South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

Team Llamaa wins Tech Hub’s “Hack for Humanity” community hackathon 2023

Read Time 4 Minutes

The 2023 Tech Hub Hackathon aimed to “Hack for Humanity” building solutions for problems faced by two of South Florida’s local nonprofits, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity Broward. 

A Hackathon is an overnight event where participants form teams, vet ideas, create a project, then present their work to an expert panel of judges. This year, teams were asked to solve a wide range of problems, including streamlining donations, coordinating pickups, improving data management for Habitat for Humanity Broward, and promoting American Cancer Society’s “Get Screened” campaign to individuals and corporations, with a focus on HR benefit integration and process monitoring.

This year’s first place winning team created a solution in support of Habitat for Humanity Broward – Team LLAMAA!

According to the Habitat for Humanity Broward website, Broward is one of the nation’s most cost burdened housing markets, making homeownership out of reach for 94% of families. Habitat for Humanity Broward is on a mission to change that.

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity of Broward brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat Broward offers a “hand up” not a “hand out” to empower families who are willing to work hard to improve their family’s lives through affordable home ownership.

Together, Team LLAMAA which is an acronym for the first letters of each team members name; Leon, Lia, Ashley, Maria, Ashley, Aimee, created a software solution to aid the non-profit Habitat for Humanity of Broward which aimed to streamline the potential home owner application through digitization enabling tracking in a more convenient way for the employees, hard-skill volunteers and potential home owners.

“There is nothing like being in the presence of bright minds, tirelessly and enthusiastically working to increase the reach and impact for organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Broward and American Cancer Society who are tackling community and societal challenges,” said Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development.

“I made many new friends, saw numerous great concepts and we’re excited to work over the coming weeks with the teams and organizers to see which can be developed and put to use.”

The Hackathon was held at the CITY Furniture headquarters in Tamarac where guests had the opportunity to tour the CITY facilities, meet with leadership and the technical team, and learn about the expansive and fast-growing tech department at CITY, all while enjoy the first-ever hackathon in CITY’s history working with two of their closest nonprofit partners.

With 16 teams presenting, over 100 hackers, and over 50 volunteers, coaches, and judges, there were many innovative ideas and projects created that could support both nonprofits.

Our judges panel included Mick Feller, Sr. Principal Software Engineer @ ODP Corp, Giovanni Punzo, Founder & CEO @ Streann Media, Michelle Bakels, Program Director @ G2i, Christy Poe, former Sr. VP of IT @ Garden of Life, Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development, and Stephanie Watts, American Cancer Society’s Senior Director, Corporate Relations.

Thank you to all our major sponsors for the event. We would not have been able to make it happen without the support of CITY Furniture, The ODP Corporation (Office Depot), Florida Power & Light (FPL), OZ Digital, Streann Media, TechStrong Group, and Adam & Joe’s.

We also had the support of student sponsors this year from Cox Science center & Aquarium, CareerSource Palm Beach County, FAU’s College of Engineering & Computer Science, and the Tech Hub Foundation.


The top three projects chosen by our esteemed panel of judges were as follows:


  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: On-boarding platform to support administrators in managing housing applications and their progress
  • Team Members: Ashley N Dennis, Asiangel Moua, Leon Kipkoech, Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron, Maria Bruno, Ashley Clayden Moss
  • See Presentation
  • See Github


  • Nonprofit: American Cancer Society
  • Solution: Custom Campaign Portal for “Get Screened” Campaign
  • Team Members: Shashank Mishra, Prakash Raghothamachar, Jasmine Kloub, Ryan Young
  • See Presentation
  • See Github


  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: Donation quality inspection and intake process optimization
  • Team Members: Pinak Upadhyay, Angel Diaz, Daniel Muthama, Rabea Abdelwahab, Alexander Aranda, Adrian Perdomo
  • See Presentation
  • See Github

Click here to view ALL TEAM PROJECTS and here for PHOTOS FROM EVENT. 📸


Stay tuned for updates on project implementations. . .

By Nikki Cabus

Title 1 Cypress Run Education Center collaborates with community and industry for final school year’s student hackathon

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Combining art and coding, Cypress Run Education Center held it’s final Hackathon of the 2023 school year – and the student projects were amazing!

This year’s fourth quarter and final hackathon expanded the students’ creativity for the ‘Mark Art Hackathon.’ A Pokémon character, robots, race car, Hello Kitty, a city scape and so man other art projects were featured. School District representatives, community partners and even industry leaders were there as judges, sponsors and volunteers for the day. The event was sponsored by the Broward County School District, South Florida Tech Hub, and CloudHesive who provided gift bags, pizza and dessert for all students and cash prizes and swag bags for the contest winners.

At Cypress Run, the total minority enrollment is 90%, and 82% of students are economically disadvantaged. As a Title 1 alternative school in Broward County for K-12 students, Cypress Run doesn’t have access to all the resources that some students may have across the district, but Ms. Osas Guis-Obaseki, or Ms. “O” to her students, doesn’t let that stop her.

She is a programmer, engineer and current STEM and Computer Science teacher who has been instrumental in scaling up the school’s computer science initiatives and student engagement in community STEM programming. Ms. O was also named the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year for Cypress Run Education Center.

Ms. Osas has spearheaded a STEM Club that meets biweekly to expose students to programming and the computer science field. She has given students the opportunity to to build computers, learn coding and programming, and gain skills using digital tools. Ms. O hosts quarterly Hackathons where students demonstrate their coding skills and compete with other students. Under her leadership, students have complete the Microsoft certifications in HTML and CSS Programming, Website Design, and MS Office.

CloudHesive, an Amazon Premier Partner and an Amazon Managed Services Partner in the cloud technology space, provided gift bags for all students and cash prizes for the winners. People and Culture Leader, Mallory Ryska, volunteered to help set up the event and was there to greet the students as they entered the hackathon classroom.

“A big thank you to our friends at South Florida Tech Hub for including us in Cypress Run Education Center’s Hackathon this past Friday. CloudHesive welcomes any opportunity to develop and support the future engineers in our community. And we greatly appreciate the work Mrs. O does in her classroom to inspire the next generation in tech,” Mallory wrote in a social media post.

Using CoffeeScript, an easily understandable shorthand form of JavaScript, the middle school students had approximately a week to built their art master pieces. The were scored according to the following categories: Visualization, Creativity, Pictures & Background, Design Implementation, and Code Functionality. The high schoolers had to imagine their own high school or college and build a website for the school. They used HTML and CSS for their projects. Judges included Matthew Fritzius, Curriculum Supervisor with Broward County School District, Nikki Cabus, Tech Hub’s CEO, Monica Darville-Martinez, Math Coach for Broward County Schools.

Ms. O partnered with Tech Hub to give her students the opportunity to attend the annual TECHpalooza 2022 allowing students access to one of South Florida leading tech conferences, get exposure to tech professionals and companies across the region, and gain necessary communication skills through volunteering alongside event staff. She also worked with Tech Hub to get access to Broward County’s JROTC Fleet Week STEM Day 2023. In addition to Tech Hub, Ms. O has garnered various business partnerships to support the STEM Initiative at Cypress Run, such as Oracle, ReGenerate Tech, and many more.

Dr. Gastrid Harrington, Cypress Run Education Center’s Principal, Adjunct Professor at Broward College, and Podcaster, was in attendance.

“The goal and the objective is to expose students to coding and programming skills,” he told Tech Hub in an interview.  “Having industry connect with our students is an invaluable experience for them.”

Cypress Run Education Center has been awarded a few grants over the last couple years including the School Choice Enhancement Program (SCEP) and FPL’s $50,000 Classroom Makeover Grant via the NextEra Energy Foundation’s $2 million, four-year commitment. As part of FPL’s commitment to STEM education, the grant funds will improve technology, equipment and resources for the next generation of innovators.

The grant is intended to provide transformational learning opportunities for Black students in a classroom setting. Funds addressed needs in infrastructure, technology or resources (i.e. software, equipment, books, training of teachers, tutors, paraprofessionals) to advance the STEM curriculum and increase exposure of STEM education and careers.

Cypress Run Education Center would love to welcome you to their next Hackathon. Email to find out how you can support.

By Riley Kaminer

Visualbility creates winning solution at Hack for Inclusion event

Read Time 4 Minutes

Inclusion is far from a buzzword. Increasingly, tech companies and executives are acknowledging that diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion are core to their company’s activities.

Our region continues to gain international notoriety as a leading destination for technology and innovation. South Florida Tech Hub recognizes the important role that inclusion needs to play in developing a thriving ecosystem for all.

Last week, Tech Hub hosted its Hack for Inclusion event, presented by Office Depot, Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Varis. The hackathon took place virtually and enabled developers, designers, project managers, and entrepreneurs to come together and develop tech for good.

The event also included a virtual tech job fair featuring in-person and remote opportunities from Miami to Martin County using the platform Premier Virtual.



First place for the hackathon went to a team that focused on helping the visually impaired navigate the web and winning them a $3,500 cash prize. 

“Missing alt tags from images offer a poor user experience, as they do not provide the necessary information for the screen reader,” explained Diana Tineo, who was on the winning team. 

Visuability is a Google Chrome extension that uses Artificial Intelligence to auto generate descriptions of those images in real-time,” she continued. “The dream is to turn this into a family of applications that addresses accessibility issues at the source, so a natural next step for us would be to make this into a VScode extension that will help developers build more accessible websites. To build this product we used Microsoft’s Azure Computer vision API and Javascript.”

This was Tineo’s first hackathon, and she found it to be “one of the most fun experiences of [her] life.”

“Being surrounded by a smart, motivated and inclusive team reaffirmed that transitioning from real estate management into the tech industry was the right choice for me,” Tineo said of the experience. “Winning was the cherry on top, but building a product that can improve accessibility in the real world takes the cake!”

Claudio Luís Vera, an accessibility and inclusion expert who currently works as Head of Strategy at Stark, was one of the event’s judges. He called the event’s focus on accessibility “a true milestone for the South Florida tech community.”

“Overall, I was truly impressed with the enthusiasm that everyone brought to their projects and degree of care for folks with disabilities,” Vera told South Florida Tech Hub.

“I think there’s real hope that tomorrow’s talent will build really humane technologies that will impact and improve people’s lives.”


Another notable team of hackathon participants was a group of students from the Regenerate Tech organization which was founded by Randall Deich, a STEM Coordinator and educator at Lauderhill 612, a Title 1 high school within the Broward County School District. The team was led by Chamara Spence, a former Lauderhill 612 student, now freshman at Broward College.

“Each year, this group of students amazes me. They are not only the youngest group of contestants competing among much more experience teams, but they often face systemic issues with access to resources such as proper hardware and broadband access,” says Tech Hub’s Interim CEO, Nikki Cabus. “These are the exact types of issues that we hope to put a spotlight on, hack for solutions of equity, and support organizations such as Regenerate Tech making a difference in these students lives each day.”

Grace Kurian, a local tech executive who helped organize the event, thanked South Florida Tech Hub and “the leadership of Nikki Cabus for making this a rousing success.”

She continued: “Over the last year and a half, race equity has been top of mind throughout our country. After a lot of planning, it was so wonderful to see so many talented tech enthusiasts come together to build solutions to cultivate a more inclusive community to address challenges for the blind, disabled, immigrants, and racially diverse sectors of our community. I am proud to be a part of a community that is tackling these tough topics. I was amazed to see how rapidly our hackers developed meaningful solutions.”



  • Solution: Aan extension for visually impaired people that detects missing alt tags from images, identifies the image using artificial intelligence, and then inserts the description into the alt tag for the screen reader to pick up and read allow to the user. 
  • Team Members: Darie Dorlus, Diana Tineo, Dariel Mera, Vitoria Roas, Yong Ding
  • See Presentation | See Github


  • Solution: Gives the ability to leave accessibility rating at a venue/businesses from business and customers. 
  • Team Members: Impu Chunchegowda, Jordan Aman, Camilo Ospina, Mauro Majul, Jonathan Guerrero, Pablo Martin
  • See Presentation | See Github


  • Solution: Allows people to find onboarding buddies in a company that can ease their transition into teams and the company culture. 
  • Team Members: Dawn Riziti, Earl Cameron, Juan Palacio, Ashley Clayden Moss, Tanvi Bhatnagar, James Zacka
  • See Presentation | See Github

By Nancy Dahlberg

Code for Good Hackathon | GetSpeedBack creates Winning Solution

Read Time 4 Minutes

To create a winning solution in Palm Beach Tech’s Code for Good Hackathon, team GetSpeedBack attacked a big problem that food banks and other social impact agencies are having delivering to their home-bound clients.

