Technology Association of Oregon Celebrates Recipients of 2023 Individual Awards
The annual Oregon Technology Awards ceremony recognizes recipients and honorees of the 2023 Sam Blackman, Tech Champion, and Lifetime Achievement Awards
Portland, Ore. – September 26, 2023 – 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 illustrate the breadth of technical talent and support found in the region, and how individual efforts can quickly scale to enact change and positively influence communities across the globe.”
Details for each award recipient are listed below:
- 2023 Sam Blackman Award Winner: Jake Weatherly, CEO, SheerID
Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID, was named the winner of this year’s Sam Blackman Executive of the Year Award for transforming the Portland-headquartered company into the global identity verification for commerce leader that it is today.
Under Weatherly’s leadership, SheerID pioneered a new form of personalization that helps brands connect with consumer communities including students, teachers, military service members, first responders, and more. Global retail brands work with SheerID to identify, verify, acquire, and develop loyal customer relationships from hundreds of valuable consumer groups while also making products, services, and experiences more accessible to the people who make our communities better places to live and work. Each year brands that work with SheerID give back to tens of millions of individuals who are the backbone of communities around the world.
SheerID’s software is used to verify more than 2.5 billion people globally via 20,000+ authoritative data sources, providing identity verification services for global retail brands like Amazon, Nike, Spotify, and AT&T. The SheerID platform ensures that customer information is never shared or sold, providing a rare privacy-friendly solution for individuals wanting better control of their data. Since founding SheerID in Eugene in 2011, Weatherly has maintained his commitment to growing and investing in the local tech community within Oregon, championing technology entrepreneurship, social justice, and education.
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. Sam Blackman founded Elemental Technologies in 2006 with Brian Lewis and Jesse Rosenzweig. Blackman led the company from a tiny start-up to one of Portland’s major employers before selling it to Amazon in 2015. He stayed on as CEO of AWS Elemental and was awarded the Technology Association of Oregon’s Technology Executive of the Year in 2015. Blackman passed away suddenly in 2017 at age 41, and the Technology Executive of the Year Award was renamed in his honor.
- 2023 Tech Champion Award Winner: Terrel Smith, Oregon Computer Sciences Teachers Association
Terrel Smith, Sherwood High School-Sherwood School District Computer Science, and Information Systems Educator, was named the winner of this year’s Tech Champion Award, thanks to his 40-plus years of teaching and leadership experience in the Sherwood School District, the Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association, and the State of Oregon.
During his tenure, Smith has had a direct impact on over 10,000 computer science and STEM students at Sherwood High School, with an estimated 5% of those students directly entering the high-tech workforce during or after high-school training. His leadership and experience have led to him being requested on committees at the Oregon Department of Education, the National Educators Association, the Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association (local and national), and Office of Information and Technology at the White House. From those meetings, Smith has influenced legislation that ultimately provided $1.5M in teacher training support funds designed for computer science education professional development in several regions around Oregon.
In addition to educating students, Smith’s mentorship experience extends to fellow educators for the past 25 years. He has personally mentored and instructed over 750 technology educators, going even a step further to consult with state-wide administrators on how to start computer science courses at their high schools.
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 industries. The Tech Champion can be from any industry outside of tech whose work has actively supported/impacted the technology industry’s growth.
- 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave and Christine Vernier, Vernier Science Education
Dave and Christine Vernier, cofounders of Vernier Science Education, were named the winners of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, thanks to their decades-long contributions to the fields of education, technology, and philanthropy.
Since its inception 40 years ago in Beaverton, Vernier Science Education has become a world-renowned institution known for its award-winning interfaces, sensors, software, and lab books. With its products widely used in 150 countries, the Verniers’ have inspired countless generations of students from around the world in the field of STEM through hands-on scientific investigation and study.
The Verniers’ philanthropic endeavors have also made a significant impact on countless educational, environmental, and social service organizations both locally and nationwide, including Portland State University, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette, among others. A $4.5 million pledge to Portland State University to renovate the campus’ key STEM facility supports their vision of nurturing a thriving educational system that fosters excellence and creativity here in the Pacific Northwest.
The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement 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, shaping the state’s technology industry landscape.
About the Oregon Technology Awards:
The 2023 Oregon Technology Awards is presented by UnitedHealthcare and Cushman & Wakefield. This is the 39th year of the awards, and TAO anticipates drawing more than 600 attendees, including entrepreneurs and tech professionals from across the region and around the globe. View pictures from the 2023 Individual Oregon Tech Awards here!
About the Technology Association of Oregon (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 500 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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