Tech 10 Awards 2020

Meet Rhode Island’s top tech techies, as voted by their peers, in collaboration with the Tech Collective.

What effect has COVID-19 had on the tech industry and your job directly?

“Thankfully, the impact of COVID-19 has had minimal impact on eMoney and, to my knowledge, other technology-based companies. Because eMoney had the technologies, digital resources and remote work policies in place prior to COVID, we were prepared and able to transition to a remote workforce pretty seamlessly. We’ve been able to maintain productivity, host company-wide events with more than 600 employees and remain connected with our teams.” –Aditya Arora

“COVID-19 certainly caught the world by surprise and it has forced an already fast-paced industry to transform and adapt even more rapidly. In my role, COVID-19 resulted in an immediate demand to help make our customers aware of how our organization would be supporting them during this time. It also meant we had to provide them with the ability to find information easily and connect with our representatives seamlessly. This led to the introduction of ‘AVA,’ the Amica Virtual Assistant.” –Brandon Casey

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Brandon Casey. Photography by Brittany Semco.

“Fortunately, being a software company, we were able to seamlessly transition to remote work. This has presented new challenges for me as a manager and our team has relied on leveraging technology both for our normal work, but also in fun and creative ways to stay engaged and connected. Within our industry, companies have tried to release solutions that make an immediate impact. Virgin Pulse has launched new products and provided free resources to support our members during this unique time. I’m grateful to work in such a fast-paced agile environment that allows us to pivot and release features that are relevant in the moment.” –Caitlin Floskis

“The impact of COVID-19 has been profound within our industry and especially within my job. We have had to become even more agile in everything that we do due to the demands and requests that have been changing so rapidly. My team and I have had to convert so many processes that were normally a very ‘high touch,’ in-person manual process to become completely online and mobile. Who would have thought we would be writing an app that allows individuals to self-report symptoms on a daily basis about a virus they hope to not contract, just so they can drive onto campus every day?” –Christine Bigwood

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Christine Bigwood. Photography by Brittany Semco.

“If we can for a moment look beyond the bad, I think there are some definite positives. I feel like we are in the beginning of a new revolution in computing and innovation, as we are forced to be creative with what we have. These innovations are destined to transform how we conduct business and almost every other facet of life, from how we communicate and educate, to how we seek medical care and more.” –Damian Costantino

“We can’t deny the personal, emotional and economic toll that COVID-19 has had on all of us. COVID-19 has accelerated the use and adoption of technologies that, while some previously available, were not widely used. These cloud-based and collaboration tools allowed many businesses to stay ‘on’ as they transitioned to remote/virtual operations in response to stay-at-home orders. In a way, COVID-19 established a natural experiment where IT organizations were able to test and embrace technologies that in the recent past they were uncertain about, due to perceived security risks.” –Jorge E. Garcia

“COVID-19 affected the tech industry in many ways. One of the most notable things was the attempt to provide digital equity amongst students. More industries began utilizing VR as a training tool. Smart glasses with Internet connection and see-through lens that overlay digital information will allow team leaders to communicate with an employee on a jobsite while seeing what the worker is seeing. When we initially started, we depended on physical contact to provide our services. Due to COVID, we had to pivot and provide services through online virtual conferences.” –Juan J. Rodriguez

“In terms of cybersecurity, COVID-19 has taken the already difficult situation of remaining secure and made it exponentially more challenging by forcing many businesses to rapidly convert their employees into a remote workforce. This tectonic shift in the work environment combined with cyber criminals’ new and insidious attack vectors have required me to adjust my approach to our clients’ security needs, adapting solutions to not only this new reality, but what lies beyond it.” –Kevin Ricci

“COVID-19 has accelerated the collaborative nature of technology. We have been historically focused on how we can execute from anywhere, at any time. This acceleration of remote service has brought the conversation we have with clients full circle. In the past, we would expound the advantages of our remote capabilities, but today clients are initiating these focal points.” –Manuel Lobao

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Jorge Garcia. Photography by Brittany Semco.

What advice would you give to young folks who are considering a career in technology?

“If someone is looking to make a difference in the world, I think technology is a great choice! Technology has made a variety of services more accessible to more people. Technology isn’t just computers anymore. It touches so many aspects of people’s lives and it’s an exciting place to be as it’s constantly changing.” –Aditya Arora

“Get ready. Technology is forever evolving and super exciting, but, most importantly, it’s extremely rewarding when you realize the differences you can make with it. Regardless of which career path you choose, or have already chosen, if you have a passion for technology, always seek to identify how you can best use it in your role to create a long-lasting, positive impact on your organization and your customers.” –Brandon Casey

“You may not land your dream job out of college, it may take you a few years to figure out what you want, but don’t stop. Never turn down an opportunity, no matter how big or small. My previous CEO once told me I will never feel 100 percent ready for my next role so don’t be afraid to take a leap. Trust yourself, challenge yourself and never stop learning.” –Caitlin Floskis

“Try all different areas of technology when you venture down this path. You never know what area may be of most interest to you. There is such a wide range of possibilities. Do you want to be an app developer, DBA, network analyst or system architect? The choices are endless, and you may be surprised by which one you find the most rewarding. Take advantage of as many internships that you can while attending school. They will provide you with a vast array of experience to help you determine what the best career path is for you.” –Christine Bigwood

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