Making Oregon is the podcast that brings you our conversations with innovators, makers, doers, disruptors, foodies, dreamers, and groundbreakers from all across the state. These intrepid entrepreneurs talk with us about the inspiration and ingenuity it takes to make Oregon the best place we know to build and sustain a prosperous lifestyle.
Join us as Built Oregon co-founder Terry St. Marie speaks with guests from all walks of life, discussing the story behind their unique business ventures. We learn something amazing from every Making Oregon interview. We hope you will too.
Host: Terry St. Marie • Engineer: James Callazo • Producer: Davia Larson
Closing The Opportunity Gap With A Commitment To Social Justice
With a background in grassroots organizing and community outreach, Andrea has a passion for economic and social justice as the daughter of political refugees forced out of Peru.
In her past role as an advisor to former Portland commissioner Steve Novick, she has worked specifically in Portland’s East Side neighborhood to help identify and prioritize the needs for this oftentimes underserved area, and to help insure equity and inclusion for women and minority groups.
It’s from this public service perspective that we chatted with Andrea about her background, her passion for social justice, the value of public service and leadership, the role of a city government in economic development, and her views on how to close geographic, economic, and demographic opportunity gaps in a fair and equitable way.
In this edition of Making Oregon, our guest is Jala Smith-Huys, founder of Seek & Swoon, a new Portland company selling soft and cozy eco throws designed in Portland and made in the USA, and inspired by Jala’s love of travel.
It’s the latest chapter of an entrepreneurial journey that was years in the making, and taking its inspiration from the vibrant Portland maker community.
In her role as the Creative Director, Jala was part of the team that opened the first New Seasons market back in 2000, and that led to her later work as a freelance Social Media and Digital Strategist, advising a “who’s who” of local and national consumer product brands, including well-known Oregon brands like Tillamook Cheese and Dave’s Killer Bread.
In 2016, her experiences building strong and sustainable brands eventually merged with a deep passion for travel and a long-held desire to take the entrepreneurial leap, and Seek & Swoon was born.
We’ll talk about Jala’s journey, and find out why she chose throws as her entrepreneurial and maker entryway. Along the way we’ll touch on lessons learned and the insights gained from essentially launching a new product from scratch, and the benefit of a supportive creative community.
Check out Seek & Swoon at www.seekandswoon.com/ . If you use the code BUILTOREGON at checkout you’ll get $15 off – offer is good until 12/31/16.
Superfooder: Jem Nut Butters Handcrafts A Healthier And More Delicious World
It’s the Holiday Season so we thought we’d bring you a treat. Many of us have nearly given up on finding healthy food that is actually tasty—and by that we mean not just edible, but I-can’t-stop-eating-this delicious. We all want to crave nutritious food the way we do a cookie and ice cream, but it’s almost impossible to achieve. We say, almost, because the Making Oregon team has recently met Jen Moore, founder of Jem Nut Butters. With extreme dedication to craft and quality, she makes healthy nut butters we can’t live without.
As a healthcare professional from Bend, Oregon, Jen became an entrepreneur after a long, dedicated career in exercise physiology, dietetics, and director of extensive health education programs.
What she brought to her entrepreneurial endeavor, besides a long history with patients and clients, were high quality standards, tenacity, a hunger for learning, and humility. She didn’t pretend to know more than she did. She asked for help and built lasting relationships all along the way.
In our podcast, we ask Jen about her unusual childhood in Idaho, how she found her way to Bend, Oregon, and how experimenting with chocolate truffles eventually led to her nut butter epiphany.
Our conversation digs into the building blocks of a sustainable, scalable manufacturing company. To explain how Jen has arrived at a formula that balances People, Planet, and Profit, we’ll unpack vocabulary like the Triple Bottom Line, and Jen will explain what functional food is all about and how her recipes are based on the needs of our body’s systems. But Jen’s experience covers more than steady growth and a winning product line up. She’ll talk about the hardships she faced dealing with consumers and regulatory agencies and how she stuck to her guiding principles even when she faced a total product recall.
Wildwood & Company Keeps The Traditional Craft of Hand Tailoring Alive In Oregon
In this edition of Making Oregon, our guest is Joe Mueller, founder and proprietor of the downtown Portland clothing maker Wildwood & Company. They make high-quality and stylish suits and shirts by hand in their on-site workshop, keeping the traditional craft of hand tailoring alive.
A native of Banks, Oregon, Joe started Wildwood in 2014 after an impressive run as a lawyer – he graduated first in his New York law class and worked in top-notch law firms in New York City and in Portland.
