Ashland community launches new site to attract the next generation of workers and employers to town
When the pandemic sent us all working from home, many of the high tech workers in the big cities realized that they could work from anywhere and many started looking.
A group of folks came together in Ashland to create a video series that told the story of living and working remotely in Ashland with hopes of attracting those workers and in some cases employers that were looking for a better quality of life.
We asked each party in the project to share their thoughts about the project.
The idea came in April, 2020 when so many companies were announcing that working from home may continue or be extended for at least a year. I was feeling very fortunate working from home in Ashland while enjoying beautiful trails to hike, and lovely views out my window. My eldest daughter was living in a small apartment in Capitol Hill, Seattle and feeling very cooped up. The public parks in Seattle were even off limits in the early days of the shut down.
We moved to Ashland when I was 27 years old and have always felt it was the perfect size to raise a family and feel part of a community. Of course I had a selfish motive. Our daughter is 27 now and we would love for her and her fiance to come back to Ashland to build their lives together as young professionals. What would make Ashland even better would be more vibrant young people who would create the community for the next generation.
We have been one of the top 10 towns to retire in for years, but Ashland is also a great place to live when you are young. Let’s show off happy young business owners, leaders and professionals sharing why they love living and working in Ashland. I called my friend Cynthia Scherr and we thought of Jim Teece as a wonderful teammate with similar motives of attracting young enthusiastic people to Ashland. We brainstormed about how to make the biggest impact and provide a catalyst for attracting people to Ashland and the Live and Work in Ashland Video Project idea was born. Jim knew Nick Alexander, our talented filmmaker, the Ashland Chamber got involved and we chose youngish Ashlanders to tell their stories. I hope the video series will make people proud to live in Ashland and excited about what the future might bring.
Scherr Management Consulting
Just like any business needs a succession plan, so do small towns. Ashland has become known as a retirement community, which brings many talented and resourceful people here, but we also need to be a magnet for the next generation. This project is important because we hear from people who chose either to move here or to stay here to raise families and build businesses. To keep our economy vibrant and diverse, as well as to have a reliable tax base to fund our parks, schools and other community quality-of-life investments, we hope to attract people who want to live, work, play and lead in this jewel of a mountain town. It’s a place where everyone makes a difference.
Project A, Ashland Home Net, & Southern Oregon Business Journal
Susan Hearn approached Cynthia Scherr with the idea and then they both approached me. Together we came up with the plan, brought the Ashland Chamber of Commerce in to sponsor ½ of the project (the three of us sponsored the rest) and we hired a videographer to interview real ashland citizens that either ran their own businesses or worked remotely and then edit it down into short exciting videos that we hoped would go viral.
My company, Project A, also donated the development of the website and I’m proud of the whole project.
The finished product can be found at liveandworkinashland.com.
Documentary Filmmaker, Business Owner
The Live and Work in Ashland video series was a wonderful collaboration for my video production business, Ashland Chamber of Commerce and local business owners. As a young entrepreneur and graduate of Southern Oregon University, I enjoyed learning about different companies in the Ashland community and networking with business owners.
My team and I also had fun working with Jim Teece, Susan Hearn and Cynthia Scherr. We worked together from the beginning and carried the project to completion. As the director and editor of the video series, I am proud of our work and eager to make a difference in Ashland’s business community. My team looks forward to more projects with the Chamber and Ashland’s thriving business community.
Executive Director Ashland Chamber of Commerce
The Ashland Chamber is proud to have partnered on this video project highlighting many of our business owners showcasing why Ashland is a great place to live and grow your business. The Chamber has been promoting this message for decades and we believe the story is always best told by those who are doing the work day in and day out. Ashland is continually changing and adapting but what remains constant is the draw we have for creative, talented people who choose to make this community home. Connecting, collaborating and improving the economy and quality of life.
By Jim Teece, Susan Hearn, Cynthia Scherr, Sandra Slattery and Nick Alexander.