Report: 2006 TAG Excalibur Awards

excal.pngBright and early this past Friday morning, about 400 of Atlanta’s technology movers and shakers gathered down in Buckhead in the Venetian Room of the InterContinental Hotel for the 2006 TAG Excalibur Awards.

Each year, the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) (through a partership with the Business & Technology Alliance) uses its Excalibur Awards program to recognize those tech-enabled companies that are leveraging technology to create competitive advantages. This year’s award winners:

Macon E. Gooch III Building Consultants (small organization category)
Intercontinental Exchange (medium organization category)
Southern Company (large organization category)
Georgia Innocence Project (creativity award)

You can read the official TAG press release here.

Additionally, the audience was treated to a fantastic keynote address by Matthew Szulik, CEO of RedHat. To the enjoyment of everyone, Matthew articulated very clearly the cultural aspects of the open source movement. After the ceremony concluded, the crowd continued networking, with some folks staying until nearly lunchtime! By the way, if you haven’t seen RedHat’s “Truth Happens” video clip – check it out here.

HiddenMarket sponsored a table at the event, and we had a great group of our friends, colleagues, and associates hanging out with us. That is the really fun thing about networking events – bringing really interesting people together so everyone can expand their business horizons.


From left to right: Mike Blake (Adams Capital), Alan Urech (Stoney River Capital), Mitch Free (CEO,, Scott Burkett (CEO, HiddenMarket), Anne Simons (brandsizzle), and Nelson Chu (Kinetic Ventures). Not pictured: Andy Monin (CEO, Vendormate), Stephen Fleming (ATDC/GA Tech/VentureLab), Jim Williams (The Certus Group), Jerry Recht (HiddenMarket).

The TAG Excalibur Awards are quickly becoming a staple part of the Georgia technology scene, and they are a phenomenal way to recognize the people who really matter in this business — the end users! I was proud to be a part of the Excalibur Awards steering committee this year, and I am excited about our prospects for continuing to build this program. I definitely encourage technology leaders in other cities to consider running a similar program.

If you are a technology company, forget about trying to win those “me first” awards. Who cares if you are the “best technology provider in your class?” Instead, I encourage you to do your part in getting your customers to win awards such as the Excalibur Awards. If they are using your technology to improve their bottom line, and are getting accolades because of it, that speaks volumes!

I do want to take a quick second to plug the efforts of Tino Mantella, the current President of TAG. Through his leadership, TAG is once again establishing itself as the centerpiece of the technology industry in the state of Georgia. TAG has certainly been plagued with its share of issues over the years, but I think we are seeing some positive momentum under Tino’s stewardship.

And of course, no mention of TAG would be complete without also recognizing Laura Heinlein, (TAG’s Membership Development Director) who is arguably one of the most organized people I’ve ever known. Susan Stottlemyer, the CEO of Association Planners of Georgia was on hand as well, and once again delivered a great event to her customer (TAG). Marc Fleury, former CEO of JBoss and now RedHat VP, did a great job in chairing the event this year.

See you next year!



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