2018 Tech10 Awards

Rhode Island Monthly and Tech Collective recognize local individuals across ten categories, from tech educators to entrepreneurs.

Lori Meeks. Photography by James Jones.

Workforce Development Champion

Lori Meeks
Senior Talent Business Partner, Upserve
A single restaurant management system with tools to run shifts, grow a business and provide hospitality.

What made you want to get into the tech field?
What appeals most to me about working in tech is the type of people who are drawn to this industry. I find my coworkers and peers in the tech sector to be incredibly open, deeply interesting, highly innovative and, like myself, excited by new ideas and perspectives.

What is it like being a woman in tech? Did you find it difficult to break into this field?
I did not find it difficult to break into the tech industry, however, unlike many fields, human resources is typically female-dominated. I find that women face similar challenges in the workforce regardless of the industry in which they work. Some of the most fulfilling work I do as an HR professional is helping to move organizations towards more inclusive people practices and championing opportunities for workers from underrepresented classes. An example of this can be seen in the dramatic changes to hiring demographics in technical roles at Upserve. In partnership with Upserve’s amazing technical leaders, 48 percent of the technical hires I have filled over the past eighteen months have been candidates from underrepresented classes and, as a result of the work we’ve done to increase diversity in our talent acquisition process, 41 percent of our technical roles are now filled by individuals from underrepresented classes.


Travis Eland. Photography by James Jones.

Outstanding Tech Practitioner

Travis Eland
Senior Software Developer, Trilix
A custom app development company helping businesses reach operational excellence with application development and systems integration.

What is your favorite part about your job?
I love learning new technologies, but my favorite part of my job is knowing the work that we are doing is having a meaningful impact on the lives of others. While our work does help to increase profitability or efficiency for companies, I find that the most rewarding part is knowing that we have helped improve the day-to-day life of the people who use the tools that we build. The relationships that I build with our clients are what keep me interested in doing what we do.

How can technology be an accelerator for workplace excellence?
Technology can absolutely be a catalyst for positive change in a workplace, but it can’t do it on its own. You need to start with a good understanding of the business processes that you wish to change and how you wish to change them. Once you have a plan for streamlining the business, the right technology solutions can be implemented to help accelerate repetitive tasks, reduce errors and free people up to work on the more important and rewarding tasks.


Heather O’Neill. Photography by James Jones.

Woman in Tech

Heather O’Neill
Strategic Partner, Pixels for Humans
A product strategy and user experience consultancy that designs and helps clients improve their web products.

What made you want to get into the tech field?
I actually never set out to be in the tech field. It’s not the way I thought about my life and interests. I learned to code in high school, as my mom taught HTML and CSS at a local community college. In college, I got a job as the assistant web administrator for the school library, simply because I had the skills and needed a job. While I loved computers and technical stuff, I didn’t study or intentionally pursue a career in tech. My first post-college tech company started as a collaboration among friends. Suddenly, years later, I was knee-deep in my own tech company, with a decade of experience in the field. It all happened very organically.

What is your favorite part about your job?
Making people’s lives better. My work is focused on creating tech products that work for real people and seeing the impact that work can have is immeasurable. I also love the moment when my clients really get it. Their eyes light up and the whole atmosphere of the conversation changes when they see the vision we’re creating and the problems we are solving for both their businesses and their customers. It’s amazing.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into your field?
Just go for it. There’s tons of trainings, boot camps, webinars and blog posts to get you started, so don’t let the lack of experience or degree hold you back. So much of how technology is created continues to change, so it’s never too late to get into the field if you want to be here. There’s room for you.