Twelve Minnesota High-Tech Innovators Honored at Fifteenth Annual Tekne Awards

November 14, 2014

Minnesota High Tech Association recognizes leaders and innovators for their commitment to technology advancement

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 14, 2014 — Last night, the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) recognized 12 Minnesota businesses and organizations for their advances in technology and innovation at the 2014 Tekne Awards ceremony. The Tekne Awards recognize companies, innovations and people for technological breakthroughs that improve the lives and futures of people living in Minnesota and all over the world.

“It’s remarkable to see the technological advancements that have occurred in Minnesota over the last fifteen years. The Tekne Award recipients and STEM scholars recognized this year have proven yet again that our state is a key player in the science and technology industry,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of MHTA. “I’m continually amazed at the innovations recognized year over year, and am honored to be a part of the technology powerhouse that has been crafted by our visionary companies.”

Presented at the Minneapolis Convention Center, award categories included manufacturing, agriculture and cyber security. The awards also honored innovations in education, energy, healthcare, software and workforce development.

In addition, the MHTA Foundation awarded its annual scholarships at the event to undergraduate students who excel in programs geared toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Scholarship recipients included: Iwnetim Abate of Debere Birham, Ethiopia; Jennifer Carlson of Brooklyn Park; Guy Cassuto of St. Louis Park; Tien Do of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vanessa Esaw of Minneapolis; Anna Grim of Wausau, WI; Kurt Haag of Becker; Hillary Heilig of Pine Island; Mathew Kayer of Cloquet; Christopher Larson of Crookston; Oscar Martinez Armenta of Minneapolis; Quynh Nguyen of Hanoi, Vietnam; Christian Smith of Menomonie, WI; Loza Tadesse of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Elia Zanella of Rochester; and Habtu Zewdie of Gondar, Ethiophia.

The 2014 Tekne Awards ceremony was hosted by Paul Douglas, meteorologist and founder, Media Logic Group. It recognized Gustavus Adolphus College as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner for its foundation and on-going commitment to the Nobel Conference. For five decades, the Nobel Conference has brought together thousands of world-class industry professionals, students and members of the public to understand and engage in dialogue around important issues in the natural and social sciences.

The 2014 Tekne Awards went to the following recipients:

Advanced Manufacturing – T3 Scientific LLC

A world leader in separation technology, T3 Scientific LLC has developed a line of contaminant-resistant and long-term stable gas purification membrane products, used for separating hydrogen from fossil fuel and biomass gas streams. These technologies provide critical solutions to the long-standing problems that prevented the use of metal membrane for hydrogen purification – giving long-term stability and contaminant-resisting power to the resultant hydrogen purification product line while bringing cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to hydrogen purification.

Agriculture and Food – Ecolab

Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies, recently introduced Antimicrobial Fruit & Vegetable Treatment (AFVT). This no-rinse produce wash reduces 99.9 percent of the pathogens E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella in produce wash water. Ecolab AFVT is the food service industry's first no-rinse produce wash to be cleared by both the FDA and EPA for use in produce applications.

Collaboration for Community Impact – The Works Museum and MN Dept. of Education

Since 2009, the Works Museum and the Minnesota Department of Education have worked together to plan and present the Excellence in Elementary Engineering Education Conference. The Works Museum has been developing and presenting engaging engineering education programs for elementary students since 1995, and the Department of Education is committed to excellent education for all Minnesota students. Both organizations are driven by key principles of STEM education and the understanding that education fosters a more productive state.

Cyber Security – Code42

Founded in 2001, Code42 developed CrashPlan, a system that manages and protects digital life with easy-to-use software and high-performance hardware storage. For the past 13 years, Code42 has been committed to developing solutions to connect people to the files they need on any device, enabling continuous data protection and secure access for people and businesses.

Education Technology – Awear Technologies

Awear Technologies develops safe, effective and functional eyewear that provides real-time awareness and improvement of cognitive skills crucial for classroom achievement. Collaborating with leading organizations including the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, Awear Technologies innovations address attentiveness on classroom tasks, improving comprehension, retention and long-term focus.

