Oregon Connections
 : 25 years of pushing Oregon Broadband Adoption Forward

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The Oregon Connections conference has been an important event held throughout the state for 25 years celebrating and inspiring the rapid adoption and upgrading of internet services throughout the state. 

Oregon Connections was started in 1996 by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, under the leadership of Andrew Spreadborough.

Throughout the conferences history it has been held in 4 locations around the state. 

Bend              1996 through 2005     (ten years)

Newport         2006 through 2009     (four years)

Hood River    2010 through 2018     (nine years)

Ashland         2019, 2021, 2022 (planned)

Chris Tamarin became involved in 2002 and served as the Chair of the Planning Committee since 2006.

Chris retired this year so this will be his last year as chair and it’s also the 25th year since it started, so we thought it would be a good time to look back at the conference and how forward thinking it was, as it engaged the Oregon business community, local and state elected officials and service providers in conversations about the future and how the internet was important to the state. 

One facet of the conference are the awards. Below are the awards presented to people or organizations in different categories that helped shape Telecommunications in Oregon. 

Oregon Connections Excellence in Telecommunications Awards and Recipients

Category #1: Excellence in Telecommunications Applications

Individual, organization or company that has developed and/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.

2017 :  Shawn Irvine, City of Independence

2015 :  Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI)

2012 :  Oregon Health and Science University

2011 :  LS Networks

2011 :  Bend Broadband Vault

2009 :  Don Westlight of Oregon Health & Science University and the 

                           Oregon Health Network

2007 :  Oregon Association of Hospital and Health Systems Research and 

                           Education Foundation

2006 : Central Oregon Independent Practice Association

2005 : One-Economy Corporation

2004 : Telehealth Alliance of Oregon
2003 : Frank Miller, Oregon Trail Internet
2002 : Pioneer Library System (La Grande), Patricia Cutright
2001 : Tom Cook, Oregon Public Education Network

Category #2: Excellence in Telecommunications Projects

Individual, organization or company that has developed innovative projects or strategies to provide better access, reliability and/or affordability to telecommunications services for underserved and rural regions.

2019 :  BendTel 

2018 :  Mid-Columbia Economic Development District 

2018 :  Dan Bubb, Gorge Networks 

2018 :  Eastern Oregon Net, Inc. 

2016 :  City of Eugene, EWEB, TAO, and LCOG

2016 :  Innovate Oregon, Dayton School District, and Online NW

2015 :  Sherman County

2014 :  Hunter Communications

2014 :  Lane County Area Public Agency Network

2014 :  Chris Burns, Charter Communications 

2013 :  NetCity, Inc.

2013 :  Steve Noel, SWIC, State of Oregon

2012 :  David Crowe, Network for Education and Research in Oregon (NERO)

2012 :  SandyNet, City of Sandy

2011 :  Keith Grunberg, Charter Communications

2011 :  John Irwin, J Irwin Community Informatics Consulting

2011 :  Oregon Health Network

2010 :  Oregon Municipal Audit Review Committee

2009 :  Hunter Communications, Central Point, Oregon

2008 s:  City of Lebanon, Phillip Barker of Curry County, and Verizon 

2007 s:  Keith Grunberg and Bradley Kuhnert, both of Charter Communications

2006 : John Stadter, ComSpanUSA

2005 : City of The Dalles/Q-Life Project
2004 : Century Tel
2003 : Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
2002 : Ben Doty, NoaNet Oregon
2001 : Dave Sabala, Douglas Electric Cooperative

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 underserved and rural communities.

2019 :  Windwave 

2018 :  Digital Inclusion Network

2018 :  Q-Life, City of Maupin, and LS Networks

2016 :  Duke Dexter 

2014 :  MINET 

2012 :  Derek Abrams of Oregon State University and Sean McSpaden of State of Oregon

2012 :  Warm Springs Telecom

2011 :  Tamer Kirac

2010 :  Rio Networks

2009 :  Marsha Spellman and Adam Haas of Converge Communications

2008 :  Michael Weidman of LS Networks

2006 :  Greg Palser, CoastCom

2005 :  Agnes Box, Oregon Institute of Technology; and Bob Hensley, Cal-Ore Telephone

                            Company for the Klamath Falls/OIT Open Access Hut project.

