The Tom Tom Founders Festival has chosen nine Charlottesville-area artists, civic leaders and entrepreneurs as winners of the 2016 Founding Cville award.
Tom Tom’s board members and previous Founding Cville honorees selected the award winners after receiving nominations from the public.
“We look to have a diversity of industries, experiences and backgrounds represented,” said festival director Paul Beyer.
Beyer said that the award winners “have really shaped Charlottesville and made it a place that’s dynamic for the future.”
The 2016 Founding Cville honorees are:
» Brian Calhoun, co-founder, Rockbridge Guitar Company
» Ty Cooper, founder, Lifeview Marketing and Film
» Lynn Easton, co-founder, Easton Events & Easton Porter Group
» Monica Gray, co-founder, DreamWakers
» Ludwig Kuttner, developer and founder of Ix Art Park
» Cynthia Lorenzoni, co-founder, Ragged Mountain Running
» Gabriele Rausse, winemaker and director of gardens and grounds at Monticello
» Sandy Reisky, founder, Apex Clean Energy
» Jaffray Woodriff, founder, Quantitative Investment Management
Cooper, Kuttner, Lorenzoni, Reisky and Woodriff appeared with Beyer on Thursday for the announcement ceremony on the Downtown Mall. Portraits of each award winner had already been displayed on nearby lamppost banners.
Cooper, an entertainment promoter and filmmaker, has lived in Charlottesville since 2009. His forthcoming documentary, “America’s Darkest Future,” examines early childhood education in America. Cooper said the film will feature interviews with Charlottesville school officials and educators.
Cooper said that winning the Founding Cville award was “a humbling experience.”
“When you’re sitting in your office at three o’clock in the morning, working … sometimes you may think that you’re in the fight by yourself. So when you get an award like the Tom Tom Founding Cville Award, that really goes a long way… I greatly appreciate it,” Cooper said.
In 1982, Lorenzoni founded the Ragged Mountain Running store with her husband, Mark.
“Charlottesville is a great town. We just love it,” she said. “Because it’s small, you can form relationships. And that’s how we built our business.”
Lorenzoni has organized and directed hundreds of local running events, including every Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler since 2000.
Woodriff, CEO of Quantitative Investment Management, has invested in multiple Charlottesville startups. This year, he provided funding to pharmaceutical company Contraline and Foodio, an online food delivery service.
“Tom Tom has been a large part of recognizing the groundswell of activity with startups in the last few years [in Charlottesville],” Woodriff said.
Woodriff said that he hopes to make the Downtown Mall the “center of an innovation district” by bringing more startup offices to the surrounding area.
The Founding Cville awards announcement sets the stage for Tomtoberfest, Tom Tom’s block party in Lee Park on Sept. 23 and 24, where the winners will be honored at a ceremony.
Profiles of each winner are available at tomtomfest.com/foundingcville.