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|Articles - June 2011|
|Wednesday, May 18, 2011|
Ten years ago, Warm Springs Composite Products, a tribal enterprise that manufactures fire-rated door components, had only 10 customers, all in the United States. Today the company boasts 80 clients in about a dozen countries, with sales in the Middle East accounting for almost 30% of company revenues.
How does a rural Oregon tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, carve out a niche in the Middle East and beyond? By helping foreign suppliers navigate the complexities of building and fire code product standards, says Duane Darnell, CEO of Warm Springs Composite Products. “Certification is the driver of our business,” he says.
Warm Springs Composite manufactures a product called Tectonite — a combination of sedimentary rock, fiberglass and cellulose — from which the company also makes stiles and rails for fire-rated doors, a door core material. It also builds a patented wood door frame. The company, which employs 42 people, maintains an office in Dubai and has supplied components used in high-profile skyscrapers such as the Birj Khalifa in Dubai — the tallest building in the world — and the World Trade Center in Bahrain.
The trend in many parts of the world is to comply with U.S. or British fire code ratings, says Darnell. Warm Springs Composite spends about $40,000 annually to meet these certification requirements and also helps overseas suppliers construct doors that retain those certifications. The latter service gives Warm Springs Composite a competitive edge.
“The reason this works isn’t because we’re the biggest or the most astute,” says Darnell. “It’s the number of certifications our products carry and our relationship with certifying agencies.”
Exports have increased by about 50% since 2010; that year, overseas sales accounted for about $2 million of the company’s $6 million in revenue. In the United States, expansion is also on the agenda. The company will begin construction on a second 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility this summer, to be located in the Warm Springs Business Park.
Darnell, who says Portland’s U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center has been instrumental in helping the company locate international partners, wants to be ready for the next big thing. “India,” he says, “is a huge market waiting to happen.”
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
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Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY 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.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY 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.
Friday, June 27, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
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