The head of homegrown IT firm Novosco, which has now been sold to a multinational business, has been named IT Professional of the year in the first Belfast Telegraph IT Awards.
Patrick McAliskey was one of the big winners on Friday night in the inaugural Belfast Telegraph IT awards, proudly supported by law firm Carson McDowell.
Dr Liz O'Sullivan, senior manager for security, innovation, strategy and analytics at Allstate, was IT Woman of the Year, while Darren Broderick of Liberty IT was Young IT Professional of the Year.
The judging panel said Dr O'Sullivan "stood out as a technical and innovative leader who has an international reputation for excellence across cyber security, strategy and analytics."
And they praised Mr McAliskey, saying: "Patrick has been the driving force behind Novosco and his outstanding leadership skills have enabled Novosco to develop into a world-class organisation, employing almost 300 people.
"Patrick's focus on innovation across all areas of the business, including developing and motivating his people, has been instrumental to the success of the business, and he is a worthy winner of IT Professional of the Year."
Novosco was sold to German firm CANCOM for £70m last month. The Belfast IT services provider was founded by Mr McAliskey and John Lennon. Speaking at last night's event, Sarah Little, publishing director at Belfast Telegraph publisher INM (NI), said: "The IT sector in Northern Ireland has grown exponentially in the last few years. At the moment one in nine of all advertised vacancies is in the IT sector.
"Around 28,000 people in Northern Ireland are already employed in an IT role. We have over 1,200 IT companies here including 100 global technology leaders.
"As a result, we felt it was time that the sector - its companies and its people - were celebrated. Our faith in the initiative has been rewarded with a huge number of entries and a sell-out crowd."
Neasa Quigley, senior partner at sponsor Carson McDowell, told attendees: "The fact that these awards are taking place at all is testament to the reputation of NI as a hub for technology talent and innovation, a reputation that you have all helped to establish.
"It is your hard work and cutting edge expertise that has helped to ensure that Northern Ireland is recognised as one of the best places in the UK to work in technology."
Medical testing firm Randox Laboratories in Crumlin was one of many non-IT companies to be honoured for its use of IT, and won IT Project of the Year.
Professor Karen Rafferty, head of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's University Belfast, was chairperson of the judging panel. She said: "It's been an honour to lead the panel of judges in the first Belfast Telegraph IT Awards. We were delighted to have the opportunity to honour some of our longest-established IT firms, and to recognise the achievements of fast-growing, newer companies. The breadth of winners reflects the diverse range of IT companies out there, including the long-established firms like Allstate and Liberty IT, whose longevity has helped cultivate a culture of innovation in the sector."
Overall IT Company of the Year
Best ‘Not for Profit’ Sector IT Project of the Year, sponsored by Continu
Winner: Action Cancer
Best Use of Cloud Services, sponsored by 5Nines
Winner: OBBI Solutions Ltd
Digital Project of the Year, sponsored by Codec Systems
Cyber Security Project of the Year, sponsored by Novosco
Mobile App of the Year, sponsored by Carson McDowell
Winner: Henderson Technology
Best Place to Work in IT, sponsored by Vanrath
Small Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Allstate
IT Project Team of the Year, sponsored by Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors
Winner: Randox Laboratories
Small IT Team of the Year, sponsored by NI Cyber
Winner: Locate A Locum
IT Team of the Year, sponsored by Refreshed By Us
Young IT Professional of the Year, sponsored by Version1
Winner: Darren Broderick, Liberty IT
IT Woman of the Year, sponsored by Ulster University Business School
Winner: Dr Liz O’Sullivan, Allstate
IT Professional of the Year, sponsored by Hays Recruitment
Winner: Patrick McAliskey, Novosco