Employee Spotlight: Crystal Cuellar @ Silicon Forest Electronics

photo of Crystal CuellarThis month’s Employee Spotlight focuses on the production floor at Silicon Forest Electronics, where Crystal Cuellar is the Senior Lead in production of printed circuit board assembly. Silicon Forest Electronics employs 98 people, and Crystal has been working there for 16 years. She first heard about Silicon Forest Electronics through her daughter’s participation in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in Vancouver, where her daughter was matched as a sister into another family that personally recommended Silicon Forest Electronics as a great workplace. 

When asked what she appreciates the most about her employer, Crystal replied that it was, “the time and training that Silicon Forest Electronics provides to employees so that they can be promoted in-house. The company’s practice of offering opportunities to learn new skills and to advance in one’s career has helped the company to grow successfully.”

Crystal Cuellar at workAs a production lead, it is Crystal’s responsibility to keep communication flowing between the production crew, the Customer Focus Teams, and Engineers. She manages both the people and the product as it moves through the production floor, ensuring that the highest quality product goes out to customers. 

Crystal Cuellar takes pride in her work and the work of her production team. She finds it especially satisfying to see the growth and development of the company’s newer hires as the demand for Silicon Forest Electronics’ services continues to grow.

While Crystal herself is not personally active at the GTA’s social events, she appreciates that much of the demand for Silicon Forest Electronics’ products comes from fellow GTA companies. Her personal work ethic demands that the quality of products and the service provided by Silicon Forest Electronics has a positive and profound impact for every customer.  

Fun Fact! If Crystal could have one meal with anyone, she would choose Hannibal Lector, a character from the movie Silence of the Lambs, and she would make liver with some Fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Silicon Forest Electronics logoSilicon Forest Electronics

6204 East 18th Street

Vancouver, WA 98661


email: sfesales@si-forest.com

website: siliconforestelectronics.com



Employee Spotlight: Kate Wurster, Columbia Gorge STEM Hub Coordinator

Kate Wurster photo Kate Wurster was recently hired as the STEM Hub Coordinator at CGESD in October, 2022 as a natural fit, with her love of language and communication and her extensive background in education.

As a Fulbright Scholar with degrees in German and Education, Kate first got involved in education professionally when she taught English to primary and secondary students in Hamburg, Germany. After that, her path progressed through community colleges in Maine and in Colorado. Moving to the Gorge with her husband Pete and son Chase, her skills and talent led her to Hood River Valley High School where she served as the Career Connected Learning Coordinator.  In this role, Kate collaborated with CTE teachers at the high school to build robust post-secondary pathways between HRVHS and CGCC, by creating meaningful workplace-based experiences for students.  Her engagement with CGCC led her to new professional opportunities at the College, where she continued to champion the value of CTE programming to help serve local workforce and employment needs.  

Kate believes in the power and importance of good communication in all aspects of her life – personal and professional. She is fluent in written and spoken German and hosts a monthly German language conversation group called Stammtisch at Crush Cider Cafe in Hood River.  She is also inspired by nature and embraces all that the Gorge has to offer – trail running, skiing, hiking, stand up paddle boarding and exploring the beautiful landscape the Gorge has to offer. 

Kate’s aspirations include travelling and living abroad with her family for a couple of years so that they can fully immerse themselves in another language and culture.  When asked what her favorite meal would be to share with her favorite celebrity, she had no hesitation in replying, “I would love to have had dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsburg or with Michelle Obama – sharing a Mediterranean dish with chicken kabobs and tzatziki, pita bread and hummus, falafel, and a delicious Turkish coffee would be (would have been) amazing!”

Kate and family in RockiesWurster family photo








In her Coordinator role, Kate’s primary focus is in Career Connected Learning initiatives (career awareness, exploration, preparation & training) at the middle and high school (bridging post-secondary) levels.  She thoroughly enjoys her role of “matchmaker” within the STEM sector, stating,  “I find it most rewarding to work with educators to identify their career-connected learning needs.   I then determine what the best fit (which company and/or professional mentor) will best to supplement the educator’s curriculum with real-world expertise and context.   The matchmaking step involves networking with industry contacts to open the pathways where the needs meet.”

Kate is eager to collaborate with educators, students and families, as well as community & industry partners in the region to provide opportunity and access to Career Connected Learning activities and programming. She has found the Gorge to be an amazingly dynamic and rewarding place to work in Career Connected Learning, commenting, “When it comes to leveraging industry/ education connections, for a relatively small and rural region, the diversity of industry represented here, and the willingness for industry to engage and support local youth, is very impressive! “

Kate’s major work initiatives for the STEM Hub include the College and Career Expo and the Advanced Manufacturing Educator Externship. Last year’s College and Career Expo event had approximately 150 students representing 11 different high schools in the region, including WA schools in Klickitat & Skamania Counties.  The Advanced Manufacturing Educator Externship is a 3-day, experiential externship focused on the Advanced Manufacturing sector (including a hands-on introduction to CGCC’s Advanced Manufacturing program by the College’s lead instructors and site visits to a variety of local manufacturing employers in Hood River & Wasco County on days 2 & 3).

The GTA provides a crucial link to the local high tech industry for the STEM Hub. It provides a platform for networking opportunities with local industry partners that is essential for the work of Career Connected Learning in the region. Plus, industry awareness around the work of the STEM Hub is necessary for the success of the STEM Hub’s programs, and the GTA provides the link to leverage the participation and support of local tech companies.



400 E Scenic Dr. #207
The Dalles, OR 97058

The Columbia Gorge STEM Hub is a program of the Columbia Gorge Education Service District, serving as the “connective tissue” between families, students, educators and industry throughout the Gorge’s five Oregon counties (Hood River, Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler) as well as Klickitat and Skamania counties in Washington (through partnership with Career Connect Southwest WA).

The STEM Hub is a small but mighty team of three, focused on increasing equitable access to quality STEM experiences in our region. The STEM Hub walks its talk, modeling its goals of equity and quality of life for its employees by offering a hybrid work schedule that allows flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.

To learn more about all that the Hub has to offer, visit the website at: https://www.gorgestem.org/

Evan Leglar

Employee Spotlight: Evan Leglar @ Zepher, Inc.

Evan LeglarMeet Evan Leglar, a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineer at Zepher, Inc. where he provides technical support for product development. His work spans from helping customers directly to refine their concepts into manufacturable products, to providing operational support for existing customers and product lines. In a typical day, he floats between progressing a design project, to developing assembly plans for a contract manufacturing job, to helping scope a new design project for a customer in need.

Evan first learned about Zepher when he was in school at Oregon State in Corvallis, by meeting some folks from the GTA at a career fair booth. He also had a friend who had just interned at Zepher the year prior. Between the interesting work he heard about from his friend and the allure of the gorge, he was excited to make the move from Hillsboro, OR.

When asked about what he appreciates most about his work at Zepher, Evan talked about the wide variety and opportunities in the scope of his work. Ranging from helping standup operations for design services, to leading projects across various ground support equipment types to dipping into the world of hydrogen energy. His exposure to the wide variety of customer and product types that comes from being in the design services world has given him the chance to learn a tremendous amount about the aerospace industry, as well as how to support external partners in the product development process.

See Evan’s LinkedIn Page to learn more about his interests, skills, and award-winning innovative achievements. 

New Product Introduction Preparations

Zepher Inc LogoAbout the Company 

Zepher works with the design, development, and manufacturing of aerospace ground support and testing equipment. In addition to traditional manufacturing services, Zepher has been developing machining and metrology capabilities along with mechanical design services to allow the company to service more of their products’ lifecycle, to improve the overall speed of production, and to improve the chances that the products will make it to market. In support of Zepher Flight Labs, Zepher has been building competence in the budding Hydrogen Aviation market with the design and integration of the hardware needed to support H2 fueled flight.

Zepher’s participation in the GTA grows from the company’s interest in sharing knowledge and in growing with other companies in the gorge. The GTA provides presence in the broader technology industry that increases opportunity and ability for the Gorge’s small companies to offer high quality careers and world class products in the U.S.