While in Portland he noticed that the long-time New York tradition of the “bespoke” suit, a suit handmade to the customer’s detailed specifications, was nowhere to be found in the Rose City, which sparked his entrepreneurial idea – Wildwood & Company.
Our conversation takes place in Joe’s wonderful lounge fitting room, a walnut-paneled lounge with posh leather furniture, and adorned with cool art, bolts of beautiful fabrics, and great scotch – a perfect complement to the stylish, traditional, high-class and hand-made suits Wildwood is making here in Oregon.
A Social Ignition: Changing Lives (and the World) Through Entrepreneurship
On this edition of Making Oregon our guest is Sonja Skvarla, founder of the Portland non-profit A Social Ignition. ( asocialignition.com/ ) Sonja started A Social Ignition in the Spring of 2012, and since 2014 has offered and taught a curriculum of entrepreneurship and professional development at the Columbia River Correctional Institution in Portland, OR, called the “Ignition Option”. It’s focused on a successful transition for men returning to the community.
Recently, A Social Ignition added a “Long Haul” program, which provides graduates of the core entrepreneurship program individual and small group coaching towards their particular business goals.
Sonja had gotten great traction with the program with very little outside resources – there have already been 49 graduates of the Ignition Option, there are 22 members of the Long Haul, and 12 graduate businesses are either launched or in development.
They will be celebrating the men of A Social Ignition at a gala on November 10th in Portland (get more info and tickets here: www.eventbrite.com/e/first-annual-…6631036?aff=es2)
Crowdfunding For Good: Consano Connects The Power of The Crowd To Innovative Medical Research
On this edition of Making Oregon, our guest is Molly Lindquist, founder and CEO of the Portland non-profit Consano. Molly has created a unique crowdfunding platform that that enables donors to give their support directly to a medical research project that matters to them. By harnessing the power of a crowd, they aggregate donations so the public can directly choose and support high quality medical research, pooling their money with others who care about the same health issues.
Molly started Consano in 2013 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Frustrated by her inability to make donations to specific medical research projects that could impact her two daughters , the idea for Consano was born, and since its launch, Consano has raised nearly $700,000 in project donations to directly support 40 research projects in 28 unique health categories.
Molly tells us her inspiring story and candidly talks about her battle with breast cancer, the impact of the medical research Consano is enabling, and the many life and business lessons she’s learned along the way.
Founder Coffee Talk: Britt Howard of Portland Garment Factory
In this edition of Making Oregon, we got out of the studio for a “Founder Coffee Talk” – lively conversation with Oregon founders at a local coffee house. For this chat, Built Oregon co-founder Terry St. Marie ventured to Groundwork Coffee Shop in SE Portland, for a fine almond milk latte and an iced mocha with our guest Britt Howard, co-founder of Portland Garment Factory, serving companies in the fashion design and product creation industries. The business started in 2008, and now has 11 employees at a 5,000 square foot facility on SE 79th and Stark.
Portland Garment Factory helps creators from the beginning development of a product’s concept to seeing it through to completion. Serving clients both large – such as Nike and Levis – and small, they offer everything from pattern drafting and sample construction, to the branding of the final product.
Britt and her partner started the business because they saw a pressing need in Portland for these kind of services – until they came along, fashion makers had to seek help elsewhere, slowing down the creative flow. They’ve forged a niche in the Oregon creative ecosystem and economy, and our conversation reveals the unique and creative path that Britt took to get there, as well as her perspectives on sustainability and “zero waste”, the Portland fashion scene, and “pursuing beauty from odd angles” when designing clothes.
Enjoy our coffee talk!
Advancing The Conversation For Entrepreneurial Diversity & Equity
For this episode our guest is Juan Barazza, a Portland champion for entrepreneurial development, as the Program Manager at Portland State University Center for Entrepreneurship, the President of the local chapter of ALPFA (the Association of Latino Professionals for America), and as the founder and CEO of startup VDO interpreters, a A SaaS platform that provides Language Access Compliance for the Healthcare Industry.
We’ll talk about Juan’s personal journey, his transition to startup founder after a corporate career in multiple industries, and his budding local involvement in mentorship, startup development, and sustainability through Startup Weekend Latino, the PSU Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Cleantech challenge
Lastly, we’ll have a great discussion about his leadership in helping Oregon and Portland keep the conversation going regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in the entrepreneurial and investment arenas. He mentions 3 entrepreneurs in Oregon that are also leading the way and serving as mentors in the Latino community: Hector Dominguez of SmartVineyards, Edgar Navas of CLIQA, and Yesenia Gallardo of Poda Foods – click the links to find out more about them.
