A Few Words from Jim
The state is about to award every region that asked for it, an innovation grant to hire a consultant that will help the region go after a much larger and harder to get innovation hub grant. I’m serving on the task force that is working hard to get the first grant, hire the consultant and come up with an award winning plan that the state will want to fund. The idea is to make innovation intentional in business development in the region. I’ll let you know how this progresses.
Speaking of Innovation, one thing I plan on doing is to find and share stories about innovators in Southern Oregon and this month I’m featuring Ashland’s own Jeff Sharpe. I have known Jeff for a couple of years and I think his invention, the Stracker, is very cool. It’s a two axis solar tower that follows the sun to maximize exposure. It’s been fun to see Strackers go up all over Southern Oregon. I think I even saw some on my last road trip to Idaho. I encourage you to read the articles about Jeff and a couple of his latest installations. They are very impressive and you can see them in person at various locations.
Talent lost over 60% of its businesses in the Almeda Fire back in 2020. Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood has been laser focused on recovery and most of her time since the fires has been on getting the families able to move back to Talent. This work is moving forward now at a good pace and now she is able to focus on the business community. I attended the celebration of a grant to help rebuild the iconic Malmgren Garage. It was well attended and even through it was an emotional event it was a celebration. The owners of the building are committed to rebuilding and along with their new neighbor, Talent Maker City, the downtown business corridor will soon be taking shape.
I left there excited about the future of Talent’s business community and wondering how I could get more involved.
Thanks for reading.