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The Cannata Report's 2015 Award Winners Announced

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  
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The winners of the Franks, awards given by The Cannata Report, were announced at The Cannata Report's 30th Annual Awards & Charities Dinner. From left to right: CJ Cannata, senior vice president of The Cannata Report; Laura Blackmer, senior vice president of sales, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America and winner of Best Woman Executive; Rick Taylor, president and COO, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. and winner of Best Executive; and Frank G. Cannata, founder and president, The Cannata Report.

The Cannata Report has announced the winners of the Franks, awards given each year for excellence in business technology. The Cannata Report announced the winners on Oct. 1 at its 30th Annual Awards & Charities Dinner at Meadow Wood Manor in Randolph, New Jersey. For a record fifth year in a row, Rick Taylor, president and COO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., won Best Executive. Laura Blackmer, senior vice president of sales at Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America, won Best Woman Executive, a new category officially introduced this year as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of The Cannata Report's awards.

The Cannata Dinner raised a record $153,000 that will be used to create The Robert Shields Memorial Grant for esophageal cancer research in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Bob Shields, former president of Florida-based Copytronics Information Systems, was a much-respected industry veteran. In addition, money raised through a silent auction of sports memorabilia at the event was given to the New Jersey-based Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon (AaSP).

Lead sponsor of the "Born in the U.S.A."-themed event was Square 9 Softworks, along with additional sponsorship support from Clover Imaging Group, Digitek Computer Products, MWA Intelligence and U.S. Bank.

Throughout its history, The Cannata Report's event has grown substantially in scope each year. To date, the Cannata Dinner has collectively raised more than $1.5 million for a variety of charities nationwide.

Winners of the 2015 Franks, named in honor of The Cannata Report's founder Frank G. Cannata, were determined by an EverBank-sponsored survey of the independent dealer community, conducted by The Cannata Report.

In addition to the individual honors bestowed to Taylor and Blackmer, Franks were awarded in the following categories:

Best A4 Manufacturer (MFP and printer categories): Lexmark International, accepted by Phil Boatman, business alliance manager

Best Manufacturer: Ricoh Americas Corp., accepted by John Brophy, vice president of product marketing

Best-in-Class Manufacturer: Toshiba America Business Solutions, accepted by Larry White, senior vice president of sales

New categories this year included:

Best Marketing Strategy:
Konica Minolta, accepted by Sam Errigo, executive vice president of sales and business development; Kevin Kern, senior vice president of marketing; and Kay Du Fernandez, senior vice president of strategic business development

Best Software Developer:
Square 9 Softworks, accepted by Lauren Ford, marketing communications manager

A who's-who of industry executives — including representatives from the manufacturing, software, services, financial and dealer segments of the office technology industry — attended the dinner, which was hosted by Frank G. Cannata, The Cannata Report's founder, president and editor-in-chief/publisher, and CJ Cannata, partner and senior vice president of brand strategy and development. Nick Valvano, president emeritus and brother of Jim Valvano, the inspiration for The V Foundation, and Alan Krutchkoff, co-founder and president of Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, were in attendance to accept the evening's charitable proceeds. Bob Goldberg, general counsel of the Business Technology Association, served as emcee.

"I am humbled to be singled out with this award and grateful to The Cannata Report for highlighting the achievements of all the talented women and the new generation of young professionals who are making an impact in our industry," Blackmer said. "Exposure like this is huge and helps bring more talent to this business."

"I share this award with our entire company," Taylor said. "Konica Minolta is honored to be acknowledged by The Cannata Report's annual awards and proud to raise funds with so many others in our industry for such worthwhile charities. It's a big deal to give back and we are committed in our support of this event."

"Our event was marked by a number of exciting firsts," Frank Cannata said. "Laura Blackmer's recognition as winner of the first Best Woman Executive award was met with thunderous applause. Square 9 Softworks was honored with our first Best Software Developer award and Konica Minolta garnered our first award for Best Marketing. As for Rick Taylor of Konica Minolta, he's the first-ever executive to win five years in a row and the first ever to document his recognition with a video presentation that gave everyone in attendance a chance to share Rick's infectious sense of humor. Our winners and the evening's charitable donations represent the very best of the industry."

"Even though the room is filled with competitors, there is a genuine sense of camaraderie and shared sense of purpose among all who attend our annual event," CJ Cannata said. "Each year, the generous donations exceed our expectations. We are grateful for the unwavering support from attendees, sponsors and partners across the business technology industry who made our 30th anniversary such a memorable occasion."

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