Middle School Girls of Innovation to Convene in Hartford to Explore STEM Careers

Connecticut’s ongoing effort to interest young girls in pursuing education in science and technology will receive another nudge when Girls of Innovation, the Connecticut Technology Council’s signature program for middle school-age girls, is held on June 13 at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. The annual event for girls entering grades 7 & 8 provides opportunities to experience science and its challenges in a fun, interactive way, officials say.  The program highlights possible careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) through hands on, interactive activities led by real world tech professionals.WOI

The girls in attendance will have the chance to work alongside their peers as well as with an impressive roster of volunteers who are currently working, or studying, in STEM fields in Connecticut. Volunteers come from presenting sponsor Covidien as well as professionals from CTC’s member companies and the Women of Innovation program.

A year ago, close to 40 students came to the Connecticut Science Center to experience first-hand the benefits of studying and working in STEM related careers, and gave the Girls of Innovation program high marks.  Among some of the schools that have registered to participate in the 2015 program are Ansonia Middle School, Washington Middle School (Meriden), Moran Middle School (Wallingford), CT Academy of Science & Engineering, St. Brigid School (West Hartford), Bedford Middle School (Westport), Talcott Mountain Academy, Ethel Walker School, YMCA Super Girls, Irving Robbins Middle School (Newington) and King Philip Middle School (West Hartford). In addition, 12 girls from CCSU’s Institute of Technology & Business Development TRiO Educational Talent Search program have also registered.6a00d834559ccd69e20192ab43a1f4970d-500wi1imge

Mentors talk with students about their experiences and careers and guide them through the scientific challenges created by the Connecticut Science Center Staff Scientists.  Students spend time with mentors, ask questions and discuss the benefits and challenges associated with careers in STEM, and participate in hands-on science activities.

A key message of the Girls of Innovation program is to show the girls scientists “like me” and so inspire them with the confidence, enthusiasm and persistence to continue pursuing their scientific interests, officials point out, adding that studies of cultural beliefs indicate that girls begin to conclude that STEM is not for them in middle school, and these beliefs influence choices they make throughout their school years.  Stereotypes of who is a scientist are changing, but not quickly enough, organizers note.

“Spurring growth through creative invention will be a key objective of many companies in the next decade as it will provide the necessary fuel to address challenges in energy, healthcare, and global infrastructure realms. The solutions to these challenges will evolve and mature over many years and our bright and talented youth will drive the bus on this. This program is designed to galvanize our youth around invention and creative thought,” said Chuck Pagano, former Chair of the CTC Board of Directors, and VP of Technology at ESPN.CTCLogoLarge

The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies.  With over 2,000 companies that employ some 200,000 residents in the technology fields, the CTC seeks to provide a strong and urgent voice in support of the creation of a culture of innovation.

Nominations Sought for Women of Innovation as Efforts to Boost Representation in STEM Fields Intensifies

The Women of Innovation® awards gala, held annually, recognizes Connecticut women accomplished in science, technology, engineering, math and those who are involved in their community.  As the January 16 nomination deadline for this year’s 11th annual event approaches, organizers at the Connecticut Technology Council are urging state residents to nominate their peers, colleagues, mentors and students, teachers and business leaders, research associates and inventors. A study last fall for the U.S. Small Business Administration found that “the gender gap persists for women in STEM fields. Women have increased their representation in STEM graduate enrollment, but that increase has been uneven across STEM fields,” the report found.women of innovation

“While women have achieved parity for PhDs in biological and medical sciences, their enrollment continues to lag in some of the most entrepreneurial fields, such as bioengineering, mechanical, and civil engineering and materials science,” the report pointed out.

Last month, the White House urged women in the technology fields to share their stories as a way of attracting more women to the STEM disciplines. “When it comes to inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields,” the White House website explained, “research has already shown us what works: Providing early, hands-on experience and encouragement; sharing the stories of positive role models in these fields (like the women whose stories we share); and illustrating the broad impact of roles in these fCT-ORGields.”