Enjoy the podcast!
Balancing Business and Life On The Triple Bottom Line
In this edition of Making Oregon, we chat with Justin Yuen, President and founder of FMYI in Portland. FMYI, which stands for “for my innovation”, is a collaboration software company Justin started in 2004, after he finished an 8 year run with Nike in Beaverton, where he was a Senior Manager of corporate sustainable development.
We discuss Justin’s early years in New Jersey and how his parents influenced his worth ethic and commitment to family, and his college years where he caught the entrepreneurial bug and indulged his great intellectual curiosity. We talk about his years at Nike, including his time in the Netherlands and his progression to being one of the leaders of the company’s sustainability efforts.
We find out what sustainability really means to him, and ask him to simplify its definition through the lens of the triple bottom line. Justin will also chat about FMYI and its genesis, growth, and how it empowers teams to make a difference through its collaborative platform.
You can find out more about his company, and his great team, by going to their website at www.fmyi.com.
During our discussion of sustainability Justin referred to the “4 system conditions of the natural step” – if, like us, you are curious to find out more about this, go to www.thenaturalstep.org
Building Wheels & Collecting Brains: The Winding Entrepreneurial Journey of Jude Gerace
In this edition of Making Oregon, we feature Jude Gerace, founder of Sugar Wheel Works in Portland. She talks with us about her entrepreneurial story, how she came to love cycling, develop her craft, and the elements behind her drive to make high-quality bike wheels.
Jude remembers her first bicycle, a pink, second-hand Schwinn Fair Lady (Remember them?) and how it represented the gift of independence. By the age of 14 she had 3 jobs—one of them a business she started herself—complete with a jingle she wrote to attract customers (listen for it on the podcast).
Jude explains some of the difficult turning points in her life, and how she got from Chicago to Eugene to Portland. She’ll talk about what she learned in her travels, how cycling became not only a passion but a career path, and how she “collects brains” to continually build her expertise.
Jude explains what it took to boot strap her business and what happened when her original business name was contested by a larger company. She has a lot to teach us about building a team, especially what she has learned from one of her employees, Dan, a young man who is living with autism.
Jude also reveals some of her own ongoing struggles, like the difficulty in achieving the elusive work-life balance, dealing with fear, and how she see thinks about the future growth of her business.
Check out this video for a closer look at Sugar Wheel Works, and then listen to Jude’s story:
From Fields of Hops to Lines of Code: Oregon’s Unique Place in The Craft Beer Industry
Join us as we discuss the craft beer industry in Oregon with a great panel representing the breadth of an industry that is constantly growing and evolving. And one that has close to a $4B economic impact in the state.
The panel was moderated by Mellie Pullman, a Supply Chain Management professor and the director of the Business of Craft Brewing Certificate at Portland State University, an Online education program, which teaches all the business skills for starting and running a craft beverage business. The members of the panel include Kevin Shaw, head brewer of Astoria based Buoy Beer, Brad Windecker, Founder/CEO of Orchestra Software, and Blake Crosby of Crosby Hop Farms.
We asked the group about the innovations that are driving the beer industry, and what makes Oregon such a hotbed of craft beer. We discussed how raw material production can keep up with growing demand, the ways software is helping to reduce operational inefficiencies within breweries, and how you break into a crowded market. We also dived into some of the challenges and opportunities that face the industry as craft beer continues to evolve. And of course, we asked each member on the panel to name their favorite beer.
At the core, this panel gives us a snapshot of all the moving parts that are associated with craft beer, and how through collaboration and community, Oregon remains one of the key cogs in the future of the industry.
Protecting Our Data Blind Spots: Senrio Brings Needed Visibility to IoT Vulnerabilities
Not long ago, we sat down with Portland startup founder Stephen Ridley, the founder of Senrio. Senrio is an entirely new approach to data security, a Software as a Service product that easily scales to protect all kinds of companies, from small businesses to major medical, critical infrastructure, and financial institutions.
But because of Stephen’s research on data security and his understanding of technology and consumers issues, we hung around a little longer than usual, and asked a few more questions about recent developments—things we hear a lot about in the news.
