The Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance (GWATA) and its partners hosted the 19th Annual Innovator Awards Luncheon yesterday at the Wenatchee Convention Center.
Over 350 people attended, checking out booths by local tech businesses and STEM students showcasing their work advancing technology in North Central Washington. Since 2000, GWATA has recognized over 75 local innovators, with awards in five different categories.
This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Blue Spirits Distilling and its founder Jeff Soehren, who just opened a new production facility in Cashmere.
Innovative Use of Technology in Business went to Jeff Berry, founder of FocusGeo Geospacial Services, which specializes in 3D Mapping, Aerial Imaging, GIS and LiDAR.
Two educators received the STEM Champion award – Debbie Gallaher & Bob Bauer of the Chelan PUD’s Rocky Reach Discovery Center.
Future chemist Amanda Jeffries received the STEM College Student Innovator award for her studies at Wenatchee Valley College.
And the Future Technology Leader award went to a group of students from Almira, Coulee, Hartline Middle School, known as the Galactic Farmers. They developed models and robots for mock moon landings.
Each of the student recipients received a scholarship from GWATA’s sponsors.