Notes from Colleen’s Desk: Resolutions – Let’s Go Bowling!

Each January, there’s always a lot of talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Right? We can’t help ourselves, I suppose. We love fresh goals, fresh starts, and first frames. Top resolutions for most of us apparently continue to be to lose weight and get organized. And I will admit that both of those have crossed my mind.

Yet, most resolutions also apparently lose their momentum after about 2 weeks, maybe less. I heard a radio commentator share a better idea though, from an unnamed journalist. Instead of one-year goals that may end in the gutter, the journalist suggested  we focus on monthly, incremental and attainable  goals instead.  Or weekly. Or one frame at a time.

My coaching days from long ago, as youth program director at a local bowling center and head coach for a local high school team, reminded me of a critical tip: choose a mark that is closer to you. Like the arrows on the lane, rather than the pins themselves. You are much more likely to hit something closer, 12-15 feet away, than 60 feet away – when it comes to bowling.  Some of you right now are thinking “wait, there are arrows on the lane?”

When out and about in my role as Executive Director for SOREDI, I am frequently asked about the big projects we might be working on and what new companies we have recently recruited. We all love to be in the know about the big stuff. And, we are on the short list for a few significant new capital investments. But how about the smaller, incremental wins along the way? They may not make the news, but those small victories for our region may be just as critically important in our economy. They certainly are to the companies who took a risk or two to make it happen.

As a matter of fact, going after the little wins are exactly one of the tactical initiatives in our updated One Rogue Valley strategy that is calling for a staff restructure that increases our capacity to focus on existing business development opportunities.  Let’s concentrate on retaining the great companies already on the approach, learn more about their industries, and target new companies that complement the strengths of our existing traded-sector gems. Those targets, like the arrows on the lane, are closer and much more likely to result in successful outcomes. Let’s help them grow, one job at a time. Before we know, it the economy is blessed with several hundred new and retained jobs.

Yes, we are still the recruitment agency for Southern Oregon and will respond to new leads. And of course, we still aim for a few big wins and recruitments. It’s like aiming to roll a 300 game every time we step onto the approach!  Scoring a perfect 300 game may be less frequent than the avid bowler hopes. But the smaller wins – picking up a spare, if only 2-3 more spares in a game – can potentially impact the average by 30 pins or more per game.

Over the years, SOREDI has been instrumental in some big manufacturing and distribution wins for the region – ranging from Oregon Swiss Precision, Fire Mountain Gems and MasterBrand Cabinets in Grants Pass; to Amy’s Kitchen, Lamination Technologies, Linde Electronic Gases, and Allura (formerly CertainTeed) in White City; to AirScape Ventilation and Cooling, American Tire Distributors  and Takit Manufacturing in Medford; to this year’s Braun Brush in Ashland and Rogue Valley Pre Cast in White City.

Those 12 companies just mentioned represent roughly 2,000 Southern Oregon jobs over 20 years – the average of about 100 jobs per year. If SOREDI can help 30 existing companies grow through our gap financing program, enterprise zone assistance, connections to key partners, and access to other critical resources, and each company adds 3 jobs, the outcome is the same – nearly 100 new jobs.

Curious about how we scored in jobs created/retained in our last fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019)? 392 jobs.

Want to review the many initiatives we have undertaken to help businesses launch, relocate, and prosper in Southern Oregon and the measurable outcomes related to that work? Visit the full Economic Impact Brochure here.

And if you are a SOREDI Member (Big High 5!), watch for that brochure to come to you in the mail this week, with an invitation to register for our Southern Oregon Business Conference on January 30 and actively engage in our updated strategy.  But you need not make a resolution to do so – it is a close target and you can register now!

The journalist mentioned earlier, for one particular month, aimed to simply listen more intently and be present. Coincidentally, we are pleased to report the tactic in our first initiative – increase the number of outreach calls to traded sector companies – is already in motion at SOREDI with the hiring of our newest Business Development Manager and team member – Amy Browne. She is on the approach and starts today! Read about Amy here.  And watch for one or two other roster additions in the coming months.

By the way, it’s also bowling night for me and I am up.  I’m generally looking at the arrows but focused on the 8-board as my starting point on most nights.  And I will have a 300 in mind. One frame at a time, of course.

Happy New Year!

Colleen Padilla, Executive Director


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