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Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology held its 17th annual awards ceremony, the NCET Dragonfly Energy Technology Awards, May 13, 2024, celebrating Northern Nevada individuals and companies who have greatly enhanced the growth and prestige of the technology community.

“The NCET Dragonfly Energy awards are more than recognition for excellent performance,” Sarah Johns, President and CEO of NCET, said. “Those honored tonight are building a strong, diversified and sustainable economy that will serve Northern Nevada for decades to come. You are an inspiration.”The University of Nevada, Reno had much to celebrate, capturing five awards, including the special Technology Hall of Fame award presented to President Sandoval.

University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval was honored with the 2024 Hall of Fame award at the 17th annual NCET Tech Awards.

“Throughout President Sandoval’s career, he has a proven history of advancing Nevada’s economic development,” Johns said. “From technology to manufacturing, to his work now educating Nevada’s future workforce. NCET and Dragonfly Energy are honored to present Brian Sandoval with the Hall of Fame award.”The NCET Dragonfly Energy Technology Awards were held at the Reno Elks Lodge.
New award: Best Overall Use of Robotics Innovation Company of the Year – K-12 Robotics Center
The Best Overall Use of Robotics Innovation Company of the Year Award recognizes and celebrates the exemplary achievements, transformative impact and visionary leadership of a company that has demonstrated exceptional utilization of robotics technology to drive innovation, solve complex challenges and create substantial value across various industries and applications.

K-12 Robotics selected as Best Overall Use of Robotics Innovation.

The University of Nevada, Reno K-12 Robotics Center, housed in the historic Southside Studio and operated by the University since 2019, offers a unique space for robotics and STEM education. Located across the street from the Innevation Center, it welcomes all interested in learning, building, and playing with robotics. The center aims to spark young students’ interest in robotics, computer science, engineering and automation, guiding them toward future degrees and careers. Robotics programs provide a fun and educational extracurricular experience, fostering growth and connections. STEM education is vital for preparing students for the workforce and driving technological innovation in the 21st century.

New award: Sustainability Leader of the Year – Pengbo Chu
Presented to the person who, individually or through leadership of a team, has best devised ways to create a more sustainable future. Special consideration is given to individuals who demonstrate industry leadership through delivering sustainable growth and influence in industry trade organizations, legislative activities pertinent to sustainability, or other civic or community involvement.

Pengbo Chu is honored with the Sustainability Leader of the Year award.

University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Gold Mines Professor Pengbo Chu is leading an interdisciplinary team at the Mackay School of Earth Sciences & Engineering. He collaborates with industry leaders like Lithium Americas and American Battery Technology Company to develop environmentally sensitive lithium extraction methods. His innovative mineral processing techniques aim to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact, showing promise for carbon sequestration in lithium mining. Chu also pioneers the development of immersive VR tools to educate students on metallurgical processes like froth flotation. With collaborations spanning the Federal Department of Energy, Desert Research Institute, mining operations and other University departments, Chu promotes a holistic approach to sustainable resource management.
Most Inspiring Technology Company of the Year – MACOMA Environmental Technologies
The Most Inspiring Technology Company of the Year Award recognizes and celebrates the innovative prowess, transformative impact and exemplary leadership of a technology company that has significantly influenced the landscape of its industry and beyond. Special consideration is given to companies that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in harnessing technology to drive positive change, foster societal progress and inspire others through their vision, dedication and ingenuity.

MACOMA wins Most Inspiring Technology Company of the Year.

MACOMA Environmental Technologies is a start-up company dedicated to advancing environmenal sustainability through innovation and scientific research. MACOMA specializes in global research, develpment and manufacturing products that address critical environmental challenges such as indoor air quality, air pollution and climate change. MACOMA is committed to slowing down global warming by reducing greenhouse gases and protecting human health through economical, reflective nano paint and photocatalytic nano-technology.
Technologist of the Year – Mick Hitchcock
Presented to the technologist who, individually or through leadership of a team, has best used technology to improve the performance of their organization or the products or services it provides. Special consideration is given to individuals who demonstrate industry leadership through involvement in industry trade organizations, legislative activities pertinent to the technology industry, or other civic or community involvement.

Mick Hitchcock wins Technologist of the Year.

Mick Hitchcock spent 40 years in the pharmaceutical business in the research, development and commercialization of about 25 anti-infective agents, primarily drugs for treatment of viral diseases. This included the first once daily, single tablet regimen containing three drugs (ATRIPLA) to simplify treatment of HIV. Since moving to Reno in 2009, he has become a Board member of teh following organizations: Nevada Research & Innovation Corporation, an organization to facilitate monetization and use of UNR IP; Renogenys, a UNR-Med spin-off to develop treatments for a type of muscular dystrophy called FSHD (also a Founder); and Biomea Fusion Inc., a small Bay Area company developing drugs for oncology and metabolic diseases.

About NCET:
Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Northern Nevada’s largest educational and networking organization, is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. NCET’s award-winning programs include the annual NCET Small Business Expo and NCET Tech Awards, the monthly Biz Bite and Special Event luncheons and the monthly Tech Wednesday and Biz Café events. NCET is funded by memberships, sponsorships and program revenues, and receives no state or Federal funding. NCET is not affiliated with the State of Nevada nor the University of Nevada. For more information, visit NCET.org

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