Energy – Ecolab

During hydraulic fracturing, large quantities of water and chemicals are injected into the geologic formation to increase the fractures in the rock layers and allow hydrocarbons to flow. Because of the high amount of water used during this process, the need for water treatment and reuse has become critical. Water treatment prevents the introduction of microorganisms in the formation, which can result in reservoir souring, bio fouling and microbiologically induced corrosion. Driven by these concerns, Ecolab developed an improved formulation of the oxidizing biocide peracetic acid (PAA). This biocide minimizes emissions by facilitating safe, cost-effective onsite water disposal, and reduces plugging by controlling biological growth and maintaining hydraulic conductivity.

Healthcare – Starkey Hearing Technologies

In 2014, Starkey Hearing introduced Halo, a made for iPhone hearing aid engineered to seamlessly coexist with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Halo combines Starkey Hearing Technologies' hearing technology with Apple's iOS to deliver a revolutionary solution that enhances everyday aspects of life – from conversations to phone calls to music.

IT Services – Delta Air Lines

As part of an ongoing effort to innovate in travel and global products, Delta is investing more than $3 billion in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance in-flight and on-the-ground customer experiences. Initiatives to date have included a revamped version of its website, improved self-service kiosks for customers, a new Fly Delta app for smartphones and enabled Wi-Fi on 700 aircraft. In late 2014, Delta will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with the Nokia 1520 phablet. The Nokia 1520 will replace onboard manuals, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service.

Software (Established Company) – SPS Commerce

SPS Commerce, a leader in cloud-based supply chain management solutions, is responding to the challenges of the new omni-channel retail era with the SPS Commerce Universal Network. This agile solution was developed exclusively in the cloud, embracing innovation and the changes that today's retailers are facing, while giving global organizations access to an established online trading community.

Software (Small and Growing Company) – Calabrio

Calabrio has been deploying customer interaction workforce optimization products since the mid-1990s, and is now helping organizations unlock this untapped enterprise asset. Calabrio Analytics allows businesses to capture all voice and text conversations with their customers. It provides an easy way to free the voice of the customer, enabling users of all types to explore enormous volumes of data visually, so they can improve business outcomes by understanding their customers better.

Startup – NxThera, Inc.

NxThera, a venture capital-funded, privately held medical device company, is focused on using its innovative and proprietary water vapor energy technology (WAVE) to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. NxThera has been developing the Rezūm System to treat BPH, and in 2013, began development of its next break-through application to use WAVE technology to treat prostate cancer.

Workforce Development – Genesis10

Genesis10 is a leading consulting and talent management services firm founded in 1999 to help companies drive business and technology initiatives. Their Workforce Development programs recruit, cultivate and retain highly productive workforces for corporate employers who struggle to find sufficient qualified business and technology talent. Genesis10 innovation is driving the extension of traditional workforce development program definitions to address widening, fundamental gaps between corporate business and technology talent needs and next generation talent qualification/preparedness. Genesis10 workforce development programs address the compelling needs of our communities while recognizing that companies require a unique, innovative approach to attracting and retaining next generation talent.


The 2014 Tekne Awards are made possible by the generous support of its sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Optum; Thomson Reuters
  • Gold Sponsors: Delta Air Lines; Digital River; Ecolab; PadillaCRT; Software AG
  • VIP Reception Sponsor: ViaWest
  • Media Sponsor: Twin Cities Business magazine
  • Silver Sponsors : Ameriprise Financial; AT&T; Computex Technology Solutions; Digineer; Imation; Minnesota Cup; Unisys • Design Sponsor: Soulo Communications
  • Webcast Sponsor: Implex
  • Website Sponsor: Irish Titan
  • Production Sponsor: Main Point Media
  • Event Partner: LifeScience Alley


About Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA)

MHTA is an innovation and technology association united in fueling Minnesota’s prosperity. We help bring together the people of Minnesota’s technology ecosystem and lead the charge in directing technology issues to Minnesota’s state capitol. MHTA is the only membership organization that represents Minnesota’s entire technology-based economy. MHTA members include organizations of every size − involved in virtually every aspect of technology creation, production, application and education in Minnesota. Find out more online at or follow MHTA on Twitter at


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