Portland ceramic company Mudshark Studios touts Oregon-made

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Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

 

0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 03
Above: Growlers made by the Portland Growler Company, a spinoff company of the Mudshark founders.
Below: Various molds line a work table
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 04


Mudshark worked with Portland Community College’s CLIMB Small Business Development Center to develop a 50-page business plan that helped the company obtain an equipment loan from the Portland Development Commission and a line of credit through Albina Community Bank. The loan allowed it to invest in upgrades such as two hydraulic RAM press machines, add six kilns and upgrade the electric infrastructure. “We’re working on 10 to 15 projects at any one time now,” Lyon says.

The expansion helped them catch the eye of Martha Stewart. Mudshark was chosen last year by Martha Stewart Living magazine as one of 10 winners of the American Made Awards, which celebrate “the rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners.” They were flown to New York City (Lyon’s first time) in October for the American Made Workshop, where a photo of the co-founders was projected larger than life on the walls of Grand Central Terminal.

They were humbled by the experience. “I never had that in mind when we started,” Lyon says. “I just wanted to make ceramics.”

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.



 

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
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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:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

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!

— Linda


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