Healthcare innovators take center stage at the 2022 South Coast Business & Technology Awards

Jorge Mercado

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Cottage Health is one of the Excellence in Service award winners at the South Coast Business & Technology Awards. (file photo)

Industries around the world have been weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but perhaps no more than healthcare.

For years, annual checkups were the norm for millions of people, but with overburdened hospitals and the risk of infection suddenly becoming a huge concern, people started skipping visits to doctor’s offices and hospitals.

In the years since, companies like Teladoc Health — formerly Goleta-based InTouch Health, before its acquisition in 2020 — have helped bridge the gap by bringing the healthcare industry online. For his work, Teladoc is one of the recipients of this year’s South Coast Business & Technology Awards, which will be hosted by the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation on June 16.

“Health care is going through an internet-based transformation or a digital transformation,” Yulun Wang, founder of InTouch Health and member of Teladoc, told the Business Times. “Teladoc Health is leading this transformation.”

For the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, the South Coast Business & Technology Awards will hold their celebration in person, at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

“The most important conclusion about this year’s event is that we are returning to a live format. Last year we held a combined 2020-2021 event, but it was a virtual event, we are so excited to be back live,” said Tim Dougherty, director of communications for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. “We love that we honor and celebrate local business leaders and local leaders, people that make our community so vibrant.”


The awards will honor 10 companies and business leaders, including Teladoc Health as the 2022 Company of the Year. Three other healthcare companies – Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and Cottage Health – receive the Excellence in Service award .

Dave Powers of Deckers Brands is Executive of the Year, Michael Crandell of Bitwarden is Entrepreneur of the Year and Kathy Odell of Women’s Economic Ventures will receive the Pioneer Award. And there are three Rising Stars: Umbra, Outer Aisle, and Clevr Blends.

The focus on health care is no coincidence. Wang said the ongoing transformation of healthcare includes accessing medical needs online, whether that means meeting with a doctor, accessing records or even receiving help from an artificial intelligence platform.

“Those things are how the healthcare system is going to evolve, and that’s what Teladoc is doing,” Wang said. “We are doing a much better job now, but there is still a long way to go. It is far from being fully adopted systemically.

The Sansum Clinic has been a leader during the pandemic, helping to create a telehealth program that has had more than 207,000 online visits since 2020. The clinic also created the first appointment-based COVID-19 testing operation of Santa Barbara County, providing nearly 100,000 trials. Sansum has also administered more than 28,000 COVID vaccine injections since the start of 2021.
Sansum has over 220 physicians working at 23 locations.

“Sansum Clinic is unique in that we bring the expertise, breadth and depth of a big city system, and combine that with a level of warmth and welcome that comes naturally from our location. particular geography,” CEO Kurt Ransohoff told the Business Times via email. “We’re not just a place you visit when you’re sick or need a medical check-up. We are an organization committed to helping you lead the longest, healthiest life possible.

Umbra, one of the Rising Stars winners, is a Santa Barbara-based microsatellite company. In 2021, the company launched its patented synthetic aperture radar (SAR) microsatellites aboard one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.

Outer Aisle is a Ventura-based food manufacturer that specializes in cauliflower pizza crusts and other gluten-free items.

In 2021, Outer Aisle was #185 on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, with a three-year growth rate of 2,282%.

Clevr Blends is a Santa Barbara-based wellness brand that makes lattes and other coffee drinks with wholesome ingredients.

Crandell, the entrepreneur of the year, is the CEO of Santa Barbara-based Bitwarden, a free and open-source password management service that stores sensitive information such as website credentials in a encrypted safe.

Crandell has also led other companies to success, including RightScale, a multi-cloud management platform he founded and acquired by Flexera in 2018.

Crandell said he was “shocked” to be honored.

“I majored in religious studies in college and fell into the tech world. After being rejected for a tech writer job, I was lucky to have a mentor who taught me coding. One of the many great people I’ve had the good fortune to work with over the years,” Crandell told the Business Times via email. “People think of tech companies as technical feats, but at the end of the day, they really are people. And I’ve been blessed to work with so many great people. If you look at it the right way, everyone has something to teach you.

Powers, this year’s Executive of the Year, is the CEO of Goleta-based Deckers. The company generated $1.18 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter and continues to see success with its new running shoe brand, Hoka One One. Deckers has a market capitalization of approximately $6.2 billion, the fifth highest of any public company based in the tri-county area.

“I am honored to receive this award because service is a value embedded in the Deckers culture: our desire is to do good in our community and to do good in business so that we can continue to have a positive impact. This work would not be possible without the energy of an incredible team of people galvanized behind a common vision,” Powers said in an emailed statement.

Kathy Odell will receive the Pioneer Award. She is CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures, a Santa Barbara-based organization that provides financing, training, and other support to women entrepreneurs. She told the Business Times that last year alone, WEV helped 800 women start their own businesses.

“Since the beginning of my career, I have always been a great prophet of entrepreneurship and I have worked to encourage other people, especially women, to become entrepreneurs and we have continued this work at WEV”, Odell said. “One of the most rewarding things about my career is being able to encourage so many people who have gone on to make a big difference.”