Category Archives: Our Work

Akoya Wins 2018 Communitas Award for Excellence in Community Service

Under the leadership of Chief Creative Officer Nancy Reese, Akoya’s pro bono work with the Women’s Law Project has won a 2018 Communitas Award for excellence in company community service. Administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, the Communitas Awards honor excellence in social responsibility and community service among individuals and organizations.

Akoya was recognized for its work on FAIR:PLAY, a website designed to help parents, students, and communities advocate for a fair share of sports opportunities for girls in Pennsylvania’s public secondary schools. The concept was born when Nancy – also a Women’s Law Project board member – identified that the Department of Education’s abundant but unwieldy raw data made it nearly impossible to determine if a school is out of compliance with Title IX law.

After collaborating with WLP on the game plan, Akoya created the website’s branding and homepage design; recruited volunteer mentors, programmers, and coders (nearly all women); and, with support from the FISA Foundation, hosted a weekend-long hackathon to crunch the data and create an easy-to-use interface. And while ultimately the result was a website providing meaningful and actionable information, the hackathon itself was a remarkable STEM learning experience showcasing the region’s technical talent and the participants’ dedication to fairness and equality.

The Communitas Award is a testament to Akoya’s ongoing commitment to giving back and using its talents to help nonprofits and organizations that may not have the funding or resources to do so. We are grateful for the honor and for the opportunity to bring attention to the advocacy work of the Women’s Law Project.  

Akoyans get some “Facetime” in Pittsburgh

When Akoyans suggested during our August retreat that making trips to our Pittsburgh office would be beneficial, we made it happen. In November, December, and January, small groups of Akoyans based outside the Steel City made overnight trips to visit home base.

The meetings, dubbed Facetime @ Akoya, were a fantastic way for coworkers to further solidify connections made with each other in August and gave us the opportunity to brainstorm ways to make those connections even stronger. Discussions centered around how to improve the onboarding process for new employees working outside Pittsburgh and ways to replicate Akoya’s company culture at a client site where many of us work in Falls Church, Virginia.

Akoyans appreciated the opportunity to see Akoya headquarters, work with Pittsburgh staff, and learn firsthand why Honest John’s is so special to our president, Holly Wray. We look forward to making Facetime a regular gathering.

Fifteen Years of DOE SSL R&D Workshops

A few shots of Akoyans behind the scenes of a DOE Solid-State Lighting workshop.

Remember where you were in November 2003? A few of us at Akoya do, as that was when DOE’s Solid-State Lighting program held its very first R&D Workshop, in Crystal City, VA. Fast-forward to today, and we’re proud to say we’ve just returned from working our fifteenth R&D Workshop – every one of them under the leadership of account manager Karen Marchese.

What began as a small two-day gathering with a dozen speakers has grown into one of the lighting industry’s most venerable conferences and spawned other SSL workshops as well. This year’s R&D Workshop, in Nashville, spanned three full days, welcomed fifty speakers, and hosted a bustling poster session enhanced by an assortment of cutting-edge product demos and four talented winners of the third-annual student poster competition. And believe it or not, a few of those inaugural participants and speakers have made it a priority to return year after year, because they value the robust and candid exchange of information and ideas that happens at a DOE SSL workshop.

As the workshops have expanded, so has Akoya’s role in them. Multi-city site search? Sure. Tour organization? No problem. Speaker outreach? Notetaking? Video production? All in a day’s work. After over fifteen years working with the DOE SSL program, we’re proud of the integral role we play in these workshops, and the role they play in shaping the future of lighting.

Tuning the Light in Senior Care

LED lighting can do far more than save energy. As a recent pilot by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) demonstrated (download report), tunable white lighting with LEDs can dramatically improve the wellbeing of dementia patients and the working conditions of caregivers. Akoya’s video team got the story from Connie Samla of SMUD, catching up with her at the Solid-State Lighting Program workshop held by the Department of Energy in Denver, Colorado.

The pilot installation in a hallway at the ACC Care Center in Sacramento showed that “tuning” the color temperature of the new LED lighting to match circadian rhythms improved sleep patterns and nighttime safety for residents, significantly reducing falls, use of psychotropic and sleep medications, and agitated behaviors. At the same time, tuning the lighting better equipped the staff with the levels of task lighting needed to provide excellent care.

The outcome of he study revealed the powerful potential of LED to improve healthcare and quality of life, as well as saving energy. The full video produced by Akoya, “Tuning the Light in Senior Care,” is available at the DOE website.

“Marvelous” Reviews in Portland

Lighting expert Steve Paolini presents a light source spectrum demo in this colorful photo from this month’s U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting Technology R&D Workshop in Portland.

