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|Articles - April 2012|
|Thursday, March 22, 2012|
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Anyone who’s regularly attended the Oregon Truffle Festival, founded by Lefevre and his wife, Leslie Scott, and held in Eugene for the seventh year this past January, would not be surprised by those predictions. The festival, now with numerous events to accommodate attendance that has nearly tripled, attracts an international crowd of truffle growers, truffle hunters, truffle chefs, truffle eaters and hopeful owners of prospective truffle-hunting dogs.
Truffle-hunting training for dogs is a popular “track” of the three-day festival. Any dog can be trained to sniff out the location of ripe native truffles, so the hunters can dig the few inches underground to find truffles nestled in the roots of Douglas fir trees. According to Lefevre, trained dogs will make all the difference in building an Oregon truffle industry, because they only go for the ripe ones. The reputation of Oregon truffles has been less than stellar because some hunters rake or dig up unripe truffles, which have no culinary value, and sell them to chefs.
Lefevre received his doctorate in forest mycology from Oregon State University. Scott produced the Oregon Country Fair for 17 years. Both were co-authors, along with forest mycologist David Pilz and horticulturist James Julian, of the truffle industry feasibility study.
Lefevre also is founder and president of New World Truffieres, a company that plants truffieres, that is, orchards of hazelnut and oak trees whose roots are inoculated with the spores of European truffles, most commonly the French black truffle known as the Perigord. After a period of usually five to seven years, black truffles, worth from $600 to $1,100 per pound, will be ripe for the digging. (By comparison, Oregon truffles rarely fetch more than $250 per pound because the paucity of trained truffle dogs leaves the harvest sub-standard.)
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Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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