In Connecticut, the Women of Innovation awards recognizes women who have demonstrated and sustained accomplishment in their field, from students to business owners.  Women can be nominated for awards in eight categories:

  • Research Innovation and Leadership
  • Academic Innovation and Leadership
  • Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership
  • Large Business Innovation and Leadership
  • Small Business Innovation and Leadership
  • Youth Innovation and Leadership
  • Collegian Innovation and Leadership
  • Community Innovation and Leadership

The awards event is "a time for like-minded, successful women to get together and celebrate their accomplishments” – and it provides a reminder that women are excelling in fields where their ranks have traditionally been slim.  The awards will be presented at the annual Women of Innovation Gala on Wednesday, April 1 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.  Presenting sponsors include Boehringer Ingelheim, Covidien, Day Pitney and United Technologies.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Frontier Communications, headquartered in Stamford.  Wilderotter serves on the boards of Xerox Corporation and Procter & Gamble Company and on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations. Frontier Communications Corporation  offers broadband, voice, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices and advanced communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states.It recently began offering services in Connecticut for the first time.SBA

The SBA report also found that “women are more likely to start firms that provide research and consulting services and are less likely to start firms in semiconductor and aerospace manufacturing, navigational instruments or communications equipment, which may correlate with lower reported rates of R&D activities for women STEM PhDs.”

As Connecticut seeks to promote growth in the bioscience and related technology fields, the SBA findings may be of particular note, including that “High-tech women-owned businesses may also be less likely to locate in geographic regions where they can take advantage of regional clustering of highly skilled labor and knowledge spillovers.”  The report found, however, that “female STEM PhDs value the independence of self-employment more than their male counterparts.”

The White Houwhite hosuese Office of Science and Technology Policy notes that “Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves.”

Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men, according to the Office.  “Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.”

Diversity Appears Lacking On Boards Leading Connecticut’s Technology Efforts

As Connecticut steps up its push into technology fields, seeking increased economic activity and more jobs, two of the organizations often associated with propelling opportunity for entrepreneurs and existing tech businesses appear to be less than representative of the state’s diverse population. The Connecticut Technology Council, a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, has 49 individuals on their Board of Directors, according to the Council website.  Based on a cursory review, among the 49 members of the board,  one is African American, two are Asian, and six are women. The seven officers of the organization are all white males. state-tech

Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-governmental organization, has 13 appointed members on its Board of Directors, along with four ex-officio members. Among the appointed members, none are women, none are African Americans, one is Hispanic, and one is Asian American.   Eleven of the 13 appointed members are white males, a review of the website reveals.

The Connecticut Technology Council provides leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies.  Speaking for over 2,000 companies that employ some 200,000 residents, the Council seeks to provide a strong and urgent voice in support of the creation of a culture of innovation, the organization’s website explains.

This includes working to position Connecticut as a leader in idea creation, workforce preparation, entrepreneurial aptitude, early stage risk capital availability and providing on-going support and mentoring to high potential firms.connecticut-technology-council

The mission of the Connecticut Technology Council is “to build an interactive community of innovators and their supporters that can leverage these great advantages to create a thriving economy, job growth, a global reputation for entrepreneurial support, and a lifestyle that attracts the best and brightest people to come here and retains the young people who have grown up here.”CTC board

Since its founding in 1994, the CTC has had the continued support of the state’s leading corporations, which have enabled CTC to stimulate and facilitate the growth and awareness of technology-based companies throughout Connecticut.  The CTC currently lists 10 major sponsors – including corporations, businesses and law firms – and 28 supporting sponsors.

Members include investors, startups, established public and private companies, university and private industry researchers, government agencies, academic institutions, local development agencies, and senior executives from a wide range of industries.

Connecticut Innovations (CI), a quasi-governmental organization created in 1989 to provide strategic and operational insight to companies to push the frontiers of high industries such as energy, biotechnology, information technology photonics, plays a key role in the deployment of the state’s efforts toward supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.  The Connecticut Development Authority was folded into CI three years ago.

Connecticut Innovations’ Board of Directors includes four women serving in ex-officio capacities - all by virtue of the elected or appointed positions they hold:  State Treasurer Denise Nappier, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management Karen Buffkin, and Board of Regents for Higher Education Director of Innovation and Outreach Gail Coppage.  Among the appointed members of the Board, none are women, none are African Americans, one is Hispanic, and one is Asian American.

The 17-member board is composed of nine members appointed by the governor and four appointed by the leadership of the General Assembly, as well as four ex-officio members who serve by virtue of their positions with the state: the State Treasurer, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, the President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, and the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (or their designees).

