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D CEO Award Programs

Finalists Announced: The Innovation Awards 2023

The 2023 program recognizes 68 companies and trailblazers paving the way for the future of innovation in North Texas.

D CEO and Dallas Innovates are proud to announce the finalists for its fourth annual Innovation Awards. The program honors companies, CEOs, CIOS, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and other leaders who are helping to make Dallas-Fort Worth an innovation hub.

All finalists will be recognized in the January/February issue of D CEO magazine and online at; winners will be revealed at an exclusive awards event in January.

Here is the complete list of finalists for the 2023 program:


CIO/CTO of the Year

  • Chris Akeroyd, Children’s Health
  • Andrew Bender, DZS
  • Sharon Bradley, Plano Independent School District

Corporate Innovator of the Year

  • Matt Heydon, Toyota Financial Services
  • Alok Maskara, Lennox International
  • Heidi Soltis-Berner, Deloitte
  • David C. Williams, AT&T

Innovation Advocate or Accelerator Leader of the Year

  • Trey Bowles, Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth
  • Cameron Cushman, University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • Tarsha Hearns, The DEC Network at Redbird
  • Jennifer Sampson, United Way Social Innovation Accelerator
  • Hubert Zajicek, Health Wildcatters

Innovative Leader of the Year

  • George Baker Sr., ParkHub
  • David Copps, Worlds
  • Tricia D’Cruz, Catalyze Dallas
  • Ben Lamm, Colossal
  • Prasanna Singaraju, Qentelli
  • Evelyn Torres-Gomez, Solaris Technologies Services


Innovation in AI and Machine Learning

  • Access Healthcare
  • Lone Star Analysis
  • Oncor Electric Delivery
  • OxeFit
  • Spacee

Innovation in Biotech

  • Caris Life Sciences
  • Lantern Pharma
  • OncoNano Medicine
  • Taysha Gene Therapies

Innovation in Cybersecurity

  • Cyber Defense Labs
  • Cysiv
  • Island
  • Securonix

Innovation in DLT, Blockchain, and Crypto

  • Applied Digital
  • Aurox
  • BlockMetrix
  • Hedera
  • MoneyGram International

Innovation in Education

  • iStation
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science
  • RoboKind
  • ScholarShot
  • UWorld

Innovation in Finance

  • Bestow
  • Gig Wage
  • IndyFin
  • Nada
  • Valor

Innovation in Food and Beverage

  • 7-Eleven
  • Darling Ingredients
  • OneDine
  • Yum! Brands
  • Ziosk

Innovation in Healthcare

  • Catapult Health
  • Cost Plus Drugs
  • The Heart Center at Children’s Health
  • Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation
  • Recuro Health

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

  • BeautyBio
  • Celanese Corp.
  • Tetra Pak
  • Twisted X

Innovation in SAAS

  • Arcade
  • Botisimo
  • Spotio
  • Thryv

Innovation in Sports

  • GameSquare Esports
  • Monarc Sports
  • nVenue
  • OpTic Gaming


Kelsey Vanderschoot

Kelsey Vanderschoot

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Kelsey J. Vanderschoot came to Dallas by way of Napa, Los Angeles, and Madrid, Spain. A former teacher, she joined…

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