For employees like Evan, the ability to attend live events promises a great opportunity to meet interesting local tech professionals and learn about gorge-made products.

Quick Links Contact Evan directly! Contact Zepher, Inc
www.zepherinc.com Evan.Leglar@Zepherinc.com 310 Larch St.
https://crgta.org/zepher-inc/ evanleglar@gmail.com Bingen, WA 98605
  Linkedin.com/Evan Leglar  
    PO Box 2158
    White Salmon, WA 98672




Employee Spotlight: Justin Gradek @ OMEP


Meet Justin Gradek, OMEP’s consultant assigned to cover the Columbia River Gorge Region. Justin has been with OMEP for six years as a Senior Manufacturing Consultant. Justin consults with manufacturers around the state on a wide range of topics including capacity growth, strategy, facility layout, and equipment selection. He also does design work and coaching when called for. A portion of his time is spent on advancing manufacturing CTE programs with educators around the state.

Justin loves the flexibility in his work with OMEP. He appreciates that the agency’s mission and work style allows it’s employees to work with clients and on projects that the employees themselves are passionate about. For Justin, his work with companies in the Gorge to help create economic prosperity in the community where he lives is more than simply a professional goal – it is a personal goal as well.

“I’ve lived in The South, big cities on the east coast, California, and Europe – and there is nowhere as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest and The Gorge specifically. I also find the people of the west to embody a lot of the ruggedness and perseverance that I imagine it took to establish farming and industry on this land a couple hundred years ago. The Northwest has a lot of opportunity for people looking to build a good life while trying something new, and I think that’s me.” 

Picture of Justin and partner Monica Gulley and 3 sons, taken at home in Hood River summer 2022

When asked to give an example of something innovative, progressive, or exciting in his work, Justin described OMEP’s “Ready or Not” business simulation. This 4-hour, in-person group exercise gives teams of 5-8 people leadership roles within a fictional company in order to collaboratively make decisions and investments to grow the company based on the strategy they create. Teams compete against each other during this event, and it is interesting, educational and fun. OMEP has delivered this simulation to groups as large as 300 people and as small as 30. His current work involves adapting the simulation to be incorporated into Portland Public Schools’ CTE programs, as well as around the state at various institutions throughout 2023. This simulation is good context for much of the work that OMEP does, and Justin encourages people to go through the exercise whenever possible.

About the Company

Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership OMEP is best described as a “Public Non-profit” funded through NIST grants, Business Oregon state funding, and client fees. OMEP is part of the nation-wide NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, the goal of which is to advance small and medium-sized manufacturing by making business consulting available to this specific industry demographic. 

OMEP has a staff of about 20 consultants based around the state. Each consultant has specialized expertise in manufacturing and a broad network of generalist skills to assist manufacturers in current and pressing challenges. The companies we work with span aerospace, medical devices, food products, assembly, construction, and primary wood and metal processing. If a company uses a process to change a product, then OMEP can likely work with them. 

The range of expertise that OMEP consultants deliver fits into three broad categories:

  1. Manufacturing operations: including lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, manufacturing engineering, and technology solutions.
  2. Business Financials and Strategy: mastering financial understanding, understanding growth services, and developing strategies for success.
  3. Workforce Solutions: examining the organization’s structure and alignment, leadership and employee development, and recruiting onboarding and training.

OMEP joined the GTA with goals that are both broad and specific: to contribute to the local economy directly by helping companies who can benefit from our expertise, and to contribute indirectly by partnering with organizations that advance manufacturing through technology-focused training, working with educators to expose the next generation of workers to manufacturing opportunities, and facilitating groups working on challenges that are tangent to manufacturing.

OMEP Office

Online appointments and Onsite services

7650 SW Beveland St. #170

Portland, OR 97223


Phone: 503-406-3770

Contact Justin directly!