Connecticut Innovations’ Board of Directors is responsible for developing the overall strategic framework from which the organization creates policies and initiatives to help it succeed. The board is responsible for adopting an annual plan of operation and budget, overseeing the organization’s financial activities, including its investments, and overall governance of Connecticut Innovations. CI Board

Connecticut Innovations’ board of directors announced earlier this month that Claire Leonardi has resigned as chief executive officer. Leonardi’s last day will be January 8, 2015, which will allow her to assist with the transition and help the board name a successor, according to a CI news release.  Leonardi led CI for three years, and her accomplishments include its consolidation with the quasi-public Connecticut Development Authority, absorbing CDA.

CI was also in the news earlier this fall, when the quasi-public put on hold its investment and entrepreneurial programs until early next year because it lacked sufficient state funds to cover additional commitments, according to published reports.  Funds were allocated by the State Bond Commission last month.

The State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and CI have created an Innovation Ecosystem called CTNEXT. As a public-private partnership, CTNEXT catalyzes public and private resources to better support the formation, growth and attraction of companies with high growth potential, according to the state’s Economic Development Strategy report, published earlier this year.  That document notes that “Diversity of people is also a critical prerequisite to innovation.”


CT’s 40 Fastest Growing Tech Companies Achieve Statewide Recognition

Connecticut’s fasted growing technology companies will be the center of attention Thursday evening as the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and Marcum LLP spotlight the 2014 Marcum Tech Top 40. Now in its 7th year, the annual list features privately and publicly held companies, including some newcomers to the top 40. The 2014 winners are predominantly privately held companies, but 12 public companies also made the list, including Rogers Corporation, Gartner Inc. and Alexion Pharmaceuticals. That’s a slight drop from a year ago, when 14 public companies made the list.

Geographically, Fairfield County is home to 16 winning companies this year, followed by Hartford County and New Haven County, both with ten companies. For Fairfield and New Haven counties, the count increased by two businesses from a year ago; for Hartford County, the number was unchanged from last year. top 40 logo

The selected companies have at least $3 million in annual revenue and a demonstrated record of growth in each of the preceding four years.  Four of the businesses have over $1 billion in revenue.

The Marcum Tech Top 40 recognizes technology leaders in six industry sectors, including Advanced Manufacturing, Energy/Environmental, Life Sciences, New Media/Internet/Telecom, IT Services, and Software. This year’s winners range from newcomer VRSim, Inc., a creator of virtual reality training tools for industrial and manufacturing applications, to Priceline.com, a leader in mobile travel.

Bruce Carlson, CTC’s President and CEO added, “Connecticut is proud of its remarkable heritage of innovation and invention. Job growth in Connecticut is going to come from the technology sector and these Tech Top 40 companies are a great example of the range of technology companies that are growing substantially in Connecticut.”

Among the names on this year’s list:  Frontier Communications, based in Stamford, providing communications services to residential and business customers across the country (in the news this year for the proposed purchase of AT&T’s business in Connecticut); and Bolt Technology Corporation, based in Norwalk, the leading worldwide developer and manufacturer of seismic energy sources, synchronizers and underwater connectors used in offshore seismic exploration for oil and gas; and Fitlinxx, based in Shelton,  an industry leading provider of wellness applications, wireless activity monitors, and health tracking devices that motivate people to live active and healthy lifestyles.

The city with the largest number of companies on the Top 40 list this year is Stamford, with six, followed by Norwalk with four, Shelton with three, and Wallingford, South Windsor, Simsbury and New Haven, each with two businesses on the list.  Other towns with a top 40 high tech busineconnecticut-technology-councilss are Torrington, Danbury, West Hartford, Cheshire, Guilford, Greenwich, Plainville, Middlebury, New London, Killingly, Middletown, Fairfield, Madison, Branford, Farmington, Glastonbury, Windsor, Orange and East Hartford.

“Technology companies have a set of shared challenges that range from capital-raising and complex revenue reporting to intellectual property management and international expansion.  Whether they are private enterprises or Fortune 500 companies, this year’s Marcum Tech Top 40 winners all demonstrate management excellence and market foresight,” said Alex Discepolo, a Tax Partner in Marcum’s New Haven office and Practice Leader of the Firm’s High Technology Services Group.

The October 2 awards program, being held at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, will include an exhibition featuring the Marcum Tech Top 40 companies. Six category winners will be announced, and one company will be named overall winner for demonstrating the greatest percentage growth in revenue across all the technology verticals.

The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies. Speaking for 2,500 companies that employ some 200,000 residents, the Connecticut Technology Council seeks to provide a strong and urgent voice in support of the creation of a culture of innovation.

