On June 11, 2015, five local individuals and companies were honored at the 2015 South Coast Business & Technology Awards, the region’s largest networking event for business and technology leaders. Over 700 guests gathered at the Fess Parker Hotel and Resort to celebrate those who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. Past honorees include notable innovators and influencers across a spectrum of industries and trades.
The 2015 honorees were selected by a volunteer Steering Committee led by Co-Chairs Steven Amerikaner, Partner, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber Schreck and Susan Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, Brown & Brown Insurance.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the nation’s largest community-based scholarship provider. The Scholarship Foundation manages the South Coast Business & Technology Awards Fund, which grants scholarships to local students studying business and technology-related subjects at Santa Barbara City College, UC Santa Barbara, and Westmont College. To date the fund has distributed almost 690 awards totaling more than $1.6 million.
The 2015 South Coast Business & Technology Award honorees are:
Excellence in Service: Santa Barbara Zoo
Since 1961, the Santa Barbara Zoological Foundation has owned and operated the Santa Barbara Zoo and has worked to preserve, conserve, and enhance the natural world and its living treasures through education, research, and recreation. Open every day of the year and hosting, on average, over 480,000 guests annually, the Zoo is committed to serving the community through its conservation efforts and support of local nonprofits, underserved audiences, and educational institutions.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Ken Babcock
Ken Babcock is Co-Founder and CEO of Affinity Biosensors, a company that designs analytical instruments using its patented technology for ultra-high resolution measurement of particle mass. In 2010, the company introduced the Archimedes Particle Metrology System, which aids pharmaceutical corporations in the development of safer injectable biotherapeutic drugs. In 2015, it introduced the LifeScale platform for measuring cell growth in real time. It is currently developing LifeScale AST for clinical in-vitro diagnostics and specifically bacterial infections. This technology will perform rapid susceptibility tests to help health care providers quickly determine the correct antibiotic to treat rapidly progressing conditions, such as septicemia or meningitis.
Company of the Year: Inogen
Inogen was founded in 2001 by three UCSB students who aimed to develop a better solution for oxygen therapy users. They developed compact, lightweight and travel-approved portable oxygen concentrators designed to free patients from heavy tanks, managing tank refills, or being tethered to stationary systems. Today, the company offers its Inogen One systems and Inogen At Home systems, as well as related accessories. The staff has grown to include a cohesive team of entrepreneurs, technologists, clinicians, and home healthcare veterans, all dedicated to producing innovative oxygen therapy solutions. In February 2014, Inogen raised $70.5 million in an initial public offering
Executive of the Year: Hani Zeini
Hani Zeini founded Sientra in 2006 and has since held the position of Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, Sientra has become the third company in the nation to receive FDA approval to sell silicone breast implants. The company’s portfolio of breast implants are offered in over 120 variations and it was the first company to introduce teardrop shaped implants to the U.S. market, with competitors following suit. In late 2014, Hani lead Sientra through the process of raising $75 million in an initial public offering.
Pioneer Award: Dr. Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura is a Professor of Materials and Electrical & Computer Engineering at UCSB. In 2014, he was honored with a Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. He holds more than 200 US patents and over 300 Japanese patents. He has published over 550 papers in his field. He co-founded Soraa, Inc. in 2008, which operates vertically integrated fabrication facilities in California’s Silicon Valley and Santa Barbara.
About the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara
The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s mission is to inspire, encourage, and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 39,600 scholarships to local students with a value of $96.3 million. Additionally, the Scholarship Foundation provides free financial aid advising services to more than 36,500 students and parents each year. The Scholarship Foundation has been rated a “four-star” charity by Charity Navigator for ten years.