Last Thursday night at the opulent Fox Theater in central Oakland, the very best of the business community came together at the Sixth Annual East Bay Innovation Awards, an initiative of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance. Opened by The Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaff and MC’d by NBC newscaster Scott McGrew, the glittering dinner and award ceremony was sold out and jam-packed.
Many elected representatives were there from East Bay counties including Alameda, Hayward, Fremont, Oakland and more. From food to technology to education, these businesses represent a wide scan of industry sectors and are recognized for bringing forth products that are not only innovative but can do good for the world.
Velodyne Lidar won the Engineering & Design Award, presented to them by SMASH Alumni Nelson Ramirez. Velodyne Lidar President and Co-Founder Marta Hall accepted the award for the entire company.
Marta Hall‘s vibrancy matched the atmosphere of the event. In accepting, Marta discussed Velodyne’s mission of safety. She pointed out that 1.3 million lives are lost on the roadways, ninety-four percent of road crashes are caused by human error and Velodyne’s technology has the potential of helping to save lives by making the roadways safer. She also spoke about her pride in living in the East Bay, with its rich culture of art, food, music, and innovation. Marta and her husband and business partner David Hall lived on a houseboat in Alameda while building their business. As the business grew, they chose to stay in Alameda due to their connection to the community.
“I think that this award and the event shows a bright future for our industry and autonomy,” said Hall. The presentation also showcased an autonomous testing area in Concord where cars fitted with Velodyne sensors are test-driven on a regular basis. It is clear that time and time again, Velodyne is emerging as a winner and leader in the autonomous industry. Earlier, Marta Hall spoke of her pride in the company but also that Velodyne was in Alameda. “This is our home, and we love being able to grow our team right here at home,” she said.
The judges for the awards were renowned industry leaders, experts and influencers in their respective fields. There was a public nomination process, publicized with the San Francisco Business Times and the wider professional networks.
Here is information about the event: https://iawards.eastbayeda.org/