Friday, October 28, 2016
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Aspera's Michelle Munson To Receive HPA's Charles S. Swartz Award
Michelle Munson
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The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has named Michelle Munson as the recipient of its 2016 Charles S. Swartz Award. Munson, co-founder and CEO of Aspera, an IBM Company, is recognized as one of industry’s most accomplished technology leaders. The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry.  The HPA Awards will be handed out on November 17, 2016, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California.

Seth Hallen, president of the HPA, says of the announcement, “The Charles S. Swartz Award has special meaning to the HPA. It is bestowed with thoughtful consideration, and only when the Board and the Awards Committee feel that there is a worthy and undeniable recipient. Michelle Munson is such a person. Her intellect, talent, technical leadership, and entrepreneurial creativity represent the very cornerstone of what the Charles S. Swartz Award is meant to recognize.”

Munson is the co-inventor of Aspera's Emmy award-winning FASP® transport technology and is responsible for overseeing the company's direction in collaboration with co-founder, Serban Simu. Munson was a software engineer in research and start-up companies including the IBM Almaden Research center before founding Aspera in 2004. She has dual B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Physics from Kansas State University, was a Goldwater Scholar for achievement in Science and Mathematics, and later was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. The youngest recipient ever of the 2006 KSU College of Engineering Alumni Fellow, Munson has also received national achievement awards from Glamour Magazine and USA Today and is a frequent speaker on technologies and trends around big data transport, cloud infrastructure, and mobile.

Munson said of the award, "I am grateful to the HPA and to all our customers and partners in the digital media industry who have supported us since our original humble beginning, and continue to shape and drive the development of our products and technology. I am tremendously honored to have received this award, and will continue to support and promote the technology innovation and entrepreneurial business spirit embodied by this award."

The Charles S. Swartz Award may be conferred on a person, group, or company that has made a significant artistic, technological, business or educational impact across diverse aspects of the media industry. The award was named in honor of the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California from 2002 until 2006, building it into the industry’s premiere test bed for new digital cinema technologies. In addition to a long and successful career as a producer, educator and consultant, Mr. Swartz served on the Board of Directors of the HPA.  Past recipients of the Charles S. Swartz Award include Ben Burtt, Elizabeth Daley, and Ray Dolby.

In addition to the Charles S. Swartz Award, the 11th annual HPA Awards will recognize excellence in 12 craft categories, including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects. Other special awards will be presented to winners of the Engineering Excellence Award, the Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation, and the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award.