SEDCOR 2023 A Year in Review

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Strategic Economic Development Corporation



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Strategic Economic Development Corporation

626 High Street NE, Suite 200 Salem, OR 97301 503-588-6225

SEDCOR Staff Erik Andersson

President 503-837-1800 •

Jenni Kistler Director of Operations 503-588-6225 •

Alex Paraskevas

Economic Development Manager – Polk County Rural Innovation Catalyst 503-837-1803 •

Abisha Stone

Economic Development Manager – Yamhill County 503-507-4175 •

Naureen Khan

Communications and Marketing Manager 503-837-1802 •

Harvesting the Fruits of Investment Looking back on 2023, it feels like the year that many of our investments have started to pay out. In 2019, we launched our Ag Innovation Hub to help support our region’s largest industry. We’ve leveraged our partnership with the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network on two successful events targeting food entrepreneurs who want to expand their shelf space in grocery stores. And we brought together some of our key local food processors with local farmers to help Erik Andersson fortify our “locally grown supply chain.” Over SEDCOR President time SEDCOR has developed a reputation as not only THE economic development organization targeting the ag supply chain, but also as an enthusiastic champion for what we grow and process in the Willamette Valley. As a result, we’ve been asked to work with the Oregon Business Council as that organization prioritizes the state’s food and beverage manufacturers for assistance and support. And Oregon State University partnered with us as part of its strategic planning for a Center of Innovation Excellence for food and beverage. And we have continued our work with our partners at AgLaunch to secure funding from the Small Business Administration Regional Innovation Cluster program to continue our ag supply chain work. Given the depth and breadth of what we grow and make in the Willamette Valley, this is economic development that is authentic to the region. But our agriculture work wasn’t the only investment of time and energy that paid off this past year. After years of anticipation several projects have moved into the construction phase at Salem’s Mill Creek Corporate Center. Dollar General’s first distribution center in the Pacific Northwest is being built, supporting Dollar General’s growth in its fresh and frozen product lines in addition to its traditional dry goods offerings and creating 400 jobs. In addition, Scannell Properties broke ground on a 479,000 square foot building for Gensco, Inc., a family-owned manufacturer and distributor of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment and supplies. This project is expected to create up to 200 jobs, 40% of which will be union metal fabrication jobs. PacTrust has constructed its Phase 2 buildings at Mill Creek, and one of them will be home to Agility Robotics, which has chosen Salem as the location for the world’s first factory for humanoid robots. The RoboFab will be opening in 2024 and have the capacity to produce more than 10,000 robots a year. It’s interesting that while it’s getting us a lot of attention as a tech firm, it’s also part of our warehouse and distribution industry supply chain; the company is working with Amazon to test its Digit robots. Speaking of Amazon, Woodburn is also seeing increased investment in warehouse and distribution facilities, with the 4 million square foot Amazon facility set to open in 2024. Its neighbor, Do It Best, also moved forward on a major expansion of its distribution center last year. As the year closed, SEDCOR had the chance to tour the new terminal at PDX, the most expensive public works project in state history, and celebrate the role that Mid-Valley companies are playing in that project. Freres Engineered Wood is supplying its high-tech mass plywood for the roof structure of the terminal, and Zena Forest Products is supplying the floor tiling. It’s exciting to see such innovation happening in our region’s wood products sector. All these successes over the past year reflect what has become one of the oftrepeated mantras of the SEDCOR team: there are innovation opportunities in every industry. We worked with ECONorthwest and partners including McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, George Fox University, Chemeketa Community College, and the Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator, among many others, to develop a strategic plan for a Mid-Willamette Valley Innovation Hub, which we hope to implement in 2024.

401 Oak St., Silverton, OR 97381 503-845-9499 • Design: Steve Beckner All material © 2024 its respective owners.

We are excited to continue to explore with our industry and community partners how we can support innovation and investment in the Willamette Valley.


SEDCOR Executive Council

Kate Schwarzler Chair Owner Indy Commons

Ryan Allbritton Vice-Chair SVP, Chief Banking Officer Willamette Valley Bank

Timothy Murphy Treasurer VP of Business Operations DCI

Scott Snyder Past-Chair General Manager The Grand Hotel in Salem

Keith Stahley Past-Chair City Manager City of Salem

Colm Willis Past-Chair Commissioner Marion County

Mike Keane Past-Chair Shareholder and Managing Officer Garrett Hemann Robertson, P.C.

Michael Fowler Past-Chair CEO CabDoor

Tony Schacher Past-Chair General Manager Salem Electric

SEDCOR Board of Directors

Marin Arreola President/Business Consultant Advanced Economic Solutions, Inc.

