News & Content: Press Release

ITA Announces Powerful Slate of CityLIGHTS Judges

Tuesday, June 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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Sixty Chicago tech leaders and innovators to judge 18th annual awards program

The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) has revealed today the elite group of innovators and technology leaders who will serve as the judges for its 18th annual CityLIGHTS Awards program. The ITA CityLIGHTS Awards, presented by Deloitte, is the premier annual event that elevates and honors achievements from the local tech community.

Because of the rigorous and balanced judging process, the awards have become a reliable indicator of future success. CityLIGHTS award winners have amassed $53.4 billion in exits, $1.1 billion in IPO and $3.2 billion in venture capital.

“The caliber and diversity of our 60 judges this year exemplifies what the CityLIGHTS awards are all about,” said ITA CEO Julia Kanouse. “We ensure that every nomination receives a fair and balanced review by a panel of exceptionally qualified tech leaders and innovators.”

“We are honored to have these individuals dedicate their time and energy to selecting the finalists,” said Fred Hoch, executive chairman, ITA. “The reason CityLIGHTS has been so successful for so long in recognizing the highest caliber companies is owed to the expertise and consideration of a diverse set of judges.”

Each judge will review multiple nominations, and those scores will determine the finalists for each of the eight categories. Finalists will be announced on Monday, August 7, when public voting will open. The judges’ scores will be used in addition to the public vote to determine the category winners.

The judges for 2017 are:
For more information about this year’s CityLIGHTS Awards, visit

  • Mark Achler, Managing Director, MATH Venture Partners
  • Israel Alguindigue, SVP, Industrial Analytics, Uptake
  • Michael Arndt, Editor, Crain’s Chicago Business
  • Tim Beerman, CTO, Ensono
  • Brenna Berman, Executive Director, City Digital
  • Chris Campbell, CEO, ReviewTrackers
  • Charlie Catlett, Director, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago
  • Darren Cockrel, CIO, Coyote Logistics
  • Jayna Cooke, CEO, EVENTUp
  • Chad Curry, Managing Director, Center for REALTOR Technology, National Association of REALTORS
  • Linda Darragh, The Larry Levy Executive Director and Clinical Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • Jackie DiMonte, Associate, Hyde Park Venture Partners
  • Glenn Eden, Executive Vice President, Weber Shandwick
  • Nick Fera, President & CEO, firm58
  • Will Flanagan, General Manager, Chicago Inno
  • Stuart Frankel, CEO, Narrative Science
  • Steve Gapp, President, LANSA
  • Ian Greenblatt, CEO, G See Consulting
  • Darren Guccione, CEO, Keeper Security
  • Tim Handorf, CEO and Co-Founder, G2 Crowd
  • Trista Hannan, SVP, Client Solutions , Eved
  • Mark Harris, President and CEO, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition
  • Adam Hecktman, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation Chicago, Microsoft Corporation
  • Troy Henikoff, Managing Director, MATH Venture Partners
  • John Higginson, CTO, Enova
  • Justyn Howard, Co-Founder and CEO, Sprout Social
  • Karen Jackson, SVP of HR, Gogo
  • Amanda Lannert, CEO, Jellyvision
  • Pat Maher, Director of Civic Engagement, SPR Consulting
  • Joey Mak, Director of Economic Development & Innovation, University of Illinois System
  • James Malackowski, Chairman & CEO, Ocean Tomo, LLC
  • Jeff Malehorn, President & CEO, World Business Chicago
  • Linda Marsicano, VP, Public Relations, Guaranteed Rate
  • Michael McMahon, Managing Partner, Jump Capital
  • Chuck Medhurst, General Manager, Digital Services, BMW Technology Corporation
  • Jon Morris, CEO, Rise Interactive, Inc.
  • Jace Mouse, CEO, PerkSpot
  • Julie Rodgers, COO, Hireology
  • Kristi Ross, Co-CEO & President, tastytrade
  • Molly Rudberg , Chief Alchemist & Leadership Innovator, Molly Rudberg, LLC
  • Mike Sands, President & CEO, Signal
  • Mike Santoro, President, Walker Sands
  • Aimee Schuster, VP Marketing, Yello
  • J. Schwan, CEO, Solstice
  • Dave Shea, President , Corptax
  • Michael Small, President & CEO, Gogo
  • Jeff Smith, CEO, Clarity Consulting
  • Emerson Spartz, CEO, DOSE
  • Nancy Sullivan, CEO and Managing Director, IllinoisVENTURES, LLC
  • Jed Taylor, Director of Operations, Tech Entrepreneur Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Mark Tebbe, Chairman, ChicagoNEXT
  • Craig Vodnik, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, cleverbridge
  • Tracey Wiedmeyer, CTO, InContext Solutions
  • Peter Wilkins, Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels
  • Joe Wood, Director, Strategy, CDW
  • Alya Woods, Director of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago
  • Amanda Wynne, Senior Director of Marketing, SAVO
  • Nicole Yeary, Founder and CEO, Ms. Tech
  • Kristi Zuhlke, CEO and Co-Founder, KnowledgeHound

Thank you to the 2017 presenting sponsor, Deloitte; premier partners, Armanino, Gogo, Madison Dearborn Partners and Silicon Valley Bank; VIP reception sponsor, Lantern Partners; opening reception sponsor, kCura; and supporting partners, QTS and Hyde Park Angels. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this year’s program, contact Kelly Faso at

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