 The Tech Top 40:

Advanced Manufacturing

  • APS Technology Inc – Wallingford
  • Bolt Technology Corporation – Norwalk
  • Dymax Corporation – Torrington
  • Revolution Lighting Technologies Inc. – Stamford
  • Rogers Corporation – Rogers six categories

Energy/Environmental/Green Technology

  • FuelCell Energy, Inc – Danbury
  • Proton OnSite – Wallingford

 IT Services

  • Cervalis LLC – Shelton
  • Datto Inc. – Norwalk
  • Gartner Inc. – Stamford
  • Information Services Group Inc. – Stamford
  • IT direct, LLC. – West Hartford
  • VLink Inc. – South Windsor

Life Sciences

  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Cheshire
  • Bio-Med Devices, Inc. – Guilford
  • Metrum Research Group LLC. – Tariffville

 New Media/Internet/Telecom

  • Chief Executive Group – Greenwich
  • EasySeat, LLC – Plainville
  • Frontier Communications – Stamford
  • HealthPlanOne LLC – Shelton
  • iSend, LLC – Middlebury
  • Job Target, LLC – New London
  • M2 Media Group – Stamford
  • Priceline.com, Inc. – Norwalk
  • Reality Interactive, LLC. – Middletown
  • TVEyes Inc. – Fairfield


  • Clarity Software Solutions, Inc. – Madison
  • Core Informatics, LLC – Branford
  • Evariant, Inc. – Farmington
  • Evolution1, Inc. – Simsbury
  • Fitlinxx, Inc. – Shelton
  • Higher One, Inc. – New Haven
  • KenCast, Inc. – Norwalk
  • Link Systems Inc. – Stamford
  • Shoptech Corporation – Glastonbury
  • Square 9 Softworks Inc. – New Haven
  • SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. – Windsor
  • Tangoe Inc. – Orange
  • TicketNetwork - South Windsor
  • VRSim, Inc. – East Hartford

Middle School Girls to Focus on STEM Fields at Annual Innovation Event

Connecticut’s drive to promote the development of the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – to boost Connecticut’s economy and create sustainable jobs includes women and girls as essential to the efforts’ success. girls of innovationThat aspect will be front and center on Saturday, June 7, when the Connecticut Technology Council sponsors the annual Girls of Innovation program in Hartford, geared specifically to middle school age girls, entering grades 7 and 8, “to experience science and its challenges in a fun, interactive way,” according to program organizers.

Girls of Innovation “inspires today’s middle school students to consider careers in science and technology-related research, health services and business areas.” During the day, volunteers drawn from the Connecticut Women of Innovation program and CTC membership meet and work with the girls. They talk with the students about their experiences and careers and guide them through the challenges created by the Staff Scientists at the Connecticut Science Center.GOI-LOGO-crop-web

Hank Gruner, Vice President of Programs at the Connecticut Science Center, which hosts the program, understands the need to develop programs that will bring more middle school girls into science and technology fields. “The Connecticut Science Center feels strongly that this type of project is essential for Connecticut’s future science and technology workforce,” says Gruner.

Officials point out that although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM related careers. A key message from the Girls of Innovation program is to show participating middle school students real scientists who are “like me” and to inspire girls with the confidence, enthusiasm and persistence to continue pursuing their scientific interests. The program achieves that by bringing the girls together with women working in STEM careers who can talk with the girls about their own career path and interests and choices they made while growing up. The program sponsor is Covidien. New this year, and as a thank you to the girls participating in the science challenge, program sponsors will be coordinating a hands-on activity and distributing Genius Boxes at the conclusion of the event. A Genius Box is a do-it-yourself, boxed project containing all the necessary materials a child needs to complete the challenge inside. genius-box-287x300

The Genius Box co-founders will be distributing their prototype Circuits Genius Box to the middle school girls at the event, completing a Flying Saucer circuits activity in small groups with program participants and then presenting each girl with a box to take home containing two remaining Circuits activities - a DIY Circuit Board to light up an LED and sound a buzzer, made up of a 3 volt battery, paper clips, and fasteners, and also a Pop-up LED Circuits card made from a 3 volt battery and copper wire.