Email: jgradek@omep.org

phone: 661.203.2273

Quick Links


GTA Website>OMEP

2022 STEM Leadership Recognized by GTA

Thanks to so many of you for coming out to our Winter Party to honor our 2022 award winner, Sally Anderson!
Sally Anderson was nominated to receive this year’s award by the Columbia Gorge STEM Hub Director, Julie Cucuel. Sally is the K-5 STEM Educator for Hood River County School District. Sally visits every Elementary school in the Hood River County School District to provide STEM lessons to all students in grades K-5, driving up on the amazing STEM Fab Bus. Sally also works with school administration to explore solutions to funding, programming and scheduling in order to ensure that all students are provided with quality STEM educational experiences. 
Sally is passionate about her work and it shows!  She is responsible for organizing school-wide STEM Night Events for the families and communities throughout Hood River County.  She partnered with Cascade Locks Elementary to provide a community-wide STEM Night Event, post-covid, and is currently planning community-wide STEM Nights for May Street, Parkdale and Mid-Valley Elementary schools.   
Sally’s leadership goes above and beyond simply providing quality STEM education experiences to her students.  She also supports other educators in their learning and growth. For example, this year she has supported the HRCSD Media Specialists in receiving Code.org Training, and further supported them with bringing coding into their classroom instruction and curriculum by coordinating collaborative planning time to develop and implement classroom lessons for all students K-5.   She is currently developing Ozobot Training to share with the entire Columbia Gorge Region this Spring
Sally considers innovation as a top priority, and she continues to learn and grow through ongoing professional development.  She has chosen to direct her award dollars to Hood River County School District. Congratulations and jobs well done, Sally!

Member Spotlight: Jacobs

Jacobs logo

About the Company

Jacobs (formally known as Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.) is a publicly traded corporation that was founded in 1947. Today the company employs approximately 58,000 people worldwide with about 1,200 located in Oregon. Jacobs has been in operation for 75 years—serving both public and private clients in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, including the States of Oregon and Washington, as well as various local agencies and municipalities that include Cities, Counties, Ports, service districts and private sector clients with infra-structure projects in water, wastewater, industrial processes, transportation, planning, permitting, construction management, and studies of all sizes to foster resilient communities.

 In addition to design work for buildings and campus planning, transportation design for roadways, bridges, and rail, Jacobs provides wastewater operations and maintenance services on-contract to several cities in the Gorge.

Dog River Pipeline ProjectJacobs is currently managing the Dog River Pipeline Replacement project (shown above) for the City of The Dalles. The project includes permitting, design and construction management services to install 3.5 miles of new pipeline with new fish screening and passage.

 Jacobs supports clients through all stages of planning, design, permitting, project management and construction for contracted projects.

Hood River Wastewater Treatment Plant

The City of Hood River wastewater treatment plant, located on City property at the west end of the Port of Hood River, is operated under contract by Jacobs.  Jacobs helps the City manage the  Oregon Department of Environmental Quality requirements related to the effluent that it discharges to the Columbia River.

Projects such as these fit Jacobs’ company philosophy to make the world smarter, more connected and more sustainable. Jacobs recognizes the need for holistic, balanced urban and placemaking solutions that support environmental stewardship. Climate change is acknowledged as a defining issue that requires leveraging capabilities and deep expertise for solutions. 

“Challenging today” is the company’s response to the increasing complexity our world is experiencing. These challenges call on humanity to join forces, putting knowledge and imagination together to reinvent the way problems are solved and shaping the next generation of innovative solutions.  The company’s team of technology professionals, engineers, architects and specialists work to provide leading edge solutions ranging from end-to-end solutions to more complex engineering systems that will create and sustain well-functioning and thriving communities into the future.

Jacobs supports projects for the Cities of Hood River, Cascade Locks and The Dalles. Team members live and work within the Columbia River Gorge area on both sides of the river, and Jacobs is invested in improving the Gorge’s communities as a trusted partner.  Jacobs has joined the GTA to make and strengthen connections- for its local team members living in the Gorge, with the local business community, and with other technology-minded professionals.  Jacobs offers Gorge tech companies resources for services in the Water, Civil, Data Science, Geotechnical, Structural, Electrical and Development sectors. 

