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Tech Council rewards companies on cutting edge


CorrectionS / ClarificationS:
The name of Melanie Marks was printed incorrectly in an April 5 article on the Inside Technology page of the Business Journal.
The Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania recognized some of the region’s technology companies March 28 at its 10th annual awards ceremony in Harrisburg.
BlazeNet, a York-based Internet company owned by Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, was named “Best Growth Company.” Once just an ISP, BlazeNet offers a variety of Internet services to companies worldwide. Through that growth, the company, which employs 45 locally, has almost doubled its work force in the last four years.
D&E Communications Inc. was named “Technology Company of the Year.”
The Ephrata-based company has been providing local phone service to northeastern Lancaster County for 90 years. In 1996, it expanded to the Lancaster and Harrisburg areas. The company is also in the process of buying Conestoga Enterprises Inc., another local telecommunications provider that will expand its reach to Reading, Lewisburg and State College.
G. William Ruhl, D&E’s chief executive officer, said the company is committed to improving its service by using new technology.
“We strive to be on the cutting edge of technology because that’s the best way to serve our customer,” Ruhl said. He said that the company was one of the first in the nation to switch to digital switching and fiber optics. D&E has more than 700 employees and posted $76.3 million in 2001 revenue.
Geneformatics won the “Technology Product of the Year” award.
The company helps make sense of the volumes of data produced by the human genome project. The goal of the organization is to take the raw data and process it into user-friendly information, said the firm’s marketing director, Melony Marks. The San Diego-based company has a staff of engineers in Enola who use computers to sort through the mountains of data, looking for information that may be useful to scientists.
“We look at proteins using programs and labs and try to determine targets for drugs,” said Stephanie Reisinger, the firm’s chief information officer. Drugs work by either inhibiting or accelerating the function of proteins in the body, Reisinger said.
Geneformatics uses a science called bio-informatics to speed up the process of sorting through and organizing the data. The informatics services provided by the Enola office enable scientists to process more than 20 times the data in about one-third of the time, Marks said.
Mike Flowers won “Technology Educator of the Year.”
The Cumberland Valley teacher was recognized for his work with students in computer-aided drafting, or CAD, and computer-integrated automation.
“That’s one of my personal favorites,” Kevin Harter, the technology council’s president, said of the education award. He believes educators such as Flowers make the region more attractive to technology firms.
Another education-oriented winner was Penn State University’s College of Medicine. The medical school was awarded “Best Application of Technology” for its work with LabLion.
LabLion is an outreach program aimed at improving health and science education in public schools. Faculty and staff of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center educate more than 23,000 elementary-school students in 21 school districts through the program.

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