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SolarWinds Celebrates Sixth Annual IT Pro Day by Revealing Winners of Its Inaugural IT Pro Day 2020 Awards Program

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, is marking the sixth annual IT Pro Day by announcing the winners of its first ever IT Pro Day Awards program. Nominated by friends, peers, and colleagues, the winners of these awards represent the unsung heroes of today's modern business, recognizing individuals who kept their organization running smoothly during the global pandemic.

"IT Pro Day was created to recognize the hard work of IT professionals, but this year it's even more important to thank them for everything they have done to keep the lights on in 2020. This is why it's a privilege to be announcing today the winners of our first ever IT Pro Day Awards Program," said Rani Johnson, Chief Information Officer, SolarWinds. "The nominees' stories, which highlight challenges, successes, and examples of teamwork and collaboration over the course of an unprecedented year, represent the true spirit of the modern IT professional and make me proud to work in this industry. As we wait to see what the ‘next normal' in our work and personal lives will be, IT teams will be tasked with keeping everything running. We hope these awards serve to reinforce the critical role of IT pros in our organizations and shine a light on the remarkable achievements of this year's winners."

This year's winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of SolarWinds Head Geeks and prominent industry leaders - Denny Cherry, Karen López, and Silvia Spiva. Each nomination was judged based on the achievement of each tech pro, including specific challenges, project, or technology implementation hurdles, measurable results and data points, or other qualitative/quantitative context best demonstrating the values and goals outlined in the chosen category.

The 2020 IT Pro Day Award winners are:

  • Rookie of the Year: Alex Tomasik, IT professional for Reavis High School of Burbank, Illinois. This award recognizes those new to the profession who have made an immediate impact, and that's exactly what Alex has done this year. Not only did Alex exceed all expectations but he's gone above and beyond taking the time to learn and build on new skills to help further his career development. This includes tackling fiber cabling and managing the school's infrastructure upgrade. More than that, his passion for customer satisfaction helped him earn the title of Rookie of the Year.
  • Rockstar of the Year: The United Kingdom-based systems support team at Smile Together comprised of Joe Butcher, Kate Neal, and Nick Wills. This award celebrates those who have gone beyond the typical IT call of duty. In this case, Joe, Kate, and Nick worked together as a team to fast-track their three-year strategy for a more ethically and environmentally minded way of working in just six months while also ensuring employees were able to maintain productivity through and beyond the pandemic lockdown. In summary, this team of Rockstars provided short-term solutions to immediate needs and long-term innovation.
  • IT Mentor of the Year: Meka Egwuekwe, co-founder and executive director of CodeCrew, a computer science nonprofit for students in Memphis, Tennessee. For Meka, IT mentorship is a passion and a discipline. When the pandemic hit, Meka learned 100 of his students didn't have the technology they needed at home. He and his team worked with a local internet provider to secure low-cost internet access and purchase laptops for 12 students with the help of a national grant.
  • Trailblazer: Earl Pace, co-founder of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), a nonprofit for minorities in IT and STEM fields. Founded with a mission to enable upward mobility "from the classroom to the boardroom," Earl's programs have introduced computer programming and web development to thousands of high school students. In 2020, BDPA achieved its 45-year milestone and successfully held their annual BDPA Technology Virtual Conference & Diversity Career Fair and High School Computer Competition virtually for the first time due to the pandemic.

"The achievements highlighted in the nominations are proof-positive that IT pros were built for moments like these. A recent survey of our SolarWinds THWACK® community found 64 percent of IT pros were instilled with a new sense of confidence during the pandemic despite reduced budgets, greater responsibilities, and longer hours. This rhetoric came through in almost every nomination," continued Johnson. "At SolarWinds, we see the growing complexity inherent to IT pros' daily roles and we're committed to celebrating and supporting the global IT pro community. These awards are simply another example of that long-standing commitment. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and each of this year's winners."

To learn more about the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2020 Survey, click here.

IT Professionals Day

IT Professionals Day annually recognizes and celebrates all IT professionals, regardless of discipline. Whereas holidays such as System Administrator Appreciation Day, recognize one category of the profession, IT Professionals Day honors not only system administrators, but network engineers, database administrators, information security professionals, developers, MSPs, IT support technicians, and all other professionals serving in IT-related roles. Please visit to learn more.

Published Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:42 AM by David Marshall
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