2021 Honorees

Sony Bajaj

Jay “Sunny” Bajaj

Chairman, CEO and Founder, Digital Management, LLC

Jay “Sunny” Bajaj, DMI’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, founded DMI in 2002 with the vision to create a global leader in innovative, next-generation technology solutions. Sunny has since led DMI from a humble startup to the expansive, worldwide organization it is today, with a portfolio containing hundreds of clients and over two thousand employees.

Sunny was born and raised in the technology industry, where both of his parents independently built successful IT services businesses. He learned the IT services business from the ground up, even starting in the proverbial mailroom when he was 13.

In his 20-year career, Sunny has repeatedly been recognized as an award-winning culture builder and Smart100 CEO winner, an exclusive group of 100 top-performing and highly respected CEOs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

Sunny has successfully built a respected, fast-growth business that is pioneering digital, mobile-first transformation for government agencies and commercial enterprises worldwide. DMI owes its uniquely bold and energetic culture to Sunny’s passion for the business and commitment to his customers and employees.

Sunny holds a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland with relevant coursework at the London School of Economics. Since 2016, he has served on the Board of Advisors to the University’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Marilyn Balcombe, Ph.D.

Marilyn Balcombe, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce

Marilyn Balcombe is the President /CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce. Marilyn is actively involved in land use planning, transportation and economic development. Her primary focus is bringing jobs to the Upcounty area of Montgomery County. Marilyn Balcombe is currently on the Board of Future Link and a past Chair of the Committee for Montgomery. She is a member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee, a past Chair of the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and was once named the Chamber Executive of the Year. Marilyn is also co-chair of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Implementation Committee.

Prior to being at the Chamber, Marilyn was with BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown as the Executive Director during the construction and the first year of operations. She was also on staff at the Upcounty Regional Services Center as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Germantown community.

Prior to her work in the community, Dr. Balcombe was an Organizational Psychologist with the U.S. Department of Energy. She holds a Ph.D. is Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida, and a Bachelors degree in Accounting also from the University of Florida.

Gordon R. Barnaby

Gordon R. Barnaby

President and CEO, BarnAllen Technologies, Inc.

Mr. Gordon Barnaby is a seasoned executive with experience in all aspects of corporate management. He currently provides management and technical consulting services to federal agencies and private sector companies. He previously served as senior executive for highly successful federal contract companies. In this capacity, he managed large-scale contracts valued at over $150M, designed and successfully implemented various management systems to improve efficiencies, implemented NARA standards and introduced office automation services to Federal organizations. His expertise in business analysis, management efficiencies and automation services was well recognized. Mr. Barnaby was responsible for designing and implementing innovative technology solutions that eliminated significant work backlog in federal systems. This innovation resulted in cost savings of over $36 million dollars for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a result, he was awarded the National Performance Review Hammer Award for Excellence in Government by Vice President, Al Gore. Mr. Barnaby is also experienced in writing and delivering winning proposals and has trained in, and implemented CMM, CMMI, and ISO9001:2000 quality standards.

Mr. Barnaby studied Business Administration at Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD and Chemistry at Howard University, Washington, DC. He lives in Olney, Maryland with his children and enjoys traveling and photography.

Sophia Parker

Chef Ype Von Hengst

Co-Founder and Executive Chef, Silver Diner and Silver New American Brasserie

Chef Ype Von Hengst is co-founder and executive chef of Silver Diner and Silver New American Brasserie, a group of 20 restaurants located primarily in the Washington, D.C. region. Von Hengst has received many accolades for his creative menu that features fresh and local products, vegan and plant-based entrees, and an expanded award-winning healthier kids’ menu. The Silver Diner Kids Menu has received national acclaim and has been a model that has been studied and reported on by Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in partnership with ChildObesity 180. Several top tier medical journals have run the Tufts study results on the benefits of Silver Diner’s Kids menu in influencing healthy eating.

Born in the Netherlands, Von Hengst received his training in some of Europe’s finest restaurants before coming to the U.S. Since that time, he has overseen more than a dozen premier restaurants in New York and Washington, D.C. As a strong believer that customers should have a choice, at Silver Diner Von Hengst has created diner classics as well as healthier alternatives that include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items.

Von Hengst has been featured on numerous local and national television programs including Beat Bobby Flay, and Food Network’s Chopped, where he won and donated his winnings to Doctors without Borders.