Announcing 2024 Individual Oregon Tech Awards Recipients

Announcing 2024 Individual Oregon Tech Awards Recipients

Portland, Ore. – June 17th, 2024 – The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) today recognized the invaluable contributions of four individuals to the region’s technology industry, celebrating their achievements during TAO’s annual Oregon Technology Awards ceremony at the Benson Hotel. Honorees were selected for the measurable impact and positive influence they have on the technology community here in Oregon.

It is an honor to recognize this year’s recipients of the Oregon Technology Awards for their decades of experience and contributions to the local tech community here in Oregon and Southwest Washington,” said Skip Newberry, president and CEO at TAO. “This year’s recipients did not achieve success overnight, and they consistently and humbly delivered for their colleagues, customers/portfolio companies and the broader community, going above and beyond what was expected of them.” Details for each award recipient are listed below:

2024 Sam Blackman Award Winner: Nathan Christensen, co-founder and CEO of Mineral

The Sam Blackman Award, named for AWS Elemental Founder & CEO and 2015 Technology Executive of the Year Sam Blackman, recognizes executives of Oregon and SW Washington based technology companies for excellence in industry leadership as well as an individual’s positive impact in the greater community.

Nathan Christensen was co-founder and CEO of Mineral, the leading HR platform for small and midsize businesses in the United States. Headquartered in downtown Portland, Nathan grew Mineral to serve more than 1M customers prior to a recent strategic acquisition by Mitratech, a global compliance technology leader for legal, risk, and HR teams. Nathan is a frequent speaker and commentator on technology, management, public policy, and the workforce, and his thought leadership has appeared in publications such as Fast Company, Morningstar, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes. He is also an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, a founding member of the law school's Center for Business Law & Innovation, a Venture Partner with the Oregon Venture Fund, a Director for the Tony Patino Fellowship, and a proud Little League coach. Nathan and his wife, Lyndsay, live in Northeast Portland with their three children.

2024 Lifetime Achievement Award: Diane Fraiman, Managing Director at Voyager Capital

The recipient of this award is recognized not only for their professional achievements but also for their influence as a mentor, role model, and advocate for the technology community in Oregon. The honoree has also played a significant role in fostering collaboration, entrepreneurship, and technological advancements, thereby shaping the state's technology industry landscape.

Diane is a Managing Director at Voyager Capital and invests in early-stage enterprise (B2B) software companies in the Pacific Northwest. Diane is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs in highly disruptive markets, such as the Future of Work, AI-enabled businesses, and Enterprise Digital Transformation, and is committed to raising the profile and mentoring women leaders.  Since joining Voyager in 2007, Diane has sourced 17 Oregon-based investments including Elemental, Act On, Skyward, Lytics and SheerID. With over 35 years of experience in the technology industry in both operational roles leading sales, marketing, and business development, and as a venture investor, Diane began her career in Sales and Marketing at Digital Equipment Corporation in the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific. She then led Marketing and Business Development for Sequent Computer (acquired by IBM), Tektronix Video and Networking Division (acquired by Danaher); Informix Software (acquired by IBM), and Sanctum, a VC-backed web application security software company (acquired by Watchfire and F5). Diane has been on the boards of TiE Oregon, the University of Oregon Seed Fund Advisory Board, the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, and Providence Women's and Children's Health. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in Biomedical Engineering and received an Executive MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Diane lives in Portland, Oregon.

“I am beyond honored to be receiving this award from TAO. My technology career started in Portland - a city and State I love and am committed to continue to work hard to help innovate and grow. Thank you for this recognition.”

2024 Tech Champion Award Winner: Juan Barraza, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at VentureLab

The Tech Champion Award was launched in 2018 to recognize a leader outside the tech community who has made a powerful impact on the Oregon and Southwest Washington industry. The Tech Champion can be from any industry outside of tech whose work has actively supported/impacted the technology industry's growth.

Juan Barraza's experience spans all facets of the startup trenches as a founder of a Digital Health startup, lead organizer of Portland Startup Weekend Latino, Co-Founder of Latino Founders, a professional organization empowering the next generation of Latino entrepreneurs, and former Director of the PSU Center for Entrepreneurship. His passion for growing entrepreneurs is infectious. Juan believes that entrepreneurship is a great equalizer in society and any individual with an idea or concept and strong work ethic can create a great venture with a direct economic impact on family and community. Juan Barraza is the Director of innovation and Entrepreneurship at VertueLab. In this role, Juan is responsible for envisioning, creating, delivering, and continuously improving upon the support programs offered to climate tech innovators and entrepreneurs.

For press inquiries, please contact Kaitlin Beauregard Leonard

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