PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Historical Society has named the 2023 Oregon History Makers Awards’ honorees, all of which have been influential in their respective industries — from sports to hospitality management.
OHS organizes the annual awards program to highlight individuals and companies who have made a significant impact on Oregon and continue to do so.
“Each year, the Oregon Historical Society honors living leaders and organizations that are making history through scientific discovery and exploration; innovations in business, communications, and the arts; or service in their communities,” OHS said. “Whether they were born here, lived here, or work here, these Oregon History Makers represent the best of what the state has to offer.”
Here are this year’s four honorees, who will be celebrated at a special ceremony this fall.
Sarah Mensah – Transformative Sports Industry Executive
Aloha High School and University of Oregon alumna Sarah Mensah worked with the Portland Trail Blazers for nearly 20 years, serving as a corporate sales manager, director of sponsorship sales, executive vice president and more in her tenure with the team.
Shortly after leaving the organization, Mensah became a leader for Nike’s strategic planning team for the Air Jordan brand. She now serves as the vice president and general manager at Nike North America. Essence magazine recognized Mensah for making history as the first Black woman to assume the role.
Brian B. Obie – Visionary Business and Civic Leader
Brian Obie moved to Eugene in the 1960s before becoming an active figure in the city’s government and business sector. Obie was a founding director for what is now known as Umpqua Bank, Oregon’s biggest state-chartered bank. He also served as a Eugene city councilor from 1977 to 1984, Eugene mayor from 1985 to 1988, and founding partner and investor for the 5th Street Public Market.
Obie is currently the president and owner of Obie Companies, which manages the 5th Street Public Market and Inn at the 5th among other properties.
Liz Shuler – Pathbreaking Union President
According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations that she currently serves, Milwaukie native Liz Shuler “grew up in a union household.” Her parents both worked for Portland General Electric, and her father was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Shuler later began working for IBEW’s Local Union 125, before joining AFL-CIO.
AFL-CIO covers 60 unions with about 12.5 million members. Shuler was elected as the federation’s first female president in June 2022 and has continued advocating for the labor movement with her new position.
Tillamook County Creamery Association – Beloved Oregon Brand
Since its founding in 1909, the Tillamook County Creamery Association has become one of the top dairy brands in the U.S., according to Dairy Foods, 2022 Dairy Processor of the Year. OHS says that Tillamook products are in 25% of American households and the brand has surpassed $1 billion in retail sales.
The farmer-led cooperative employs more than 900 Oregonians and claims to pay all of its staff members a living wage.
The Oregon Historical History will honor its 2023 History Makers at an awards ceremony and dinner on Sunday, Oct. 1.