‘Trailblazer’ Governor Holcomb recognized for bold tech policy moves
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb received the Trailblazer Award during TechPoint’s 20th annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes visionaries whose contributions have had lasting and significant impact on the state and its technology ecosystem. Trailblazers are among the state’s most inspiring and influential players. They are innovative risk-takers whose achievements and bold leadership are catalysts for tech growth and success.
“Indiana is fortunate to have a great stable of leaders in the tech space and even more fortunate that one of them is the sitting governor of our state,” said Sherry Aaholm, Chair of the TechPoint Board of Directors and Chief Information Officer at Cummins. “He understands the critical role the tech sector plays in the state’s economy and has worked to help it thrive today and well into the future.”
“Several of the major wins Indiana’s tech community experienced over the past several years wouldn’t have happened without Governor Holcomb’s championing,” said Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint. “Infosys, Next Level Fund, computer science in K-12, exempting sales tax on SaaS — none would have happened without him and his prioritizing these issues. We are lucky to have a governor who sees the criticality of tech sector strength and talent development for our state’s future prosperity and is willing to take bold actions. A bias crimes law is the current policy challenge in front of our community, and we trust that he will continue to boldly champion clear, comprehensive language ”
Governor Holcomb has championed the following laws and initiatives that are important to the tech industry:
- $250 Million Next Level Indiana Fund – establishing the “fund of funds” that catalyzes venture capital activity in the state, which will yield more growth for start-up and scale-up stage companies
- Open Data Bill – allowing public, private, and government agencies to share data and work toward innovative solutions
- SaaS Sales Tax – clarifying that tax law DOES NOT require software-as-a-service providers to collect sales tax
- Cybersecurity Initiatives – investing in K-12 school cybersecurity and signing a compact with 38 governors to protect personal and government data stored on state systems as well as develop statewide plans to combat cyberattacks
- Computer science education in K-12 – requiring public schools to include computer science in each school’s curriculum beginning in 2021, establishing a grant program to fund computer science teacher training, and supporting K-12 STEM and coding programs
- The Last Mile – bringing the technology and business skills-training program to inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison and the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility
- Bias Crimes Law – pushing towards a clear and comprehensive bias crimes law that reflects the inclusive and welcoming nature of the tech industry that must attract talent from all over the United States
On April 3, Governor Holcomb signed Senate Bill 198 into law. SB 198 is a hate crimes law that doesn’t include the comprehensive list of traits and characteristics the governor had pushed for, but presents a step forward for the state. The new law is designed to cover everyone, and allows judges to increase punishment for those who commit crimes motivated by bias.
Previous winners of the Trailblazer Award include John Wechsler, Angie Hicks, Scott McCorkle, Chris Baggott, Bobby Schnabel, Don Brown, Scott Dorsey, Bill Godfrey, Robert Compton, Jo Ann Gora, Scott Webber, Wil Davis, Michael McRobbie, Mark Hill, Scott Jones, David Becker, The Lilly Endowment, and Martin Jischke.
TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana people, places, companies and products at the JW Marriott Indianapolis during the 20th annual Mira Awards gala presented by Angie’s List, Infosys, and Salesforce. With a sold-out crowd of 1,400 attendees—up another 100 from last year— this was the largest Mira Awards in the program’s 20-year history.
Only a handful of the 2019 nominees existed as companies 20 years ago, and 82 percent were founded in just the past 10 years. Similar to the rapid adoption of the iPhone starting a decade ago and streaming services today, tech businesses in Indiana have grown from a few pioneers to a fast growing, vibrant industry that is a key driver of job growth and a critical part of the state’s economic success story.
A total of 14 award winners and honorees were chosen from the 109 outstanding people, places companies and products that were selected as nominees for their achievements during the 2018 calendar year. Fifty-two independent, volunteer judges spent more than 850 total hours evaluating applications, interviewing nominees, and selecting this year’s winners. Judges included company founders, CEOs and presidents, CTOs, CIOs, and other subject matter experts.
The Mira Awards are named after the first of the brilliant variable stars to be discovered – the Mira Star. It is also the Latin root meaning “worthy of admiration, wonderful, marvelous.” The awards represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.