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Cox Business Honors Southern Nevada’s Greatest Technical Achievements

The 2017 winners of Southern Nevada’s Top Tech Exec Awards are hopefully still basking in the glow of the shiny trophies they took home on the night of November 16th. The ceremony, emceed by Greenspun Media Group publisher, Gordon Prouty, was held at The Smith Center for Performing Arts in Las Vegas.

Cox Business, the event’s title sponsor, once again teamed up with VEGAS INC to shine a well-deserved spotlight on Southern Nevada’s greatest technical achievements.

“We launched the annual Top Tech Exec awards program in 2013 as a way to recognize the most outstanding information technology executives in the Las Vegas area,” said Derrick R. Hill, vice president of Cox Business/Hospitality Network. “There’s no program like it in Southern Nevada that recognizes the individuals who’ve played such a vital role in ensuring technological success in business. That’s why we’re recognizing them for their achievements.”

All winners are chosen based on examples of how much their work has impacted the community and their companies. Here are this year’s honorees:

Piotr Tomasik

-Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder, Influential (private business)

Snehal Bhakta

-CTE Project Facilitator & Innovator, Clark County School District (education)

Michael Lee Sherwood

-Director of Information Technologies, City of Las Vegas (government)

Wonda Riner

-Director of Information Technology, UNLV School of Medicine (health care)

Les Ottolenghi

-Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Caesars Entertainment (hotel/gaming)

Sy Esfahani

-Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, MGM Resorts International (public business)

Tim Stephens

-Director of Information Technology, Three Square Food Bank (nonprofit)

Debbie Banko, Lifetime Achievement Award

Debbie Banko

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Debbie Banko, CEO of Link Technologies. Banko started her company with nothing more than an old computer, a landline, and a short list of clients. Her company is now a leader in information technology, engineering and cybersecurity. They’ve also grown to more than 125 employees and offices around the country. She has some words of wisdom for future tech entrepreneurs.

“Go with your gut, your heart and your expertise,” said Banko.

Eric Mendelsohn

The Community Exemplary Award was given to Eric Mendelsohn, co-founder and director of Code Central, an after-school tech center for students 7-17. He said he and his brother teamed up to make coding a social hangout for young people.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized, especially in the ‘Community Exemplary’ category,” said Mendelsohn. “It helps to reaffirm that what we are doing and providing is of value to schools, organizations, and families in the Las Vegas area.”

He emphasizes how crucial it is for today’s workforce to care about shaping young people for the workforce needs of tomorrow.

“I know it’s cliche to say that young people are our future, but of course the youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. And with technology developing so rapidly, learning to code is an essential skill.”

For more information about the 2017 Top Tech Exec Awards go to www.vegasinc.com.