On Saturday, August 27, 2017, a family, the city of Portland, the business community, and the Oregon Executive MBA lost a cherished man. Sam Blackman—AWS Elemental cofounder and CEO and an Oregon Executive MBA alumnus—was a pioneer, a leader, a mentor, an innovator, and an advocate.
Blackman was an exemplary business leader who will be greatly missed. He possessed a unique brand of tech genius, emotional IQ, inclusiveness, and a moral compass that guided his every decision. In addition to being a respected tech leader in the Pacific Northwest, Blackman was nationally recognized as well. His love for Portland was contagious, and he was a great example of how important it is for businesses to support their communities.
With more than 400 employees, AWS Elemental—the company Blackman founded and led—is arguably one of the fastest growing tech companies in the state. AWS Elemental pioneered software for transmitting video over the internet. If you stream video on your smartphone, you're using technology AWS Elemental built.
Blackman was also the key driver for AWS Elemental’s civic engagement. It’s one thing to grow a successful business but it’s another thing to make the world a better place in the process, which is what Blackman did.
If we do our job right at Oregon Executive MBA, we will create more leaders like Blackman. Blackman and AWS Elemental supported so many worthy social causes, but education was always the core of Blackman's mission. For this reason, we believe the best way to continue Blackman's legacy is to create the next generation of business leaders who strive to be game-changers in their industries and communities.