These agencies often rely on volunteers to help make deliveries, and that becomes tougher during a pandemic when a large portion of their volunteers are seniors as well as others that need to stay home. For hunger-relief nonprofits like Feeding South Florida, it could become an administrative headache when a deliverer can’t work and the volunteer’s address list had to be divvied up.

 “So there’s a shortage of volunteers and an increasing number of meals that need to be delivered… We figured there’s got to be a better way to do it,” said Matthew Meadows, who won the hackathon with team member Mihai Oprescu.

Team GetSpeedBack came up with a solution that “optimizes routes for each driver, and all they have to do is click on a link in a text message and follow the directions, minimizing the administrative problem and saving volunteer hours on the road so they can more efficiently help more people,” said Meadows, who Co-Founded the Boca Raton HR-tech startup GetSpeedBack.

You can see Team GetSpeedBack’s web-app work from the hackathon here.

In all, 19 teams competed in the Palm Beach Tech Hackathon presented by Office Depot on October 23-25. “While Team GetSpeedBack emerged the big winner, it was really the greater South Florida community that won,” said Palm Beach Tech President & CEO Joe Russo

“Amidst the pandemic, we were able to bring positivity to our community by supporting two local nonprofits, Feeding South Florida, attacking hunger relief, and Gift of Life, a bone marrow registry,” said Palm Beach Tech Vice President Nikki Cabus. “With Palm Beach Tech’s recent expansion to support the entire region, we were excited to see that over 40% of our hackers were from Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The top three cities represented were Delray Beach, Miami, and Pompano respectively, and 1 on every 4 being a woman in tech.”


1st Place, $2,500 prize: GetSpeedBack

  • Solution: Route optimizer for delivery drivers, minimizing administration and saving volunteer hours
  • Team Members: Matthew Meadows, Mihai Oprescu
  • See Presentation | See Github

2nd Place, $1,500 prize: Sunny Six

  • Solution: Application that aims to connect people in need with healthy food, simply and securely
  • Team Members: Fernanda Rodriguez, Joy Bushnell, Dan Mathison, Hanadi Alotaibi, Nic Maltais, Earl Cameron
  • See Presentation | See Github

3rd place, $1,000 prize: Forij

  • Solution: Eco-system for food donors, volunteer drivers, and Feeding South Florida, accelerated by rewards program
  • Team Members: Kavin Kannan, Camila Alfonso, Douglas Rodriguez
  • See Presentation | See Github

Click Here to View All Teams


Mark Volchek, a venture capitalist with Las Olas Venture Capital, said: “As a first-time judge, I was really impressed by the quality of work put forth by all the teams.  It was exciting to see how much the teams were able to accomplish in such a short time – a great testament to the emergence of the South Florida Tech ecosystem!”

Michelle Bakels, a coach from NextEra Energy, agrees. “This year’s hackathon participants raised the bar! Overall, our teams showed the most complete and well-designed solutions of any hackathon to date. I was really impressed by how uniquely each team approached their problems in order to focus on this year’s theme, Code for Good.”

Bakels and over a dozen coaches worked closely with the teams during the 24-hours to help them build the very best versions of their projects. “Coaches are there to support teams and make sure everyone leaves with something they’re proud of, so it’s a great role and definitely something I love doing,” Bakels said.

This was the 5th annual Palm Beach Tech Hackathon, and organizers had to take the annual event virtual for the first time. But Meadows said the virtual experience was flawless and moving around the virtual rooms to collaborate was easy. Oprescu, who was part of the Office Depot team that won the Palm Beach Tech hackathon two years ago, also said the set up worked well but “nothing beats the in-person experience of a hackathon.”

