Grid Forward Announces Winners of First Grid Innovator Awards

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Uplight, Portland General Electric and Terry Oliver are recognized for their industry-defining contributions to modernizing the electric grid.

August 20,2020 – As part of its 10-year anniversary celebration, Grid Forward announced the winners of the Grid Innovator Awards during its Annual Member Meeting on August 20, 2020. Uplight, Portland General Electric and Terry Oliver were honored for their roles in helping lead the regional electric utility industry forward in grid modernization over the past 10 years.

“Grid Forward has become the place where our regional stakeholders come together to promote and accelerate grid modernization,” said Bryce Yonker, Grid Forward executive director. “While so many people and organizations have contributed to the cause, our Grid Innovation Winners have regularly stepped up with significant contributions.”

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Industry: Uplight 

Grid Innovation Award winner Uplight, with Justin Segall
Justin Segall, Chief Strategy Officer, holds Uplight’s Grid Innovator Award.

Uplight has transformed what customer engagement means in the utility industry. Uplight has continuously provided innovative products that bring greater efficiency, flexibility, equity and decarbonization to the energy sector. The combined work of its legacy companies (Tendril, Simple Energy, EnergySavvy, FirstFuel, Ecotagious, and EEme) represents a monolithic contribution toward allowing regional energy customers to take a more active role in the two-way energy grid of the future.

“Since the formation of Uplight a year ago, we’ve been motivated by the belief that creating a modern grid will require a customer-centric approach. To be recognized by Grid Forward is especially meaningful because it means a leading organization in the industry believes in both our vision and execution.” – Justin Segall, Chief Strategy Officer at Uplight.

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Utility: Portland General Electric 

Grid Innovator Award winner Portland General Electric
Maria Pope, President and CEO at Portland General Electric, and Larry Bekkedahl, vice president of Grid Architecture, Integration & Systems Operations, accept the Grid Innovator Award for Utilities from Grid Forward.

PGE has consistently led the region in demonstrating the value of grid innovation to utilities and their customers, and played a key role in founding and supporting Grid Forward. PGE has been aggressive in its pursuit to decarbonize the energy sector, modernize the distribution grid, engage and empower its communities, and better meet customer needs.

We’re honored to receive the Grid Forward inaugural innovation award. A smart, integrated grid paves the way for the reliable, affordable clean energy customers want. We’re proud to have been an active supporter of Grid Forward since its founding, and are dedicated to our ongoing work to modernize our grid so customers can actively participate in the move to a clean energy future.” – Larry Bekkedahl vice president of Grid Architecture, Integration & Systems Operations at Portland General Electric

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Individual: Terry Oliver

Grid Innovator Award winner Terry Oliver

Through his time at Bonneville Power Administration, Terry Oliver led several seminal initiatives that have had a lasting impact on the region and the industry broadly. His vision for a centralized R&D program led to breakthrough technologies in the areas of seismic hardening, energy efficiency, situational awareness, system resiliency and optimization that will continue to pay dividends for the industry and customers for decades to come. Terry has been an important advisor to Grid Forward during its first decade.

The winners received their awards at Grid Forward’s Annual Member Meeting, a virtual event on August 20, 2020. In addition to organization updates and business, the meeting played host to a live podcast recording with Audrey Zibelman, CEO of Australia Energy Market Operator. This podcast will appear in the Grid Forward Chats series available on popular podcast apps. More information about the annual meeting and members are at

About Grid Forward

Grid Forward is a 501(c)(6) non-profit, member-driven trade association dedicated to promoting and accelerating innovation on the regional electric system. We deliver community, expertise and resources for leaders who are working to modernize the grid. Founded as Smart Grid Oregon in 2010, the organization became Smart Grid Northwest in 2014 to reflect its broadening member base, and then became Grid Forward in 2019 as it focused on the greater challenge of grid modernization across much of the western U.S. More information can be found at

Media contact: David Smith, director of marketing, Grid Forward

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