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It was the pesky slope in Dr. Nick Benton’s back yard that spawned his wind-up wheelbarrow. “I just thought if I could get a little help going up this hill it would be great,” says the Corvallis-based head and neck surgeon. Benton in 2002 approached Mike Gray, a toolmaker in Albany, to build a prototype around the spring-drive system Benton conceived. It works by winding up a spring drive with a side foot crank and then releasing the brake-trigger on the handle, which propels the Springbarrow forward. It improves “wheelbarrow ergonomics” by relieving lower-back pressure when pushing a full wheelbarrow, Benton says. Gray was skeptical, but now the two are business partners of Albany-based Spring Me, and all five prototypes (price: $250) they provided to the Coastal Farm and Ranch store in Albany were sold last year. Now Spring Me is looking for investors to come along for the ride.
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Promoting from within its own ranks, PacificSource Health Plans has tapped Tony Kopki to head its commercial lines of business in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. In his new role as Vice President of Commercial Programs, Kopki will provide strategic, product and market leadership for PacificSource’s commercial programs.
Thomson brings 25 years of healthcare experience in provider relations, sales, marketing and communications.