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Past Winners Showcase

Chicago Innovation Awards

Thursday, July 25, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (CDT)

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Past Winners Showcase ticket
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Event Details

To celebrate the rich history of Chicago's innovation community, we invite you to attend the Past Winners Showcase on Thursday, July 25th. Hosted at Red Frog Events, a winner in 2011, this event will feature talks by innovation leaders and winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards: 

Pete Kadens, President and CEO,
SoCore Energy
(2010 winner and moderator)
Chris Gladwin,
Founder and Vice Chairman,

(2008 winner)
Jodi Navta,
VP of Marketing,

(2012 winner)
Steve Casey, Co-Founder,
Fresh Moves

(2011 winner)
Mike Rothman,
SMS Assist

(2012 winner)
Ray Genellie,
QuesTek Innovations (2002 winner)
Dr. John J. Sviokla, Principal,
Strategy & Innovation, PwC
(special guest)

Before and after the panel, there will be a cocktail reception where guests can mingle in one of the city's most original and surprising office spaces with innovators from every industry, large corporations and start-ups, venture capitalists and angel investors, government and non-profit leaders, as well as this year's Chicago Innovation Awards sponsors, board members, judges, and past winners.

The Past Winners Showcase will be held:

Thursday, July 25th
5:30pm – 8:00pm (panel discussion will begin at 6:15pm)
Red Frog Events
320 W. Ohio Street
Chicago, IL

Drinks and appetizers are included, and provided by Blue Plate.

The Past Winners Showcase has sold out every year, so please RSVP as soon as possible if you plan to attend.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Panelist bios:

Pete Kadens, Co-Founder and President, SoCore Energy (moderator)
Pete is an accomplished speaker and leader on green initiatives and is known nationwide for his innovative approach to the proliferation of renewable generation. Pete and his team have grown SoCore from a startup to a successful multi-million dollar solar business. In his capacity as President of SoCore, Pete is responsible for overseeing all sales and operations of the business.
  Prior to SoCore, Pete founded and was the CEO of Acquirent, an outsourced sales company which was ranked the #1 outsourced sales company in the U.S. in 2006 by “The Black Book of Outsourcing”.  Pete was elected as the President of the National Association of Sales Outsourcers in 2007 and served in that capacity until leaving the industry in early 2008. Prior to founding Acquirent, Pete spent three years at the investment bank of UBS.  Pete is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Streetwise, one of the largest homeless aid organizations in the Midwest, and serves as a Director of the Bucknell University School of Management. He also has served as a Director of The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois from 2002-2011. He was also honored as a member of Crain’s “40 Under 40″ Class of 2012.

Chris Gladwin, Founder and Vice Chairman, Cleversafe

Chris Gladwin founded Cleversafe in 2004, bringing to the company the same innovative and entrepreneurial approach that has signified his executive leadership throughout his career. Chris, who was previously the creator of the first workgroup storage server at Zenith Data Systems and was a Manager of Corporate Storage Standards at Lockheed Martin, also created and managed a number of successful new technology start-ups, including MusicNow, which was acquired by Circuit City. Chris has been the creative force behind the development of the first Dispersed Storage system to solve the growing global problem of Big Data storage.  Years ahead of the market, Chris understood the growing issues surrounding unstructured data and the inability of traditional technology solutions to accommodate the explosive growth of digital assets such as audio, video and imaging. Using advances in dispersed information technology, he applied that to storage to create a reliable, cost effective, secure solution with a limitless ability to scale.  Chris Gladwin has created over 300 issued and pending patents related to Dispersed Storage technology. Cleversafe, inspired by Chris, continues to be one of the most patenting U.S. companies per employee.

Jodi Navta, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Coyote
Jodi Navta is a Michigan jock (swimming), a Northwestern nerd (MS Journalism) and started her professional career at Sports Illustrated Magazine as a (no not swim suit model...) photo editor. From 2000 to 2011 she held a number of operations and strategy positions as a four-time entrepreneur. She has deep experience managing content creation, product development, marketing strategy, and brand messaging.  Her entrepreneurial spirit combined with a solid background in content creation and publishing work with clients like Discovery, National Geographic, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin is at the core of everything she does.  Navta joined Coyote in 2011 as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications, and has built the department and program from scratch. 
Navta earned Academic All-American and NCAA finalist status at the University of Michigan four years in a row and represented the United States at the World University Games in Fukuoka, Japan.