Gorge Contact: Annie Alsheimer, PE


Annie Alsheimer

Annie has been involved with the GTA since moving to the Gorge in 2018, and she joined GWIS in 2019.  In 2021, she joined Jacobs Engineering through their Portland office, but still wanted to keep a local Gorge presence by staying active in GWIS, and working on local projects in the Gorge supported by Jacobs.

She says, “I have enjoyed the hybrid-remote, work-life balance the Jacobs provides me, as well as advancement in my career growth in Water Resources as a civil engineer. I like to bring a civil engineer’s perspective to the highly mechanical/ electrical engineering industry that is represented in the GTA.

I hope more people join the Jacobs team in the Gorge!”


Jacobs’ offices nearest the Gorge in Oregon are located in Portland, Corvallis and Bend. In Washington, the nearest company offices are in Yakima and Richland. 


2020 S.W. Fourth Avenue, 3rd Floor    Portland, OR 97201    503.235.5000


377 Southwest Century Drive, Suite 201    Bend, OR 97702     541.318.4716


1100 NE Circle Blvd., Suite 300     Corvallis, OR 97330


32 N 3rd Street, Suite 320    Yakima, WA 98901    509.426.2772


1835 Terminal Drive, Suite 150    Richland, WA 99354

Website: www.jacobs.com

GTA Company Profile Page>Jacobs

Tech and STEM Leader Award Nominations for 2022 are now open!

The GTA recognizes outstanding achievement among our membership each year from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.  Nominations are now open, and must be submitted by November 15th to be considered. Our categories are:

Tech Leader of the Year, which recognizes the outstanding achievement over the last year on the part of an individual or company that principally provides technology products, services, or support in the Columbia River Gorge. All technology sectors are eligible, as are sectors not traditionally characterized as technological if the individual/ company has an extraordinary commitment to innovation or using technology. 

Our 2021 winner was Columbia Gorge Community College’s Career and Technical Education Department, for pioneering new ways to provide our current and future workforce with the skills it needs for successful employability in industries across the Gorge. The incredible and tireless work from everyone in the department helped make the opening of the Regional Skills Center in Fall 2021 a reality.  Additional Technology Leader of the Year finalists honored were: Nick Anderson from Overwatch Imaging and Mary Kramer from CGCC.

Nominate Your Choice for:   GTA 2022 Tech Leader Award Here


STEM Education Leader of the Year recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) education in the Columbia River Gorge over the last year.  Nominations should describe why (with specificity) the person is being nominated for such recognition.

Our 2021 winner was Amy Foley, HRVHS Computer Science Teacher, recognized for her hard work in developing the first official sequence of Computer Science courses ever offered at the High School. Amy engaged in rigorous coursework to develop her own skills and knowledge in order to be able to offer the CS programs to students and her personal initiative has opened countless opportunities to the students at HRVHS.  Additional STEM Educator of the Year finalists honored were:  Michael Glane from Hood River Valley High School, James Pytel from CGCC, David Scharfenberg from Hood River Middle School, and Jamie Sowell from South Wasco County School District. 

Nominate Your Choice for:  GTA 2022 STEM Leader Award Here 

Nominations must be received by 5 pm on November 15, 2022 to be considered.  The winners will be announced at the GTA’s Winter Party and Awards Ceremony.  Contact Kristyn with questions. 

GTA Member Spotlight: Cardinal IG Hood River

GTA Member Spotlight: Cardinal IG Hood River

Mountain Photography Studio Facebook Cover.png

About the Company

Cardinal IG was originally founded in 1962 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.  To date, Cardinal Glass Industries has 52 locations in the United States, and all of the company’s factories are located between 600’ to 1300’ above sea level. The factory’s elevation is crucial to “lock in” the specific atmospheric pressure where the IG unit is produced, making the Hood River the only feasible location for siting a production facility in Oregon. 


The Hood River operation opened for business in January 2004 and currently has 380 employees. It is one of eleven factories producing IG units. 

About the Manager


David Windsor is the Plant Manager at Cardinal IG Hood River. David moved to Hood River during the summer heat wave of 2003, just prior to the facility’s opening.  


