Distinguished Alumni Awards


Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

Tricia Steele (09C)

Tricia Steele

In 2008, Tricia M. Steele (09C) received the news that her full-time job was being eliminate due to the downturn of the economy. As a non-traditional student at Berry putting herself through school, she decided to open up her own firm. As founder and chief executive officer of SAI Digital, Steele has since grown her company from home-based freelancing to an incorporate team of full-time employees. Founded as a digital agency, the company has evolved into a boutique technology firm providing web application development services, with a specialty within healthcare, manufacturing and financial services. Examples of SAI Digital work include StudentManager.io, a portal for credentialing medical students; evaluation software for conducting the employee review process at Floyd Medical Center; the Harbin Clinic website, intranet and mobile application and SafetyManager, a tablet and web application for conducting and managing industrial inspections. In addition to more than a dozen software applications the company supports more than 80 content management systems for organizations of all sizes.

She was a founding member of 7hills Makerspace in downtown Rome, Ga., which was named one of America’s Most Beautiful Makerspaces by Make Magazine. She and her partner have spoken on the growth of maker culture to many regional and national organizations. She founded Makervillage in late 2013, a project dedicated to nurturing creative and artisan businesses in northwest Georgia. In its first full year Makervillage realized $2.7 million in revenue to Northwest Georgia by seven companies and the creation of seventeen jobs.
In 2015, she was awarded the $50,000 Small Business

Administration Accelerator Grant as one of only twenty organizations nationwide that provide resources to startups. With the grant, she incorporated Makervillage as a non-profit, hired staff, established the Co.Starter program as a nine-week accelerator and brokered a 3D printed accessory deal between the world’s largest flooring company and local fifth graders.