Innovators and inventors of all kinds have been called to Corvallis on Thursday as part of Willamette Innovators Night, a new name for the annual High Tech after Hours event.
For six years, software and technology professionals gathered at the after-hours event. This year, the broader invitation is to innovators in any field to meet and learn from each other.
"We were finding that being associated with software and IT was limiting," said Mark Van Patten, chairman of the event planning committee. "We were wanting to be accessible to the broader innovation community. Technology is in any industry."
James Curleigh, CEO of KEEN Footwear, will kick off the event with a keynote speech, followed by a display featuring the history of mid-valley innovation and a full lineup of business exhibits.
Later, bloggers from Corvallis, Salem and Portland will mingle in a three-city Beer & Blog event, followed by the second Ignite Corvallis, a rapid-fire series of presentations in which participants have five minutes and 20 auto-advancing PowerPoint slides to discuss a topic.
Last year's event attracted dozens to a conference room in the CH2MHill Alumni Center. This year, tickets are sold out for the LaSells Stewart Center next door. Plans are to broadcast the presentations into the theater lobby to accommodate everyone.
In addition, organizers will present community choice awards for Linus Pauling Innovator of the Year and the Willamette Innovative Business/Organization of the Year. Voting for the awards is continuing on the event's Web site until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Van Patten said he's expecting a crowd of about 500 at the event, although he said the broader scope of the event may be limited somewhat by a sluggish economy.
"A lot of people are hesitant to engage and put themselves out there," he said. "We don't really know what's going to happen."
Willamette Innovators Night is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, MegaTech of Oregon, Sanda Communications, Software Association of Oregon Corvallis Chapter, the Corvallis-Benton Chamber Coalition and Oregon State University's Colleges of Business, Engineering and Science.
Matt Neznanski can be reached at 758-9518 or email@example.com.