Steve Casey, Co-Founder, Fresh Moves
Steve Casey’s professional, community, and personal life is intentionally driven by one goal: giving to his community.  Steve is Co-Founder and Board President of Fresh Moves, a mobile produce market that delivers fresh produce, via CTA buses, to food deserts throughout the Chicago area.  Steve is also Manager, Grants and Budget for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, Illinois; responsible for overseeing the budget and administration of $80 million in grants provided by the foundation. Steve earned his Bachelor of Administration in Finance from the University of the District of Columbia and his M.B.A. in Finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Through these educational and other experiences, Steve’s sense of social justice was solidified. He and his partner and wife Kimberly Casey, commit to making all decisions, big and small, with the community and its ongoing development in mind.  Steve’s favorite quote, one that exemplifies his mission, is credited to the influential German thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”

Mike Rothman, CEO, SMS Assist
Michael Rothman possesses over 30 years of experience in the contracting, retail, and industrial industries. SMS began as a startup in 2003 and since then, Mr. Rothman has been seated as the Chairman, majority stockholder and CEO. Presently, SMS is a nationwide company servicing over 40,000 locations and a network of 28,000 affiliates.  Mr. Rothman has transformed the business from a traditional brick and mortar service company into a technology platform for outsourcing services over a wide spectrum of retail and industrial customers that is scalable with global application. He developed integrated and proprietary state-of-the-art software, which consists of a vendor management system, Customer Management System, Call Center Dispatching System, Store Survey System and an IVR (Integrated Voice Response) system. Prior to SMS Assist, Mr. Rothman founded Kenny Industrial Services, a national coating and industrial cleaning company servicing Fortune 500 industrial customers. During his five-year tenure, Mr. Rothman was responsible for growth of the company's annual revenues from $7 million to $240 million with 32 offices nationwide and over 3,000 employees. Before Mr. Rothman's departure in 2003, he positioned Kenny as the #1 coating company and #32 in the top 600 specialty contractors in the country rated by E&R (Engineering Newsweek).

Ray Genellie, Co-Founder, QuesTek Innovations
Ray Genellie is a co-founder of QuesTek Innovations LLC. He has over 30 years of experience in auditing and contracting with the federal government, and in business and financial operations for both profit and not-for-profit organizations. Prior to starting QuesTek, he was the Business Manager at the creation of Northwestern University’s BIRL Industrial Research Laboratory where he was responsible for developing the laboratory’s business and contract research operations. Ray received a Master’s of Science in Finance from Northern Illinois University where he instructed both undergraduate and graduate finance. His graduate thesis was entitled “Procedures and Financial Decisions in Small Business Federal Procurement,” which was successfully applied with the founding of QuesTek.

Dr. John J. Sviokla,
Principal, Strategy & Innovation, PricewaterhouseCoopers

John Sviokla is a Principal with PwC Advisory in the US. He leads the Strategy & Innovation segment, serves on the firms Advisory Leadership Group and Global Thought Leadership Council, as well as leading The Exchange – an ongoing think tank for clients and world class business leaders. John has almost thirty years experience researching, writing and consulting on innovation, technology, strategy and economic value. He created some of the very first thought leadership on the coming world of digital competition. (Managing in the Marketspace, Harvard Business Review (HBR) 1994, Exploiting the Virtual Value Chain, HBR 1995). He is extensively published in many journals including Sloan Management Review, WSJ, Financial Times, and appeared on CNBC and Fox News. He serves a wide variety of clients and is a frequent speaker on topics of innovation, growth, and emerging customer behavior. John received his Bachelors degree from Harvard College, and Masters and Doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School.  He was a member of the Harvard Business School Faculty from 1986 -1998.  Before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers, John was the Vice Chairman of the Board & Chief Innovation Officer Diamond Management Consultants from 1998-2010.

Gold Sponsors




Silver Sponsors


  vedder brinksWintrust logo Edelman Silver 2013SmithBucklin - Silver 2013 


Bronze Sponsors


Career Builder - bronze 2013   Hyatt Bronze Sponsor Logo  Google Bronze sponsor for website Savo Grant Thornton PWC bronze 2013TandemHR  




Lead Media Partners


bnc logo small  WBBM Crain's Media Partner 2013 Tribune Media 2013


Supporting Media Partners




Chicago Magazine Media 2013 redeye Media 2013 Hoy media 2013
Corporate Angel VIP Members





Have questions about Past Winners Showcase? Contact Chicago Innovation Awards
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When & Where

Red Frog Events
320 West Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Thursday, July 25, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (CDT)

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Past Winners Showcase
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