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Who's hot and hiring

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Ben Jacklet
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

With Oregon's unemployment rate hovering at 12%, we all know who is cutting back: pretty much everyone. So who's hiring? Who is going to pull us out of this mess?

We at the magazine are constantly on the prowl for gems of optimism buried beneath the refuse of our state economy. We've found some great quirky success stories: landfills, urban chickens, guns and foreclosures, to name a few.

But quirk will only take you so far. Where are the Oregon companies that will create jobs over the next year? What follows is a first draft of a top 10 list. If I'm missing anyone big or hyping someone unrealistically, call me on it.

1. Oregon Iron Works/United Streetcar/United Barge - Regardless of how you feel about the utility of urban streetcars, you have to like the outlook for the company that will be building them and creating jobs in Clackamas.

2. SolarWorld - Germany's fastest-growing company is expanding in Hillsboro. I don't see a downside.

TravisKnight3. Laika - Where would Oregon be without Phil Knight's money? His son Travis, pictured left, is ready to ride the 3-D wave after the lucrative debut of Coraline.

4. Brammo - Craig Bramscher, CEO of this Ashland start-up building electric motorcycles, has been cherry-picking talent from the wreckage of Detroit. Next step: cranking out the bikes.

5. Slayden Construction - This Stayton public works construction firm should start snapping up contracts once the stimulus money begins flowing.

6. New Seasons Market - A new Hawthorne store is the latest coup for Brian Rohter and his team.

7. Genentech - The biotech giant wants FDA approval for its Hillsboro facility by 2010. That means jobs.

8. Tripwire - While the rest of the economy was crashing in the fourth quarter of 2008, this Portland software firm was boosting revenues by 27%. Hiring and expanding, with an eventual IPO a distinct possibility.

9. Sanyo - The Japanese giant is building a solar factory in Salem and plans to hire 200 people.

10. Portland Energy Conservation, Inc — There's always a market for better efficiency, and this Portland outfit has been in the game for 30 years. Last time I checked they had 23 job openings.

So who did I miss? Super tech startups creating great new mobile phone gizmos? Oregon energy giants like PGE and BPA? Niche ag and retail players? All of the above? (If only.)

And who deserves the boot?

Ben Jacklet is the Managing Editor of Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Don B.
0 #1 Don B. 2009-05-21 23:58:02
Editor Ben: I appreciate your 10 little "gems of optimism". I at first flinched at a few of them, but then realized that with this economy, any new job is a good job. In my opinion, the private sector workforce must increase while the public sector decreases. Keep up the good work. Don B.
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Ben J
0 #2 One to addBen J 2009-05-22 14:29:28
Just spoke with the CEO from Jive software, Dave Hersh, and it sounds like I'd better make room on the list. He reports record growth in 2008 and record revenues in the first quarter of 2009. He also says to expect an IPO - though not until the fall of 2010 at the earliest.
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Ben J
0 #3 Another updateBen J 2009-05-27 14:09:21
For those of you questioning whether Oregon Iron Works belongs on the list, much less at the top of the list, here's some breaking news from VP Chandra Brown:

"OIW/United Streetcar has won the Tucson Streetcar competition (against some BIG competitors!) !! ...

We were chosen after almost a year long competitive process and while we are not under contract yet (awaiting final FTA approvals), we can now notify everyone that we won and as soon as the project gets it final approvals (which hopefully will happen soon) we will be able to start work on building 7 modern streetcars for the City of Tucson.

We are also awaiting final contract award for building 6 streetcars for the City of Portland East Side Loop, and another release will be forthcoming once that award is finalized but we should ultimately be building 13 modern streetcars over the next few years."
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Sara Maudlin
0 #4 Another company to add to the listSara Maudlin 2009-05-29 08:20:01
I just read your article on Who's Hot and Hiring and wanted to suggest adding Portland Energy Conservation, Inc (PECI ) to your list. We’re a thriving organization in downtown Portland that is actively hiring. We currently have 23 job openings, with many more to come. You can check out our careers page here: http://www.peci.org/Career_search.html

PECI has a longstanding legacy in Portland – over 30 years – of developing and delivering innovative energy efficiency solutions for utilities, government and the private sector. We strive to gain widespread efficiency practices and are deeply committed to creating and supporting the new energy economy.

I'd be very happy to chat with you further about PECI, and put you in touch with our Executive Director Phil Welker. He could talk more about the challenges of scaling up a workforce in the energy sector, how we're implementing intensive technology training courses to train new hires to succeed in the industry and drive PECI's innovative approaches and leadership position.
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