2022 Oregon Connections Award Winners

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On Thursday, October 6, 2022 several individuals and organizations were given awards at the Oregon Connections Conference. The conference honors individuals and organizations who have positively impacted telecommunications development in Oregon in six categories: applications, projects, partnerships, legislation, advocacy and enduring achievement. Award nominations are evaluated by an Awards Committee that includes past Oregon Connections Award recipients.

Oregon Connections Awards 2022

Category #1:   Excellence in Telecommunications Applications.
Individual, organization or company that has developed or successfully implemented an innovative telecommunications application that demonstrates standard communications capabilities, scalable solutions to accommodate growth in demand, and/or adaptability to new applications and opportunities.

Awardee:   Oregon Hazards Lab (a research lab within the University of Oregon’s Department of Earth Sciences)

Steve CorbatĂł of Link Oregon accepting for OHAZ

The Oregon Hazards Lab (OHAZ) successfully uses science, technology, and community engagement to understand, detect, and mitigate multi-hazards within the Pacific Northwest through its Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, ShakeAlert, ALERTWildfire, Willamette Watershed Project, and Multi-hazards monitoring and alerting projects. The OHAZ mission is to use science, technology, and community engagement to understand, monitor, and mitigate multi-hazards within the Pacific Northwest.

OHAZ seeks to mitigate the state’s vulnerability to wildfire, flooding landslide, flooding, drought, windstorm, extreme heat, communications failure, power failure, earthquake and seismic events, and emerging disease. It seeks to develop the most advanced all-hazards, environmental, and ecosystem observing platform in the United States

These are significant hazards that face Oregon every day.  As an illustration, In the span of one night at the end of August, 232 lightning strikes sparked dozens of wildfires in Jackson and Josephine counties. The Rogue Valley Council of Governments is partnering with local government agencies and the University of Oregon Hazards Lab to erect 12 to 16 additional high-definition ALERTWildfire cameras in Southern Oregon over the next year.

More information on applications and projects may be found at  https://ohaz.uoregon.edu/.

Category #3:   Excellence in Telecommunications Partnerships
Individual, organization or company that has developed an innovative telecommunications partnership for the purpose of providing improved access, reliability and/or affordability for communities or promotes and accelerates adoption and utilization.

Awardee:  Tillamook County Creamery Association

Ellen Miller of Kudszus accepting for TCCA

The Tillamook County Creamery Association is recognized for their ongoing project to advance broadband availability and access programs in Oregon.

Tillamook County Creamery Association led the effort to place of two American Connection Corps (ACC) fellows in Tillamook and Morrow counties to help advance broadband availability and access programs in Oregon, and is underwriting their activities during the next two years as they work to achieve better digital connectivity in rural areas of the state.

The Association is partnering with Land-O-Lakes and other organizations that are focused on closing the Digital Divide across the nation by providing training on community organizing, broadband, and digital inclusion at the local level. Tillamook County Creamery Association is leading this effort in Oregon.

Governor Brown has publicly thanked the Association for their commitment to building digital equity in underserved areas of Oregon, and so have we!

Category #4:   Excellence in Telecommunications Policy and Legislation
Individual or organization that has participated in writing and advocating for legislation that will have a significant impact on telecommunications in Oregon. Legislator or elected representative that has effectively introduced or advocated for innovation in legislation or policy that has positively impacted access, reliability, and/or affordability of telecommunications services, or promotes and accelerates adoption and utilization of telecommunications services in Oregon.

Awardee:  Oregon State Representative Nancy Nathanson

Anne Fifield of City of Eugene accepting for Rep. Nathanson

Oregon State Legislative Representative Nancy Nathanson has a long history of developing telecommunications policies at both municipal and state government levels. She spearheaded the creation of the Eugene City Council’s Telecommunications Committee and served as the Committee Chair through a year of public policy development which continues to guide the community.

She has advised Communications Committees at the National League of Cities and the Federal Communications Commission on federal broadband policy and legislation.    

As an Oregon State Representative, she has been a long-standing key advocate for broadband access across the state and for addressing cybersecurity issues. She currently serves as Co-Chair and member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Information Management and Technology.

We recognize and thank Rep. Nancy Nathanson.

Category #5:   Outstanding Telecommunications Advocate
Individual that has made a significant contribution or gone beyond the call of duty to advocate for improved access, reliability and affordability, or promotes and accelerates adoption and utilization of telecommunications.

Awardee:  Rachael Maddock Hughes

Rachael accepting

Rachael is a leader in rural resource development and strategic initiatives and planning. She works with and supports local government, non-profits and humanitarian agencies. 

