2011 Catalyst Award Winners Print E-mail
The 14th Annual Catalyst Awards were announced at the Annual University District Month Kick-off Event held today at the Riverpoint Campus South Facility within the University District. The Catalyst Awards recognize contributions by individuals, organizations, and businesses demonstrating innovation that catalyzes economic development in the region.

Ken Grunzweig Innovator of the Year
Jon Eliassen
Jon Eliassen is President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Lion Hotels Corporation, a publicly-traded company with 43 owned and franchised West Coast properties. Prior to the Red Lion, Eliassen was President and CEO of the Spokane Area Economic Development Council and also Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Avista Corp., a publicly-traded utility. While at Avista, Eliassen helped develop several successful companies, including Itron Inc., Avista Labs (now ReliOn) and Avista Advantage (now Advantage IQ). Eliassen currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Itron Inc., is a member of the IT Lifeline Board of Directors and is the principal of Terrapin Capital Group, LLC.

Company of the Year
Purcell Systems, Inc.
Purcell Systems is a leading global designer and manufacturer of configurable outdoor enclosures and system-level integrated solutions. Serving some of the largest names in the global telecommunications industry with custom as well as pre-engineered enclosures, Purcell Systems delivers operating expenditure savings and efficiencies through outside plant solutions. Featuring advanced thermal management designs, the company's products serve a variety of applications in markets that include communications, energy/utility, cable/MSO and government/military. With more than 10 years proven expertise and thousands of installations worldwide, Purcell Systems provides quality solutions and services with unmatched speed, flexibility, and 365/24/7 Fanatical ServiceĀ®.

Clean/Green Company of the Year
ReliOn is a world leader in the delivery of hydrogen fuel cell systems for backup power at communication sites, with more than 3.8 megawatts of fuel cell products delivered to 1,300 customer locations. ReliOn works with wireless, wireline and government communications customers to provide solutions to power requirements between 50 Watts and 20 kW. ReliOn's patented fuel cell solutions provide highly reliable, fault-tolerant, clean performance and extended runtime at a cost benefit over many other backup power options.

Organization of the Year
Eastern Washington University - School of Computing and Engineering Sciences
Launched in 2005, and building on three decades of prior activity in computer science and engineering, the School of Computing and Engineering Sciences (SCES) is a major pipeline of technology advancement and innovation for the region. EWU and SCES have produced more than 4,000 graduates in computer and engineering related areas and helped more than 20 spin off companies emerge - some now with several hundreds of employees. Project partners for SCES include Avista, Itron, Triumph, Goodyear, SIRTI, NextIT, District 81, Intrinium, TriGeo and many more. Via its robotics and other youth events, SCES actively promotes STEM education and outreach in the region.

Clean/Green Organization of the Year
Sustainable Resources Inland Northwest
Sustainable Resources Inland Northwest is a Spokane-based educational nonprofit dedicated to increasing the community's awareness and utilization of sustainable practices regarding natural, social and financial resources. As such, they are a resource to the community providing the training, support services and access to a network of resources that businesses, organizations, and our community needs to keep going strong for the long run. The broad range and nature of their services is unique in our region, affordable, accessible, and provides the platform to catalyze the transformational change needed to strongly position our community for the 21st Century's challenges and opportunities.

Mentor of the Year
Yvonne Luman
Yvonne has worked with Spokane Public Schools in the Career & Technical Education department for the past 12 years. With a degree in education and background in government procurement, computers and networking, it seemed natural to recruit students. Numerous students from elementary through college have participated in TEC clubs, camps and internships that Yvonne has created. Yvonne's passion is to encourage students to develop who they are and what they stand for, inasmuch as what they aspire to do. She believes it is equally important to surround ourselves with mentors and coaches to challenge us. Life is a journey of learning and growing. She values the role her mentors have played for her. In a way, she's paying that forward...over and over. Through her countless efforts she connects students with the community, educators and employers to guide these students toward being a person of character as well as develop the skills and experience for the future endeavors.

Emerging Innovators of the Year
Josh Neblett and Sarah Neblett
GreenCupboards is an online retailer of environmentally friendly products for homes and businesses. The company differentiates itself by offering a vast array of products, pursuing multiple channels of distribution, providing exquisite customer service and serving as a source of intriguing content. GreenCupboards was co-founded by Josh & Sarah Neblett and Tom Simpson after winning a business plan competition between EWU, Gonzaga and Whitworth. Now in its third year, the company has more than 30 employees, is experiencing explosive growth and is profitable. GreenCupboards has an enviable board including David Barbieri (Red Lion CIO), Joe Herzog (BergCo. CFO), Murray Huppin (OneCall CEO) and Wayne Williams (Telect CEO).

The Catalyst Awards are presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated, Technet and the Spokane University District. Sponsors of this year's Catalyst Awards include McKinstry, the Journal of Business, Dean Davis Photography, Lydig, Avista, Community Colleges of Spokane, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Washington State University Spokane and Whitworth University.