A new entrepreneurial start-up developed as part of a college challenge by students Kate Pipa and Shivangi Shah, Genius Box delivers a monthly themed box of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) experiments “right to your door, packed with projects and learning opportunities.” The drive behind the business is clearly stated: “We empower the changemakers and problem-solvers of tomorrow, today.” CTC logo

The mission of the Connecticut Technology Council is to build an interactive community of innovators and their supporters that can leverage these great advantages to create a thriving economy, job growth, a global reputation for entrepreneurial support, and a lifestyle that attracts the best and brightest people to come here and retains the young people who have grown up here. The CTC recently hosted the 10th annual Women of Innovation awards, which recognized 59 women from across Connecticut for their innovation and leadership contributions in the STEM fields.

Investor Opportunities in Mobile Technology, Consumer Products Focus of Back-to-Back Conferences

It is described as “the Biggest and Most Disruptive Platform in Human History,” by William Davidson, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm.  Davidson will be the keynote speaker Wednesday in New Haven at “Connecticut Mobile Summit – Exploring Mobile Venture Opportunities and Challenges.”  Connecticut’s top mobile industry executives will be meeting to discuss how to accelerate mobile adoption, engagement and monetization, according to conference organizers.

Conference officials note that “penetration of smart phones into the workplace has been persistent since the iPhone launch in June of 2007. More recently, tablets have supplanted PCs as productivity boosters.”  The Connecticut Mobile Summit is designed to help educate Connecticut’s investment and technology communities in mobile venture opportunities and challenges.

mobile summittIn addition to Davidson, expert panelists participating include Carissa Ganelli, Founder & CEO, LightningBuy; Drue Hontz, Founder & President, KAZARK, Inc.; John Nobile, Founder & President, Tangen Biosciences; and Nadav Ullman, Founder & CEO, Dashride.

“In three to five years any enterprise that has not implemented mobility solutions for its customers, employees, and suppliers will be leapfrogged, disintermediated, or go bankrupt. Connecticut cannot afford to be behind this curve,” observed event moderator, Brenda Lewis, Principal of Transactions Marketing, Inc.

Davidson is senior vice presidemobile-technologynt of strategy and operations for Global Market Development in Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. In this role, he handles reporting and operations as well as executing on strategic global business initiatives. In addition, Davidson is senior vice president of investor relations where he serves as the primary liaison with the investment community and Qualcomm shareholders. Davidson has more than 25 years of experience in technical sales, marketing and general management roles in the telecommunications industry.

The half-day conference is being presented by the Connecticut Technology Council, Crossroads Venture Group and AT&T. The event is supported by Mea Mobile.

Opening remarks will come from Bruce Carlson, Acting CEO & President of the Connecticut Technology Council, Liddy Karter, Executive Director of Crossroads Venture Group, and Claire Leonardi, CEO of the recently re-branded Connecticut Innovations.  The event is $40 for members of the Connecticut Technology Council and Crossroads Venture Group, $50 for non-members.

The following day, the Northeast Consumer Product Conference will be held in Stamford, with the Connecticut Technology Council and Crossroads Venture Group joined by the Connecticut chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) as sponsors.  The conference is described as the Northeast’s largest ‘mergers and acquisitions’ conference focused on early state and middle market consumer-facing companies.  It brings together operators, buyers, investors, and transaction professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities within consumer industries.

The Stamford conference will include expert-led panels reviewing the state of the capital markets and share strategies for consumer marketing in a digital world, for both early and late stage firms.

Keynote presentation will be from Mike McMahon, President, Spire, a Datalogix company.  Panelists for a session on “Raising Capital in Today's Environment,”  to be moderated by Ramsey Goodrich, Managing Director, Carter Morse & Mathias, include Richard Baum, Managing Partner, Consumer Growth, Partners; Christopher Bradley, Principal, Mistral Equity Partners; and Tom Hayes, MaACGnaging Partner & Principal, New England Consulting Group.

ACG CT President Karin (McKittrick) Kovacic said, “This conference brings together owners and managers with investors and transaction professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities within the consumer products sectors.”

The Connecticut Chapter of ACG is one of the fastest growing ACG chapters in the country, with close to 300 local professionals focused on middle-market corporate growth (i.e.: mergers and acquisitions, financing opportunities, business development, joint ventures, licensing arrangements, etc.), including a diverse group of private equity funds, intermediaries, lenders, and service providers.

The Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) is a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies.  With over 2,000 member companies that employ some 200,000 residents, the CTC works to position Connecticut as a leader in idea creation, workforce preparation, entrepreneurial aptitude, early stage risk capital availability and providing on-going support and mentoring to high potential firms.