2004 : Rich Ryan, Hunter Communications
2003 : Ed Parker, ORTCC and CoastNet

Category #4: Excellence in Telecommunications Legislation or Policy

Individual or organization that has participated in writing and advocating for legislation that will have a significant impact on rural telecommunications. 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 rural telecommunications services. 

2019 :  Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh  

2017 :  Governor Kate Brown

2015 :  Senate Bill 144 Work Group

2013 :  Oregon State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

2011 :  Oregon State Representative Phil Barnhart

2007 :  Telehealth Alliance of Oregon

2006 : Mary Beth Henry, City of Portland/Mt. Hood Regulatory Commission

2005 :  Rob Myers, Tri-County Communications and the Oregon Telecommunications Coordinating Council 

2003 : Representative Laurie Monnes-Anderson, Gresham; and Alice Nelson, Pendleton       

2001 : Senator David Nelson, Pendleton

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 of telecommunications.

2019 :  John Huffman, State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture RUS 

2017 :  Matt Hiefield, Beaverton School District

2017 :  Commissioner Ken Kestner, Lake County

2016 :  Eric Rosenberry

2015 :  Jeremy Pietzold, City of Sandy Council President

2013 :  Eric Schmidt, Association of Oregon Counties

2012 :  Rich Bader, EasyStreet Online Services

2011 :  Bob Jenks, Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon

2010 :  Shay Dakan, Oregon State University 

2010 :  Milo Mecham, Lane Council of Governments

2009 :  Ray Baum of the Public Utility Commission of Oregon

2008 :  Pam Berrian of the City of Eugene

2007 :  Jack Crider, President of Tillamook Lightwave

2006 : Onno Husing, Oregon Coast Zone Management Association

2005 s:  Link Shadley, ANKI Solutions and Chris Tamarin, Oregon Economic and

Community Development Department.

2004 : Shayne Maxwell, Southern Oregon EAS Region
2003 s: John Irwin, ORTCC and SOTTC; and Ron Trullinger, Qwest
2002 : Cathy Britain, RodeoNet
2001 : Cindy Weeldreyer, Lane County Commissioner/ Fiber South Consortium Chair

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.

2019 :  Don Patten 

2018 :  Joseph Franell 

2018 :  Todd Way 

2017 :  Jim Teece

2016 :  Greg Palser

2016 :  Richard Ryan

2015 :  Milo Mecham

2015 :  Chris Tamarin

2014 :  Pam Berrian 

2014 :  John Irwin

2014 :  Dave Sabala

2013 : Cathy Britain

2011 : Ray Baum

2011 : Keith A. Mobley

2010 : Amy Tykeson 

2009 : Curt Pederson 

2009 : Ginny Lang 

2009 : State Senator David Nelson 

Other Awards:

2015 20th Anniversary All-Stars:  Mike Dewey

2015 20th Anniversary All-Stars:  Steve Eldrige

2015 20th Anniversary All-Stars:  David Olson

2009 Economic Development through Telecommunications:  Chris Tamarin of the Oregon Business Development Department

2008 Lifetime Achievement Award:  Agnes Box, Oregon Institute of Technology

2005 Enduring Achievement Award:  Ben Doty, Telecommunications Advocate; Q-Life, CoastNet                                                                           

2004 Enduring Achievement Award: Ed Parker, Parker Telecommunications and  Oregon Telecommunications Coordinating Council 

2004 Enduring Achievement Award: Mike Johnson, Deschutes National Forest,               COTel Chair and Founder

2004 Legislative Champion Award: Bill Penhollow, Association of Oregon Counties

2003 Lifetime Achievement Award: PUC Chair Joan Smith

2003 Lifetime Achievement Award: Terry Edvalson, Edvalson and Associates
2001 Excellence in Telecommunications Opportunities and Initiatives: Eric Alexander, Connecting Oregon Communities Board/ St. Charles Medical Center (Bend)

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