2016 Honorees

Tobi Saulnier, PhD
Founder and CEO
1st Playable Productions LLC

Tobi Saulnier, PhD, is the CEO and founder of 1st Playable Productions, a game development studio whose mission is to make games that will entertain, educate, and leave a positive lasting impression. As a certified B corporation, the company not only creates educational games, but also actively seeks to positively impact the community through initiatives such as the annual Games in Education Symposium, which has served more than 1,000 educators over the eight years of its existence.

A veteran developer of both handheld and console games, she sees handheld game development as offering a challenging hardware at a fast pace a combination that complements the creative culture of a small independent studio. Prior to founding 1st Playable, she spent five years overseeing product development at Vicarious Visions, a role in which she was responsible for delivering over 60 game titles ranging from Blues Clues GBC to Doom III Xbox, including launch titles for the GBA, DS, and PSP. Before joining the game industry, Saulnier managed R&D in embedded and distributed systems at General Electric Research and Development, where she also led initiatives in new product development, software quality, business strategy, and outsourcing. She earned her BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Saulnier is active in supporting educational organizations and has previously served as president of the board of the Woodland Hill Montessori School and chair of the International Game Developer Association. She currently serves on boards including the Emma Willard School and the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci).


SEFCU, one of the largest credit unions in upstate New York, is firmly committed to helping the community, believing its success is directly linked to the help it provides to others. Chief among its concerns is helping people become financially literate. SEFCU employs full-time staff focused on education within the community to help teach courses in understanding and building credit, budgeting, and more. In addition to free seminars, SEFCU has more online resources available to members and the community on its website at www.sefcu.com.

A strong commitment to lifelong learning and a culture of volunteerism is threaded throughout the organization. From its work with The Albany Promise, an alliance with Junior Achievement that brings students from local high schools into the workplace to job shadow, an ongoing affiliation with Girls Inc. and Eureka!(R) at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) that provides girls with an introduction to nanoscale sciences, to the nearly 30 SEFCU staff members who serve as reading mentors to Arbor Hill Elementary students, SEFCU truly exemplifies the spirit of lifelong learning and the power of educational opportunity.

SEFCU also shares Excelsior's commitment to the military and veterans in our community. Proceeds from the 2015 SEFCU Labor Day 5k went to three community organizations that focus their support on the needs of veterans, active military personnel, and their families. SEFCU has sponsored Adopt A Solider package and letter-writing initiatives for years, was a main sponsor of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation and the City of Schenectady's Hometown Heroes Banner Program, collected donations of coffee and coffee accessories at branches for the Joe for GIs program at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, and hosted a first-ever Military Kids Day with the American Red Cross during a school break.

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