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|Articles - December 2010|
|Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
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STORY BY KRISTEN HALL-GEISLER // PHOTOS BY LEAH NASH
Like so many others with coding skills in the late 1990s, Mark Frohnmayer started a video-game business. Unlike so many others, his start-up business, Garage Games, was more than a post-college whim — it’s still around, though without him at the helm. In 2007, Frohnmayer and his partners sold the business for quite a bit of cash. “I could’ve not worked for the rest of my days,” says Frohnmayer, now 36. Not that funding his lifestyle would take a fortune. “From a consumption point of view, I don’t demand a lot,” he says.
The next task was to decide what to do with his winnings, as he calls them, from the sale of his company. But while looking for his next project, the Eugene native felt a sense of despair at the mess the world was in. How could one man make a difference when the problems were so huge? He tried to tackle the question by taking a train trip to Washington D.C., to lobby against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “You can see how well I did with that,” he says, laughing.
Frohnmayer, who is tall and lanky with short blond hair and wire-frame glasses, had already purchased a three-bedroom house that he still shares with roommates in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood in 2005 and renovated it to be energy efficient. His philosophy of efficiency extended to his personal transportation. He searched for a fun electric vehicle that could get him around town at a reasonable price without the “I’m gonna die feeling” that so many neighborhood electric vehicles have. He came up empty.
Having degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley — and having been a General Motors scholar to boot — Frohnmayer decided to purchase a kit for a three-wheeled electric car called the BugE, which he built at home with friends. The kit car, which looks a bit like a white composite alien head on wheels, needed refinement to be viable for the mass market. But this, Frohnmayer recognized, was a way to make a dent in his despair.
In the meantime, a friend in real estate had bought a trio of buildings on the corner of Fifth Street and Blair Boulevard in the heart of Whiteaker and invited Frohnmayer to help with their redevelopment. “For a long time, I’d had a vision of a sort of a mixed-use development-style thing,” he says. “This opportunity presented a chance to take this empty carpet warehouse and junky office space and turn it into something cool.”
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
A self-proclaimed “chile head,” John Ford “grows, eats and does everything spicy.”
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?
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