If you attended last week’s OEN awards, then you likely saw Bend’s own Chris Vlessis win the organization’s Wyatt Starnes award, which honors the region’s most promising young entrepreneur. Vlessis is CTO of Shape Integrated Software, a Bend startup that offers PPC management software, and he’s also finishing up his CS degree at OSU-Cascades.

Chris Vlessis on the big stage at the OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards.

Vlessis won $3,000 as part of the award. He was nominated by CS professor Yong Bakos. Chris is a “great example of student representation in business in Bend and Central Oregon,” Yong says.

Chris Vlessis and Yong Bakos at last week’s OEN awards.

The OEN Wyatt Starnes award honors the legacy of the late William Wyatt Starnes, who was founder and CEO of SignaCert and cofounder of Tripwire. From the OEN website:

John Stewart, CTO of Cisco stated, “Wyatt was the rare and valuable combination of visionary, intellect, and larger-than-life entrepreneur. [He] made a huge impact on our industry during his life, and in his memory continues that legacy.”

OEN is seeking young entrepreneurs who will carry on Wyatt’s legacy. To be considered, they must embody Wyatt’s distinguishing qualities — demonstrating enthusiasm, willingness to work hard toward a goal, fearlessness when it comes to taking big risks, and commitment to changing the world for the better.

Chris received the recognition at the OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on Oct. 25. Congratulations to Chris, and thanks for being a supporter of Central Oregon’s tech and startup community.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley