People, our region’s greatest resource, took center stage at our 2018 Annual Economic Summit. Here are several people and programs we recognized at the Summit for doing amazing things throughout the region.
Liz Aspray – Sysco – Wilsonville
Sysco Portland President Liz Aspray leads the local office of one of the world’s largest food distributors and oversees 600 employees in the region. Between her role at Sysco, which provides affected communities food and water during natural disasters, and her seat on Oregon Food Bank board, Liz spends her time making sure people have the food they need.
Ben Bagherpour – SEH America – Vancouver
In his role at SEH America, a silicon wafer manufacturer, Ben Bagherpour leads the company’s internship programs, which pair high school students with employee mentors who teach them a range of useful skills, from safety protocols to composing professional emails. Ben is working to scale these programs and sits on Gov. Jay Inslee’s Career Connected Learning team.
Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program – WSU Vancouver
WSU-V is working to ensure that the 95 percent of its students who stay in the region are properly prepared for the workforce. With a pro-bono student consultancy, a monthly small business forum and an educational course for small business owners, the university’s Business Growth MAP helps local small businesses while training the next generation of business leaders.
Cooperative programs – OSU, PSU, Oregon Tech and University of Portland
The Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program and the Civil Engineering Cooperative Program at OSU, PSU, Oregon Tech and The University of Portland ensure students are properly prepared for the workforce through internships with more than 140 partner companies in fields such as environmental engineering, computer science, accounting and electrical engineering.
Dave Dahl – Second Chance Employment – Milwaukie
Dave’s Killer Bread co-founder Dave Dahl spent 15 years in and out of prison before his brother took a chance on him and offered him a job at the family bakery. Now, a third of the company’s employees have criminal backgrounds, and the nonprofit Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation partners with government and businesses to help others with criminal backgrounds find stable jobs, reducing recidivism rates nationwide.
Dr. Brian Druker – OHSU – Portland
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian J. Druker has led groundbreaking work in oncology, and his research proved it is possible to shut down cancer cell growth without harming healthy cells. This discovery is making once-fatal forms of the disease manageable, and has helped build the Institute into an international leader in personalized cancer medicine.
Emerging Leaders PDX – Portland
Emerging Leaders connects students of color with internship and mentorship opportunities at companies like Wieden + Kennedy and Jama Software. The program is cultivating leaders like Renee Allums (pictured) from the ground up, while providing students with hands-on opportunities and providing companies with a talent pipeline that better reflects our increasingly diverse region.
Engaging Local Government Leaders – West Linn
Founded locally by Kent and Kristen Wyatt, ELGL now operates in dozens of states and boasts thousands of members, providing a national networking platform for local government employees. With projects like the 13 Percent Initiative and the Diversity Dashboard, the nonprofit advocates for gender equality and increased diversity in local government leadership positions.
Paula Hayes – Hue Noir – Beaverton
A talented chemist, Paula Hayes saw a need for makeup formulated for women with darker skin. In 2009 she launched Hue Noir, filling a gap in the market. Drawing from both her academic training and personal experiences with makeup, Paula formulates all the products in her line. Revenues have doubled in the past few years, and Hue Noir is now carried in Target stores.
Jenn Klotz – Genentech – Hillsboro
In her role overseeing Genentech’s business operations in Hillsboro, Jenn Klotz wears many hats. She leads one of the pharmaceutical company’s diversity teams, and has created several programs that enable Genentech to give back to the community. These include a volunteer fair and a partnership with the Trail Blazers in which Genentech donates thousands of dollars each year to the Children’s Cancer Association.
Laura Kubisiak – Oregon Entrepreneurs Network – Hillsboro
As OEN’s Venture Catalyst, Laura Kubisiak is building up the Westside’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She connects scalable startups with resources and potential investors and raises awareness about grants, loans and other services for startups. She’s also working to create accelerators and encourage seed funding.
PDX Bridge – Mount Hood Community College and Portland Community College
PDX Bridge helps Portland-area youth who are homeless or in the foster or juvenile justice systems by guiding them on their pathway to college. The program connects students in state care with wraparound support, including enhanced college preparation, peer mentorship, college success coaching and apprenticeship opportunities.
PDX Women in Tech – Portland
This group shines a light on the obstacles faced by women in tech and seeks to improve the industry by supporting those women with educational programs, partnerships, mentorships, resources and opportunities.
Rural Access Mechatronics Program – Clark College
With RAMP’s hybrid program, rural students with access to a computer and the ability to attend weekly labs can receive instruction in electronics and mechanical engineering, earning a certificate of completion in just six months. The program prepares students for entry-level technical jobs or for pursuit of an Associate of Applied Technology degree.
Urbanism Next – UO – Portland
How could the rise of autonomous vehicles impact the way our cities are planned and designed? Will the cities accommodate people in a way that’s livable, equitable and sustainable? Urbanism Next, as part of the university’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, convenes thought leaders from the private sector, public sector, and academia to explore these questions.
Virtual Incubation Program – Beaverton
The Oregon Technology Business Center’s Virtual Incubation Program provides rural, underserved entrepreneurs with eight weeks of affordable online training workshops followed by online mentorship. The program, founded by Jim McCreight (left) and Steve Morris, has helped more than 60 entrepreneurs to date.