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2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Announced

Debi Coleman Lifetime Achievement

Portland, Ore. – April 5, 2021 –The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) announced today the selection of Debi Coleman of SmartForest Venture as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Coleman will be recognized as part of the Oregon Technology Awards ceremony, an annual program celebrating excellence and achievement in the region’s technology industry, on September 16th.

Debi Coleman Circle New 2
Debi Coleman

Debi Coleman, this year’s Lifetime Achievement winner, is best known for her career achievements starting at Apple. She was part of the original Macintosh team as controller, and went on to manage the automated Mac factory in California. From there she became Vice-President of Worldwide Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and then Vice President of Information Systems and Technology.

Coleman joined Tektronix in 1992 as Vice President of Operations and Materials and eighteen months later spun out Merix, the printed circuit board operation at Tek, in a successful IPO. During her tenure as Chair and CEO the business grew from $60 million in revenue to $400 million and was a finalist for the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. She left Merix towards the end of 2001 and co-founded SmartForest Ventures with Hugh Mackworth focused on information technology, electronics, design, and manufacturing – including the semiconductor supply chains.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes excellence in industry leadership as well as an individual’s positive impact in the greater Oregon community,” said Skip Newberry, President and CEO at TAO. “Debbie is one of the most recognized female executives in technology management in our community, has been an active angel investor since 1995, and has devoted time to organizations including the Anita Borg Institute, Girl Scouts, Oregon Ballet Theater, and Oregon Symphony. I am thrilled to recognize Debi as the 2021 Lifetime Achievement winner.”
 
Coleman received her BA from Brown University, MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and also received an honorary PhD. in Engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts.
 
“My first professional job after graduating was when I worked as a manufacturing supervisor at Texas Instruments,” said Coleman. “I was captivated by electronics and information technology, and strongly believed that this was the way we could change the future, mine and my colleagues as well. It’s an honor to be recognized by TAO, who are supporting Oregon’s future as a technology hub.”
 
Coleman has served on several public companies’ boards, including Software Publishing Corporation, Octel Communications, Synopsys, and Applied Materials. She also served on the boards of Brown University, Harvard Business School, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. She was also named Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
 
An enthusiastic patron of the arts in Oregon, Coleman has served on the boards of the Oregon Symphony and Oregon Ballet Theater. In addition, she strongly supports career opportunities for women in STEM, serving on the boards of the Anita Borg Institute for Women Technologists, as well as the regional Girl Scouts.

The 2021 Oregon Technology Awards Program is presented by JLL and UnitedHealthcare. Tickets to the September 16 event can be purchased here.

About TAO

TAO is a local nonprofit working to build opportunities, better our economy and unify a voice for innovation in Oregon and beyond. A recognized leader in shaping and growing technology and business communities, TAO empowers businesses and entrepreneurs through networks, events, advocacy, resources and more. With over 475 member-companies, TAO’s network brings together some of the largest companies in the world, small startups, and tech-enabled companies that are using technology to drive growth and innovation. For more information, please visit www.techoregon.org.

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