At last night's 24th annual Enterprise Awards, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) gave affinity-marketing guru Richard Vague its lifetime-achievement award. Vague is in a second act of his career: In the 1990s, he ran credit card giant First USA Bank down in Wilmington (now part of JPMorgan Chase & Co.), and other credit card operations, before moving north, founding EnergyPlus in University City, and selling it to NRG for $190 million in 2011.
Philadelphians know Vague in his current varied career — as a tech angel (Gabriel Investments), philanthropist (hands-on at Penn Medicine, and through his own Governor's Woods Foundation), blogger, and public-affairs patron (DelanceyPlace.com, and his economic and foreign-policy writings, research and events sponsorship), and political kingmaker (most recently, he headed the finance committee for Rebecca Rhynhart's successful campaign for the Democratic City Controller nomination.)
So, PACT honored Vague "for his role throughout his career in forwarding technology and sciences in the region through leadership and exemplary work."
How did he end up in Philly? Wilmington's new mayor, Mike Purzycki, who put the bite on Vague years ago to get his bank as name sponsor for the convention hall now known as the Chase Center, told me recently his everlasting image of Vague was of the affable, tackle-sized banker lounging with his feet up and conversing volubly on a flip phone (this was the early 2000s), across two chairs at the slightly fusty Wilmington Country Club, which at the time barred not just putting your feet up, but also talking business on cellphones.
"He was getting things done," Purzycki recalled. "I know for a fact he got a letter from the rules committee complaining. And I know for a fact he did not care." (Vague tells me parenthood has since given him "a much more respectful view of rules.") Soon after, Vague left Delaware for Philly, to the city's gain.
Also: PACT's Digital Innovation went to Independence Blue Cross for Independence Live, "a 10,000 square-foot state-of-the-art community health and wellness experience center. "
And the group gave out these five software-tech and four healthcare-tech awards, chosen from a record 400 submissions:
- Healthcare Innovator: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
- Healthcare CEO: Greg Cathcart, Excellis Health Solutions, New Hope, PA
- Healthcare Emerging, VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, Malvern, PA
- Healthcare Start-up, Blackfynn, Philadelphia, PA
- Technology Company, EPAM Systems, Newtown, PA
- Technology CEO, Flint Lane, Billtrust, Hamilton, NJ
- Technology Emerging, CorpU, Philadelphia, PA
- Technology Start-up, ROAR for Good, Philadelphia, PA
- Investment Deal, Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Moorestown, NJ