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5 Innovators Honored At Business Journal Awards

Sept. 8 gathering draws 300 attendees

Restaurant365 CEO Tony Smith kicked off the eighth annual Innovator of the Year Awards by recognizing the quality of this year’s crop of nominees.

“I’m glad I was nominated last year,” Smith, the keynote speaker and a winner in the 2021 edition of the Innovator awards, quipped during the Sept. 8 luncheon.

“I’m not sure I would have won among this group,” said the co-founder of the fast-growing Irvine firm, whose software helps restaurants eliminate manual tasks and cut food and labor costs.

Nearly 300 individuals attended the Business Journal event at the Irvine Marriott, which celebrated OC innovators who are creating game-changing ideas, processes, products, services and business models.

5 Honorees

The events’ five honorees, selected from more than 70 nominees, were:
Hans Keirstead, CEO of Irvine-based biotechnology company Aivita Biomedical Inc.;
Ike Kavas, founder of Irvine document automation platform Ephesoft Inc.;
Benjamin Tigner, chief executive of Santa Ana electric aircraft manufacturer Overair Inc.;
Justin Chen Li, CEO of Irvine-based cancer detection research firm Helio Genomics Inc.; and
Krzysztof Palczewski, Irving H. Leopold Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine.
The five winners—which includes execs at a pair of firms that have each raised over $150 million, another firm that was recently acquired by one of OC’s larger software companies, and two scientists with extensive and groundbreaking résumés—will be profiled in the Sept. 19 print edition of the Business Journal.

You can view the IOTY 2022 event photo gallery here >:

Upcoming Events

The Business Journal’s next event is the Women in Business Awards on Oct. 20.

Beacon Pointe Advisors CEO Shannon Eusey is that event’s keynote speaker.

On Nov. 10, the Business Journal will host its final event of the year: the General Counsel Awards. Arnie Pinkston, corporate vice president of general counsel at Edwards Lifesciences Corp., is the keynote speaker.

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