In 2016, we launched the Alexa Champions, a recognition program that honors the most engaged developers and contributors in our community. Through their passion and knowledge of Alexa, these individuals educate and inspire other developers in the community both online and offline.
Today we’re excited to recognize seven new Alexa Champions who’ve enriched the Alexa community. These new Champions have shared their knowledge and created tools that make it easier for developers to use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Check out their contributions on our dedicated Champions gallery.
Meet the Newest Alexa Champions
- Austin Wilson is the youngest Alexa champion at 17 years old. In 2016, he entered Hackster’s Internet of Voice Challenge (IoV) with Raspberry Pi with an Alexa skill programmed to control a motorized model car, and won second place for Best Alexa Skills Kit with Raspberry Pi. His Ship Assistant skill for Elite Dangerous, a combat-simulation video game, also won first place for the Most Creative API Mashup in the Amazon Alexa API Mashup Contest.
- Bob Lautenbach is the founder of the Orlando Alexa Meetup. He also published several open source projects that aid developers in creating Alexa skills using C# and Visual Studio. If you enjoy talking about emerging tech or simply want to chat about Alexa skills, don’t hesitate to reach out to him.
- Bob Stolzberg is the founder of the Saint Louis Alexa Meetup. His technology passions include VUI/CUI, Cloud computing, UNIX engineering, and DRBC. Bob is the Chief Innovation Officer at VoiceXP and President of the St. Louis AR/VR Association.
- Drew Firment is the founder of the RVA Alexa User Group in Richmond, Virginia. He encourages community members to build their own custom skills and learn more about cloud computing. Drew enjoys teaching others and shares his passion with others as the editor-in-chief of the A Cloud Guru community-sourced journal, which publishes articles from industry thought leaders and includes a section dedicated to insights from Alexa Champions.
- Mark Tucker is on a mission to encourage other developers to create for Alexa and to improve the developer experience. Until last year, he had never programmed for Amazon Alexa or used Amazon Web Services. Now he is reaching out to businesses and organizations to help them understand how they can bring their brand to this new platform.
- Nick Schwab is a back-end software developer who saw a perfect opportunity to use his knowledge to build consumer-friendly applications in the form of Alexa skills. He is mostly known in the Alexa community for his 13-and-counting ambient noise skills, which help thousands of Alexa users relax and fall asleep every night with sounds of rain, thunderstorms, ocean waves, and more.
- Tom Hudson likes to spend his free time thinking about how voice technology will change the world. (Read some of his thoughts here.) He helped lead a popular Alexa skill-building workshop at SXSW where his company identified 35 causes, illnesses, and other issues, and created a set of facts for each one that attendees could use to build Alexa skills for a cause.
Please join me in welcoming our newest Alexa Champions!
There are many ways you can share educational and inspiring content about AVS and ASK with the Alexa community. We urge you to share your own blog or newsletter, open-source development tools, tutorials, videos, podcasts, and social media posts. You can also organize local meetup groups for like-minded Alexa enthusiasts and developers.
Engage with Alexa evangelists in our live webinars and office hours. Share your contributions in the Alexa developer forums or on Hackster.io. And tweet us @AlexaDevs and tell us what you’re building.
Build a Skill, Get a Shirt
The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) enables developers to build capabilities, called skills, for Alexa. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, documentation, tools, and code samples that make it fast and easy for anyone to add skills to Alexa.
Developers have built more than 12,000 skills with ASK. Explore the stories behind some of these innovations, then start building your own skill. Once you publish your skill, mark the occasion with an Alexa dev shirt.