Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Back Issues June 2011 Small Oregon businesses go global

Small Oregon businesses go global

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Article Index
Small Oregon businesses go global
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
0611_GoingGlobal_06
Oxygen systems manufactured in Redmond by Mountain High Oxygen & Supply sell throughout Europe, and the company is hoping to expand its business in South America.
The challenges vary from business to business, and from nation to nation. Robert Jamieson, CEO of 15-employee Mountain High Oxygen & Supply, says he is thrilled to provide oxygen systems for helicopter pilots in Afghanistan and glider pilots in Switzerland. But he’s in no hurry to move into Russia. “By the time you figure in your under-the-table costs in Russia, your return on investment is gone,” he says. “Everybody’s got their hand out there.”

About 25% of Mountain High’s sales are overseas. Jamieson sees opportunity in Eastern Europe, where gliding is popular, and in Brazil, where law enforcement relies on helicopters. Wherever the next wave of foreign business comes from, Oregon will benefit, since Mountain High does all of its manufacturing in Redmond and purchases 90% of its goods and services from local vendors.

Jamieson says Mountain High built its international business by attending trade shows, marketing aggressively and selecting partners carefully. When he receives an inquiry that strikes him as suspicious, he requests that the deal go through “proper channels,” and more often than not the would-be suitor vanishes.

Other local businesses count Russia as their top foreign market and report no problems. Portland-based Simplex Manufacturing, which builds aerial application systems for firefighting, landed a major contract with the Russian government in the wake of the devastating wildfires that overwhelmed Moscow in August 2010.

Larry Lichtenberger, vice president of sales and marketing, says Simplex works with independent representatives in Russia who are trained in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “We are very, very careful about the rules,” he says.

Simplex makes more than 70% of its money from international sales, Lichtenberger says. The company frequently attends trade shows to bring in new business, with recent events in South Korea, Russia and Rhode Island. “We travel a lot,” says Lichtenberger. “We go there, which a lot of people are afraid to do.”

Business leaders say there is no substitute for traveling. At the same time, email, Skype and webinars have cut costs dramatically for small companies with global aspirations. Columbia Industrial Products owner Steve Phillips recently met with potential partners in Japan and Brazil without leaving its headquarters in Eugene.

CIP’s 16 employees make and sell custom composite bearings for hydropower dams and other industrial uses, exporting into about a dozen nations. The company first broke into global markets by partnering with a Swedish firm. Now they get unsolicited calls from India and they’re planning to travel to Brazil to capitalize on the brisk industrial growth there. “We never know who’s going to be on the other end when the phone rings,” says Phillips. He cites international sales as a stabilizing factor during turbulent times: “I felt bad over the past few years, when businesses were folding left and right. We were making money hand over fist.”

 



 

More Articles

Portland: Where young people go to work?

News
Friday, June 06, 2014
UntitledBY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.


Read more...

Blips and trends in the housing market

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
062614 thumb realestateBY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER

Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

100 Best Green Companies Keynote Speech

News
Friday, May 30, 2014

green2014-069Watch the 2014 100 Best Green Companies keynote speech by Eric Friedenwald-Fishman.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS