2012 Tekne Award recipients

TekneAwards

MHTA presented 2012 Tekne Awards to fifteen recipients at a ceremony November 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Advanced Manufacturing – Seagate Technology

Founded in 1979, Seagate is a leading provider of hard drives and storage solutions. Its products help people store, share and protect their valuable digital content. At the Bloomington, Minn., Recording Head Operations facility, Seagate designs and manufactures the magnetic recording head, the most complex component in a hard drive. This advanced manufacturing, involving 868 steps, 274 process tools and 72 days, produces devices with features that are 80 nanometers and can vary by no more than 24 atoms. These devices enable greater capacity and reliability for the world’s storage needs. The seasoned storage industry veterans at the Bloomington site aspire to be the world’s best in research, design and fabrication of thin-film recording heads.

Cleantech and Energy – SheerWind, Inc.

SheerWind, Inc. turns wind power on its head by taking the blades, turbines and generators out of the sky and placing them on the ground level. SheerWind’s INVELOX, named for Increased Velocity of Wind, captures wind as a fluid to provide hydroelectric economics from accelerated airflow. INVELOX has a cut-in wind speed as low as 2 mph, which brings wind energy toward a reliable and base load power source. In addition to reducing the cost of generated electrical power by 16-38 percent, INVELOX allows wind power in more locations and near people and buildings where electrical power is needed. SheerWind’s INVELOX technology creates new markets not possible with traditional wind technology, such as micro-power systems, mobile power systems and collapsible, inflatable towers for military and disaster needs.

Computer Hardware and Electronic Devices – Imation

Imation, a global data storage and security company, is a leading supplier of both optical media and magnetic tape cartridges used to back-up and archive its customer’s data. Imation unveiled DataGuard, a new scalable storage portfolio of data protection and data archive products designed to help data-intensive, compliance-driven small business retain, retrieve and recover valuable data and digital content. DataGuard is the world’s first data protection appliance to utilize hard drives, removable RDX drives, site-to-site replication and a connection to cloud storage to provide four layers of data protection in a single backup device. DataGuard delivers cost-effective data protection to small businesses with an unprecedented combination of security, simplicity and flexibility.

EdTech – The University of Minnesota Rochester

Designed to increase personalization, collaboration and data-based decision making, the University of Minnesota campus in Rochester (UMR) developed its Intelligent Systems for Education Assessment and Learning (iSEAL), a curriculum management system that implements a new paradigm in higher education. iSEAL is not a traditional course management system; it provides access and integration across the entire curriculum, as well as tracks student’s activity to provide a data set for learning analytics. The key benefit of this system is the ability to draw together academics from different disciplines into a single academic unit and create a streamlined, coordinated program.

Innovative Collaboration of the Year – Blandin Foundation on behalf of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) Coalition

MIRC has benefited from a legacy of collaboration. The latest in a series of broadband projects led by the Blandin Foundation, MIRC was built on the lessons learned and the success of its predecessor broadband-focused programming. It supports a broadband vision for Minnesota, developed by the project’s guiding strategy – to ensure a high quality of life and a globally competitive future for its citizens, businesses and communities. MIRC partners are numerous and the impact the collaboration has had on broadband adoption is significant. In fact, the adoption rate is 29.8 percent faster in MIRC partner communities when compared to the rest of rural Minnesota.

Life Sciences (Established Company) – Starkey Hearing Technologies

Starkey Hearing Technologies is recognized for its innovative design and development comprehensive digital hearing systems. SurfLink Mobile is its newest device, as well as the most unique and versatile cell phone solution. This device enables hands-free cell phone conversations directly through the user’s hearing aids. It is also a breakthrough all-in-one remote microphone, assistive listening device, media streamer and hearing aid remote control. SurfLink Mobile was created to address the high demand for a phone solution that also solved the problem of needing more than one device to communicate effectively in any situation. Starkey is ushering in new era of wireless hearing aid technology, opening new realms of possibilities for hearing aid wearers.

Life Sciences (Small and Growing Company) – OrthoCor Medical

OrthoCor Medical, a leading medical device company, aims to improve patient quality of life through the development and delivery of clinically proven, drug-free, non-invasive and mobile personal medical devices that alleviate pain and restore physical function. By combining pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation and thermal therapy for mitigating joint pain, its products return patients to an active lifestyle without the use of drugs or surgical procedures. Its first commercial product, the Active Knee System, focuses on the knee pain market. The device is non-invasive and wearable, offering relief for patients with the convenience of at-home and on-the-go treatment. Active Knee System and its components have recently received the necessary codes used by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers to process reimbursement claims. The technology and patents of this system give it a distinct competitive advantage in the market.

Mobile and Communication Technologies – MakeMusic, Inc.

MakeMusic’s Finale family of music notation software is used by over two million musicians worldwide ranging from amateurs composing in their basement to professionals creating music for Oscar-winning films. The Finale SongBook is an app that enables musicians and composers to take their music on the go. Finale SongBook allows musicians to leave the giant folder of sheet music at home, and still have access to all of their music on their iPad. Unlike competitors’ solutions, that allow users to only view and navigate sheet music, Finale SongBook users can view, print, and play their Finale files. From practice to performance, Finale SongBook covers the important features that gigging musicians and composers need, solidifying MakeMusic’s place as a leader in the Minnesota technology landscape.

Robotics and Automation – ReconRobotics, Inc.

ReconRobotics was established in 2006 to commercialize robotics technology developed at the University of Minnesota’s Distribution Robotics Laboratory. Today, it is recognized as a world leader in tactical, micro-robot systems. The Recon Scout and Throwbot micro-bot systems are distinguished from all other tactical robots by their small size, durability and ease of use. They provide immediate situational awareness and greater standoff distance during high-risk police and military operations – protecting the lives of law enforcement personnel, military and innocent civilians. More than 500 federal, state and local law enforcement teams worldwide, currently use ReconRobotics technology in the field. ReconRobotics embraces a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, taking pride that the company’s robots save lives.

Software (Established Company) – JAMF Software, LLC.

Recognized as an early pioneer and leader in its field, JAMF Software is focused on its mission of helping the enterprise succeed with the Apple platform. Its product, The Casper Suite, is the only suite of Mac OS X and iOS management software developed exclusively for the Apple platform, and is widely recognized as the best-of-breed management solution for both operating systems. This software suite provides the most comprehensive breadth and depth of functionality for IT administrators, including settings management, software distribution, imaging and inventory, as well as package and image management, remote updates and a powerful framework for automated support. While many competitors offer a small set of management options, the Casper Suite offers management for the entire Apple platform, allowing IT administrators’ full control, similar to traditional PC management systems.

Software (Small and Growing Company) – Code 42 Software, Inc.

Code 42 Software has been protecting the world’s information since 2001. With the its entry into the backup/storage arena, Code 42’s goal was to reinvent online backup via easy-to-use technology that protects data whenever and wherever it is created – especially the information created and stored on endpoint devices, such as laptops and desktops. Code 42 introduced its first product – CrashPlan – to consumers in 2007, and leveraged the knowledge gained in that process to develop and deliver its enterprise-strength solution. Code 42 now manages and protects over 150 petabytes of data globally, offering three products that address any personal or business backup need. Supporting more than 4,500 companies worldwide, Code 42 Software is renowned for creating extraordinary solutions to the technical challenges we face every day.

Startup – SparkWeave, LLC

Founded in 2010, SparkWeave was created as a private cloud-style alternative for companies seeking to simplify their infrastructure and system overhead. It controls internal use of consumer products, while providing anywhere-data access and information exchange, large file transport and storage in a secure, scalable and compliant manner. SparkWeave’s virtualized storage and streaming platform encapsulates a number of common business processes, each of which can stand alone or work as a suite of integrated applications. Due to its inherent security features, SparkWeave is a clear leader with industry verticals needing unquestionable compliance with documented government mandates and strict internal security policies. SparkWeave strives to not only be the leader in its developing market, but to continually innovate and expand the value it provides to its customers.

Technology Excellence in a Non-Profit Organization – GiveMN

GiveMN aims to transform philanthropy in Minnesota by not only growing overall giving, but moving more of it online. GiveMN markets and promotes opportunities and tools to potential donors in Minnesota – helping them find, connect and engage with the causes that they care about most. The GiveMN model combines a state-of-the-art national technology platform with local knowledge and trust-based relationships. Since its launch in 2009, GiveMN has helped raise $50 million, for over 6,600 non-profits. GiveMN’s new model for e-philanthropy, combined with its relationships with local partners, lends credibility to the organization’s mission. In addition, GiveMN provides training to help non-profits and individuals become more digitally savvy fundraisers.

Technology Services & Consulting (Established Company) – PeopleNet

PeopleNet leads the market in providing innovative technology products and services that enable effective fleet management and operational efficiency. The introduction of an open platform that integrates with back-office systems revolutionized fleet management by offering a way to impact every operational facet, including accounting, dispatch and maintenance. Its Professional Services group is a key factor in helping customers optimize their technology investment by ensuring and expediting ROI. By interpreting data reports and recommending changes and actions, PeopleNet is able reduce costs and improve service and efficiency for its customers. Applications improve safety performance, help fleets meet regulatory requirements, and eliminate heavy violation fines. PeopleNet customers perform 58.4 percent better than the national average across three major safety indices, including 64.8 percent fewer moving violations.

Technology Services & Consulting (Small and Growing Company) – Agosto, Inc.

Founded in 2001, Agosto has helped clients migrate from legacy systems to next-generation technologies. Companies look to Agosto to manage their IT infrastructures, to provide cloud expertise and to implement Google Apps efficiently and with minimal disruption. Today, Agosto is one of the world’s oldest and fastest-growing cloud consulting and development firms. As an early evangelist of cloud computing, Agosto is recognized for its vision of how IT can provide a competitive advantage for clients. Their custom application development, using Google Cloud Platform tools, further helps clients achieve business goals. It is this combination of broad technology capabilities, specialty skills and personal attention to customer’s needs that sets Agosto at the top of the list of technology providers in Minnesota and across North America.

Public Service Award

MHTA is proud to recognize seven individuals who provide outstanding leadership to advance technology and innovation in Minnesota – specifically state government. These public officials led the effort to consolidate IT services from more than 70 state agencies into a single organization – MN.IT Services (formerly the Office of Enterprise Technology). Since the legislation passed in July 2011, MN.IT Services has expanded its role from managing infrastructure to overseeing and managing all IT projects, expenditures and 1,800 staff.


  • Senator Michelle Benson of Ham Lake
  • Senator Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka
  • Senator Ted Daley of Eagan
  • Representative Keith Downey of Edina
  • Representative Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis
  • Commissioner Carolyn Parnell of MN.IT Services
  • Senator Ann Rest of New Hope

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