Oregon Business Leaders Gaze Into Their Crystal Balls

Oregon Business asked 30 “leaders and innovators” across the state to weigh in on the future of Oregon business.

Here’s Dan Wieden’s response:

John Jay, also of W+K, and Sohrab Vossoughi, President and chief creative director Ziba, were also queried, as was winery owner Susan Sokol Blosser. Sokol Blosser predicts ancillary businesses growing up around sustainable agriculture: agri-tourism, bike tours, bird watching, and family recreation. “Small-scale, profitable agriculture with no middleman builds a sense of community. With more sustainable agriculture on the horizon, we’ve got a win, win, win for our state.”

I also like where Mark Edlen, CEO Gerding Edlen Development is coming from. “The holy grail I think for us is trash to energy,” he says. “Renewable energy is already a foregone conclusion. But the notion of taking garbage and converting it into energy at a city level will be the wave of the future.” This last point is particularly interesting given that our friend John McKinney is busy building Columbia Biogas, which intends to convert organic food waste into enough clean power to run 5000 Portland homes.

I’m also impressed with Tamara Lundgren’s thinking. The President and CEO of Schnitzer Steel Industries sees exports, not consumer spending, as a key to the future. “In an ideal world,” she says, “Oregon would become a diversified export powerhouse that moves beyond our traditional boom-and-bust economy to a more secure future.” In other words, we need to make the things the world wants.

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