Victoria’s high-tech sector has a new champion — Jim Hayhurst, the CEO of Pretio Interactive.
The announcement was made as the Victoria Innovation Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council released the finalists for its 15th annual tech awards, which will be handed out June 24 at the Victoria Conference Centre.
Hayhurst will receive the sector’s highest honour, the Colin Lennox Award as Technology Champion. The award is named after the mentor to tech companies who died in 2004.
“Any time you get recognized by your peers, it’s super cool. What’s really special about this
is that, though I never met Colin Lennox, I’m told he and I shared a lot of the same values,” said Hayhurst. “He was very much about connecting people and ideas, not just the technology, to grow our community. “He was also a passionate supporter of Pearson College, where I was a trustee for many years. So I’d like to think he’d be pleased with my carrying on some of his work.”
Hayhurst said he was surprised by the award, and was lost for words when he was informed. “Which is not something I’m known for,” he said.
Dan Gunn, chief executive at VIATEC, said Hayhurst has made a point of being active in the community and getting things done.
“Jim Hayhurst has played a key role in our community as a leader of initiatives, a spokesperson, a supporter and a role model. He understands what it takes to shape a strong and vibrant community and we are honoured to recognize him as the Tech Champion he is,” said Gunn. “I think Colin Lennox would have been very proud to see the award named after him bestowed on such a stand-up guy.”
VIATEC has also revealed that Ladies Learning Code will receive its member of the year award.
“Ladies Learning Code have really made a difference in our community in a short time. Their efforts to teach valuable coding skills to women of all ages is playing a significant role in encouraging more [women] to enter the tech sector and to use those skills as entrepreneurs,” said Gunn.
Hayhurst said the technology sector in Victoria has never been stronger.
“But we’re at a critical point. We’re not under-the-radar anymore, so there’s a higher level of expectation. Like any enterprise, getting from start-up to where we are now may seem like the hard part. But scaling even further —and staying true to what makes us unique — will require a clear sense of who we want to be as a sector and how we fit in with the broader community,” he said.
The 15th annual awards show promises to be the biggest yet, given the massive increase in nominations this year — VIATEC received a record 189 nominations for 13 award categories.
To this point more than 600 tickets have been sold, with expectations the event could be expanded to handle as many as 850 people.
2016 VIATEC Award Finalists
• Company of the Year (50+ staff):
• Company of the Year (11-49):
• Company of the Year (1-10):
• Emerging Company:
• Startup of the Year:
Green Sky Labs
• Product of the Year:
Giftbit (Digital Gift Cards)
Codan Radio Comm. (Stratus)
RevenueWire (Constant Content)
Checkfront (Online booking)
Codename (Crusaders/Lost Idols)
• Innovation Software/Service:
• Executive of the Year:
Brad Williams – Redbrick
Brianna Wettlaufer – Stocksy United
Scott Dewis - RaceRocks 3D
Shaun Jamieson – SilkStart
• Employee of the Year:
Aleksey Vorona – xMatters
Aurora Walker and Rob O’Dwyer – Pretio Interactive
Matt Martin – Crowd Content
• Team of the Year:
Archipelago Marine Research
HP Advanced Solutions
• Employer of the Year:
Island Circus Space
Monkey C Interactive
Victoria Hand Project