The Technology Association of Oregon announced the winners of the 2017 Oregon Technology Awards Thursday night at the Oregon Convention Center. The big winners for Technology Company of the Year, broken down by maturity, were:
The TAO Technology Awards has outgrown the Portland Art Museum for a larger space at the OCC. It has also ditched the goofy scripted comedy of previous years. Approximately 550 local tech workers attended. Monica Enand, CEO of Zapproved which makes software for automatic discovery for legal counsels, MC'd the event. Enand told the Business Tribune the community is maturing and has one outstanding characteristic: "I have never, ever seen the degree of cooperation in any other tech community that there is here in Portland."
The awards are designed to "celebrate excellence and achievement within the region's vibrant technology community." Many speakers noted that the community has grown in recent years.
Equity was a constant theme, and Enand praised everyone from the girls robotics team from West Linn, G.E.A.R.S., to Jill Nelson of Ruby Receptionists who was named the 2017 Technology Executive of the Year.
Sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield of Nike was the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. A video explained how his fantasy of self-tying MAG shoes for the movie Back to the Future became a reality with the Nike Hyperadapts. He said the secret of his success was to "be yourself" and to outsource difficult technology.
ZincFive's CEO Tim Hysell made an impassioned speech about carrying on the work of Thomas Edison with his nickel-zinc rechargeable batteries, only the fifth type of battery every made. He said it was a hard, slow business, and he was amazed that it was happening here in Wilsonville, Oregon.
"Some of us in this room may not live to see the sixth," he said.