Air travel industry innovator Republic Airways won the Large Enterprise of the Year award during TechPoint’s 21st annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.

WATCH VIDEO: Gerry Dick interviews Republic Airways Vice President of Information Technology Nirav Shah.
WATCH VIDEO: Republic Airways accepts Large Enterprise of the Year Mira Award.

Republic Airways is an airline turned tech-enabled, tech-heavy company. During the Mira Awards live judging process, presenters said: “We’re not a transportation company, we’re a tech company that has airplanes.” And that transformational approach to how they do business is one of the factors that helped Republic Airways win this year’s Mira Award for Large Enterprise of the Year.

Every day, Republic operates 1,000 flights across the United States, into Canada and around the Caribbean. More than 18 million passengers depend on the airline each year to get them where they need to be safely and on time. Ranked number one in the industry with a 99% on-time flight record, Republic’s 6,500 employees (1,648 of which live in the Indianapolis area) are dedicated to the company’s promise of safety and punctuality to passengers.

One of the things that stood out to the Mira Awards judges about Republic Airways was the company’s focus on efficiency through innovation and reinvestment at all levels, but especially its workforce, its people. What makes Republic unique and successful in the aviation industry are the bold, crazy ideas that its people put into action. They empower employees to share their ideas, and sometimes those crazy ideas that are made a reality are what end up differentiating the company. “It’s what makes us successful and positioned for excellence for years to come,” they wrote in their awards application. “We don’t wait for the crisis to get here, we act with passion and purpose, and we chance that a wild idea could be just what it takes to bring our airline to the next level.”

Nirav Shah and Lauren Gaudion of Republic Airways.

Republic’s Lift Academy is another area of clear distinction that demonstrates that they aren’t just operating at a high level for any company, they’re innovating. LIFT Academy is a flight and aviation maintenance training school that offers its students guaranteed positions at Republic upon completion of the program. LIFT was created to help supply talent as well as bring in talent to the state and industry. LIFT has quickly become one of the largest flight schools in the country and has made the pilot and maintenance careers more attainable and affordable in efforts to build diversity in those trades. While this effort helps supply Republic with future crewmembers and maintenance technicians, it has also been successful in making aviation careers attractive and a conversation piece again, benefitting the entire aviation industry.

The technology created and applied at Republic Airways is broad. They require all the standard hardware, software and security of a standard business. However, with the majority of associates working remotely, they also require technology that connects all 6,500 associates back to the Indianapolis headquarters and operations center, including nearly eliminating paperwork for 4,500 crewmembers who now work entirely through custom applications and programs on iPads and cell phones. And, as expected, they require technology that helps detect issues on aircraft or forecasts better efficiencies for aircraft and crew placement. Each of those areas is equally important in order for the airline to continue its success, and its tech innovations developed at the headquarters in Indianapolis in each part of the business has become cutting edge in the aviation industry, including a successful robotics program in the company’s business intelligence and analytics space.

Additionally, Republic has embarked on an agile-focused IT transformation that requires new ways of service thinking and service management. Agility is essential to enable the company’s fast-paced environment, and its Agile initiatives have helped create a stronger learning environment for IT staff to implement and embrace these changes quickly. This agile transformation has strengthened the company’s speed to market and adaptability, which are two important factors in staying relevant in today’s fast-changing and competitive aviation environment.

TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana people, places, companies and products during the 21st annual and first-ever virtual Mira Awards gala with presenting sponsors Eli Lilly and Company, Genesys, Infosys, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Salesforce.


A total of 15 award winners and honorees were chosen from the 129 outstanding people, places companies and products that were selected as nominees for their achievements during the 2019 calendar year. Forty-eight 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.