Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division today announced that Charlie Kawasaki, chief technical officer of its PacStar® business, will receive the 2021 Tech Champion Award given by the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) at its awards ceremony this Friday, September 17, 2021, in Portland, Oregon. PacStar is a leading developer and supplier of advanced communications solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The Tech Champion Award recognizes a leader who has made a powerful impact on the technology industry in Oregon and Southwest Washington through innovative collaboration, mentorship, and the education and expansion of a robust future workforce. Kawasaki will be recognized for the award as part of the 37th Annual Oregon Technology Awards ceremony celebrating excellence and achievement in the region’s technology industry on Sept. 16.
Kawasaki has more than 35 years of experience in the technology industry, working with early-stage and established technology companies throughout Oregon and Washington to create dozens of software products for Internet infrastructure, cybersecurity, PC management, and relational databases. As CTO for PacStar, Kawasaki currently leads the company’s technology strategy and future product roadmap for its proprietary product lines. He also leads PacStar’s strategic initiatives – investigating and developing new integrated solutions and technologies to meet customer needs. PacStar’s innovative products have won numerous major program-of-record awards from the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines. Some examples of product innovations that Kawasaki has led include PacStar Secure Wireless Command Post (SWCP) and a series of products designed for classified networks using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment under the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program. Kawasaki was also part of the team that was awarded a U.S. patent for the invention in management and setup of network encryption systems embodied in the PacStar IQ-Core® Crypto Manager.
“Our Tech Champion award recognizes excellence in industry leadership as well as an individual’s positive impact in our technology community,” said Skip Newberry, TAO President and CEO. “We are thrilled to recognize Charlie as the 2021 Tech Champion Award winner for all of his tireless work over the years in our technology community. Charlie’s work will continue to have a positive impact that will be felt for years to come throughout Oregon’s tech community.”
Peggy J. Miller, senior general manager, PacStar Business Unit, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions division, said Kawasaki’s honor comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked with him. “It is with pleasure that we congratulate Charlie for this significant award. At PacStar, we have had the privilege of working with Charlie for more than 16 years and during that time he has driven numerous technology and cybersecurity-related innovations which have been extremely valuable to our mission. I’m very proud of his contributions to PacStar and Curtiss-Wright as well as his leadership in the local technology community. If there is a significant technology project going on with a cybersecurity focus and community benefit within Oregon, then there’s a high likelihood that Charlie Kawasaki is behind it.”
Throughout his career, Kawasaki has been a leader in Oregon’s technology community. As the chairman and board member of the Software Association of Oregon (now merged with TAO) for nine years and as an active board member of TAO for nearly four years, Kawasaki has played a key role advocating for the technology community throughout the state. As a leader of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council established by Governor Kate Brown in 2017, Kawasaki currently leads the council’s strategic efforts to build tangible solutions to protect the digital lives of all Oregonians and he was a driving force behind the creation of CyberOregon.com. In 2019, he was named Outstanding Industry Collaborator by Oregon State University and he currently serves on the Executive Committee and Industry Advisory Board of OSU’s College of Engineering’s EECS department. Previously, Kawasaki served on the board of Smart Grid Northwest (now Grid Forward) trade association to enable, promote, and grow the smart grid industry and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, in 2016, he co-founded NW Cyber Camp, a cybersecurity camp for high school students to educate those students in cybersecurity and the many career opportunities in the field.
“I’m very honored to be recognized by TAO with the Tech Champion award. I’m particularly proud of launching NW Cyber Camp with my daughter Amelia and Zander Work, and growing it over the years into one of the leading cybersecurity extracurricular programs for high school students,” said Kawasaki. “I’m also proud of my work with the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council which has brought together a large group of higher education leaders to help increase our state’s cybersecurity workforce. One of my current activities that I’m the most optimistic about is the launch and growth of the Oregon Teaching and Research Security Operations Center (ORTSOC) that OSU’s EECS department is developing.”
This year, due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the 2021 Oregon Technology Awards Program is limiting the in-person awards ceremony to 250 people but expects to draw hundreds of additional virtual attendees via free live stream of the event, including entrepreneurs and tech professionals from across the region and around the globe. You may register for the event here.