Palm Beach Tech hopes that new friendships were made and collaborations continue in the weeks and months to come. It’s always a hope that some teams will continue working on their ideas born during a hackathon – for the greater good.

As for Team GetSpeedBack, Meadows said:  “We’re hoping to get in touch with Feeding South Florida to see if we can actually help them with real world implementation. The whole point of the hackathon is to benefit them in some way, so we’d like to see it through, if we can.”

By Nancy Dahlberg

Almost 200 join Smart Cities & Hurricane Relief Hackathon

Read Time 3 Minutes

20 Teams, 100 hackers, 20 coaches, 5 judges, and countless volunteers. 

It was a record turnout for Palm Beach Tech’s 4th hackathon, and a great opportunity for the local tech community to come together to solve community problems while flexing their creative muscles. The hackathon was hosted by Office Depot, and sponsored by FPL, the City of Boca Raton and two-dozen other South Florida companies and education partners. 

“All teams created truly innovate solutions. I was truly inspired by the way these teams, whose members did not know each other, came together, committed on a problem to help the community and collectively worked through 24 hours to build and demonstrate a fully working solution,” said Andrew Parry, VP of IT for Office Depot.

After a Friday night kickoff party that included some inspiring tech pep talks and an intense game of Rock Paper Scissors, teams formed they begin serious ideation around the white boards Saturday morning. During the 24-hour development period, the 20 teams ditched sleep in favor of Candid Coffee, pizza, endless M&Ms and the well-stocked snack table in order to build and code something great for the community. On Sunday the teams presented solutions to top judges from Levatas, PGA, Microsoft, Modernizing Medicine and Office Depot.

This year the theme was particularly timely, as the hackathon was held during Hurricane Season and came on the heels of the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

“All of the team projects related to either smart cities or hurricane relief, with the winning projects actually supporting the latter,” said Joe Russo, President and CEO of Palm Beach Tech. 

Several teams focused their efforts on ideas benefitting the City of Boca Raton and surrounding communities.

“It was so inspiring to see our diverse tech community come together and use their talents to build awesome solutions that will improve our community,” added Pedro Moras, Innovation Strategist for the City of Boca Raton.

And the winners are – drum roll please …


First place, $2.500 prize:  Hurricane Helper

Hurricane Helper’s progressive AWS based web application is called EDNA – Emergency Disaster Network Application. EDNA is an online platform that streamlines disaster management by using a national volunteer network in a cloud call center. See Presentation

Team Members: Derek Donev, Erik White, Mike Tobin, Michael Roth, Ivan Bliskavka, Holden Gibler, Taylor Gagne, Alex Ciccolella.


Second Place, $1,000 Prize: Hurricane Hackers

This team’s app was part-registry, part-donation center known as ReAll – standing for Resource Allocation. As a storm is approaching, people can see and compile a list of what they need. After a storm, people can use the app as a donation center, as they can donate items or money for hurricane relief. See Presentation

Team Members: Shawn Genoway, Charles Richardson, Tim Richardson, Jahnoah Simpson, Joel Ryan Martin


Third Place, $500 Prize: Self Healing

Self Healing solution uses Mesh Technology to improve post hurricane communication when cell phone communications are often unavailable. See Presentation

Team Member: Talal Gedeon


The full and final scoring can be found for a short time by using this link: Click Here

By Nikki Cabus

Smart Cities & Hurricane Relief Hackathon coming to Boca Raton

Read Time 2 Minutes

Palm Beach Tech & Office Depot partner up with $4,000 in prizes

Boca Raton, Fla. – The 4th Annual Palm Beach Tech Hackathon is being hosted by Office Depot at their Boca Raton headquarters on October 4th through 6th, 2019. Florida Power & Light and the City of Boca Raton are also presenting sponsors of this 24-hour overnight challenge, with a “Smart Cities & Hurricane Relief” theme.

Click Here to learn more and get your ticket!

“This is our big chance as a tech community to help our neighbors, our cities, and those in need,” said Joe Russo, Palm Beach Tech’s CEO.

Teams will consist of engineers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs, with successful teams having a mix of these areas of expertise and winners walking away with a combination of cash and in ­kind prizes. The prize pool has also more than doubled this year, with a $2,500 grand prize to the winning team.

