The Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded to Dott. Roberto Polillo.
After graduation in physics in 1972, he started a university career within the Institute of Physics of the University of Milano. He was part to a seminal group which gave birth to a number of important initiatives in the area of computer science and software engineering in cooperation with the Honeywell Information Systems Italy laboratories.
In cooperation with Honeywell, the group helped to gave birth to the first Italian start ups in the IT industry which would have become very popular in Italy in the following years.
The most important of these start ups was Etnoteam, a software company which Roberto co-founded in 1978.
The company, initially focused on software development, pionieered the development of the web application development and Internet technologies, being soon considered the Italian market leader.
In 1994, Etnoteam co-founded I.Net., the first Italian Internet provider for the business market.
In 1999, Etnoteam founded Etnoteam.com, one of the first application management company in Italy, operating through the Internet.
In 2000, I.Net went public, with an extremely successful IPO.
In 2000, the Etnoteam group was the Italian leader in the Internet and Web design market.
Over the years Etnoteam grew at significant pace, reaching the size of about 140 million Euro of consolidated turnover, with offices in various Italian cities as well as in London and Bruxelles and employing over 1500 staff.
And personnel has always been at the center of his attention.
As a General Manager and CEO, he was always very attentive in the creation and improvement of a work environment capable to attract and maintain the best technical people on the market, and this gained to Etnoteam a strong reputation of excellence and being recognized by Computerworld as “one of the best places to work in computer technologies in the world”.
Alongside this main role in the software industry he had until last year also maintained positions at the University of Milano; holding courses on computer programming, operating systems, human computer interaction, web design, and the evolution of internet technologies.
Since 2009 Roberto has dedicated most of his time to advocating the use of the internet by non-profit organisations, a topic on which he has written several books.
He says that his is the time to give back what he has received.
In 2016 he has founded the P&R Foundation, a non-profit foundation with the mission of financing initiatives to support Italian digital policymaking processes, both in the short term through laws and regulations, and in the long term through education and research.