ICF Names BlackBerry Founder and Vice Chairman Mike Lazaridis as 2013 Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year

lazaridiscloseup.gifThe Intelligent Community Forum is proud to name BlackBerry Founder and Vice Chairman Mike Lazaridis as the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year for 2013.

The Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year Award is presented to an individual or an organization that has taken a leadership role in promoting broadband technology and applications as an essential and transformative utility in the Digital Age.

ICF selected Mr. Lazaridis as the creator of the technology that made secure real-time push-email communications possible on wireless devices for the first time – a breakthrough that opened the door to the mobile devices that are fast becoming the world’s first choice for access to the Broadband Economy – and in recognition of a lifetime of innovative contribution to his community of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, ICF’s 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year.

Discussing the selection of Mr. Lazaridis, ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla said, “Mike is perhaps the only person I can think of who combines in one lifetime the entire ‘triple helix’ that we find so compelling among Intelligent Communities. His historic entrepreneurial success launched a revolution that has transformed human interaction with communications and information. His multiple involvements with the University of Waterloo have helped it become regarded as one of the world’s greatest universities for software and engineering. However, it is his devotion to doing well and giving back that is most inspiring. His home city of Waterloo is not a major metropolis in terms of population, but Mike’s vision continues to make it a major influence on the world’s scientific and technological future, as well as generating prosperity and rich social capital at a local level.”

In response to the award Mr. Lazaridis commented, “As Albert Einstein once said, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.’ I have chosen to live my life as though everything is a miracle, from founding a global tech company while still in university that changed the way the world communicates, to founding the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo that I believe will lead to that region becoming known as Canada’s Quantum Valley. My community, Waterloo, Ontario, was chosen as Intelligent Community of the Year in 2007 and has benefitted from the best practices shared among the ICF communities worldwide. I am pleased and humbled by this honor and the great company it places me in.”

Mr. Lazaridis played a key role in building the iconic smart phone company BlackBerry (formerly known as Research In Motion) from scratch in 1984 from a small office on top of a bagel shop. He founded the firm while still a student at University of Waterloo and is now known in the global wireless community as a visionary, innovator, and engineer of extraordinary talent with more than 50 patents issued. Lazaridis will retire as a company director and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors as of May 1, 2013.

In March of this year Lazaridis co-founded his latest venture, the Waterloo-based $100 Million Quantum Valley Fund, focusing on commercializing quantum technology breakthroughs.

The 2013 Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year also deserves recognition for his lifetime of contribution to the innovation ecosystem of his home community of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, which is also ICF’s 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year. In Waterloo, Mr. Lazaridis has founded two research institutions of international significance: the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an independent theoretical physics research institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing, a research center focused on fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics and their applications to information processing which was established within the University of Waterloo. He has also served as Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree.

More on Mike Lazaridis

Mr. Lazaridis also holds honorary doctoral degrees from McMaster University, University of Windsor and Université Laval. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has been named to both the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada. He was awarded Canada's most prestigious innovation prize - the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award - has been listed on the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People, and was honored as a Globe and Mail Nation-Builder of the Year. In addition to his many professional and personal accomplishments, Lazaridis has also been honored with an Academy Award and an Emmy Award for technical achievements.

Mr. Lazaridis will deliver the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year address at the conclusion of ICF's annual Summit, during ICF’s annual awards luncheon at Abigail Kirsch Stage Six at the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, NY, beginning at noon on 7 June. Admission is by invitation only or by sending an email request to [email protected].

Matthew Owen
Director of Operations, Intelligent Community Forum

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