“Local developers and entrepreneurs have a wonderful opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions that can really have an impact in our community,” said Andy Parry, Office Depot’s Vice President of IT Applications.

Last year’s Hackathon attracted over 100 corporate executives, industry professionals, and talented university students. Friday night will be a kickoff, with teams starting on Saturday morning, and an expert panel of judges deciding the winners on Sunday morning.

“We believe entrepreneurs play a critical role in developing technologies that shape our community,” said Pedro Moras, Innovation Strategist for the City of Boca Raton. “We’re excited to see the results of this years Hackathon and identify opportunities for us to work together.”

Top tech organizations such as Levatas, Modernizing Medicine, Amazon Web Services, Atos, and many more will be in attendance, in addition to students from local colleges and universities such as Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern, and the University of Miami.


About Palm Beach Tech

The Palm Beach Tech Association is a non-profit 501(c)6 membership association building South Florida into a Tech Hub. They work with software, engineering, digital, and information technology companies throughout South Florida. 

If you would like more information, please visit or email Nikki Cabus, Vice President of Development at

By Nikki Cabus

Over 125 join Palm Beach Tech Hackathon

Read Time 3 Minutes

Palm Beach Tech Hackathon attracted over 125 attendees!

Hosted by Palm Beach Tech and Office Depot, the attendees ranged in age from high school students to seasoned professionals with years in the industry. Google, Salesforce, Digital Resource, Duffy’s, and many others made the event successful through their sponsorship.

Click Here to view pictures from the Hackathon Weekend


Hacking for our Community

This was wasn’t your typical hackathon… Instead of having teams just compete for money or to seed a business, the goal was to give back to the community. All teams were given the direction to “Build something that benefits the community.”

All hackers were invited to bond over the local community and their shared love of technology. Some teams leaned on their own experiences, while others tackled problems they’ve long seen.

Participants coded, hacked, built, and tested as the hours ticked by, but in the end there were 16 teams pitching our judging panel.



The Results

1st Place | Dark Knights: Athneal Viera, Varma indukuri, Praveen Chamarthimihai Oprescu, Norman Ortiz, Sravan Veeramsetty

Comprised mostly of employees of Office Depot, came in first place, they developed an AI chatbot for governments and nonprofits that integrated with multiple platforms, such as Web, Facebook, & Slack.

2nd Place* | Team Woco: Julissa Rosado, Sara Hashem, Sylke Lopez, Morgan Nimmons, Hanadi Alotaibi, Alina Gasperino, Elena Snyder, Michelle Bakels

Formed from the Palm Beach Tech Women’s Council, Team WoCo built a web based application that can be

added to library kiosks to provide resources to our community’s homeless. *This team is investing their winnings to continue the project

3rd Place | Eye of the Storm: Gustavo Gomez, Jean Merone, Satya, Chris Carpentier, Edwin Hernandez, Juan Martinez

Formed on Friday evening, they built a emergency management platform using IoT devices (specifically Ring Doorbells) to damage with video and track wind speed with machine learning.



Honorable Mention | Team Ambr: Carlos Lahrssen, Juan Alvarado, David Casteneda

This Major League Hacking team built an app that allows a user to place a phone on their dashboard to scan license plates for active Amber Alerts.


Getting Involved

Palm Beach Tech is already planning next year’s hackathon. Are you looking to get in on the action?

Attend one of our upcoming Palm Beach Tech events or become a member today! We look forward to having you on board for our other exciting events.


By Vanessa Calas

Hacking for a Cause: The 2018 Palm Beach Tech Hackathon

Read Time 3 Minutes

Palm Beach Tech Hackathon, Palm Beach County’s first ever 24-hour hackathon, was held on February 23 to 25 and brought in over 75 attendees. Hosted by Palm Beach Tech and the South Florida Science Center, the attendees ranged in age from middle school students to seasoned professionals with 20 years in the industry.

All hackers were invited to bond over the local community and their shared love of technology.


