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Startland News: No Coast names finalists for KC’s premier tech champions; winners revealed Sept. 16

Ed Lada, CEO of MOKAN Goodwill, is named a finalist for KC's tech champion and connector of the year! 


 Inspirational leaders impacting tech aren’t confined to the coasts — nor to a pre- or post-pandemic world, said organizers of the No Coast awards, pushing forward with plans to honor significant contributions to Kansas City’s tech community virtually this fall.


“We all know someone who makes waves everywhere they go — someone who, whether they’re working overtime or having a casual conversation with a coworker, is naturally disrupting, innovating and inspiring change,” said the KC Tech Council, organizer of No Coast, in an announcement of finalists. “As much as we love tech, they achieve something not even the most advanced AI could learn. They encourage people to create positive change.”


Finalists for No Coast’s top honors — Tech Champion of the Year, Tech Connector of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to Tech, and Tech Educator of the Year — were revealed Monday, recognizing a host of contenders from across Kansas City’s tech, government, education and nonprofit scenes.


Ed Lada, president and CEO of Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas, notably picked up finalist positions in two of the four major No Coast categories. Startup leader Blake Miller, CEO of Homebase.ai — a member of the recent T-Mobile Accelerator and one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2019 — also is up for consideration.


Click here to see the full list of candidates, bios and award descriptions, or keep reading.


Winners for the categories have already been selected and are expected to be announced Sept. 16 via short videos, said Haley Regan, manager of marketing and communications for the KC Tech Council.


An in-person celebration to mark the second annual No Coast awards fell victim to COVID-19, but KC Tech Council pivoted to a new model for 2020 in hopes of highlighting contributions despite the ongoing pandemic.


Virtual keynote addresses are expected to be released Sept. 15.


KC Tech Council also recently launched a new No Coast COVID-19 Community Response category to applaud the community’s resiliency alongside No Coast’s major, recurring awards.


“Once we decided to go completely virtual, we added a category to celebrate companies and individuals that created useful resources to help the community during the pandemic,” Regan said. “There will be no winner chosen for that category, but we will celebrate those nominated with a special shout out in one of the videos.”


Click here to nominate an individual or company for the recognition. Nominations close Friday.


Finalists for No Coasts top awards include:


Tech Champion of the Year


Tech Connector of the Year


Outstanding Contribution to Tech


Tech Educator of the Year


Click here to read more about the 2019 No Coast winners


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Kevin's Story

Kevin's Story

Perseverance paired with Goodwill landed Kevin Rhea a job with Home Depot in 2009. He’s still happily employed today.

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