Curt Arthur Managing Director SVN Commercial Advisors

Ricardo Baez President Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Inc.

Roxanne Beltz City Councilor City of Monmouth

Becky Berger CEO Berger International

Alan Blood General Manager Garmin AT, Inc.

David Briggs Trial Lawyer, Partner Saalfeld Griggs PC

Tom Christensen CFO Oregon Fruit Products

Cathy Clark Mayor City of Keizer

Jacqueline Crosby Operations Manager Crosby Hop Farm

Richard Day President & General Manager Advantage Holdings LLC

Brent DeHart President Salem Aviation


SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

SEDCOR Board of Directors

Tony Eaquinto Southern Regional Manager Portland General Electric

Steven Elzinga Partner Sherman Sherman Johnie & Hoyt, LLP

Juli Foscoli Co-Owner - PR & Marketing Manager South Town Glass

Nathan Good Architect Nathan Good Architects PC

Steve Horning VP, Business Relationship Manager People’s Bank

Dr. Jessica Howard President/CEO Chemeketa Community College

Chris Hoy Mayor City of Salem

Kent Kaufman President/Owner Kaufman Companies

Jennifer Larsen Morrow President Creative Company, Inc.

Ryan Mosgrove AVP/Business Banking Relationship Manager Key Bank

Kim Parker-Llerenas Executive Director Willamette Workforce Partnership

James Parr Chief Financial Officer Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics

Craig Pope Commissioner Polk County

Ryan Rasmussen Vice President of Administration Modern Building Systems

Mark Raum VP. Commercial Banking Officer Umpqua Bank

David Rheinholdt Board President Latino Business Alliance

Samantha Ridderbusch Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs Comcast

Scott Salazar Regional Business Manager Pacific Power

Liz Schaecher Program Coordinator Oregon Aglink

Zachary Sielicky Government Affairs NW Natural

Reneta Wakeley Special Projects Director City of Woodburn

Cyrus Ward Audit Manager - CPA Aldrich CPAs + Advisors


Photo by Zak Stone Photography

From concept to completion Ash Creek Station – Monmouth


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6 SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

SEDCOR Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026 The SEDCOR staff, our Executive Council and the Board of Directors worked with Kinesis, a creative and strategy agency, to develop our five-year strategic plan. In the coming years, SEDCOR will focus on six specific areas. These areas all build on each other and provide us with a roadmap for our values. Everything we accomplish across these areas is grounded in relationships. SEDCOR has a unique role connecting businesses and community leaders in our region. Here are a few ways that we made progress on our strategic plan in 2023:

Expansion, Retention & Targeted Recruitment of Traded Sector Businesses We want to see traded-sector business stay and grow in the Willamette Valley, benefit from available economic incentives, and forge new partnerships among each other.

• Dollar General broke ground in Spring on their

distribution center at Mill Creek. This new facility is a $168 million investment and 500 jobs will be created from it.

• Western Interlock made a big step in its Independence

expansion project, going before the Independence Planning Commission to get approval for its 89,000 sq/ ft expansion. The total project is estimated to be around $25 million of investment and will include the new generation of manufacturing equipment for pavers. Job creation is expected to be around 35.

• Metal Innovations expanded to Salem Municipal

Airport earlier in the year. This brings an FAA Certified Maintenance shop to the Airport, which should help support commercial air service. In the Fall, Metal Innovations also entered into an agreement with Avelo, Salem’s new commuter service provider, to serve as the required FAA-certified fixed base operator for repair and/ or service.

• Gensco, a wholesale distributor and manufacturer of

HVAC equipment and supplies, announced in February a new 400,000 square foot facility. This facility will serve the entire Pacific Northwest region and will create 100 jobs then growing to 200, with 40% of those being union metal fabrication jobs.

• Solid Carbon, in partnership with McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, was awarded a $240,000 High Impact Opportunity Projects grant through Business Oregon to support the commercialization of their carbon capture concrete product. One of the first applications of this new technology can be seen at the new Remy Wines Processing Facility in Dayton.

• Pacific NW Marble & Granite will have a new 60,000 sq/ ft building in Hubbard which will create 15 new jobs.

• OpenDental Software is adding a new, three-story,

40,500 sq/ft building to its Salem campus. The new building will provide additional space for the growing software company’s operations, with dedicated space for employee childcare on the ground floor. The company currently employs 240 people and expects to increase employment by at least 24 positions with the new building.

• Freres Wood and Zena Forest Products are represented in the new Portland International Airport’s main terminal’s ceiling and flooring respectively. The first phase of the construction is due to be completed and open for travelers in May 2024.

• Agility Robotics in September announced their

“RoboFab,” a robot manufacturing facility, is in development in Salem. The 70,000 square foot facility in Mill Creek will have the capability to produce more than 10,000 robots per year.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship We want to see our NW Ag Innovation Hub drive new technology applications in traditional industries, share stories about businesses adapting to changing conditions through innovation and celebrate increased equity and inclusion in our entrepreneurial community. • SEDCOR partnered with AgLaunch to receive a five-year, $1.5 million Regional Innovation Cluster grant designated from US Small Business Administration. • SEDCOR and AgLaunch hosted the first Cultivate Northwest AgTech Startup Bootcamp in May. The Bootcamp is a crash course in business fundamentals and training on innovation within the agriculture industry. The goal of the program is to support early-stage agricultural startups and prepare them for follow-on programming and resources offered by AgLaunch or AgLaunch partners. • SEDCOR hosted the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s Food & Beverage Startup Weekend in August. This bootcamp provided food and beverage entrepreneurs with information, education, connections, and tactics to help them ramp up and accelerate their business. Continued next page


SEDCOR Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026 • In September, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s Oregon Angel Food Marketplace was held for the first time in Salem. About 50 Oregon food and beverage businesses were on display, selling products and speaking directly with customers, as well as buyers for grocery stores and other retail spaces.

Mid-Valley Regional Identity In five years, we want the Mid-Willamette Valley to be known as...

Workforce Development

A great place to start or grow a business

We want a regional workforce that has grown through retention and attraction and supports business and community with indemand skills. • SEDCOR contracted with the Sheridan School District to assist in the development of the Barbara Roberts Career Technical Center.

An equitable and inclusive business community

• After many years of planning (and one pandemic cancellation) the Youth Career Conference in Polk County was finally delivered on March 22 at Western Oregon University. There were 450 juniors from Central, Dallas, Perrydale, and Falls City school districts registered for one of 14 career tracks and had the opportunity to listen to four speakers throughout the day in their given track. This is slated to be an annual event. • In Spring, SEDCOR celebrated the groundbreaking of a new welding training center for high school students at the Mt. Angel High School. Many members of the SEDCOR Construction Alliance donated time, resources, and know-how to make this project a reality. Also, the Marion County Commissioners approved a $20,000 grant to the Mt. Angel Community Foundation to help with the project.

Infrastructure We want to support advancements in the infrastructure that is critical for our businesses and communities. • SEDCOR worked with the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium and the Missing Middle Housing Fund to create the $2.9 million Workforce Housing Investment

A region with unique strengths in agriculture, food production, manufacturing, and technology Fund. Two development teams were chosen to receive support from the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium. Both teams have identified project development sites and are working with the City of Newberg. • SEDCOR is very excited that commercial air service has returned to Salem! In October, Avelo Airlines’ debut flight took off from Salem to Las Vegas. People can now fly out of Salem Municipal Airport to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Stakeholder Engagement We want SEDCOR to be recognized among businesses and community as a regional expert and invaluable catalyst in the field of economic development. Our biggest potential lies in the connections we make between people, companies, and communities. Engaging our stakeholders is critical to that process.


Events Hosted




Mentions in the news

Members SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

Year in Pictures

Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s Food & Beverage Startup Weekend

Cultivate Northwest Startup Bootcamp

Gem Welding Room Dedication

Oregon Entrepreneurs Network Awards, Mike White won “Community Catalyst” Award

District Export Council’s Journey into Exporting event


Year in Pictures

SEDCOR’s Ag Breakfast

Touring the new terminal at PDX Airport. Freres Wood and Zena Forest Products are represented in the terminal’s ceiling and flooring respectively

Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s Oregon Angel Food Marketplace


Freres Engineered Wood Tour

Abisha Stone moderating a panel at the Economic Development & Workforce Summit put on by the Oregon Economic Development Association

SEDCOR’s Annual Golf Tournament

SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

Erik Andersson receiving the Economic Development Leader of the Year award

SEDCOR was included in very special food and beverage industry roundtable on innovation and competitiveness, brought together by the Oregon Business Council (OBC) and Senator Ron Wyden

SEDCOR’s November Economic Forum: A Food & Beverage Roundtable

Graduation of the first two cohorts of the Latino Microenterprise Development Program (LMDP)

A visit to the Ruddenklau Farms

SEDCOR’s Locally Grown Supply Chain event



Our annual awards gives us a chance to shine a light on those who went above and beyond to serve their customers, their employees, and their communities over the past year. Agri-business of the Year: Pratum Co-op

SEDCOR’s 2023 Agri-business of the Year award was presented to a Pratum Co-op which has demonstrated excellence in business and exemplifies the significant role and promising future of agriculture in our economy. Pratum Co-op started out in small community east of Salem and now has grown to be significant regional power. They have a 75-year history in the region. Dedicated to innovative solutions, excellent service, and long-term relationships, Pratum Co-op has steadily grown by continually developing new and innovative ways to better serve their customers and members. They are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of their members, their employees and the ag community. With $300 Million in sales, 450,000 acres under crop management, 70 million pounds of grass seed produced, 175 full-time employees, 19 locations, 579 members, and a commitment to research and innovation, this is why they deserve this recognition.


SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

and maintained, helped to develop the Mount Angel Benedictine Abbey Brewery, and most recently, worked to build the new welding room at Kennedy High School in Mt. Angel. The Mt. Angel Community Foundation raised nearly $100,000 for the project, and The Grant Company brought in another $50,000 in donated or discounted materials, providing their own time and expertise at no profit to get the space built. It took 14 months and 40 different companies from the first call to finish the welding room: a huge accomplishment. John led the charge on this initiative and worked tirelessly to ensure the project gets completed. Many nominated him for this award without them realizing he was already nominated by others.

Business Partner of the Year: Pacific Crest Real Estate Advisors SEDCOR’s 2023 Business Partner of the Year was awarded to Pacific Crest Real Estate Advisors. This award is given to a business or organization that exemplifies the best qualities of corporate citizenship by contributing significantly to the community and to the successful operation of SEDCOR programs. Pacific Crest Real Estate Advisors are a committed SEDCOR partner and a business that frequently shows up exactly where, and when, they’re needed; without fail. They show up, they listen, they consider how they are best able to help - then they work to create positive change where they can. With roots generations deep in the region, they truly want to contribute to making their community a better place for all - and their actions have impacted their community in big ways, through contributions such as board positions with local nonprofits, investment in light industrial projects, and support for childcare, housing and recreational projects throughout Yamhill County.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Dreamies Creamery SEDCOR’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year was presented to Dreamies Creamery. This is award allows us to celebrate the innovation, creativity, and enthusiasm that our region of entrepreneurs brings to the table. Our Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented to an emerging small business that has developed a new idea, product and/or services into a viable, competitive business. Dreamies Creamery certainly exemplifies this notion as their business has not only been innovative but has grown to great success. This women-owned, family business opened last year with a unique product – sheep’s milk ice cream – and they’ve grown their market by putting their business on wheels and serving up their treats at fairs and other events. This past summer they expanded into a brick-and-mortar location, giving Dallas its own ice cream parlor. They have used their combined experience in Oregon dairy farming and food to create a product that the region hasn’t enjoyed before and people sure are loving it!

Outstanding Public/Private Partnership: Latino Microenterprise Development Program (LMDP) Community Service Award: John Gooley SEDCOR’s 2023 Community Service award was presented to John Gooley of Withers Lumber. He is a strong and passionate advocate for community projects that he believes in. John Gooley is a face familiar to many in his community, he serves on several community boards and commissions, and was one of the driving forces in getting the Mt. Angel Festhalle built

SEDCOR’s 2023 Outstanding Public/Private Partnership award was given to the Latino Microenterprise Development Program (LMDP). This award recognizes outstanding cooperation on a project or initiative with public benefit in mind. It celebrates the collaboration of private, traded-sector industry and public sector organizations. LMDP is a true collaboration. This program is brought together not only through funding Continued next page


from a Business Oregon Technical Assistance Grant but also through a dedicated network of partnerships with: • Latino Business Alliance (LBA): Conducts targeted outreach to the Latino community and implements a microloan program to support these small businesses’ growth and expansion. • Advanced Economic Solutions (AES): Serves as the program manager that provides marketing and outreach, as well as training and technical assistance. • Chemeketa Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Creates training, workshops, and business consultation for Latino businesses participating


in this program, also an in-kind space to conduct this work. • Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments (COG): Assists in the management and implementation of the LBA’s microloan program. • SEDCOR: Serves as the fiscal agent and provides Venture Catalyst expertise. All these partners working together to build a community program designed to help participants master the knowledge and skills necessary to establish, grow, and sustain a business for long-term success. LMDP has allowed these organizations to build a true partnership that will have an impact long

SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

into the future. Partners and participants alike have learned how to work together and leverage their strengths to help people reach their goals. And success just keeps growing! The program has completed its first full year of programming with two successful cohorts of entrepreneurs. A second round of funding through an 18-month Business Oregon Economic Equity Investment Program grant was recently approved and the third program cohort will begin meeting next week. The program will expand into McMinnville with a new partner, UNIDOS, in the coming year.

including collaboration towards AARP Livable Community designation and development of a joint leadership academy to help build the next generation of leaders. Inspired by their success, we asked them for their ‘secret’ to successful collaboration amongst municipalities. Their response? “Attitude. That’s what it comes down to. A willingness to work toward a common goal and set aside personal interests. They believe in the power of partnership—not for themselves, but for the

betterment of the communities.”

Innovative Product: Zena Forest Products Community Leadership Award: City of Independence, Oregon & City of Monmouth, Oregon SEDCOR’s 2023 Community Leadership award was presented to the cities of Independence and Monmouth. This award recognizes outstanding leadership of those whose exceptional involvement in community-based projects improves our quality of life. The essence of this award is to recognize outstanding leaders who are dedicated to bettering our region through service. This year’s award is uniquely shared between Independence and Monmouth as the recognition captures the commitment to intentional collaboration and the benefits that are received by the greater community when leaders make the decision to work just a bit beyond their respective borders. They have a long-standing history of coordinating on higher level projects, and certainly have been friendly through the years. But the last couple of years have really seen a very intentional shift in this work from ‘friendly coordination’ to ‘intentional collaboration’ and, wow, has this shift been evident! An ‘all-hands’ leadership group that formed at the height of the COVID crisis brought together leaders and critical partners – this group continues to meet to ensure wide-reaching collaboration. Several new community projects have recently been completed which benefit the more than 20,000 people living in the immediate area – a newly-built skatepark, a Spirit Mountain Community Fund grant of over $30,000 to purchase new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for use throughout the community, and the resurrection of the MI Trolley public transit system are a few recent highlights. More projects are in the works,

SEDCOR’s 2023 Innovative Product was awarded to Zena Forest Products. This award is given to a company that has developed a new product or process which is on the “cutting edge” and who advances the industry and the economy through its development. Zena Forest Products brings an entirely new product to the US market and, with an eye towards both sustainable management of resources and consideration of product range offerings, utilizes materials that would have historically been underutilized or considered waste. Primarily a manufacturer of wide plank engineered hardwood flooring, plus some additional complimentary products, Zena Forest Products saw an opportunity to innovate and jumped at the chance. The Port of Portland had interest in using local, Oregon White Oak flooring in the new PDX Airport terminal project, so, with newly signed contract in hand, Zena Forest Products embarked on an ambitious expansion themselves, adding an entirely new flooring production facility to manufacture hardwood edge grain flooring tiles - the first manufacturer of this style of flooring in North America. Congratulations to Zena Forest Products for bringing the production of Edge Grain Flooring Tiles to the US Market!

Manufacturer of the Year: A-dec Inc. SEDCOR’s 2023 Manufacturer of the Year was awarded to A-dec. This award recognizes an outstanding manufacturer that is making world-class products, creating job opportunities, and strengthening our economy. It is given to a company that has made contributions to industry and community and is considered a successful operator exemplifying the highest business ethical standards. A-dec fulfills this description, and then some. Founded in 1964, they Continued next page


have grown into the largest, privatelyowned equipment manufacturer of their kind in the United States and are recognized as a global leader in their industry. As a business, they are on the forefront of innovation, recently announcing two first-of-their-kind products, ushering in the future of their industry and paving the way for future innovation, jobs creation, and manufacturing innovation in our region. Named one of the ‘top workplaces in the USA’ in 2023, this manufacturer understands the importance of caring for their team of over 1,400 employees, and for their community. This is embodied in their outreach and philanthropy initiatives, including equipment donations to non-profit organizations, youth education programs, employee volunteer service teams, and working with local partners to tackle tough community issues like housing affordability in our region. ‘Providing opportunities and care for people’ is literally the guiding principle of this manufacturer. This isn’t something that is simply written on a website to help boost sales either, this is a principle that is actively put into practice as we at SEDCOR have been very fortunate to experience! SEDCOR has worked with them as leaders on the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium and Yamhill County Economic Development Advisory Committee where they have consistently advocated for resources that enhance livability for their workforce.

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SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review


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SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

In December, we celebrated Nick Harville’s retirement and his 17.5 years with SEDCOR. It was an evening filled with good company and fond memories. Nick, you will be truly missed and thank you for your hard work over the years. “While Nick has brought a lot of knowledge and expertise to SEDCOR, I think he’ll be best known as having brought a lot of heart to the job. A lot of economic developers talk about deal flow and metrics, but Nick leads with his heart: he genuinely cares about the businesses, employees and communities he works with. He can talk about the millions of dollars of investment and the hundreds of jobs he has impacted, but he shines when he hears of a CTE student who has landed a great job with a local construction firm, and fills with pride when his network of businesses come together to help those in need. That’s his true legacy with SEDCOR, and our entire team strives to approach our work with the same care and respect.” - Erik Andersson

“I’m grateful to have a few years of overlap at SEDCOR with Nick, and he’s really left an indelible mark on the organization. Above all he’s demonstrated (and led by example) the importance of building relationships and trust; how to ask the right questions and listen; and drilled into us the strength of taking an industry-driven approach to the work that we do.” - Alex Paraskevas

“Even though I have only been at SEDCOR for a few months, it doesn’t take too long to see the impact Nick has had on the organization and the region. It is admirable seeing his passion and dedication to serving the community. Wishing you all the best in your retirement!” - Naureen Khan

“Working alongside Nick and having the opportunity to learn first-hand his passionate approach to economic development has been an inspiring journey. Nick’s dedication to fostering long-term relationships and sustainable growth in the local business community has added to the success of our team’s collective efforts and has also been a source of guidance and inspiration for all of us. As Nick embarks on his well-deserved retirement, I want to share my thanks for his invaluable contributions, insights, and nuggets of wisdom. Nick, cheers to a remarkable career and the enduring impact that you have made on our team and the communities we serve!” Jenni Kistler

“I met Nick while I was working in the industrial food manufacturing industry and always knew him to be an outgoing, resourceful, and kind person. After I joined the SEDCOR team, Nick became a mentor and a friend. Thank you for your guidance and for everything you taught me, Nick. I will miss seeing you in the office and all those oatmeal raisin cookies you leave for me. I’m sure our paths will continue to cross, and I look forward to that. I hope you enjoy your well-earned retirement, my friend.” - Abisha Stone


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SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

BRE’s 2023 Insights As we wrap up 2023, we reached out to our business retention and expansion managers (BRE’s for short) to hear their reflection on the year and their outlook for the coming year. recruitment and retention tools. The statewide issues of housing underproduction and low childcare capacity will likely influence conversations in this year’s legislative short session. We hope to see support for employer driven solutions in these areas. Most exciting projects from this last year?

Abisha Stone Yamhill County Business Retention & Expansion Manager Overall, how would you describe 2023? 2023 was a great year for SEDCOR and a busy year for our regional businesses. I would refer to 2023 as a resetting or planning year for most of our industry partners. With interest rates still high and some global supply chain and price-demand uncertainty, many of our partners have used this year to develop new investment plans or to revisit old ones. We are seeing much more activity with investments in automation and more staggered facility expansions...but growth is on everyone’s’ mind. What were some of the biggest challenges? High interest rates have continued to dampen long-term investments and the labor market has not offered much relief for employers. Workforce continues to be a challenge, as well as a low industrial lands and building inventory in the mid-valley. Many employers in Yamhill County are investing in childcare and workforce housing solutions as employee

Applied Physics Technology invested in a clean room at their McMinnville facility and were awarded $1.2m in support from Business Oregon. This investment will allow them to expand their operations and employee headcount. Hampton Lumber announced a $150 million dollar expansion to build a new sawmill in Willamina to replace, consolidate and increase automation of their existing mills on that site. This investment will not only provide long-term employment and tax revenue for the county; it reinforces Hampton lumber’s commitment to Yamhill County and the city of Willamina. Though I could share many more exciting projects, the last one I will highlight is the work of the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium (NWHC). The NWHC is comprised of the largest employers in Newberg who partnered with the Missing Middle Housing Fund to create a $3 million revolving investment fund to offer low interest predevelopment loans to middle/workforce housing developers - essentially buying down the cost burden of high interest rates as a way to support the development of workforce housing in the city of Newberg. What do you expect for 2024? As an eternal optimist, I expect great things for 2024. Based on what I hear our industry partners say I expect to see consistent, moderate, growth for most industries as additional investment in automation continues. As our employers invest in automation, we will see a “skilling up” of their existing workforce and an increase in production throughput for these businesses. A hopeful result is that these changes will Continued on page 23


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BRE Insights – continued lead to a cost advantage for these businesses, in the larger domestic and global marketplace. I also foresee future investments in childcare, workforce housing and career technical education (CTE) programs as our region’s employers work to secure the workforce of today, while laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s developing workforce.

Alex Paraskevas Polk County Business Retention & Expansion Manager Overall, how would you describe 2023? As always, a busy year for SEDCOR! Lots of movement in the programs we have been working on including the Regional Innovation Cluster with SBA, expansion projects in Polk County, and companies beginning to find some sort of zen with the ‘new normal’ regarding the labor market (and continued investments in automation and robotics, as part of that new normal).

Interest rates will continue to play a factor, but a lot of expansion projects seem to still be moving forward, and we will continue to support those projects.

What were some of the biggest challenges? Labor continues to be a challenge, and seems like there is not necessarily any sort of obvious ‘fix’ on the horizon. The midvalley continues to experience the same challenges around land/building availability. Furthermore, state-level priorities continue to focus on semiconductor supply chain but miss the advancements and innovation in natural resources and the ag and food supply chains; it’s exciting to see mid-valley showcase pieces around wood products at the new PDX terminal that demonstrate what we can do. Most exciting projects from this last year? In that vein, the most exciting projects from Polk County this year were able to be highlighted in the SEDCOR awards: Zena Forest Products and their amazing new oak tile flooring;

Dreamies Creamery and their quick momentum at not only retail product but also building on the regional supply chain vertical with focus on manufacturing co-manufacturing. Cultivate Northwest, the first agtech bootcamp in the region put on alongside AgLaunch was an exciting week of supporting local startups and a great highlight of local innovation with potentially national impact, and the first time the region hosted OEN’s Angel Food Marketplace was a capstone project to the effort and focus we have put in recent years on food manufacturing in this region. What do you expect for 2024? Interest rates will continue to play a factor, but a lot of expansion projects seem to still be moving forward, and we will continue to support those projects. We will continue to watch the moves of the Oregon Legislature, and also how the Farm Bill plays out in Washington D.C. now that there is some Oregon and specialty crop representation on the committee. We are already in the planning stages of our next agtech startup bootcamp and are looking forward to supporting traded sector businesses big and small, new and old.

Nick Harville Marion County Business Retention and Expansion Manager Overall, how would you describe 2023? Exciting. Although interest rates rose, and other industries became cautious several Marion County companies chose to expand. Seven significant projects in all parts of Marion County got underway. This isn’t counting anything at Mill Creek. National statistics show that 80% of jobs created come from expansions of existing business. Communicating and Continued on page 25


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24 SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

Obstacles and Opportunities – continued partnering with large employers in your community is critical. Their needs and concerns with expansion can be anything from childcare to housing, infrastructure, utilities including data transmission. So having seven projects totaling between $150 - $175,000,000 creates long-term jobs. It broadens the tax base for the communities and county. With a dozen smaller expansions aside from these seven it begins to add up to financial, workforce, and community development. What were some of the biggest challenges? The processing chain, like a supply chain, was sluggish and time-consuming. Skilled workforce across industries is as crucial now, if not more so, than it has ever been. Workforce is a concern today and was a concern SEDCOR began addressing aggressively over 10 years ago. The environment of all industries became geared to a mass of population that has thinned down slowly over the

The strength of the job market plus big infrastructure investments should spur ongoing economic growth in rural America. last 20 years. The change was subtle and didn’t draw much attention…at first. SEDCOR identified local industry skills that local companies need and began working with public schools to instill those identified skills in students. Industry-driven skill development. Most exciting projects from this last year? Expansions create more jobs annually than recruitments. Expansions are happening in Marion County which makes a statement for the business environment that has been created. Personally, it is exciting to see students from Santiam School District building family homes, helping Mt Angel School District open their welding room for students, Santiam Canyon continuing their construction program and others. CTEC and Willamette Career Academy helping students learn industrydriven skills. That is exciting because, whether they know it or not, these industry-driven skills are solid life skills for students. Skills local companies need so new employees can make a living

wage and as a result spend money in their community. What do you expect for 2024? The U.S. economy continues to outperform expectations despite a string of adversity. The pandemic, rampant inflation, and the Federal Reserve’s extreme monetary tightening policies. The strength of the job market plus big infrastructure investments should spur ongoing economic growth in rural America. However, potential pitfalls are on the horizon: Congress continues to delay progress on the Farm Bill and trade policy while consumers are irrationally pessimistic about the future. After a two-year stretch of record profitability, the farm economy is headed toward transition in 2024. Commodity prices have slid closer to historic norms, but farming expenses have not. Nevertheless, global, and domestic food supplies are still relatively tight, which should keep farm incomes from falling too far. A limiting factor to growth will be workforce. Regardless of industry. In some cases, automation can replace human actions. But automation will never replace the human. The working employee environmental has changed as well since the pandemic. Populations of people are shifting, many to rural communities. Some communities are even providing incentives to “work anywhere” demographic to move to their community. So, attracting people is changing on how you can attract these mobile workers. I personally stay more optimistic and pessimistic about prospects for 2024, giving the strong economic fundamentals of our economy in recent years. There has been a wave of investment in rural industries and it is reasonable that this will continue.


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Outlook for 2024 Q&A with Erik Andersson

What obstacles do you think 2024 holds for businesses in the Mid-Valley? The last few years have been a huge challenge for business. They’ve had to navigate through a pandemic, wildfires, ice storms, inflation, high interest rates, and something that looked a lot like a recession. I think there are still some lagging effects of all these issues that have created a vague uncertainty, which makes businesses very cautious about investment. Not to mention the geopolitical issues that impact supply chains and international markets, which is even more impactful for a state heavily dependent on exporting. What challenges do you see in terms of workforce development? Even with all the issues I just mentioned, businesses continue to face workforce challenges. I read recently that the current decade will have the lowest growth in the number of working age Americans since the Civil War. Businesses will have to learn to do more with fewer employees, which is why we’re so focused on resources to help manufacturers invest in automation and retraining existing workers in new processes and technologies. We’ve identified a need to tie together production efficiency technical resources, capital to invest in new machinery & equipment and incumbent worker training into a more seamless process. I’d like to see a onestop shop where a manufacturer can learn what it needs to do to be more productive, line up the financing required and secure the training resources for its existing workers. It’s gratifying to see the relationships between industry and our local Gem Welding Room at Mount Angel High School schools continue to grow. DCI and Freres Engineered Wood are working closely on CTE programming with the Willamette Career Academy. And last year the business community came together to develop a welding program at the Mount Angel High School.

Jose Gonzales, co-founder of La Familia Cider, at the Oregon Angel Food Marketplace What opportunities do you see happening in the new year for the region? I’m hoping that we finally have some resources for our Venture Catalyst program to drive our entrepreneurism efforts. We will be applying for funding to implement the strategic plan for the Mid-Willamette Valley Regional Innovation Hub in the coming months, and I see this as a way to make good on the promise of our Launch MidValley initiative. I’m thankful for the partnership with the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, as they’ve been keeping the “Launch” concept alive to provide resources to the region’s entrepreneurs. The Innovation Hub will be a mechanism to coordinate a variety of regional and local initiatives supporting entrepreneurial development. We’re fortunate to have active SEDCOR initiatives like our Ag Innovation Hub with AgLaunch and the Latino Microenterprise Development Program, and the Regional Hub will allow us to develop a mechanism to coordinate these resources with those of our partners at Chemeketa Community College, George Fox University, Oregon State, and other four-year schools in the region. I also am looking forward to seeing where we go with the momentum we started with our Locally Grown Supply Chain event last November. The more we can do to connect our region’s food and beverage processors with local farmers who can meet their current and future supply needs, the better it is for the region’s economy. I like to call that growing the regional economy from within. We will also be building on our partnership with the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network in the coming year. Whether it’s cohosting Start-Up Weekends for small business owners or Continued on page 29


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SEDCOR’s 2023 Year in Review

Outlook for 2024 – continued from page 27 bringing together food entrepreneurs for the Oregon Angel Food Marketplace, SEDCOR will be doing more with OEN to support the region’s entrepreneurs, especially those in the food and beverage space. What role do you see technology playing in the future of the region’s economy? With all the activity and resources being directed toward the semiconductor industry, we try to remind anyone who will listen that the majority of new tech jobs will be created in non-tech industries. SEDCOR is working to develop resources to help our traditional industries like agriculture, food processing and wood products with innovation and technological adoption. We continue to work with eImpact

and the Technology Association of Oregon to feature a dashboard of STEM-related jobs in the region’s agricultural and food/beverage industries to highlight the tech careers that are available here in the Mid-Willamette Valley. The arrival of Agility Robotics to the region will provide us with an opportunity to learn more about that industry, and the company’s workforce needs. I’m excited to see the opportunities to partner with area schools, as there is a lot of interest in robotics at the high school level. I know our workforce partners at Chemeketa Community College are very interested in providing support as well. It’s not just Agility Robotics, but the warehouse and distribution sector is a major employer in the region, and every one of those businesses is investing in new technologies.

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From the SEDCOR Staff,

2023 was filled with projects that promoted economic diversity, growth and resilience in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Our team continues to be inspired by the collaboration, innovation and perseverance of the businesses in our region. Thank you for supporting our mission and for your continued partnership. We look forward to an exciting and prosperous 2024!

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