Enthralling! Energizing! Marvelous! These aren’t words most people associate with technical meetings. So imagine how gratifying it was to get reviews like this for the U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting program’s 12th annual Technology R&D Workshop in Portland, Oregon. During the second week of November, an intrepid team of Akoyans trekked to the Pacific Northwest to support the event, the culmination of six months of agenda crafting, tour planning, speaker coordination, and promotion. Akoya’s efforts were key to a smooth rollout for 25 speakers and 100+ attendees, setting the stage for a lively and engaging meeting of the minds on the latest lighting technology advances and trends.

Without missing a beat, we continue planning our client’s next event, the flagship SSL R&D Workshop, coming January 29–31, 2018. Stay tuned for more exciting SSL developments!

Akoya Wins MarCom Awards

We are pleased to announce that our work has earned recognition in the 2017 MarCom Awards, an annual creative competition for marketing and communications professionals.

Three of our projects were selected as MarCom Gold Winners: a fundraising report for The Midwife Center of Pittsburgh, a benefits awareness campaign for Puget Sound Military Health System, and the feature article “D-Day Through the Eyes of Combat Medic, 73 Years Later” for the Military Health System.

Additionally, our 2017 National Nurses Week campaign for the Military Health System earned an honorable mention.

MarCom is sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. A full list of winners can be found on their website.

Akoya to Manage Logistics for 2018 DesignLights Consortium Annual Meeting

For the third consecutive year, the Boston-based DesignLights Consortium has chosen Akoya to manage logistics for its annual stakeholder meeting, scheduled for summer 2018 in DLC’s home city.

Akoya will work with the client to help select and negotiate contracts with venues and vendors, manage registration and the room block, supervise all logistics for the run of the event, and oversee post-event wrap up for this conference of 250+ lighting designers and manufacturer representatives.

Partners in the Lighting Revolution

Does government investment in research really make a difference? It is hard to find a more successful example than the solid-state lighting field. In just under a decade, modest yet strategic investments spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have been instrumental in moving LED lighting from the lab to a position of strength in many lighting niches—an achievement recently praised in a July 2017 assessment by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In our program support role for the DOE Solid-State Lighting Program, Akoya has been a partner in this ongoing work to revolutionize lighting technology.

And the work continues! DOE recently exercised another option year on our contract, which makes 10 years of Akoya supporting the emergence of this game-changing technology. Fully tapping the potential of LED and organic LED technologies to save energy and improve lighting performance will not only mean cultivating the existing SSL lighting partners in industry and academia, but also reaching new diverse audiences. Cheers to Akoya’s remarkable SSL team.

Supporting Midwives, Fostering Healthier Communities

midwifereportThanks to a successful capital campaign and facility expansion, Pittsburgh is now home to the largest freestanding birth center in the United States, The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health. Akoya proudly supported this effort—and had the honor to help publicize the results by designing this end-of-campaign report.

By raising $3.9 million, The Midwife Center (TMC) is now positioned to meet growing demand for its person-centered care in its LEED-certified facility, serving a large, diverse clientele. By strengthening its outreach to underserved communities, TMC also is better able to reduce barriers to care and improve health outcomes for women and infants in the Pittsburgh region.

The quality of outcomes achieved by TMC is evident in a few key statistics. Compared to national averages, TMC has three times fewer cesarean deliveries, four times fewer preterm births, and an astonishing 800 times fewer incidents of low birth weight—a serious condition closely associated with inhibited growth and cognitive development, as well as chronic diseases later in life. With this track record, it is no wonder than TMC is emerging as a national leader in safe, personalized birth center care and is dedicated to educating future generations of midwives.

Akoya Helps U.S. Department of Energy Tame the “Wild West” of Connected Lighting

CLSpicSince 2015, Akoya has helped position the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as the trusted, impartial “sheriff” of the nascent connected lighting field— which has been a “Wild West” of competing technical standards, divergent business models, exaggerated or over-simplified claims by some manufacturers, and a lack of systems compatibility.

One way we’ve done this is by publicizing and managing popular connected lighting systems (CLS) workshopsthe latest of which took place last month in Santa Clara, California—that bring together leaders from IT, lighting, and other fields.

We also keep a drumbeat of CLS messaging with email blasts, populate the DOE website with useful CLS information and tools—such as an animated video and infographics we created— and earn coverage of CLS in key trade publications. This is helping to overcome market barriers so that connected lighting and advanced controls can achieve their potential of nearly doubling the energy savings from LED lighting alone.

To learn more, read our CLS Project Profile.

Akoya Awarded 2016 Telly Award for Food Bank Video

telly_site_bugs_bronzeWe are pleased to announce that our “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” video produced for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank was selected as a winner at the 37th annual Telly Awards! With over 13,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors” was shot at the Food Bank warehouse and other locations around Pittsburgh and includes on-camera interviews with CEO Lisa Scales and members of her staff as well as people in the community who rely on the Food Bank when times are tough. The video has been used for fundraising purposes since its completion in the summer of 2015.

Check out the video here.