Ben Sawyer is the co-founder of Digitalmill, a games consulting firm based in Portland, Maine. Since beginning his career in game development fifteen years ago, Sawyer has pioneered major initiatives in the field of serious games and has become a nationally recognized leader within the games community.
For the past fifteen years, Sawyer has dedicated his professional life to discovering new ways to expand the use of games beyond entertainment. In 2002, he co-founded the Serious Games Initiative, a project of the U.S. Government's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The following year, Sawyer organized the first-ever Serious Games Summit – a conference which introduced thousands of people to the field of serious games. The Serious Games Initiative continues to serve as one of the leading efforts in the field of serious games.
In 2004, Sawyer co-founded the Games for Health project, an initiative which has built the primary social and professional networks of the health games industry. Through online resources and regular regional and national events, Games for Health connects health professionals, researchers, and game developers in order to advance the development of health games and game technologies. The Games for Health project received major funding from the Pioneer Portfolio, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
As a game developer, Sawyer has worked on over two dozen major serious game projects. This work began in 2000, with the executive production of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's university simulation game, "Virtual U," -- an award finalist at the 2001 Independent Games Festival. Sawyer has also served as a designer, producer, advisor, and/or manager on projects for Cisco, DARPA, Yale School of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, Georgia Tech University, ONR, Leimandt Foundation, Cadbury, USAID, Lockheed Martin, and several other Fortune 500 organizations.
Prior to founding Digitalmill, Sawyer was a technical book author, writing about emerging consumer technologies, and game development. His written work has been recognized with awards from Game Developer Magazine and the Independent Publishing Association.
In 2013, Sawyer was a Dewey Winburne Community Service Award Recipient for his decade long work helping to evangelize and organize the application of games and game technologies for purposes beyond entertainment. The Dewey Awards are given out each year by the SxSW Interactive Festival to honor one of its founders by recognizing individuals around the country who have helped combine community and technology toward the greater good.
A lifelong gamer, Sawyer often draws his professional inspiration from his extensive personal knowledge of games having played games since his mother brought home an original Pong console the the 1970's.
Prior to pursuing his professional career, Sawyer graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and studied at Baruch College. He currently resides in Freeport, Maine with his wife Olivia and their two sons (and avid gamers), ages 9 and 7.
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