Excellence in Industry awards feature audience-choice competition

This year’s Excellence in Local Industry Awards is adding a little American Idol-style hype to its program with audience members text messaging their vote to determine the winner in one category.

Organizers of the seventh-annual awards ceremony, hosted by Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC and the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization, announced two finalists in seven categories of the awards program that aims to highlight local companies and products. Winners will be unveiled Oct. 16 at The Broadmoor.

Adding a bit of intrigue, one of the category winners will be determined by audience members who will vote by text message during the event, which will feature short videos of all the finalists.

The “People’s Choice” category is still a surprise, said Michael Larson, El Pomar Chair of Engineering and Innovation and master of ceremonies at the event. Audience members won’t find out which category they get to determine until the event.

The idea, Larson said, is to add a little fun to the evening, and to give audience members some ownership over deciding which local business they think is tops. Audience members will text the number of their favorite company and votes will be tallied in real time, Larson said.

“The people who attend that night will be able to vote after watching the videos,” Larson said. “All through the evening, people have the opportunity to vote.”

Organizers announced the finalists this week in seven categories.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Intecon and Agilent Technologies.

Business Climate Award: Frontier Airlines and Western Cyber Exchange.

Company to Watch Award: Chromatic Technologies Inc. and NAVSYS Corporation.

Pioneer Award: Olson Plumbing and Heating and The Gazette.

Local Industry Chairperson Award: Pikes Peak Community College, Lance Bolton, president and National Museum of World War II Aviation.

Excellence in Local Industry Master of Ceremonies Innovation Award: RT Logic and Maxx HD Sunglasses.

Manufacturing Company of the Year: Atmel Corporation and Linear Manufacturing.

The awards program was started to showcase trend-setting leaders in diverse industry fields, Larson said.

Past winners have included Chromatic Technologies Inc, which specializes in color-changing inks, and Altia, a software company that specializes in touch-screen technology.

Such primary employers are the heartbeat of the business community, Larson said.

“We can’t lose sight of the purpose of the event and that is to get the message out about great companies in Colorado Springs,” Larson said.

Register for the event at the Chamber/EDC site.