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|Articles - July 2011|
|Wednesday, June 22, 2011|
Page 4 of 4The crew that arrived from Oregon in May 2010 was an unusual sight to the Qataris. Used to hyper-aggressive business delegations pushing for reduced tariffs or academic wonks a bit detached from reality, the Qataris were impressed by the collaborative nature of the hybrid group.
“They are interested in building private-public partnerships,” says David Kenney, executive director of Oregon BEST, the private-public research institution that helps fast-track research projects of Oregon’s universities to the commercial stage. “They don’t have their own expertise, though. They can afford to hire whomever they want to build their buildings. They will hire whomever they think is the best in the world.” Kenney says that is good news for Oregon when the subject is green building because “Oregon has some of the best resources in the world.”
Over the course of the week, the Oregon delegation visited farms in the Qatar desert. They toured the sights of Doha, including Education City, a massive conglomeration of buildings that houses Qatar University as well as programs from Texas A&M, MIT and Carnegie Mellon. PSU could be added to their ranks in the future. “During the trip in May,” says PSU’s Kaiser, “the vice president of academic affairs of Qatar University told me ‘Here’s what I need from you, Marvin. Would you help us develop our sustainability program?’” PSU will submit a proposal this fall to Qatar University that it fund a sustainable urbanism program in that country for three years at a cost of about $2 million. A decision is expected next summer.
Last November, Fahad Al-Attiya came to see for himself what Oregon had to offer and signed a memorandum of understanding with Kulongoski that declared Oregon and Qatar’s intent to work together on agricultural and sustainability issues. It signaled the next chapter of Oregon’s decades-long relationship with Qatar. In April, Qatar and the U.S. also signed an MOU on enhancing global food security.
Another example of future plans is the collaboration around the Oregon Sustainability Center. Kaiser and Pawlowski have approached through intermediaries Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who oversees the educational Qatar Foundation, to help fund the center and construct a similar one in Doha that could serve as a bridge between Portland and Doha. “Imagine a place where young Qatari and Oregonian women can meet without leaving home,” says Pawlowski, referring to the proposed state-of-the-art video conference room in the center. “They can sit at a table and talk to each other.”
And Oregon State University dean of engineering Ronald Adams has been working with OSU researchers and Eastern Oregon’s agriculture players to develop a pilot farm to be developed in Qatar. OSU researcher Chadi Sayde impressed Al-Thani with his research involving the use of fiber optics for monitoring moisture levels in soil. Echo-based Madison Farms already has experimented with the fiber optics system and is working with OSU on other technologies to be integrated into the pilot farm project. The proposal has been made to the Qatar food security program and awaits approval and funding.
In a future that will be defined by access to technology and food, Qatar hopes to leverage its partnerships with Oregon to help secure the stability of not only its future, but that of its region.
“We want boots on the ground, evidence of experience. Oregon has the natural infrastructure for research,” says David Raboy, chief economist with the Qatar National Food Security Program.
“It is a country with a lot of resources,” says Kaiser. “It’s a country of aspirations, but also of needs. They’re looking for strong partners that can help meet those needs.”
Monday, October 05, 2015
VIDEO BY JESSE LARSON
Profiling some of the organizations featured in the 2015 list.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER
Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released a report on the vitality of rural Oregon this week. Media reports focused on the number of Californians moving to the "Timber Belt," but the document contained other interesting insights regarding regional challenges and successes.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Ahead of the recreational rollout, what are dispensary owners most concerned about ?
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GARY THILL | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For project attracted more than 150 nonprofits from around the state from a variety of sectors, including social services and environmental advocacy. More than 5,000 employees and volunteers filled out the survey, rating their satisfaction with work environment, mission and goals, career development and learning, benefits and compensation, and management and communications.
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