BEST Hires Commercialization Manager

Oregon BEST Hires Manager to Lead, Expand Commercialization Program

The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) has hired a veteran of new product development and early-stage company financing to lead its Commercialization Program, which is targeted at transforming renewable energy and green building research into new products, companies and jobs for Oregonians.

Ken Vaughn brings to Oregon BEST more than 25 years of experience in entrepreneurial management, engineering, product development, marketing and product management in a range of industries. Most recently, he served as vice president of marketing and product management for Jadoo Power, a California manufacturer of solar and fuel cell products. 

Previously, Vaughn served as executive director of advanced technology at AirTouch Communications (acquired by Vodafone and Verizon) and has led product development teams at startup companies in the telecommunications, industrial automation and computer industries. He has experience in starting companies, advising early-stage companies and investing in early-stage ventures. Vaughn holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, Arlington.

“Having Ken on the Oregon BEST team will speed our mission of connecting companies with university researchers to more quickly commercialize research breakthroughs and drive Oregon’s green economy,” said David Kenney, president and executive director of Oregon BEST. “He will also help new and existing companies tap the Oregon BEST network of shared-user research facilities and other resources available to Oregon firms who need access to critical research tools and expertise.”

The Oregon BEST Commercialization Program accelerates the commercialization of technologies developed by universities and small businesses in Oregon. One of the program’s key features is commercialization grant funding to bridge the gap between traditional R&D funding sources and the availability of private investment. The program will also provide mentoring to researchers and startups by the entrepreneurs-in-residence that will be added to the Oregon BEST team in the coming months. 

“Among my top priorities at Oregon BEST is expanding the Commercialization Grant Program, which strategically awards grants to university-industry teams to help them bridge the ‘valley of death’ between technology invention and commercial viability,” Vaughn said. “We’ll be announcing a new round of grant opportunities in the coming weeks.”

Vaughn said his new position with Oregon BEST aligns very well with his “keen interest” in new technologies for renewable energy and the sustainable built environment and the fact Oregon is a national epicenter for innovation and commercialization of these technologies.

“I’m very excited to be helping cement Oregon’s reputation as a place where green research and innovation fuel a green economy,” he said.

For more information about the Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant Program, see Oregon BEST's website. Vaughn can be reached at 503-725-9801. 

About Oregon BEST: The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) brings together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths in the key innovation clusters of renewable energy and sustainable built environment products and services, with the goal of increasing research and accelerating public/private partnerships to transform that research into on-the-ground business opportunities and Oregon jobs. Since being established by the Oregon Legislature in 2007, Oregon BEST’s 190 member faculty have generated more than $45 million in research revenue from federal, industry and foundation sources to Oregon. At its four partner universities (Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and University of Oregon), Oregon BEST has established a network of seven shared-user research facilities that specialize in research ranging from solar and wind energy to high-tech building insulation, windows, architecture, eco-districts, and more.

Media Contact: Gregg Kleiner, 541-740-9654
Sources: David Kenney, 503-725-9849; Ken Vaughn, 530-320-3935