Hacking with a Purpose

This was wasn’t your typical hackathon… Instead of having teams just compete for money or to seed a business, the goal was to give back to the community by helping out a local nonprofit that is hungry for technology. By involving participants in building and providing high-quality tech in every facet of the community, including non-profits, we’ll grow our overall innovation at an exponential rate.

This year, Palm Beach Tech partnered with the Palm Beach County STEM & the Palm Beach County School DistrictThey brought three definitive problems for the hackers to solve:


  1. Matchmaking Classrooms with STEM Professionals: Creation of a platform where classrooms can post their needs and companies can submit their abilities.
  2. Promoting Events & Organization Opportunities: Creation of a software tool that integrates events from partner organizations, to aggregate then disseminate that information to parents, teachers, and the community.
  3. Your Own Idea and Project: Any team who can identify a credible problem and tangible solution to present their own idea. The project must be presented to the School District Staff on Friday evening for vetting and approval.


The Event

Participants coded, hacked, built, and tested as the hours ticked by. The animated atmosphere encouraged most to work through the night. There was palpable energy through the Science Center as the end of the 24 hours got closer.

When the hackathon ended, and each hacker sat back with a deep breath. They’d spent the past 24 hours creating and collaborating towards a shared goal. Despite their exhaustion, they felt immense pride, energy, and accomplishment.

Team Red Stapler, comprised mostly of employees of Florida Power & Light, came in first place. They worked 24 hours straight to build a website that automatically aggregated STEM and community events, and even included an integrated FAQ chatbot.


The Results

1st Place* | Team Red Stapler: Carolyn Gadigan, Rita Borraccio, Kirk Suscella, Dmitri Soroka, Laura Fagley, Sathiya, Venugopalakrishnan

*This team donated their winnings to Palm Beach Tech & Tech Garage

2nd Place | Team Undecided: Brett Wright, Colton Zecca, David ‘Mack’ Seager

3rd Place | Team Nebular: Ryan Wang, Gabriel Ferguson, Greg Perlman, Dani Healy, Sarah Nohe

4th Place | Team Tech Garage: Arman Alexis, Oalis Husband, Julia Cardoso, Christopher Cox, Devin Willis, and Dexter Dixon


Getting Involved

Palm Beach Tech is already planning next year’s hackathon. We’re looking to turn this 24-hour event into an annual competition that helps nonprofits and community organizations for years to come.

Are you looking to get in on the action?

Attend one of our upcoming Palm Beach Tech events or become a member today! We look forward to having you on board for our other exciting events.


By Rich Andrews

Announcing the Winners of the 1st Palm Beach Tech Hackathon

Read Time 2 Minutes

The 1st annual Palm Beach Tech Hackathon kicked off Friday, November 4th at the Palm Beach Tech Space with over 30 attendees, plenty of beer, and an unveiling of projects supporting the South Florida Science Center and the Loxahatchee River Center.  

A “hacker” is often defined and portrayed in the media as “a person who secretly gets access to a computer system in order to get information and cause damage.” But few know that hackers can also be skilled programmers and problem solvers.

The Palm Beach Tech Hackathon had plenty of problem solving going on, as attendees formed teams and gathered at the South Florida Science Center Saturday morning  to begin hacking away at four topics to benefit both of these local non-profits:

  • Create a self-guided tour for the Loxahatchee River Center
  • Create a way to capture guest feedback for the South Florida Science Center
  • Create a way to track the results of the River Center’s 2017 Jr Angler Fishing Tournament
  • Create your own idea to benefit both organizations

On Sunday all coding and hacking stopped at noon, while hackers, guest and patrons gathered to see the final project presentations and hear the winners decided on by an elite team of judges:

  • Brian Dunnam, Executive Vice President Technology @ Levatas
  • Cecil Phillip, Senior .NET Developer
  • Jonathan LeBlanc, Head of Global Developer Advocacy @ PayPal.

In the end, it was a close call, but 3 projects came out on top:

1st Place: Rick Blalock

Created an application featuring a virtual tour and customer feedback system for the River Center & Science Center utilizing IBM Watson. View Project

2nd Place: Rich Andrews, Rishi Gohil, and Divyang Purohit 

This team of FAU graduate students & graduates created an interactive Facebook chat bot using ChatFuel for the Science Center. View Project

3rd Place: Melanie Kafka, Denis Zabavchik, Tedley Meralus, and Ed Janeczek

These “Wordpress Weekend Warriors” created a website and full blown iPhone application to help easily manage the River Center’s 2017 Junior Angler Tournament.

