North State Companies, Entrepreneurs in the Spotlight

Milestone founder and CEO Prem Chand smiles during a walk-through of his Milestone office in Chico in this photo from Aug. 23. (Bill Husa/Staff Photo)

CHICO – A man who grew up on a Biggs farm, moved to the Bay Area in pursuit of a technology job and created a company employing more than 800 was honored during Thursday’s Innovate North State annual awards.

Prem Chand, CEO at Milestone, was named Entrepreneur of the Year during the Innovate North State awards ceremony at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

More than a dozen other innovators, entrepreneurs and north state companies were honored as well.

Chand established Milestone in 1997 to help technology company move their technical devices. But it evolved into a company that also solves technology problems for employees of companies like Facebook.

Earlier this year, he opened a “solution center” in Chico that provides technology answers for clients over the phone.

Other award winners include:

* Outstanding Technology Team Award: Navigation North, Chico. The business helps educators with access to student materials, but it is working on a major project with the Smithsonian Institute.

* Green Innovation Award: Springboard Biodiesel, Chico. Rather than other projects which attempt a large-scale system, Springboard Biodiesel is focusing on a localized, closed-loop system for providing biodiesel vehicle fuel.

* Executive of the Year: Dan Castles, Telestream, Nevada City. The company enables small, medium and large companies to encode live and offline video, especially sports programming. Castles took the company from start-up through national and international growth and then sold the company in a private equity deal.

* Outstanding Woman Innovator: Mary Mooney, Mooney Farms, Chico, helped guide the dried tomato business from sales at roadside food stands to national growth. The company has a new partnership with Morning Star Co.

* Inventor of the Year: Meredith Lloyd, NCP, Susanville, invented a sanitizing disposal bag for plastic tubes used in medical facilities.

* Manufacturing Innovation Award: Voorwood, Anderson, designs, manufactures and sells machinery for the wood products industry. The company was honored for succeeding in challenging times to become a worldwide manufacturer.

* Outstanding Start-up Business: a tie between FlixChip and Photometics, both of Chico. FlixChip allows the viewing of movies and other programming on mobile devices like cellphones. Photometrics is a start-up company working on eradication of skin cancer, providing their technology through human clinical trials at UC Davis.

* Innovation in Food and Agriculture: Rumiano Cheese, Willows, is called “a hidden gem company” because of sales throughout the world in spite of California’s challenging regulations.

* Innovation in Health Care: West Coast Technology/West Coast Imaging, Redding. A small company that has carefully expanded its base in the health care industry, providing a scalable example.

* Education Innovator: Anderson New Tech High School, Anderson. One of the first in the United States to deploy science- and technology-based curriculum.

* Game Changer of the Year: Telestream, Nevada City. A company that proved businesses don’t need to be based in Silicon Valley or other recognized business cores to be successful in growth and liquidation.

* Chico State University Collegiate Entrepreneurial Association: Chanel Nalani for her “BookBag” an iPhone app for buying books at the best rate.

* Community Service: Joe Matz of Recology, Oroville. Not only for giving to sports and community causes through the business, but his personal dedication and contributions. He epitomizes “spirit of community engagement.”

* GLOBIE awards: Stands for “Growth Oriented Locally Owned Businesses” and includes:

* IASCO, Redding. The community and several business people united to acquire the flight school so it would not leave.

* Ted Pella, Redding. The manufacturer of electron microscopy supplies and instruments, as well as light microscopy, atomic force microscopy and laboratory supplies.

* FindnSave, Chico. A local company startup specializing in digital shopping advertisements that grew to a national level, was acquired by media companies, but has made a long-term commitment to staying in Chico with high-tech jobs.

* Bayliss Botanicals, Bayliss Ranch, Biggs. The company is a leader in certified organic botanicals as a substitute for synthetic cosmetic ingredients, and its sustainable agricultural systems, exports and ag tourism.

* Premier Mushroom, Colusa. The only mushroom production facility in the north state, and uses high-end technology from Holland.

Reach Laura Urseny at 896-7756,, or on Twitter @LauraUrseny.

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– Milestone Technologies, Inc. is a leading supplier of technology products and support services. From the desktop to the data center, the organization is focused on client success. When clients are able to serve their customers better and more efficiently, MILESTONE has accomplished their mission.


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