2023 Vision Oregon Banner (1)

To make the trip to and from today’s venue easier for attendees, Lyft has provided a coupon code. It is good for up to $25 for 100 users for rides beginning or ending at the Portland Art Museum. The code, good for Oct. 25 only, is OBIVISION2023.

Welcome to #OBIVision2023, one of the state’s most important annual gatherings of business and civic leaders. We have particularly full agenda today. It begins with a keynote speech about the promise of artificial intelligence and concludes by recognizing genuine coolness. In between, we’ll recognize the winners of this year’s Visionary Awards. 

Scroll down to learn more about today’s speakers, visionaries and winners.

Keynote Speech and Business Leader Panel Discussion

Everyone seems to be talking about artificial intelligence these days. But what is it and what does it mean for businesses in Oregon? What are some of the things business leaders should be doing if they don’t want to get left behind -– and even thrive – in an artificial-intelligence age?

Futurist Steve Brown will discuss these and other topics in his keynote address. It’s a subject he knows well.

Steve has decades of experience working in high tech and groundbreaking startups. He now advises companies on how to build AI transformation strategies and speaks about the future of AI at events around the world. After a 25-year career at Intel, Steve co-founded The Provenance Chain Network, then worked at DeepMind, Google’s AI research lab in London. He is an advisor to revolutionary AI company, Energetic.

Steve has been featured on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal, and his latest book, “The Innovation Ultimatum: How Six Strategic Technologies will Reshape Every Business in the 2020s” is a how-to guide on innovation and digital transformation. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in micro-electronic systems engineering from Manchester University and has delivered keynotes in over 60 cities on six continents.

Following his keynote address, Brown will moderate a panel discussion involving business leaders, who will share their experiences with this transformation.

Panelists include:

  • Dan Drinkward. Dan is vice president of Hoffman Construction, a full-service general contractor and worldwide leader in the construction of semiconductor manufacturing buildings. Dan has been with Hoffman for 23 years and served in many roles, including engineering, estimating and project management. He currently leads business development, marketing, communications and government affairs. 
  • Graciela Gomez Cowger. Graciela is chief executive officer at Schwabe, whose nearly 170 lawyers provide full-spectrum legal services to employers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Graciela practiced as an intellectual property attorney for more than 20 years, helping individuals and businesses protect innovations and technology and healthcare. Before becoming a lawyer, Graciela was a design and manufacturing engineer for Hewlett-Packard in San Diego.
  • Mariah Robbins. Mariah is vice president of global people and operations at A-dec, the world’s leading manufacturer of reliable dental operatory equipment. Prior to joining A-dec, Maria managed research projects for Portland State University, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Portland. She was recently named one of Oregon’s “forty under 40” by the Portland Business Journal.

2023 Oregon Visionary Awards

OBI presents the Oregon Visionary Award to individuals, companies or organizations that, through steadfast service to their communities, illuminate a path to shared prosperity built upon a thriving state economy with opportunity for all Oregonians. Awardees are those willing to set aside individual interests and politics to bring Oregonians together around a common set of values with a focus on practical solutions to the most difficult challenges of our time.

Families First Childcare Center

Established by Boardman Foods, Families First Childcare serves working families by providing affordable, high-quality care to 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. 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 FarmsTillamook County Creamery AssociationLamb Weston and Amazon

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 (AMRC) established with Boeing at Sheffield University in England, OMIC R&D is the only facility of its kind in the United States. Like AMRC, it supports applied research and provides hands-on training, primarily at its facility in Scappoose. Its academic partners include Oregon TechOregon State University and Portland State University, and its industry partners include manufacturing leaders Boeing, Daimler Truck North AmericaCapture3DOregon 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.

Coolest Thing Made in Oregon Winner Revealed

The Vision Oregon Event will crown the winner of the Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest, a partnership with Here is Oregon to celebrate the state’s vibrant and innovative manufacturing sector.

Oregonians nominated more than 150 products for consideration as the state’s coolest thing. A panel of industry, media and educational leaders chose its favorite 16. And on Sept. 18, Oregonians began to vote in a bracket-style competition. Four elimination rounds have brought us to today. The 2023 Coolest Thing Made in Oregon will be either A-dec’s 500 Dental Chair or Freres Engineered Wood’s Mass Ply panels.

Follow the links below to learn more about these exceptionally cool products.

OBI Events, Latest News, Legislative Activity and More

Want to know more about OBI’s work on behalf of a prosperous Oregon this year? Follow the links below to read about our work during the 2023 legislative session, including our comprehensive end of session report; our second annual Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow, which featured nine fascinating facility tours and three business roundtables; and, of course, all of the newsletters, member profiles and other updates contained in our blog.