A Few Words from Jim – October 2022

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I was asked to moderate a panel at the Plug into Eugene: Resources in the Local Innovation + Bioscience Ecosystem event as the publisher of the Southern Oregon Business Journal. Normally I’m asked to speak as president of Project A or Rogue Broadband or even Art Authority, but this was the first time I was asked to to represent SOBJ. The event was awesome. It was put on by Onward Eugene and the Oregon BioScience Association at the Innovation Hub downtown. The first panel was about the 139 BioScience companies in and around Eugene that are part of the ecosystem and cluster there. We heard from a cool company, the University and a non profit called RAIN. My panel featured Arcimoto and Anne Fifield, Economic Development director with the city and Nicole Desch with Onward Eugene. It was great to hear about all the programs set up between the University and City that work together to support businesses from Idea to Funding, Growth and Beyond. 

I really liked what I heard and saw in Eugene. I liked how integrated the city and University are working to help entrepreneurs and I liked the entrepreneurs that I met there. 

I pregamed at Ninkasi’s Better Living Room and checked on Arcimoto. They just had a mass layoff event (I saw one person get his “Pink Folder” and Ninkasi bought him a beer (I was going to, but they beat me to it) while I was there. He was an older gentleman, proudly wearing an Arcimoto hat and shirt and he told me that he was proud of the company and hopes to be able to come back. It was bitter sweet to see him on his last day. 

But it had to happen. They cut 30% of the labor costs in order to make it a few more months while they seek funding and more customers. 

After the panel we went for a drink and I shared with folks the hardest time in my business career was when I had to layoff 12 of 50 employees in one day in order to survive the dot com bubble burst. No one likes layoffs, but they are normal in the process of handling extreme financial challenges. 

Surprisingly, the Arcimoto rental space was packed full of sold FUV units. Each one had a customers name on it and was going thorough final inspection before getting picked up or delivered. It was very impressive to see them all in one place. Hopefully they can survive this moment and convert it into momentum. 

Oregon Connections happened. It was amazing to spend a couple of days with passionate, smart people working hard to find ways to get more broadband to more people in Oregon. 

I equate the work we do to building a plane, while we are flying it, with the goal to get everyone to the destination on time, safely and at an affordable price and all the passengers want is 8K streaming videos at their seat and better snacks. 

Meet the award winners honored at this years conference – 2022 Oregon Connections  Award Winners Page 34. 

I’m looking forward to planning next years event already and all the work we have in front of us. 

Thanks for reading. 


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