For this edition of the Making Oregon podcast we bring you one interview divided into two episodes. In the first half, we ask Stephen to tell us about his path from teenage hacker to working for the Department of Defense, Wall Street banks and social media companies. He’ll tell us how his love of research eventually lead him to become an entrepreneur—two pursuits that require very different skill sets.
He’ll describe Senrio, how it works, and what makes it different from other security applications. We’ll learn how it addresses the vulnerabilities found in embedded systems. And yes, we’ll explain how ubiquitous embedded systems are—and here’s a hint—they exist in your cell phone.
In our second episode, we back track for a couple minutes and make sure everyone is on the same page with understanding how Senrio works. Then we dive into a discussion about best practices for protecting data, especially if you are a small business.
Stephen will also talk about the vulnerabilities he and his developers find in consumer electronics and how Senrio can play a role in providing solutions. Plus, we’ll get his take on data privacy, metadata and what social media giants like Facebook are doing with the information users supply, whether they know it or not.
We want to congratulate Stephen Ridley and the entire Senrio team on their recent launch, and for spending time with Making Oregon. For those who want to read some of the early reviews about the company, you can check out Silicon Angle, or the Oregonian.
Links to the Senrio video and comic mentioned on the podcast:
A Purpose-First Approach to Building a Business or a Career
In this edition of Making Oregon, we examine how to build a business or a career–driven by purpose. We recently visited the offices of Portland’s own Mac Prichard, founder of Mac’s List, a popular Oregon jobs board, to discuss how find, or create, rewarding and meaningful work. Mac’s List started years ago as an email to keep in touch with Mac’s colleagues, and today attracts 80,000 job seekers to the site.
We talk about how Mac built his small email list into a thriving business, and with a twist: as Mac’s List was slowly taking shape, he also founded Prichard Communications, a company that helps philanthropic organizations get their message out. We dig into how Mac has managed to pull this off, growing two demanding startups at the same time. He also talks with us about the work-ethic he developed starting at age 9, how being unemployed influenced his purpose as an entrepreneur, and how the desire to be of service to others shaped his career.
Mac understands what it’s like to be unemployed. His own experience and the skills he developed became the foundation not only for Mac’s List, but for the platform he has built, which include the jobs board, a blog, a book, a weekly podcast, and coming soon–an online course for jobseekers. We get Mac’s take on building a platform and a brand, by solving problems for the people he serves.
Mac also tells us why everyone with a career is an entrepreneur, why setting goals is critical, how to network, and how to tap into the hidden job market—because 80% of jobs are never advertised. In addition, Mac explains why learning from failure makes all of us better at what we do, a lesson he learned from working on numerous political campaigns.
Check out the embedded links above to make it easy to follow up and learn more about Mac’s List, the blog, book, podcast and more. For those who need strategic planning for their purpose-driven venture, check out Prichard Communications.
Making Sense of Biomarkers: Connecting Business Innovation and The Future of Medicine
If you don’t know what a biomarker is, this is your chance to learn what they are and why they matter to you. John Audette, founder of Amplion, a unique startup in Bend, will walk us through how their Biomarker Base is impacting Pharmaceutical and Research & Development companies. With the aid of Amplion’s database, companies are able to develop new drugs that get to market more quickly, with less cost, and fewer patient side-effects. A recent report explains how using biomarkers is already increasing the likelihood of drug approvals.
The effect of biomarkers on the creation of new drug therapies may be most easily recognized by those who follow reporting on cancer research, and how scientists and drug companies are making progress in developing new treatments for specific types of cancer. The rise of these targeted therapies, called precision or personalized medicine, are one of the ways in which biomarkers are already revolutionizing medicine. From Amplion’s perspective, this is only the start of many new advances on the horizon.
In this Making Oregon podcast, John takes the time to make this technical, but critically important innovation understandable to all of us. At the same time, we wanted to get the story on why a serial founder who has already developed and sold two successful companies decided to begin all over again, enduring the rigors and stressors that come with any startup.
We’ll also find out why Bend is becoming such an attractive place for start-ups like Amplion, and how all of this may impact Oregon’s economic outlook.
One last point for entrepreneurs who are struggling to name their new venture: In following up with John, we asked how he had chosen the name Amplion. The answer is straightforward, and comes right out of a marketer’s playbook: John’s criteria for the name were that it had to start with an A, and it had to sound strong and scientific. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
For more information about Amplion and the work they do, you can find them at Amplion.com.
Our special thanks to Michelle Alvarado of Wahoo Films in Bend, OR for the use of the recording equipment that made this podcast possible. Check out the brilliant work they do!
