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

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

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.



ANPC – Advanced Navigation & Positioning Corporation

This company was founded by a former sensor fusion engineer with Lockheed Advanced Development Projects (aka Skunk Works), who sought to re-imagine aviation navigation technology in a location that would provide an ideal manufacturing and testing environment, and a talent pool of skilled and enthusiastic engineers. 

ANPC was founded in 1991 and based in Hood River, Oregon to meet both the environmental needs for the business as well as to attract the talent needed for the company to be successful.  The variable weather and terrain conditions in the Gorge present aviation challenges representative of the thousands of airports worldwide that ANPC and its innovative technology were created to serve. The company’s unique challenges demand that ANPC be at the forefront of several engineering disciplines, and the Pacific Northwest is known as a draw for fresh and ambitious talent. The employee demographic that this area attracts was the second compelling reason to locate the company in the Columbia Gorge Region.   ANPC’s Chairman and CEO, Jeff Mains, has been a part-time resident in the Gorge for over 20 years, and CEO Mains, like most of ANPC’s 45 employees, is an outdoor enthusiast attracted to the Gorge for its breathtaking scenery and myriad outdoor activities including windsurfing, skiing, hiking, and fishing.  ANPC’s employees love the outdoors and the beauty and recreational opportunities that the Gorge offers.  

ANPC is a global leader and pioneer in advancing aviation surveillance and navigation, with customers and system installations operating on all seven continents. At the same time, this small and progressive company is actively tied into the Gorge economy and community with its reliance on many local suppliers and service providers to support and maintain its Hood River headquarters, and occasionally employs local vendors for fabrication and materials. Both municipal and regional airports at Hood River and The Dalles have provided enthusiastic support for ANPC’s development and testing of equipment and technology for 30 years.  KDLS Airport in Dallesport, WA has been ANPC’s established test and demonstration site since the company’s founding in 1991. In 2022, KDLS will also become a customer when ANPC commissions a public instrument approach procedure for the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport.

Despite the pandemic challenges we are all facing, ANPC has grown its workforce by 15% and has expanded its product offerings to enter several new and exciting markets. Among recent highlights:

  • ANPC has installed multiple systems in Antarctica to enable all-weather landings in the most hostile environment on Earth
  • ANPC has produced the first and only rapidly-deployable surveillance and precision landing system for defense and disaster recovery applications
  • This year, ANPC will begin developing border & perimeter security solutions that combine primary and secondary radar technology, electro-optical imaging, and RF drone detection

ANPC has recently joined the GTA to pursue its goal to become a prominent employer in the Gorge with an engaged presence in the organizations that promote growth and talent development within the region. This company is at the leading edge of aviation technology and offers exciting career opportunities in a challenging but fun work environment. 



489 N. 8th Street, Ste. 203

Hood River, OR 97031

USA: 800-228-1857 X 230

Global: +1-541-386-1747 x230



Trillium Engineering, LLC

About Trillium Engineering

Trillium Engineering is the industry leading provider of actionable imagery for small UAS tactical operations. By designing and manufacturing end-to-end imaging solutions for unmanned aircraft, Trillium is able to provide the high-quality tools that their clients need. Trillium’s customers vary widely, but are primarily subcontractors for larger, mostly military-based programs. 

On June 9th, 2021, Trillium announced that it will be supplying Martin UAV with Orion HD80 camera systems in support of a next-generation UAS program. By collaborating with Martin UAV closely for over three years, Trillium engineers understand the specific needs and have developed special integrations for Martin’s airframes. A U.S. Navy prototyping contract for Martin UAV is expected and has been awarded in part due to Trillium’s collaboration and product development. Learn more about that project here.

In addition to military tactical operations, some non-military applications for Trillium’s products include anti-poaching, conservation, and wildland fire control.  For versatility, Trillium offers five product lines ranging from 2.5” – 8” diameter gimbals that are operated remotely using the Skylink user interface. The gimbal combined with the user interface allows operators to concentrate on the mission, providing the precise imagery and data that is required.


About The Founders

Trillium was founded in 2013 by Gail Dagan, Rob Gilchrist, and Jeff Fisher.  All three engineers share an extensive background in unmanned payloads and a passion for technology.  The company remains located in the Gorge area to take advantage of the high quality of life and the concentration of talent. The company currently employs over fifty-five people and utilizes local suppliers whenever possible in order to help sustain a thriving Gorge economy.  

Trillium continues to push the envelope of what is possible by listening to customers and empowering its team to provide excellent products along with stellar customer support.

Learn more about Trillium here.




About Design3Geometry LLC

Founded in 2020, Design3Geometry LLC is a Lean Champion organization that constructs 3D design models (specializing with Solidworks) and will create or revise standard engineering drawing for original equipment manufacturers.  Additionally, the team provides guidelines for manufacturing tolerance applications (GDT) and best example engineering drawings. Consultations and training are available to any organization seeking to improve their processes for design engineering development and product definition capture of design models and engineering drawings. 

Design3Geometry’s typical customers are small to mid-size manufacturers of original design equipment such as machine tools, consumer devices, 3D printed items, and unmanned aircraft payload components. These customers receive 3D drawings, models, and related documentation to fulfill their production needs at a competitive cost for extensive, professional level knowledge of – and experience with – both national and international standards for product definition (models, drawings, and related documentation). Design3Geometry’s fees for design model and drawing development (or revision) are significantly more competitive than similar services obtained through temp agencies or subcontracted hire.

The company’s flexibility, imagination, and ability to reset strategies in response to ever-changing industry conditions of uncertainty, paired with determined patience, has allowed Design3Geometry to weather the changing landscape that the pandemic has brought to the Gorge’s business community. Continuing its organizational growth, the company plans to launch its business website as well as a companion educational website in January 2022. 


About the Owner

Fred Tolmie is the owner of Design3Technology, LCC. Fred moved to the Gorge in 2016 and worked with several technology companies in the area. During that time, Fred recognized the need for 3D design services to small and mid-size manufacturers in the area. Seizing the opportunity, Fred created Design3Technology, LLC to be able to fill the gap in services. In his free time, Fred enjoys carpentry, metal working, fly fishing, camping, and hiking. Living and working in the Gorge allows Fred to enjoy all of these hobbies.

Of interesting note, in 1997 Fred was among the first people world-wide to obtain senior level certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GDT) professional.

To find out how Design3Geometry can help your organization, contact Fred Tolmie,  Design3Geometer@gmail.com or call [503] 826-4494 business phone, [971] 272-7540 cell.

Fred Tolmie

Owner, Design3Geometry




Sagetech Avionics, Inc.

Sagetech Avionics, Inc.

About Sagetech Avionics

Sagetech Avionics, Inc. is an aerospace technology company that develops highly engineered FAA and DoD compliant products meeting manned aircraft specifications with very low size, weight and power (SWaP). Currently serving military and civil duty on most small to medium UAVs, Sagetech Avionics’ products enable safe flight in unmanned aircraft with situational awareness solutions built from mission-critical transponders, software, and related technologies.

Founded in 2019 through the acquisition of intellectual property from Sagetech Corporation, the dedicated and innovative team of 25 employees stayed in the Gorge area for several reasons including personal roots in the area, their support of area customers, as well as the technology talent pool and entrepreneurial traditions which support the growth of Sagetech Avionics. With strong backing from investors, Sagetech Avionics is currently hiring to support current and future growth.

Sagetech Avionics’ typical customers are UAS companies supporting U.S. DoD contracts, advanced commercial applications and new market opportunities such as UAM/AAM.  The company provides military and civil transponders, collision avoidance systems, detect and avoid solutions as well as custom software and support. Additionally, Sagetech Avionics supplies products to Gorge area organizations such as Insitu, partners with companies such as Collins (Cloud Cap), and supports supply chain companies such as Custom Interface and Columbia River Machine.

Working in concert with its extensive ecosystem of OEM customers, technology partners, and resellers to ensure that UAVs fly safer with Sagetech on board, Sagetech Avionics is expanding its technology platform to create comprehensive, certifiable systems such as detect and avoid solutions. Sagetech Avionics solutions are mission-proven and offer decades of program experience, certifications, and millions of flight hours and are designed to deliver maximum value over the life of an unmanned platform.

About the CEO


Sagetech Avionics’ CEO, Tom Furey came to the Gorge in early 2015 to work for Sagetech Corporation. He is originally from New York but has lived in all areas of the country, and his wife is from Los Angeles. He and his family enjoy activities that the Gorge offers such as mountain biking, windsurfing, wing foiling, and the dynamic music culture. At one point, Tom was convinced that he never wanted to live in the PNW, now he says he will probably never leave.

To find out more about Sagetech Avionics, please visit:  www.sagetech.com or email: sales@sagetech.

GVB Biopharma

Since its founding in 2016, GVB Biopharma has grown rapidly into a leading technology-driven hemp solutions provider. The company’s team of 150 employees includes top chemists, engineers, doctors and biologists paired with talented operators and a robust sales and marketing team. GVB Biopharma is proud to share their mission to create the highest-quality hemp cannabinoid products possible.

GVB Biopharma offers a wide range of hemp-based wellness solutions for customers around the globe. The company uses full vertical integration to ensure product quality – this approach is central to their operations strategy. It encompasses every step of production, utilizing innovative cannabinoid science to create seed-to-shelf quality control from selecting hemp genetics and continuing through every stage of processing and product development. This quality control is especially critical in products produced for pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals markets. 

GVB Biopharma works with companies big and small, ranging from boutiques to global big box retailers, with an expertise in developing raw materials that positions them uniquely to serve white label customers, producing private label products and raw materials for some of the country’s top cannabinoid brands. Offering an exceptionally broad line of raw materials for the wholesale market, GVB’s state-of-the art manufacturing facility can produce tens of thousands of finished consumer products daily.

With operations in Sherman County, GVB Biopharma works with local farmers who have been farming in Oregon for generations and understand the principles of sustainable farming, such as rotating crops and using cover crops to regenerate the soil. Production of GVB’s raw materials and ingredient manufacturing (including 300 acres of organic hemp farms) and distribution takes place in Grass Valley, where the company was founded. GVB’s Grass Valley food-grade production facility covers 33,000 square feet. The manufacturing facility, being in rural Sherman County, has survived and prospered during the pandemic with no COVID cases among GVB’s employees or their families.

In addition to their Oregon operations, GVB recently received handling certification from USDA-accredited certifier California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), demonstrating the company’s commitment to transparency and sustainability. Looking towards the future, GVB Biopharma is currently in the process of creating a scientific foundation and professional network for a research and development program for cannabigerol (CBG). CBG is a type of cannabinoid obtained from the cannabis plant, allowing for the rapid development of licensable intellectual property.

About the Owners

GVB Biopharma is a story of friendship, dedication to exacting principles, and swift success. The company was founded in the fertile farm country of central Oregon in 2016 by three best friends who have known one another since high school.



Phil Swindells - CEO and co-founder of GVB Biopharma
Phil Swindells, CEO and Co-Founder of GVB Biopharma
photo of Jack Feldman, President and Co-Founder of GVB Biopharma
Jack Feldman, President and Co-Founder
Drew Spiegel, COO of GVB Biopharma
Drew Speigel, COO of GVB Biopharma

Business Oregon

Business Oregon is the state’s economic development agency investing in Oregon’s businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. Business Oregon’s staff of 130 administers and manages a portfolio of over 70 different public infrastructure and business development programs, grants, and loans. This portfolio includes; a Global Trades Team that helps connect companies to international markets, provide export assistance, grants for tradeshows, and access to market/sector expertise; access to capital through various lending tools for emerging small businesses and companies unable to secure traditional financing; an Innovation and Entrepreneurship team that helps young companies, universities, and institutions bring new products and ideas to markets, increase R&D, technology commercialization, new product development, and entrepreneurship in rural and underserved communities.
On a global scale, Business Oregon views the state’s competitive advantage to be our access to the Pacific Rim and location between Europe and Asia, skilled workforce, manufacturing base, lifestyle and recreational assets, entrepreneurial spirit, among many others. Regionally, the Gorge is a microcosm of the best features Oregon has to offer with world-renowned recreation, high-value and diverse agricultural products, a burgeoning UAV/UAS industry cluster, and other high-tech manufacturing, food, and beverage manufacturers. “The Gorge is truly a place where you don’t have to choose to live or work, we do both,” said Michael Held, Regional Development Officer.
On the business development side of the organization, Business Oregon works predominantly with small to medium sized companies within a range of industry segments including advanced manufacturing, natural resources, clean and high-tech, outdoor gear and apparel, and creative industries. Through their vast portfolio, they offer a range of services including targeted technical assistance, connections to resource and finance partners, and investments into locally based community and economic development organizations. With respect to infrastructure, Business Oregon can provide a variety of financing tools for communities, including broadband/ telecommunications, water/wastewater, brownfield redevelopment, industrial lands, community facilities and other critical public infrastructures.
Business Oregon works with a variety of regional companies and nearly every public jurisdiction on a diverse range of business and infrastructure development related projects. One such example is Business Oregon’s continued support of the Port of Cascade Locks in building out its industrial lands and facilities that have led to rapid business expansions, increased private investment, and regional job growth.
“As a state resource provider, I value connecting to business leaders in the region and hope to continue to find engagement opportunities even in a virtual setting. I also enjoy hearing directly from businesses as to what they see as their market opportunities for their respective sectors, said Held. “Understanding our region’s short and long term needs allows me to educate the business office on what kinds of investments our communities and businesses might need in the future,” he added.
Business Oregon has been busy over the last 5 months administering Federal CAREs Act funding to Oregon communities. To date, they have maintained their pre-COVID workload and in addition delivered over;
  • $22.5m – Emergency Grants for Small Businesses
  • $3m – Technical Assistance Providers grants with an emphasis on underrepresented businesses
  • $50m – Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant Program
  • $20m – Broadband Capacity
  • $25.98m – Grants for Cultural Venues and Organizations
  • $10m – Masks and Gloves for Small Businesses
“Over the last year, I made connections to four GTA companies who have subsequently gone on to access Business Oregon’s Trade Export Assistance Grants. Unfortunately, since COVID, my outreach to the business community has been limited and focused primarily on reopening strategies and best practices but value the continued venues GTA offers that help supplement in-person visits that I was able to make pre-COVID,” said Held.

About Michael Held

Michael Held moved to the Gorge in 2011 to work at the Port of The Dalles as a Planner and Economic Development Specialist through an AmeriCorps program called Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE). He chose this location out of five other potential placements because of the opportunity to work across such diverse geographies and landscapes, cultures, and myriad challenges and opportunities unique to the Gorge. 

Michael left the region from 2016-2019 but moved back to The Dalles with his wife and their two dogs because they were seeking better access to recreational amenities, gorgeous weather, and a slower paced lifestyle.

When not working, you can find Michael with his wife and their dogs somewhere in the northwest on a trail backpacking or hiking or in their new teardrop trailer. Along the way are stops for fishing, golfing, and kayaking. Michael is also an enthusiastic supporter of the regions robust craft beer and wine making industries.

When Michael was nine years old his mother prevented him from trying out for a part in the movie The Sandlot. He reports he has yet to forgive her and still has a hard time talking about it.
Learn more about Business Oregon here or contact Michael at 971-599-9489 or via email here.