October 6, 2006 in Business

Five win Catalyst awards

Paula M. Davenport Staff writer

Five area technology innovators snared Catalyst Awards from the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce at LaunchPad 7.0, a resurrected technology and networking celebration held Thursday evening at the Spokane Convention Center.

One company, a pair of nonprofits and two individuals received trophies for their creative implementation of various new technologies. The chamber took over the awards this year after the demise of Technet, the organizaton that founded the Catalyst Awards 10 years ago. Itron Inc. sponsored this year’s awards.

Winners, by category, are:

Company of the Year: Advantage IQ, Inc., formerly known as Avista Advantage. Using computer programs, the company assists more than 350 clients, many with multiple sites, to manage utility and telecom consumption and to help eliminate waste services.

Organization of the Year: Inland Northwest Health Services, a nonprofit that electronically links nine healthcare organizations. Last year, INHS assisted various participants in adopting a bar-coded medication verification system; establishing videoconferencing; and implementing electronic medical records systems that virtually connect city trauma teams with rural and urban hospitals.

Innovator of the Year: Fred Brown of Next IT Corp., marketer of ActiveAgent, an interface that helps Web site visitors get answers to specific questions and directs them to other, appropriate Web pages.

Mentors of the Year: Connect Northwest, a Spokane nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs refine plans and find supporters of proposed businesses, many of which are technology-based; and Rick DeFord, a physics teacher and Robotics Club adviser at St. George’s School in Spokane. DeFord works with a group of student robot builders, whose inventions vie for the right to face off in national tournaments.

LaunchPad was begun in 2001 by the now-defunct economic development group INTEC. It resumed after a two-year hiatus under the sponsorship of Connect Northwest.

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