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Meet six tech companies and leaders driving change in Tampa-St. Pete

Margie Manning

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Executives at two of the largest public companies in the Tampa-St. Pete area are among the six honorees of the 2019 poweredUP Tampa Bay Tech awards.

The recipients, whose names were announced Tuesday morning, are “truly remarkable,” said Jill St. Thomas, CRO/executive director of Tampa Bay Tech, one of the oldest and largest technology councils in the United States.

“They’re the companies growing off the charts and the people driving impactful change in this community,” St. Thomas said. “Each and every day they are tirelessly building this thriving tech community that we call home and it is wonderful to see them being honored.”

Here are the winners and more information about them.

Tech Leader of the Year: ​Dan Lasher​, corporate vice president, enterprise architecture, governance and cyber security, Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater-based technology distributor and the largest company in the Tampa-St. Pete area. Lasher oversees a portfolio of digitally transformative projects to increase revenue, market share and improve profitability, he told the St. Pete Catalyst last year, when he was a finalist for Tampa Bay Tech’s technology executive of the year.

Emerging Tech Leader of the Year: ​Kishen Sridharan,​ cybersecurity partnership and outreach executive, office of the chief information security officer, Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), a financial services firm in St. Petersburg. Sridharan focuses on strengthening and growing Raymond James’ network of relationships with outside organizations such as industry associations, peers, government and law enforcement entities, universities, potential new strategic suppliers and the community, according to his profile from Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay 2018.

Tech Unicorn of the Year: ​KnowBe4. The Clearwater cybersecurity training firm has grown into one of the largest privately owned companies in the area, with more than $100 million in revenue. It’s also the area’s first true local unicorn – a designation for a tech startup valued at $1 billion or more — after getting a $300 million investment in a funding round led by private equity giant KKR in June.

Tech Project of the Year: ​CrewConnect​, Power Design, a St. Petersburg-based electrical contractor that is at the forefront of innovative training practices and techniques.

Tech Company of the Year: ​AgileThought, a Tampa software development and consulting company that agreed to be acquired earlier this year by AN Global, a technology firm with roots in Mexico and a headquarters in suburban Dallas. The deal allows AgileThought to grow its service offerings for customers and opportunities for employee, David Romine, AgileThought co-founder and CEO, told the Catalyst.

Community Dedication and Leadership Award: ​Linda Olson, co-founder and CEO, Tampa Bay Wave. Olson grew Wave from an informal meetup group in 2008 to a major force in the local technology community that has supported more than 200 early-stage tech firms.

This is the 16th year for the Tampa Bay tech awards. This year’s award ceremony will be Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 at Armature Works in Tampa. More information is here.

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