The Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) held its fourth annual awards program on Tuesday, Dec. 13, recognizing Bill Vaglienti as the 2016 GTA Technology Leader of the Year and Trillium Engineering as the 2016 GTA Technology Organization of the Year.

GTA is a nonprofit professional organization supporting high-tech businesses and STEM education. Contact Jessica Metta with questions at 541-296-2266.

“There are many wonderful companies, nonprofits, schools and individuals working to advance the tech industry and STEM education in the Columbia River Gorge,” said Executive Director Jessica Metta. “Our awards program is a way to recognize and thank them.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Nominations were accepted from across the Gorge and all the finalists were celebrated at the event for their leadership and hard work. Vaglienti, cofounder of Cloud Cap and most recently Power4Flight, was honored as the 2016 GTA Technology Leader of the Year for his significant technical contributions on a multitude of fronts that have shaped the Unmanned Aerial Systems (or UAS) industry in the Gorge and nationally for more than 20 years. His technical leadership and vision have been key to the success of many of the most prominent UAS companies, programs and platforms, according to Metta.

Trillium Engineering of Hood River was honored as the 2016 GTA Tech Organization of the Year as the “perfect example” of a successful Gorge technology startup company.

“Rob Gilchrist, Gail Dagan and Jeff Fisher had an idea while working together at Cloud Cap Technology and believed in it enough to put it all on the line to follow their dream,” Metta said. Starting in 2013, in three years they turned their idea into a thriving company of 11 and growing. They are also contributing game-changing innovations to the national UAS industry with their small, powerful gimbals and linear infrastructure monitoring.

Four outstanding finalists for Tech Leader of the Year were also recognized:

• Richard Foster of Klickitat County Economic Development for his support of tech companies;

• Tod Hilstad, director of information technology for Hood River County School District, for his work and dedication to the district and its students;

• Cory Roeseler, engineer with Hood Tech, for the personal and professional innovations he’s brought to kiteboarding and the UAS industry;

• Robert Surton, computer science professor at Columbia Gorge Community College, for his work in launching and growing the first-ever Computer Science degree program in the Gorge.

“The GTA is appreciative of everyone working to grow our regional tech industry and to improve STEM opportunities for our students,” Metta said.

“We look forward to another year of supporting these leaders and businesses in turn.”

More information about the winners and finalists is available on the GTA website at crgta.org/about/awards.

The Gorge Technology Alliance supports, connects and develops the technology community of the Columbia River Gorge with networking and educational events, business support and promotion, workforce development and youth robotics.

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