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|Articles - January 2014|
|Monday, December 09, 2013|
Research editors often toil, unsung, behind the scenes, gathering information and crunching numbers, while reporters who write the narrative stories grab the glitz and the glamour.
In honor of our annual Power Book issue, a research editor’s tour de force, let me bring OB Research Director Brandon Sawyer and the Power Book backstory into the limelight.
Compiling our annual book of lists requires impeccable research skills, a gracious customer service demeanor and meticulous attention to detail. Fortunately, Brandon, who has been putting together the industry rankings since 2001, possesses those qualities in spades.
“I have a memory for details and enjoy getting lost in them,” Brandon says. “I make sure every dot is included, the formatting is done to style and we don’t leave out any information.”
He takes me through some of the procedural highlights. One of the most important tasks is developing a ranking criterion for each industry that is at once accurate, relevant, and, equally important, realistic. “You have to have something companies are willing to disclose and that is fair,” he says.
For example: Our banking list is ranked according to dollar deposits; the university segment is based on enrollment; and health plans are organized according to number of members.
Ensuring companies and organizations respond to the survey is another challenge. So is verifying the accuracy of the information they provide. This year Brandon sent out about 5,000 surveys and thousands of emails, and he made hundreds of follow-up phone calls, a task that requires infinite patience, along with that gracious demeanor.
The Power Book process boils down to “triaging your resources,” Brandon says. But the payoff is worth it. “The most satisfying part is knowing the list is an accurate representation of industry in the state — that this is the right snapshot.”
A keepsake issue, the Power Book serves as an essential resource for businesses and a tool for companies to see how they stack up against their competitors.
This year’s Power Book also takes on new relevance. As documented in “Age of Disruption,” this month’s feature on the rapid changes upending society, mining masses of data is becoming an important part of business as usual. It’s called “big data,” the analysis of the unstructured data sets generated by financial transactions, medical records, mobile phones, etc.
Those who can make sense of that information are becoming the gatekeepers of a new era. “Data scientists,” proclaimed one source giddily, “are the new rock stars.”
Ah yes, the world, it seems, is awakening to what we here at Oregon Business have known for years. Behind every great project is a great data analyst, or, in our case, a great research director: Brandon Sawyer.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Floor plans embrace the great wide open.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
Thursday, May 21, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.
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