In glass manufacturing since the mid 80s, David’s personal philosophy shows through in the Hood River facility’s culture. 


He says, “I think manufacturing is COOL! I love making things and get a huge sense of accomplishment seeing what we make and how we do it! I believe in manufacturing in the USA- not as a political slogan- but from a perspective of quality, cost, environmental responsibility and business ethics.”


When he is not at work, David enjoys time with his family and maintains his interest in railroads and classic cars. 

Cardinal Glass

Quick Links

Cardinal Glass Industries

3125 Neal Creek Mill Road

Hood River, OR 97031





GTA Website>Cardinal Industries



Cardinal IG Hood River

Cardinal IG Hood River produces 8,000 dual and triple pane IG units per day. We are an OEM supplier to branded window and door manufacturers in the Western US and Canada. Approximately 50% of our production exports to Canada. We integrate into our customers’ production to improve their efficiency and our product quality greatly reduces their risk of field issues.


In addition to coordinating production with it’s customers, another facet of Cardinal Industries’ success lies in its reputation for reliable insulated glass windows that last the lifetime of a building. This principle of highest quality and durability was first implemented in 1968, when the CEO at that time realized that the only road to long-term success was to produce the longest lasting, most durable IG units. Today, Cardinal produces IG units that can last 50 yrs and has the lowest IG failure rate in the industry.  

Cardinal’s reputation as the world’s most admired glass company has grown out of it’s commitment to both customers and employees.  


Hood River Plant Owner David describes Cardinal as “a high tech manufacturer that operates on old fashioned principles, such as doing business on a hand shake and honoring our commitments. 


The company is committed to it’s employees and has invested heavily in creating positive, life changing, and life lasting experiences for every employee. David Windsor explains that, “If you work for Cardinal, you will grow and emerge a more capable, successful person!”


Personal growth is matched with Cardinal’s commitment to employee safety.  The company was recently certified by Oregon OSHA as a VPP Star site, clearly demonstrating that the #1 priority is employee safety!

Cardinal Hood River joined the GTA in order to foster connections with the local high tech business community and as a way to influence youth and other members of the community to get excited about manufacturing.



Member Spotlight: Columbia Gorge STEM Hub

Columbia Gorge STEM Hub                                                

400 E Scenic Drive #207

The Dalles, OR 97058

                                                                                                                www.gorgestem.org       541-296-2046


About the STEM Hub

The Columbia Gorge STEM Hub was founded in 2016 when the region applied to the State of Oregon’s Department of Education to have a STEM Hub and was awarded funding in the 2015-17 biennium. It is one of thirteen STEM Hubs across the state of Oregon. The STEM Hub is the convener of a regional network of schools, educators, nonprofits and business partners who are all working together towards the goal to ensure that all learners in the region are STEM literate and future-ready. 

The Gorge STEM Hub serves the five-county Oregon region comprised of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties.  This area includes ten school districts ranging in size from 53 to 3760 students. The Hub also collaborates with the  Gorge’s  Washington  partners in Skamania and Klickitat counties. All of the region’s Oregon school districts interact with the STEM Hub for at least one project. Local businesses (including several GTA members!) and non-profits also support with STEM Hub efforts by participating in regional work groups, co-leading projects, and providing volunteers or financial contributions.  The STEM Hub works through collective impact, an approach that amplifies what can be achieved by the staff of just three.

Many of the STEM Hub’s projects, such as collaborating with school districts on curriculum planning, are done behind the scenes. The more visible parts, like training teens to be STEM Leaders in their communities, working with businesses to increase access to career connected learning, coordinating internships, and community wide events such as the Gorge STEM Fair, build momentum for the Hub’s work as community awareness and participation increases.

The Columbia Gorge STEM Hub’s three broad strategic focus areas each encompass several efforts.


Empowered Educators includes PreK and Elementary trainings and leadership cohortslending library; annual summer STEM Symposium; MakerClub after school program (led by site-based educators); Microgrants; and more.



2022 Wasco Co Children_s STEM Fair_ building with magnatiles.jpg



Connected Community includes the annual Gorge STEM Fair; supporting partner events; Family STEM Nights; STEM Hub collaboratories; community newsletters and resource sharing. 


CGCC Welding _ Mfg. Program Spring 2022.jpg


Engaged Career Partners includes regional leadership  around Career Connected Learning; College & Career Expo; Gorge Career Challenge; developing a summer internship list and guest speakers list.

There are always several projects going across the three focus areas!   If you are interested in getting your company involved, or have general insights to share, please contact Christy at:  cchristopher@cgesd.k12.or.us

Learn more at www.gorgeSTEM.org


GTA Participation is needed for our August Teacher Externship focused on Modern Manufacturing!     

This is a three-day event for secondary teachers and counselors to help them understand what manufacturing looks like in 2022. The event is designed to give teachers first-hand knowledge of the many types of jobs involved and the skills needed in manufacturing, so they can in turn infuse that knowledge in their work with local youth. The event plans include in-person tours of a variety of companies as well as virtual panels. Companies that would like to help with either of these pieces are encouraged to reach out to Christy.

About the Director

Christy Christopher.jfif

Christy Christopher was born and raised in Hood River. She left the Gorge for college and the first ten years of her career, moving back upon seeing that the Gorge had become a more economically diverse place during the decade of her absence. The core aspects of the close-knit, engaged community and the beautiful surroundings that make the Gorge a great place to live, and the proximity to her family were deciding factors in Christy’s decision to return.  When not working, Christy can be found outside trail running, traveling to new places, and spending time with her husband and young children.




Sierra-Olympic Technologies: Leaders in Optical Gas Imaging Technology

The Ventus OGI detects and visualizes hydrocarbon gases, including methane, propane, and butane.

On the near horizon, the oil and gas industry will be required to answer calls from consumers, investors, utility companies, and regulators to deliver cleaner energy paired with far greater transparency about greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and other gasses. While the carbon footprint of natural gas is relatively low, its primary component methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere.

The climate warming impact of methane emissions has been well-known in the energy industry for many years. In the wake of the COP26 meetings in Glasgow Scotland in November of 2021 awareness suddenly shot up for millions more people around the world. There are now more than 100 international signatories, including the U.S., to the voluntary Global Methane Pledge, committing all who signed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

According to the U.S. EPA, natural gas and petroleum are the second largest human-caused source of methane emissions in the U.S., second only to animal agriculture.  Fortunately, awareness of the environment risks from methane is increasing and emissions from the energy sector can be mitigated, in part by deploying the latest in OGI (optical gas imaging) technology.

Methane emissions detection photo

The Sierra-Olympic team is proud to be on the cutting edge of this technology with the Ventus OGI, the smallest, lightest OGI camera core available. Third-party testing determined the Ventus OGI meets the regulatory standard in EPA’s OOOOa standards and documentation of that testing is available upon request. Look for Ventus OGI on the Colorado AIMM (Alternative Instrument Monitoring Method), as well.

Whether integrated into handheld, aerial, ground robotics, or continuous monitoring systems, OGI is becoming the industry standard for safely and efficiently surveying infrastructure, locating leaks, setting repair plans, and complying with global regulations. OGI safely and efficiently delivers actionable emissions data, enabling oil and gas operators to find and fix leaks and get in compliance with current and imminent emissions regulations.

Across the value chain, the oil and gas sector is intensifying efforts to detect and repair systemic problems that lead to leaking methane. Whether as a part of market-driven environmental, social and governance goals, or in preparation for stricter methane emissions leak detection and repair regulations, the industry is steadily moving toward delivering cleaner, lower emissions energy. Sierra-Olympic Technologies, Inc. is a respected leader in the development of state-of-the-art technologies that are poised to identify and reduce methane emissions and advance the goals of the Global Methane Pledge quickly and effectively. For more detailed information on our OGI work, please visit us at: Sierra-Olympic OGI technology.

Sierra Olympic Technology LogoFor product and industry updates, sign up to receive the INFRA Reader newsletter.

Interested in a remote demonstration of the Ventus OGI’s gas plume visualization capability? Email marketing@sierraolympic.com