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Oregon Business & Industry is thrilled to announce the selection of two honorees to receive the Oregon Visionary Award – OBI’s highest honor – at its annual Vision Oregon Event, which will take place at the Portland Art Museum on Oct. 25.

OBI’s Visionary Award recognizes people, employers and organizations that strengthen Oregon’s economy and contribute significantly to shared prosperity by developing solutions to significant problems. The 2023 Visionary Award winners are:

  • The Families First Childcare Center. Established by Boardman Foods and supported by area employers, Families First Childcare serves working families by providing high-quality care at affordable monthly rates for more than 80 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. The center is the culmination of a nearly two-decade effort by Boardman Foods and Chief Operating Officer Debbie Radie to address the shortage of child care options for working families. In 2004, Radie spearheaded the creation of a licensed after-school program at Boardman Foods’ facility that served the children of company employees. The program provided help with homework and personalized instruction, freeing up parents to relax with their children after work. During the COVID pandemic, when schools shifted to remote instruction, Boardman petitioned the state child care licensing agency to offer a full-day program at an off-site location for school-age children. That expanded program was no longer restricted to Boardman employees. In January 2021, Boardman Foods owners Brian Maag and Thomas Flaherty created Families First Child Care Center LLC. In April 2022, the organization became the nonprofit Families First Child Care and continues to receive significant support not only from Boardman Foods, but also from other area employers, including Threemile Canyon Farms, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Lamb Weston and Amazon. The center operates during weekdays year-round from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Neal Early Learning Center in the Port of Morrow.
  • The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC R&D). OMIC R&D combines the efforts of industry and academic partners to develop advanced metals manufacturing technologies and processes while training the sophisticated workforce needed by current and future manufacturers. Founded in 2017 and modeled on the influential Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre established with Boeing at Sheffield University in England, OMIC R&D is the only facility of its kind in the United States. It similarly supports applied research and provides hands-on training, primarily at its facility in Scappoose. Its academic partners include Oregon Tech, Oregon State University and Portland State University, and its industry partners include manufacturing leaders Boeing, Daimler Truck North America, Capture3D, Oregon Tool and many others. OMIC R&D’s work supports manufacturers, which provide well over 200,000 jobs in Oregon and contribute more than $33 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product. Its work also prepares students for manufacturing jobs, which typically pay 17% more than jobs in other sectors, according to research funded by OBI.

This year’s Vison Oregon Event also will feature a keynote address by noted futurist Steve Brown focusing on artificial intelligence technology, which he has called the biggest transformation since the development of the internet. Brown’s address will be followed by a panel discussion with Oregon business leaders about their experience with artificial intelligence. And at this year’s Vision Oregon Event, OBI will announce the winner of the inaugural Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest.

Though the October event will mark the third annual Vision Oregon Event, it has a long and cherished history in the state. Previously known as the Statesman Dinner, OBI’s flagship event has been one of the largest convenings of Oregon political and business leaders for 20 years now.

Past winners of the Visionary Award are Looptworks founder Scott Hamlin, Dutch Bros Coffee, Alando Simpson with COR Disposal and Recycling, Rogue Food Unites, and Bill and Karla Chambers of Stahlbush Island Farms.


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