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Mark Mader of Smartsheet, center, accepts the award for Next Tech Titan at the 2016 GeekWire Awards. Who will take home the robot trophy this year? (GeekWire Photo)

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most creative and vibrant places on the planet, a mossy-covered corner of the world where remarkable innovations and world-changing businesses take root.

On May 4th, we’ll once again recognize the iconoclasts, innovators and disruptors of the Northwest technology industry as we host the annual GeekWire Awards. Early-bird tickets available here.

Now in its ninth year, the GeekWire Awards — originally started by entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci — represent a community-wide effort. We’ll start today by accepting nominations in 14 categories — ranging from old standbys such as Startup of the Year and Next Tech Titan to more recent additions such as Geekiest Office Space and Newcomer of the Year. (See nomination form below).

Until March 29th, we’ll take nominations in the 14 categories, with anyone in the Pacific Northwest community (Oregon, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia) able to nominate worthy candidates. From that list, we’ll work with our illustrious judging panel — including venture capitalists, CEOs, lawyers and other top minds in the tech community — to winnow our list to five nominees in each category. Then, beginning on April 6th, we’ll start community voting on GeekWire, with readers selecting the very best in each of the categories. The winners will be revealed May 4th at the GeekWire Awards party, taking place at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle (formerly known as EMP).

But first things first, now is your time to start the nomination process. Take a look at the categories below, and nominate those who you think are worthy, choosing entrepreneurs, products and companies that truly are changing the way we live, work and play.

Black Dot co-founders Mujale Chisebuka, K. Wyking Garrett, and Aramis Hamer win the Geek of the Year at the 2016 GeekWire Awards.

Note: One nomination is as good as 20, so no need to flood the ballot box at this time.

That will come later when we open the voting up to the community in each of the 13 categories.

Also, just as a reminder, the GeekWire Awards is one of our most popular events. It always sells out, so make sure to grab tickets here.

A big thanks to Wave Business for sponsoring the 2017 GeekWire Awards, and for each of the individual category sponsors who help make this event possible. Gold and silver sponsors include: WSGRKnoll, First Tech Federal Credit Union, EYMoz, Capital One, UPS Connect, Perkins Coie, Vulcan and RealSelf.

We have just a few remaining sponsorships available for the 2017 GeekWire Awards, so if interested in sponsoring a category or other aspects of the event, please contact GeekWire’s Daniel Rossi at 206-423-9196 or daniel@geekwire.com; Adam Rubens at 425-753-1506 or adam@geekwire.com or Rachel Huffman at rachel@geekwire.com or 206-898-9937.

We’re getting excited for the Awards, one of our favorite events of the year where we have a good old fashioned time celebrating the best of the innovation economy in the Northwest.

Please note this event is 21+. Early-bird rates end March 31. Also see our terms of use and code of conduct for GeekWire events.

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