A special thanks goes to the Palm Beach Tech Hackathon Committee:

And a huge thanks to our sponsors:

By Nikki Cabus

Palm Beach Tech Hackathon Coming to South Florida Science Center

Read Time 3 Minutes


PayPal, Microsoft, and Levatas will judge 3-day completion benefiting local non-profits

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla –The Palm Beach Tech Association and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium have joined forces to host one of the first hackathons in Palm Beach County to be held November 4 through 6 in West Palm Beach.

The Palm Beach Tech Hackathon will provide a peek behind the scenes of our everyday mobile applications, allowing visitors to experience the process of coding rather than just the product.

Participants in this two-day competition will form teams, vet ideas, create a project, then present their work to an expert panel of judges. It also aims to be an educational opportunity for all ages, with young aspiring programmers welcome to visit the event to observe and learn.

Teams will consist of engineers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs with winning teams walking away with a combination of cash and in-kind prizes. High schoolers can even apply for a Junior Hackathon, a similar competition which will be open to 12 select students.

“Hidden behind the apps so many of us rely upon on a daily basis,” said Lew Crampton, CEO for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium,“are the lines of code that allow the program to function flawlessly. Dive deeper, and you’ll discover that Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other apps are all made up of a special language – the language of computers. For those with a passion to pursue it, the ability to “talk” with our devices can be a hobby and sometimes even a career.”

The Hackathon will benefit the non-profit Loxahatchee River Center in Jupiter, FL, with potential projectspresented at the kickoff reception Friday, November4, 2016.The spontaneity of the projects, as well as the time limit, creates a sense of urgency andcollaborative environment conducive for great hacking, where intelligent minds with shared interests come together.

The Hackathon judging panel will be made up of three technology industry veterans – Daniel Bruce, Executive Director of Technology at Levatas;Ray Bango, Lead Developer Advocate at Microsoft; and Jonathan LeBlanc, Head of Global Developer Advocacy at PayPal. The Hackathon is also sponsored by Cosmic Strawberry, Arrow Consulting & Design, Levatas, Florida Power & Light,Duffy’s, and MyTaskit.

“The Palm Beaches are ripe for a technology boom, and with that, many talented technologists who can serve our community through their talents,” said Joe Russo, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Tech Association. “We’re honored to work with the Science Center to do our part – helping non-profits help their communities.”

“We’re delighted to partner with Palm Beach Tech to inspire a new generation of coders by providing them with a fun challenge. By witnessing first-hand the amount of teamwork, passion and intelligence that goes into the apps and technology we use every day, visitors will leave sharing the appreciation for coding, and we might even discover a future techie among our visitors.”

Kicking off on Friday at 5:00pm, The Palm Beach Tech Hackathon will run through Sunday at 5:00 PM. Registration is $10 per participant and is now open online at Tickets include registration, T-shirt and a Hackathon “swag bag.”

Regular Science Center guests are welcome to observethe competition and learn more about computercoding with on-site educators and local vendors. The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and $14.95 for seniors aged 60 and older. Science Center members and children under 3 are free. Planetarium shows are not included in general admission pricing.

For more information about Hackathon, or other Science Center programming, please call 561-832-1988 or visit Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.



The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science.” Named the 2014 Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ Nonprofit of the Year, the Science Center features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center” and an interactive Everglades exhibit. In an effort to continue to meet the informal science education needs of the community, the Science Center will soon open an 18-hole mini-golf course, the “Conservation Course,” and more than 25 interactive exhibits in the Science Center’s “backyard.”


The Palm Beach Tech Association is a non-profit 501(c)6 membership association uniting and building the innovation, entrepreneurial, and technology industries throughout Palm Beach County.As a countywide trade association, Palm Beach Tech promotes industry growth by working with business groups, educational institutions, and government entities to support the goals of member companies. The core focus is fixed on producing long-term economic impact by attracting new business, supporting startups, and building the talent pool.

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