Ally Schmidt
2023 CEO of the Year

Yearly, the Technology Association of Iowa presents and hosts the Prometheus Awards. Prometheus Awards unites technology pioneers, industry leaders, educators, and government representatives to honor the past year’s most remarkable achievements and successes throughout Iowa's tech industry. They recognize Iowa companies such as the best new startups, tech companies with the best company culture, companies that give back, and position-specific awards such as CEO/CIO/COO/CTO of the year.

It's no secret that Bio::Neos employees are proud of where they work and that we all genuinely like our bosses and coworkers. Even writing this, I find it weird to refer to Steve or Mike as my boss, they act more as collaborators. Since I began at Bio::Neos, I have repeatedly nominated Steve, Mike, and our Bio::Neos culture for multiple awards. Steve and Mike are very humble and typically will not share what amazing work they do. Good thing their team is comfortable shouting it from the rooftops.

Steve Davis on stage smiling at the Prometheus Awards accepting the 2023 CEO of the Year award.

This year our CEO, Steve Davis, was nominated and awarded for 2023 CEO of the Year! Steve is not your stereotypical CEO. He loves the nitty gritty and prefers to get his hands dirty rather than sit back and let others work for him. I found it hard to keep my letter short about why Steve should be recognized as TAI 2023 CEO of the Year, I am glad that TAI could recognize what all of us at Bio::Neos see. Below is the nomination letter I wrote that I am happy to share. Below is why Steve is the 2023 CEO of the Year.

Nomination for CEO of the Year - Steve Davis

Steve Davis has been involved in software engineering and consulting, entrepreneurship, and bioinformatics research for over 20 years. Through founding Bio::Neos, Inc. in 2004, he has earned experience related to both small business development and growth and software consulting geared towards research scientists. Steve has been involved in projects that tackle difficult bioinformatics challenges including computational performance for analysis of large datasets and effective data management and visualization of biological data, and engineered professional software solutions to solve these challenges. Running a technology team for over a decade has given him significant experience in professional project management, rapid prototyping, LEAN methodologies, and customer discovery. These experiences have led him to be involved in some curriculum development and teaching related to innovation in STEM and software development best practices. Steve continues to focus his energy on running Bio::Neos, but has found a passion for teaching through these recent engagements. On top of all of his commitments, he is actively involved in the local entrepreneurship and technology communities as a speaker, coach, and mentor at every opportunity available.

In the past 12 months Steve has continued to be an integral part of the Johnson County community. Steve inspires the team to get involved and grows the company at the same time. You can find Steve in almost every corner of the state helping with one thing or another. From advisory boards, planning and more - Steve goes above and beyond as a CEO. 

Steve has donated a lot of his time and knowledge participating as an advisor on the board at the University of Iowa College of Engineering. As a board member Steve is able to advise the college what students and graduates need most. Steve, once a college of engineering student himself, knows what is needed to feel supported and now as an employer to students for internships and post graduate opportunities he sees where sometimes education may fall short. His feedback improves the curriculum and allows students to reach high levels of success. 

Steve has also found himself to frequently be a part of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) events. Bio::Neos owes much of its success to JPEC support throughout the years and as such, Steve loves to give back by providing his insight to aspiring entrepreneurs. Steve believes it takes a village to move an idea into reality, and he finds it rewarding to give his insight and share what did and did not work for him. Steve happily accepts any opportunity to give back whenever he can fit it into his already busy schedule. Twice a year, Steve is excited to be involved in Design Dash my JPEC. He attends both the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City events. Not only is he able to share his knowledge but he is also energized by the future entrepreneurs. Another organization that Steve finds himself involved in, is the Workplace Learning Connection, which give students the opportunity to explore their ideal carrer. This past year Steve was able to participate twice in the Exploring IT Day, in the fall and the spring. This program gave students the opportunity to see what it is like to work in the IT field. Steve got the whole team involved and this made a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Steve is passionate about working with local organziation to inspire the future such as Iowa City Area Development, Kirkwood Community College and more. It’s amazing he still fits this in his busy schedule. 

Every December Steve makes a point to participate in Computer Science Education Week. His favorite way is bringing an activity to share about CS to his own children's classrooms. Not only do his kids think it's cool for their Dad to come in, Steve is able to share what he is passionate about with his kids and their friends. Plus in the classroom they {might} actually listen. Steve also participates in the local CS EdWeek planning committee for the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City corridor and surrounding region. This allows him to share what he thinks is most important about getting our future excited about CS and showing them where all CS is in the world {hint: it's everywhere}. Alongside his colleagues he is able to discuss both what is most important for the students and even more importantly tell our state government the funding is needed (and then some) both for our students to have access to to support our teachers. 

In 2019, as the state of Iowa was introducing Computer Science into the education standards Steve joined the Iowa Computer Science Leadership Team as an industry representative. His work with this group defined the important standards that Iowa currently holds to ensure all students in the state have access to a comprehensive and rigorous computer science education, positioning them for success in today’s society. While this achievement wasn’t during the last twelve months, the connections he built and the advice and support for computer science that he provides survive to this day, and he consistently uses his influence to ensure that the state does not stop improving and growing even though the standards are in place. Technology never stops evolving, so education needs to continue to focus on how it might be able to match that pace and accelerate the way it keeps curriculum relevant and useful for our students.

Every year Steve continues to improve his company and community. His kind and giving personality almost doesn't allow him to say no, which is probably why almost all of Iowa knows his name. Perhaps if we had more people like Steve, the world would be a better place.