A Few Words from Jim
The Oregon Connections Conference is celebrating 25 years of pushing and inspiring Oregon to be a leader in Broadband.
I have been a part of the internet industry since it started and I wanted to focus this issue on something we all take for granted.
The always on, always available internet service that we all use every single day and night.
But it just didn’t happen by itself. As this issue came together (I started collecting story ideas for it in March) I did a lot of reflection about my own experiences as we all went through this journey together.
I think Oregon is a pretty special place. Not only because of the natural beauty that surrounds us, but also the courage and tenacity of its residents. When the internet started to become something important, it took crazy entrepreneurs all over the state to step up and say they could deliver the services required to get us online. That’s the Oregon way. We don’t wait for the big companies to show up and fix our problems. We do it ourselves. Everyday.
In the last 25 years, I have seen this spirit first hand. These brave entrepreneurs entered into a race that would require almost daily upgrades to handle the growth and innovation being poured on them as everything in life changed. They invested, became self-taught about everything, climbed poles and towers, worked day and night in rain, sleet and scorching heat to build the network that was required to keep the communities they live in and love, connected and vibrant and relevant in the future they saw coming.
These nerdy tech heroes are a big part of what I focused on in this issue.
25 years is a long time. It was shaping up to be a great issue.
And then we lost two of us. As the issue was coming together Coastal Internet pioneer, Greg Palser, lost his battle with cancer and Southern Oregon Telecommunications Entrepreneur and community leader, Jeff Rhoden, lost his 2 week long battle with COVID. The passing of these two leaders in our industry shook me pretty hard. I wanted to honor them, and I do, but they deserve a full journal dedicated to each of them. They did so much and inspired so many. They both leave large holes in the communities they served and will be missed for a very, very long time.
So here you go. A special edition. It’s a peek behind the curtain to the dreamers that kept Oregon connected and into the communities, policy makers and one annual conference that brought us all together to celebrate and inspire.
We aren’t done but we are getting older. It’s time to start focusing on the next generation of dreamers and doers. These young Oregonians that will show the world that Oregon is still a special place where we honor the past and always look forward to the future, we build for ourselves.