In recent years she has been instrumental in organizing and coordinating a regional Broadband Action Team for Linn, Benton, Lane, and Lincoln Counties. The BAT now includes partners from across the four-county region including LCOG, Linn ESD, Benton ESD, the cities of Florence and Eugene, and non-profit partner Siuslaw Vision. The BAT was successful in applying for and receiving $250,000 Economic Development Administration grant to fund broadband project feasibility studies in each county.

Rachael has also worked with and supported a state-wide Broadband Action Team leadership working group; and a state-wide broadband mapping effort, Faster Internet Oregon https://www.fasterinternetoregon.org/, under Link Oregon. Rachael was also a member of the Oregon Broadband Office’s Technical Working Group in 2022 to help develop the rules and regulations that will oversee up to $800M of broadband funding for the state of Oregon. 

She has had a meaningful impact on engaging local communities and supporting the state in improving broadband connectivity in Oregon.

Category #5:   Outstanding Telecommunications Advocate
Individual that has made a significant contribution or gone beyond the call of duty to advocate for improved access, reliability, and affordability, or promotes and accelerates adoption and utilization of telecommunications.

Awardee:  Krystal Stone

Krystal accepting

Krystal Stone is a key advocate of the Klamath Tribes’ ongoing efforts with a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant currently under review for $500,000. Her support and advocacy has made this pending grant to the Klamath Tribes possible.

Krystal chairs a Broadband Action and Awareness Council for the City of Chemult. She has made Chiloquin a centerpiece for rural broadband advocacy for broadband underserved community awareness. She has rallied the high school’s technical robotics team and expanded their understanding of the broadband challenges that exist within the community. She educates them on broadband technologies like fiber optic, 5G wireless and the solutions offered by service providers. 

This year, Krystal was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to be a member of the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council (OBAC) representing Tribes within the State of Oregon. She is a member of OBAC’s working group on state public policy.

Krystal has emerged as an influential advocate that we hope will be participating in Oregon’s broadband public policy development for years to come.

Category #6:   Edwin B. Parker Enduring Achievement Award
This award is presented to individuals whose contributions in telecommunications have been rendered with the greatest civility, who serve as a role model and mentor to many, and who have provided a lasting legacy influencing for years to come the course and future of telecommunications in Oregon. 

Awardee: Adam Haas

Adam accepting

This recognition is for years of service to the Oregon telecommunications landscape, and not based on any one data point.

Adam Haas has over 40 years of experience and learning in the telecommunications field, 20 of which involved management of telecommunications companies both domestically and abroad. 

Adam has spent many years helping rural communities crack the code on raising broadband capacity. It has been a tremendous learning experience with many opportunities to learn from his experiences. This can be done through grants, public/private partnerships, and leveraging existing assets like towers and fiber. First, though, it has to start with a vision for the future and local advocates ready to champion the cause for broadband. It hasn’t been an easy task. 

Over the last 20 years, Adam has devoted himself to professional consulting, having run consulting practices for W&H Pacific, Sparling, and Converge Communications in Portland, Oregon. He established Rabbit Communications in 2020, with a focus on improving broadband communications for the underserved and unserved communities. Adam is the principal and owner of Rabbit Communications. 

As part of his understanding of the role of broadband in any community, Adam believes “technical solutions are important to a robust telecommunications infrastructure, it still comes right back to people. Good people make good things happen.” 

Adam’s engaging personality and willingness to help and/or mentor has influenced how others conduct their efforts. He is not perfect by any means but demonstrates the ability to learn and grow. He has a long history of making things happen, almost always for the better. He sometimes has had to step back into a troubled project to help get it back on track.

Clients cover a diverse range: governments, developers and owners, public safety, sovereign tribal nations, wireless ISPS, carriers and broadband providers.

Adam has joined the newly formed board of the Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference. The non-profit corporation was formed to oversee the annual telecommunications conference. The conference, which has focused on improving broadband access and adoption throughout Oregon, is entering its 26th year. Adam has been participating in conference panels since 2001, sometimes as speaker and sometimes as moderator. He is serving as vice president of the organization.

Governor Kate Brown has reappointed Adam a second term to the State Interoperability Executive Council. This is his second term on the SIEC, where he represents the 9 Oregon Tribal Nations. The SIEC coordinates resources, develops policy and guideline recommendations, and identifies technology standards to facilitate coordinated Wireless propagation studies.

Adam has been a force in Oregon telecommunications for years, and hopefully will be for years to come.

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