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News & Press: Feature

Remembering Charlie Oriez

Monday, September 19, 2005   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elaine Miller
Charlie Oriez was passionate about AITP holding a dual membership in the Mile High Chapter of Denver and the Southern Colorado Chapter in Colorado Springs, the Sierra Club and the Democratic Party. Charlie died on September 7, 2005 at age 52 after a four-plus year battle with lung cancer caused by second hand smoke.

I have known Charlie since he joined the Mile High Chapter in 1989 where he volunteered to serve as a member of our Legislative Committee and was a contact for public relations which I was responsible for as a V.P. and newsletter editor. It took until 1995 to convince him to join the Board as our Student Chapter V.P. because of his long-time involvement with the Sierra Club where he was founding chair of the South Platte Regional Group.

Under his direction we developed our Chapter website at in co-operation with the student chapter at Colorado State University who originally donated the space on their server. Two years later we moved to site our own domain and ISP and Charlie became the first volunteer chapter webmaster. He was part of the successful team to attend the AITP National meeting to bid on the 1998 National Meeting in Winter Park, Colorado and served on the logistics committee for the meeting. He served as chapter President in 1999-2000. He was elected Region 4 Secretary in Winter Park in 1998 and subsequently served as President in 2000-2001. He attended every National Meeting of the Members since 1997.

Charlie was the architect of the Dave Sanders/Columbine Memorial Scholarship which the Mile High Chapter awards to a Columbine senior who is planning to major in I.T. Charlie had no children of his own but Columbine High School was in his neighborhood and he was passionate about remembering the only teacher who was killed at Columbine, who was respected and loved by the kids, and who was killed in the halls by the shooters because he was helping kids get out of the building. Dave Sanders was the computer lab/technology instructor for the school. This fund is self-perpetuating and administered for the Mile High Chapter by the Foundation for Information Technology Education. The annual interest provides the amount of the scholarship. Charlie has been the chairman of this committee since its inception including this year as well.

He served as Chair of the National Legislative Committee and set up the Yahoo Groups for that committee and for Region 4 to facilitate communication.

He regularly contributed articles to the Information Executive on privacy and stopping spam.

He was awarded his Individual Performance Award at the Gold level by the Mile High Chapter in 2003.

Professionally, Charlie was a systems engineer, most recently with Ciber, Inc., and taught at the Denver campuses of DeVry and National American University. He held a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the State University of New York. He received his Master of Science in CIS in 2002 from the University of Denver.

In 2004, Charlie was awarded the Susan E. Miller Award for outstanding contributions to the environment by the national Sierra Club. He was a long-time activist in the Colorado Sierra Club, serving at various times as vice chair of the state organization, Colorado representative to the National Council and chair of several state committees. The website he designed for the Sierra Club won a "Webby Award" in 1998 from the Colorado Association of Non Profit Organizations for best use of the Internet for advocacy (expert's choice category).

Charlie had an innate understanding of communication skills, mentoring and the motivating fellow members and friends to accomplish more than they realized they could. He had an incredible sense of humor and joy in living that taught all of us how to value life and friends. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, he scheduled his wake a month later so that he would be there to share it with us. He was a man who lived well, was well loved and will be remembered well and missed greatly.

Tax-deductible memorial donations in Charlie's name may be made to the Dave Sanders/Columbine Scholarship online at the Foundation for Information Technology Education,

A memorial fund has been established to benefit the South Platte Group of the Sierra Club in Charlie's name. Tax-deductible checks, made payable to the Sierra Club Foundation, may be mailed to Mike Mueller, Treasurer, 6700 South Glencoe Street #208, Centennial, CO 80122.

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