The Mercury News
Tech Awards are valley at its best
About 1,500 Silicon Valley techies and trendsetters packed into the Santa Clara Convention Center for the 12th annual Tech Awards on Thursday night. The black- tie event has grown into the valley’s version of the Oscars, but in this case, the big names aren’t celebrating each other, but instead saluting innovators working to save the world, one problem at a time.
The Tech Museum’s big event is always inspiring and captures the spirit of Silicon Valley a lot better than Bravo’s current reality show, “Start- Ups: Silicon Valley,” does.
Too bad the Tech Awards aren’t the way the world’s being introduced to the valley. Can you imagine how many people might be motivated after hearing stories about people inventing infant baby warmers and creating floodresistant strains of rice?
The roster of valley luminaries in attendance was too long to list, but some names can’t be ignored, like Applied Materials founder Jim Morgan and his wife, Becky Morgan.
“Jim is so well- known here in the valley,” Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter said. “He’s built a much- admired legacy in business and the community.”
It’s his name on the James C. Morgan Humanitarian Award, which was presented to Infosys founder N. R. Narayana Murthy. Murthy spoke about bringing confidence and dignity to the poor, which could have been the theme of the evening.
The whole show was topnotch, from the giant projection screens to the transcendent dinner entertainment— contralto Elizabeth Anker sang “From a Distance,” accompanied by Dolores Duran- Cefalu on piano.
There even was a live interview with two previous laureates, Andrea Rezende and Abhinav Sinha. The trick was that she was in Brazil and he was in India, but for a few minutes they were both in Silicon Valley.
There were lots of fun moments too, like when Matt Harding of the globe- trotting “Where the Hell is Matt?” video series wildly danced on stage with the Tech Awards laureates.
Describing this year’s laureates, Tech Museum CEO Tim Ritchie used a phrase, “ethical imagination,” that really captures the Silicon Valley spirit. That’s the kind of valley reality that should be on TV.
TALKING TURKEY: Applied Materials President Gary Dickerson kicked off the company’s holiday food drive last Tuesday with a donation of more than 8,000 pounds of food to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. That translates to about 6,000 additional meals that Second Harvest will be able to provide for Thanksgiving on Thursday.
And there’s still time to donate desperately needed turkeys to Second Harvest in time for the holiday. The Curtner Center dock is open 8 a. m. to 8 p. m. Saturday and 8 a. m. to 2 p. m. Sunday . Remember not to put turkeys in the collection bins or they’ll spoil and help no one.
TREES A CROWD: There’s still room at Valle Monte League’s 45th annual Christmas tree Elegance events at the end of this month. Tickets are available for the Morning Coffee on Nov. 29 and the big finale on Nov. 30.
Each event includes a fashion show and the chance to view and bid on some beautifully designed Christmas trees ( and all the gifts beneath them).
Proceeds benefit five South Bay mental health agencies. Make reservations or get more details at www. vallemonte. org.
LOSS OF A HERO: I’ve written a few times about San Jose resident Harold “Skip” Adams, a decorated Marine and World War II veteran . Sadly, he died Monday, on the observance of Veterans Day and just days after his 86th birthday.
A funeral Mass is planned for 11 a. m. Monday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in San Jose, followed by an interment with full military honors at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.