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|Articles - Jan/Feb 2012|
|Thursday, January 19, 2012|
By Linda Baker
In the 20 years since Max Ozawa founded Ozawa R&D, a business that assembles precision metering pumps used in agriculture and food processing, the company has reduced its workforce and experienced a decline in manufacturing capacity. It survives by selling a premium product: relatively lightweight and long-lasting pumps that deliver precise amounts of fertilizer and other chemicals into water systems.
Most pumps on the market, which are made of steel or cast iron, don’t last more than two to three years because of chemical corrosion, says Ozawa. Deterioration also causes “issues of reliability.” To resolve these problems, Ozawa designed a “hybrid-type” pump with corrosive-resistant plastics and a “diaphragm” that separates the chemical from the piston. The resulting pump lasts up to 20 years and weighs only 30 pounds.
Although Ozawa declined to reveal company revenues, the bulk of his business comes from the agriculture industry, he says. He is also expanding into new markets, including industrial customers such as Ontario-based Heinz Frozen Food, where the pumps deliver additives for French fry processing. Other opportunities for diversification include golf courses, nurseries and seed treatment, Ozawa says.
About those challenges. Due to high labor costs, most of the parts are now made in Portland instead of onsite and a company that employed 15 in 2001 is now down to Ozawa, his brother and Ozawa’s wife. Price is another hurdle. The typical industrial pump costs about $400; Ozawa’s is about $1,500. Says Ozawa: “We’re faced with the attitude in any industry: ‘If it goes bad, just scrap it.’”
Ontario is a “nice rural community,” adds the former Portland denizen, who nevertheless expressed a bit of wistfulness about the area’s Mountain Time Zone and discontinued The Oregonian newspaper service. “Sometimes,” he says. “We’re treated like we’re not part of Oregon.”
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
The false promise of economic impact statements.
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.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
BY KEN MAES
A huge migration from Northern California has contributed to average 16% growth per year since 1990.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.
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.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.
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Yesterday, a divided National Labor Relations Board dropped another hammer on the employer community. In a long-awaited and much debated move, the Board jettisoned the decades old standard for determining when two independent businesses should be considered joint employers of an individual worker for collective bargaining purposes.
Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
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