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|Articles - February 2011|
|Thursday, January 27, 2011|
Mike Slinkard was born and raised in John Day, and like most of his peers he went straight from high school to a job in the woods. Those jobs didn’t last. Rather than cling to what was left of the local timber industry, Slinkard turned his passion for bow hunting into his livelihood.
He started with a shop in town. Then in 2000 he launched Winner’s Choice Custom Bow Strings, which has grown to $3 million in annual sales and 38 employees. His latest venture is Human Energy Concealment Systems, an apparel company focused on blocking the electromagnetic field emitted by the human body.
The idea came from a conversation with employee and fellow bow hunter Max Maupin about the “sixth sense” that enables prey animals to escape danger. Maupin put his degree in animal science to work and tracked down a study that showed how cud-chewing animals respond to minor changes in electromagnetic fields as a survival mechanism.
Slinkard and Maupin designed a hunting suit with electricity-conducting carbon woven into a grid to block the electromagnetic field (prices start at $149). A partnership with a New Zealand fabric company and a Taiwanese factory followed, and they released their HECS hunting suit at a national archery trade show in Columbus, Ohio, in 2010.
Slinkard promoted the product with full-page ads in archery publications and television spots on outdoor channels. Sales started slow, then picked up with the fall hunting season. Returning to this year’s archery show, Slinkard found reviews were positive. “We still have some skeptics, but they aren’t people who have tried it,” he says.
Slinkard, 45, imports the hunting suits fully made and ships them to market from John Day. But he may manufacture locally if his other ideas take off. The company has five patents pending, one of which covers wetsuits for diving and surfing, to protect people from sharks. He also has an agreement with a Virginia Beach-based company to handle military contracts (think Navy Seals).
If he can land a military contract, “Buy American” requirements would bring new jobs to Grant County, where unemployment is 14.3% and Slinkard is one of just two tenants at the John Day Industrial Park.
“It’s going to be a worldwide company,” he predicts. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.
Monday, June 22, 2015
The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.
Friday, May 08, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
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