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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise

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Associate State Superintendent of WV Schools Kathy D’Antoni, Progressive Industries, Greenbrier Technical Services Honored With Spirit of Innovation Awards


September 17, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – With the goal of recognizing leadership in innovation and technology-based business development in West Virginia, TechConnect West Virginia presented its Spirit of Innovation Awards on September 10, 2018 to Associate State Superintendent of West Virginia Schools Kathy D’Antoni, Progressive Industries and Greenbrier Technical Services, during a special awards luncheon as part of the 2018 Women & Technology Conference.

“The Spirit of Innovation program is an opportunity to spotlight success stories throughout the state, and recognize the people and organizations that support innovation-based economic development,” said Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect.  “Our awardees are very deserving as they are leading the way for technology deployment in their respective fields.”

Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, 2018 Outstanding Woman in Technology

Kathy D’Antoni was honored with the Outstanding Woman in Technology Award for her visionary leadership in developing Simulated Workplace, a program demonstrating incredible success especially in improving graduation rates and providing participants the opportunity to earn the prestigious Governor’s Workforce Credential. The program transforms the traditional career technical classroom into an environment that emulates real places of business. The program has become a model that other states and countries are pursuing and which is providing real world results for West Virginia students.

Heather Cyphert of Progressive Industries and Michele O’Connor, TechConnectWV Board Chair

Heather and Greg Cyphert, owners of Progressive Industries and sister company Precision Tool in Monongalia County, were recognized with the Spirit of Innovation Award for Innovative Manufacturer of the Year.  Through assistance provided by the WV Manufacturing Extension Partnership and TechConnect’s ScaleUp West Virginia Program, the company was able to reduce costs, replace aging computer equipment and build an effective online presence.  The company obtained ISO 9001 certification and is in the process of successfully transforming its nearly 70 year old manufacturing business to meet new needs and markets.

Joe McGraw, Greenbrier Technical Services

In recognition of its strong rebound and renewal in the face of a changing business environment, Greenbrier Technical Services and its president, Joe McGraw, were honored with The Phoenix Award.  The company, which is based in Ronceverte and specializes in the manufacturing and repair of electronic parts and circuit boards, leveraged TechConnect’s ScaleUp West Virginia program and other assistance to successfully identify and capture new markets.

Barth said the Spirit of Innovation Award winners represent the cream of the crop of technology innovation in West Virginia.  By showcasing these creative efforts and the people behind them, TechConnect hopes to inspire others who may have similar entrepreneurial spirit.

The award ceremony was part of the 2018 Women & Technology conference.  Hosted by TechConnect, the event addresses the under-representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), while also encouraging women to excel in these fields.

For more information, contact Anne Barth at (304) 444-2918 or, or visit