Oregon Manufacturing Award Winners 2016
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zenaWe’re Proud of our Clients!

OMEP was honored to attend the Portland Business Journal’s 2016 Oregon Manufacturing Awards today. For the past 5 years we have participated in this exciting event, and each year we are honored to see our clients publicly recognized for their hard work and dedication to their craft.

Opening the event was a panel discussion with Craig Wessel, Portland Business Journal editor, Jamie of Schmidt’s Deodorant, Collin of Keen Footwear, and Alvin from A.R.E. Manufacturing.

3 Keys to Manufacturing Growth

Throughout the humorous and lively discussion three themes emerged. Kevin Tucker at FLIR Systems summed these themes up when he eloquently stated, “the three pillars I heard in the panel today are cornerstones for manufacturers everywhere. We heard these successful manufacturing companies talk about innovative thought – the importance of thinking differently. Every manufacturer has to do that to succeed.”

Jamie at Schmidt’s agreed as she told her company origin story.  She asked,”why doesn’t natural deodorant work, and how can I change that?” Schmidt’s was born from that question.schmidts

The second theme was the importance of training what Kevin called “our greatest assets – our people.”

During the panel Alvin at A.R.E. echoed this sentiment as he talked about the work they have done over the past eight years to provide his employees pathways to move forward in the organization. We agree – more than ever, manufacturers need to focus on making their workplaces great.

The third theme focused on the significance of quality. Which, Kevin pointed out, is “ultimately paying attention to and delivering what customers really want.” Wise words!

During the ceremony several manufacturers mentioned their desire to build businesses that last. They recognized that to do that they needed to grow and change, whether that meant expanding new product lines or increasing training opportunities for employees.

The general consensus was that becoming a successful manufacturer overnight is not possible. It takes top quality, good design, innovative leadership and a focus on people to succeed.

Several manufacturers also mentioned the importance of family values as the foundation for their success. are“We carry on my father’s tradition and treat our employees as friends and family… how we would like to be treated,” said Valerie Johnson of DR Johnson Lumber. This year one of their employees will be celebrating his 46th year with the company!

It is a privilege to work alongside Oregon manufacturers as they continue their journey towards growth and success, fostering our proud traditions of innovation.  When it comes to making things, Oregon is a great place to be!

2016 Oregon Manufacturing Awards Honorees:

1-10 Employee Size Category                     

  • Zena Forest Products – this extraordinary family-owned company practices sustainable forest management and creates beautiful wood floors for their customers. You can read more about Zena here.

11-50 Employee Size Category                  

  • Schmidt’s Deodorant Company LLC –  Jamie took an idea that began as a garage experiment and grew it into the successful Schmidt’s deodorant. Her company has continued to grow and expand over the last few years.

51-100 Employee Size Category                

  • Oregon Fruit Products
  • PacStar Communications

101-499 Employee Size Category                              

  • FLIR Systems, Inc.

500+ Employee Size Category                    

  • SolarWorld

Excellence in Training Category

  • A.R.E. Manufacturing – We’ve been working with A.R.E. for a number of years. They have embraced the concept of providing opportunities for young people to enter manufacturing careers, and so train all their new hires from the ground up. This remarkable focus on providing opportunity and career pathways for their manufacturing employees has made a big difference to their company. 
  • Salt & Straw

Family-Owned Category

  • DR Johnson Wood Innovations & CLT

Product Innovation Category     

  • The SoluPro Product being honored: Expression Platform: AbSci
  • Lattice Semiconductor Product being honored: Lattice: The CrossLink low-cost video interface bridge

Sustainability Category                 

  • KEEN Footwear



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  • Jasmine Agnor

    Jasmine Agnor, OMEP’s Senior Marketing and Events Manager, has more than ten years of experience supporting strategic marketing initiatives for both large and small businesses and organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her background includes strategic communications, corporate branding, event planning and execution, campaign management, and print and web design. Before joining the OMEP team, Jasmine helped facilitate marketing and internal communications efforts for a seismic engineering firm as well as a safety consulting company.

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