Company: Vernier Software & Technology, Portland, OR
Entry Submitted By: KEH Communications
Company Description: Vernier Software & Technology has been an innovator of data-collection technology for 26 years. Creating easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and software, their products can be found in education from elementary school to college. Vernier helps teachers enhance their science curriculum, increase learning, and build students’ critical thinking skills.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Lifetime Achievement Award
Nomination Title: Pioneering Change in Science Education
In 1980 using probes and sensors to collect scientific data was the work of
research laboratories. Christine and David Vernier set out to make data collection
technology a routine part of the K-14 science classroom and to allow students to
work with accurate data for scientific inquiry. Through Christine’s perseverance
and her keen business sense, they founded Vernier Software & Technology and
sparked an industry that is thriving.
According to Jim Blattman, a physical science teacher in Nevada, "Kids have no
idea how bad it was in ‘the good old days.’ We used to do labs with things like
spark-gap timers, and other means of collecting data that were often unreliable,
difficult, or expensive to keep working," Blattman remembers. "The Vernier tools
make collecting data really easy and fun! I like to play with the probes and
sensors, and the kids pick up on that and get very enthused. They truly get a
sense of 'wow, we're doing something that's new and cool. We're exploring like
Christine has always talked to customers often. By doing this, she has an
understanding for the challenges science educators face and how to address
these challenges through new products. Today the company’s line of award-
winning interfaces, sensors, software, and curriculum help engage and excite
students through hands-on scientific exploration.
What started as a two-person after-hours operation has grown into a successful
business with annual revenues of $30 million and over 70 employees. The Vernier
products are found in every state in the U.S. and in 122 countries. Nationally,
the products are found in 60% of high schools and 40% of K-8 schools.
Christine is passionate about giving to science education. Each year Vernier
sponsors the National Science Teachers Association’s Vernier Technology Award
and the National Association of Biology Teachers Environmental Award. The
company donates refurbished Vernier equipment to schools in need, and since
July 2006, has donated $394,510 worth of equipment to schools.
Christine does this while focusing on a healthy, team-oriented workplace where
respect for the environment is a priority. She spends some of her time
volunteering on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Willamette Valley, the
board of the Business Education Compact, and the Portland State University
Science Industry Advisory Council. She provides incentives for employees who
volunteer at non-profit organizations. Since July 2006, the company has paid out
374 hours of volunteer time. The Vernier’s also spent a large sum to make the
Vernier building a Gold Certified LEED building and they are in the process of
sharing conservation data collected from the building on an educational web site.
Because of Christine, the company has been one of Oregon Business Magazine’s
100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon consecutively for 8 years. As well,
Portland Monthly named Vernier Software & Technology the third best place to
work in Portland in 2006.
Her success has allowed her to personally donate $1 million toward advancing
science at area universities, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and
The following graph indicates how much student achievement improves when
students use data collection technology in Science, an industry that David and
Christine Vernier sparked when they started Vernier Software & Technology:
Christine Vernier was born in Western Pennsylvania and attended Ohio State
University where she earned a B.S. in Social Science. She went on to become a
social worker and a law office manager until, in 1986, she and her husband, David,
co-founded Vernier Software & Technology. Christine currently serves as the
CFO. Vernier Software & Technology’s success can be credited in large part to
Christine’s keen business sense, her dedication to science education and
commitment to her employees.
Christine is involved in many community organizations including Planned
Parenthood and the Business Education Compact.
In her spare time, Christine enjoys running, biking, theatre and the arts, and