What Startup Investors Want Every Entrepreneur to Know – Corey Schmid Of Seven Peaks Ventures
We visit the offices of Seven Peaks Ventures in Bend, Oregon to chat with Corey Schmid, one of the investment partners at Seven Peaks. These venture partners include some of the region’s most active angel investors and are closely networked with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and VCs. They help Oregon-based startups build and scale businesses by providing investment capital and in-depth mentoring.
In this conversation, Schmid explains what you need to know to attract investors. This is a chance to go behind the scenes and learn how investors think, and what they look for before they choose to invest in an early-stage company. We’ll talk about when a startup should look for venture capital, what criteria startups must meet to attract the attention of angel and early stage investors, and what potential trade-offs founders should consider before bringing investors on board.
We also define venture capital terms and concepts that we hear a lot about but seldom fully understand. Find out how “scalability” and “market fit”, among other VC terms, apply to different industries and verticals. Schmid also discusses the elements of a great pitch, and what founders can do to make a presentation with lasting impact.
Finally, Schmid speaks candidly about her experience as a female partner in a male-dominated profession as well as issues of diversity throughout the entrepreneurial landscape.
Our special thanks to Michelle Alvarado, owner and director of Wahoo Films in Bend, who provided the audio equipment we needed to make this interview possible. Check out the great films they’ve produced at wahoofilms.com. Enjoy the podcast:
Accelerated Creativity: Incubating an award-winning Indie Video Game
Patrick Manhatton’s new video game Arcbruiser, a “co-operative action game with an emphasis on story”, has recently received wide acclaim from Oregon’s Indie game community. Listen in as we learn how this entrepreneur and community organizer found his way to the RAIN Corvallis/OSU Advantage Accelerator where he recently graduated from their ACCELERATE program.
We’ll discuss how the incubator helps entrepreneurs like Patrick all across the southern Willamette Valley navigate the intersection of creativity and commerce, turning bright ideas into viable businesses.
We’ll ask what it’s like to be part of an accelerator and what kinds of subtle innovation and principled thought is at the heart of Manhatton’s Theory Software. We also find out what financial pressures are inherent in the gaming business, and how the Oregon’s video game community is becoming an important piece of our economic landscape.
We’ll keep you posted on the upcoming launch of Arcbruiser’s Kickstarter campaign. Also, if you didn’t listen to the first episode in this two-part conversation, be sure to check out (below) our earlier podcast with Mark Lieberman and Anna Walsh, two innovative leaders at the RAIN Corvallis/OSU Advantage Accelerator who offer the training and assistance entrepreneurs like Patrick need to build successful companies.
Enjoy the podcast:
The Startup Incubator Advantage: Increasing the Odds With RAIN Corvallis/OSU Advantage Accelerator
Join us as we go behind the scenes of a business incubator whose purpose is to find and develop successful start-ups, equipping them to become profitable businesses. We’ve all heard the buzz about incubators, but in this two-part series we find out what do they really do, what kind of businesses they help, and how they improve the odds of startup success.
With great pleasure we spent time in Corvallis with Mark Lieberman, Chief StartUp Officer, and Anna Walsh, Operations Manager, for the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator . The OSU Accelerator operates in partnership with state-funded RAIN Corvallis , the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network.
During our conversation, Mark and Anna will announce the expansion of the OSU Advantage Accelerator program to Bend and Newport in late May 2016. Residents of those areas, regardless of whether they are affiliated with OSU, are welcome to contact Anna for further information (see contact info here) to see how they qualify for the OSU Advantage Accelerator.
We also learned how OSU’s concentration on research has generated an enormous patent database, most of which are waiting to be turned into market-ready products. We’re including a link here, for anyone who would like to dig into OSU’s patent trove as a way to discover a potential business idea.
Be sure to tune in to our next podcast, when we meet one of the recent graduates of the RAIN Corvallis/ OSU Advantage Accelerator who will talk with us about what it’s like to be part of the program.
Enjoy the podcast:
Leaving a Footprint: Portland’s Global Impact on the Footwear Industry
Recorded at Deadstock Coffee in PDX, and featuring Nick DePaula, creative director of the online magazine Nice Kicks, D’Wayne Edwards, founder of Pensole Academy and former footwear designer, and Ian Williams, also a former Nike designer who now owns Deadstock, a Portland coffee shop that brings the sneaker community together.
Our panel’s favorite sneakers of all time (talked about on the podcast):
Enjoy the podcast: