Sep 21, 2011
by JEFF SPRY CBN Feature Writer
Helping to guide Redmond through stormy economic waters, a number of brave businesses in multiple sectors are providing encouraging examples of measured growth and prosperity. Jon Stark is one of the architects of this renewed enthusiasm, helping to lure new enterprise to the greater Redmond area well into the 21st century.
Stark is manager for Redmond Economic Development Inc., a component of Economic Development of Central Oregon, a community development organization focused on traded sector business development, companies that manufacture goods or provide services to areas outside the region, thus importing wealth.
“The City of Redmond is a very forward-thinking community and has developed a number of incentives to attract businesses, creating an industrial development fund for these traded sector type businesses,” he explained. “That fund will award companies $2,500 to $7,000 per job for developing projects in the industrial zone lands within the downtown urban renewal district. Redmond is not sitting around, we’re creating new opportunities and rewards to help capture commerce and allow them to select Redmond as their future site.”
Economic Gardening is a new term used to provide a comprehensive economic toolbox of information to help Stark solidify and expand business solutions.
House Bill 3644 will create a 15-person task force with a mission plan to consider the benefits of this “economic gardening,” a strategy that pushes job growth in smaller companies by providing those businesses with specific resources they otherwise might not have access to, like competitive analyses, market research and consumer spending data for manufacturers, all with the hope that the program will spark more innovation and growth.
Other Oregon cities like Portland, Corvallis and Eugene have already begun to initiate the benefits of economic gardening, providing local entrepreneurs and small businesses with information and guidance on how to grow. Redmond, with its diverse demographics, continues to see encouraging signs of prosperity in unique sectors of the marketplace, including healthcare, energy
“We’ve had substantial growth over the last decade and double digits during the expansion years of 2006-07,” said Stark. “We’re closing in on 26,250 residents which is the census data for 2010 and that’s a 94.5 percent increase since 2000 when we were at 13,481. We’re bigger than Sisters and smaller than Bend, but don’t lack spirit in this community. We have a lot of active citizenry rolling up their sleeves to get stuff done.”
Redmond has added a number of interesting and dynamic start-ups over the past couple years that are providing proof of an encouraging climate for a robust recovery.
Adding Skilled Workers
“LMH Industries started here in March. Their initial forecast was to hire 30 or 40 people and now that’s doubled,” Stark said. “They’re a military and medical device manufacturer specializing in cable assemblies and harnesses for electronics within those
Besides its core markets, areas with the automotive, energy power (solar, wind and hydro) and aerospace industries are fast-growing segments of LMH Industries.
LMH Industries has plans to add 15 skilled workers to the Redmond area initially, with the intent to fill over 40 more positions by the beginning of second quarter 2012. Hiring strategies are focused on filling cable assembly jobs, operators who solder and crimp small wire gauge, as well as numerous supervisory and administrative posts.
Gazelle in Community
Another new face on the emerging growth scene, Medisiss, is a reprocessor of single use medical devices (SUD), ones intended by the manufacturer to be used once and then discarded. Recent FDA laws now allow for the reuse of many of these costly instruments and devices such as drill bits, saws, blades, biopsy forceps, clamps, dissectors and catheters. Many hospitals, and a growing number of commercial businesses, “reprocess” such devices, refurbishing and repackaging them for further use.
“Medisiss is kind of a gazelle in this community in terms of growth,” said Stark. “They are poised to create a number of new jobs at an average wage far above the county requirement. They’ve been in the industry for quite a while and are the only reprocessor of single use medical devices in Oregon and one of only three nationwide.”
“Users of the devices can be medical clinics, hospitals and surgery centers, enabling them to save upwards of 50 percent of their costs. Medisiss continues to develop their customer service and client list. They’re really a bright spot in Redmond’s economy and we’re pleased to have had the opportunity to access capital in order to expedite
Gourmet Barbecue Pellets
Pacific Pellet opened in January 2010 and are a manufacturer of premium bio-mass pellets for wood stoves. They offer a premium douglas fir product that can be found at a number of feed stores and retailers throughout the Northwest and are pushing further eastward with their product lines.
“We just launched the gourmet barbecue pellets so we now have six different varieties: alder, maple, apple, cherry, mesquite and hickory,” said President Mark Stapleton. “It gives us a diversity beyond the seasonal stove products and something to sell in the summer months. We’re excited about the new products and satisfied with the douglas fir premium pellets out there. We have a network of distributors in the Northwest and see continued moderate growth. A recent product we’ve gotten a lot of response with is a new juniper stove pellet. In Central Oregon, juniper is a very problematic wood species and requires a huge amount of water and starves out native plants and trees. We recognize there’s a lot of juniper hitting the ground and are glad to find a way to utilize it.”
PHAT MATT’S BREWING
Making a Name for Itself
“Another great startup here in Redmond last month is Phat Matt’s Brewing, begun by businessman and brewer Matt Mulder,” said Stark. “They leased a small industrial space over on Hemlock and already have three brews going - an IPA, a pilsner and a red. I see a great chance for this company’s success due to Matt’s industry experience, restaurant expertise and industry contacts. The companies making names for themselves are the ones that deserve all the credit, we just help facilitate that growth and work to assist them achieving success.”
Stark insists Redmond is not just looking for new companies to set up shop, they’re looking to help existing firms and businesses through the new economic gardening program and allow firms to recognize and utilize Redmond’s favorable workforce to its highest potential.
“Those services are available through the City of Redmond, the Deschutes Public Library and the Small Business Development Center through COCC. So there’s definitely some momentum for business and economic development here in Redmond, Oregon, but we still have additional work to do to fill the gap created by the severe economic recession. We remain steadfast in
For more information please contact REDI at www.rediinfo.com or cal 541-923-5223.