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Tech Awards Honors International Innovators Using Technology to Solve Pressing Global Problems

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - November 13, 2015) - Philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge, along with 10 innovators from around the world, were honored tonight at the 15thannual Tech Awards Gala at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Considered the "Oscars of Silicon Valley," The Tech Awards - presented by Applied Materials - is a premiere event and program that celebrates those who are using technology to solve the world's most pressing problems.

John and Tashia Morgridge accepted the 2015 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award for their philanthropic commitment to education, public service and the environment. Sponsored by Applied Materials, this award honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership address humanity's most challenging problems.

"The global humanitarian challenges are many and varied. This group of laureates and folks like them give us hope. I congratulate them for their efforts and urge them to stay the course," said John Morgridge.

John P. Morgridge joined Cisco Systems as President and CEO in 1998. Two years later, he took the company public, transforming it into a tech powerhouse, and in 2006 he became chairman emeritus. Tashia studied education at the University of Wisconsin before becoming a special education teacher. The pair met in high school in Wisconsin, and in their married life developed a desire to improve education around the world.

The Morgridges join a prestigious roster of previous Global Humanitarian Award winners, including media pioneer Ted Turner (2014); inventor Dean Kamen (2013); Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy (2012); social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll (2011); education and cross-cultural dialogue advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan (2010); and Nobel laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (2009).

Applied Materials Chairman Emeritus James C. Morgan, who inspired the award more than a decade ago, was its first recipient in 2004.

The Tech Awards laureates honored over the years now number 287, and many have achieved global success. Since its inception in 2001, the program has awarded laureates $4.85 million in unrestricted cash prizes. This year's laureates are doing a wide range of work - from helping prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa to stopping animal poachers in China to repairing birth defects. (See below for the complete list of this year's laureates.)

"Thank you to the Morgridges and to all of this year's laureates for their tireless efforts in making the world a better place," said Gary Dickerson, President and CEO of Applied Materials. "Their commitment to finding innovative ways to address needs in communities around the world is truly inspiring."

Also tonight, Embrace - the 2012 Tech Awards laureate that makes a low-cost infant warmer used by more than 150,000 premature babies worldwide - accepted the second annual Laureate Impact Award, sponsored by PayPal. The award recognizes past laureates who have made significant progress toward solving a global problem since being honored by The Tech Awards.. Embrace is receiving a $25,000 prize.

The 2015 laureates are being honored in five categories: the Intel Environment Award, the Microsoft Education Award, the Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award, the Sobrato Organization Economic Development Award, and the Sutter Health Award. Laureates received unrestricted cash prizes totaling $500,000, with each taking home $50,000.

"Over the years this gala has introduced us to 287 remarkable people we call our laureates," said Tim Ritchie, President and CEO of The Tech. "They are menders of what was broken, redeemers of what was lost, creators of opportunity. Their stories form a grand story about our capacity to do good in the world. The work of the laureates inspires us every day at The Tech. Osur highest ambition is to help build a community where everyone, especially those who lack economic means, can thrive in a technology-driven age."

Gala guests received two gift books: The Orbital Perspective by Ron Garan, a decorated fighter pilot, astronaut, aquanaut, and entrepreneur; and Inside Tracks by Rick Smolan, a former photographer for Time, Life and National Geographic.

The Tech Awards Laureates 2015

Intel Environment Award

DayOne Response

Offers a lightweight, backpack-sized emergency water purifier system that has provided 7 million liters of clean water to global disaster victims.

(WCS) Wildlife Guardian App

Fights illicit wildlife smuggling via an app for law enforcement officers to quickly identify the legal status of commonly traded species.

Microsoft Education Award

BeeLine Reader

Improves reading fluency and efficiency with a digital tool that guides the eye for online reading.


Provides free, online medical education content to pediatric health care providers and is used by more than 800 hospitals worldwide.

Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award


Produces an inexpensive, networked fire detector for use in South Africa's urban slums, where blazes are a common and devastating occurrence.


Offers a comfortable $20 brace to treat clubfoot in children in developing countries.

Sobrato Organization Economic Development Award


Offers a simple manual machine for opticians in low-income countries to make high-quality eyeglasses using less than $1 in materials per pair.


Is developing a global addressing system for the 75% of the world's population without a geographic mailing address, so that all people can receive aid and deliveries.

Sutter Health Award

PrePex (CircMedTech Ltd.)

Produces PrePex, a non-surgical circumcision device used in 12 countries across sub-Saharan Africa to help reduce HIV infection rates.

Nexleaf Analytics

Produces ColdTrace, a remote, cell-phone-based temperature monitoring system for vaccine refrigerators to protect the integrity of the inoculants.

Key sponsors supporting The Tech Awards include Applied Materials, Intel, Microsoft, The Sobrato Organization, Sutter Health, Swanson Foundation, PayPal, Qatalyst, Cisco, Seagate, Qualcomm, Bank of America, NASDAQ OMX, Accenture, Broadcom Foundation, Ernst & Young, Gilead, GoDaddy, Google, KPMG, CharmaineandDan Warmenhoven, Wells Fargo and Xilinx.

About The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum - located in the Capital of Silicon Valley - is a non-profit experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. The Tech's mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone.

About Applied Materials

Applied Materials (AMAT) is the global leader in materials engineering solutions for the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic industries. Its technologies help make innovations like smartphones, flat screen TVs and solar panels more affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses around the world. Learn more at www.appliedmaterials.com.

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