselves, launching Chargebacks911 in 2011.

Roughly five years later, Chargebacks911 has 300+ global employees, thousands of clients, and corporate offices throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

How did your organization first become acquainted with the Stevies?

The Stevie Awards are internationally recognized as “The World’s Premier Business Awards,” because it’s not about politics, pay-for-play, or personal connections; it’s truly a merit-based honor that celebrates excellence in the field of business. We’ve admired the Stevie Awards for many, many years, and we’re deeply humbled to be included among such a distinguished list of trailblazing entrepreneurs, innovators and international trendsetters.

What was it like for your organization to win this award?

It validated what we believed all along: excellence deserves to be recognized, and if you “build a better mousetrap,” you’ll achieve success. It’s an honor that we share with our dedicated, passionate team-members, and they’re just as proud of this award as our cofounders are!

How has the win affected your business?

The eCommerce industry is extremely technical and very nuanced; even savvy, veteran online merchants often have difficulty understanding the latest developments in chargeback fraud, banking regulations and dispute resolution.  Capturing gold and silver Stevie Awards differentiates us from the competition, and offers an invaluable third-party testimonial to our clients. 

In short, it communicates something very special: We’re the best at what we do. 

What results have been gained since this award was won? Have any documents such as case studies been created that you can share with us?  

We just opened a new location in the UK so we can expand our service levels to better support our growing European customers. This addition comes on the heels of our increased focus on the travel industry. A case study, outlining how our services have impacted the travel industry, can be found here.

Please look out for exciting news–case studies and trends are due to be released Q2 2017.  With the changes from Visa and other payment providers taking hold this year, it is due to be an exciting one for industry news. We plan to release insider tips and regulatory updates shortly.

What changes in the industry does your team find interesting and why?

Perhaps “interesting” isn’t the right word, but it’s certainly noteworthy – cyber-fraud is growing by leaps and bounds:

  • The chargeback issuance rate is growing by 20 percent each year
  • There’s been a 300+ percent increase in fraud attacks on digital goods
  • 94 percent of websites experienced a “bot” (nonhuman) cyber-attack last year
  • 6 percent of an online merchants’ total annual revenue is now spent exclusively on fraud-prevention
  • Chargeback fraud has grown by 41 percent and continues to climb each quarter

It’s an extraordinarily dangerous time for online merchants. It’s becoming as inevitable as death and taxes.

That’s why you NEED to be prepared.  And that’s why Chargebacks911 is here to help.

Is there an inspirational story related to your organization that might appeal to our blog readers?

Because of our rapid growth, Chargebacks911 has hired hundreds of new employees, largely from our hometown in Tampa Bay, Florida.  Sadly, we soon realized that many young people lack the confidence that is a prerequisite for success in such a fast-paced, hi-tech environment. This led our cofounder and Chief Operating Officer Monica Eaton-Cardone to launch a non-profit program called “Get Paid for Grades.” It offers a financial incentive to struggling high schoolers, focusing on improving literacy and mastering the life-skills that so important in today’s economy—thereby, improving self-confidence. 

Chargebacks911 is a sponsor of Get Paid for Grades, and the program recently expanded to four additional schools across Florida. We hope to eventually introduce the program nationally – because every child deserves an opportunity to succeed.

Tags: new product awards, America Business Awards, new product of the year, best new product or service, best new products

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