At the 2017 Annual Meeting, held June 21 at the Eagle Point Golf Club in Eagle Point, SOREDI recognized four companies and one individual with awards for their exceptional contributions to the Southern Oregon business community.
Each year, SOREDI recognizes four companies in our region that exhibit the qualities of Collaboration, Prosperity, Tenacity and Ingenuity. These are the defining characteristics that SOREDI recognizes as vital to successful business growth in our region. This year’s business award recipients also served as guest speakers.
The 2017 Collaboration Award went to Medford’s Pallet Wine Company in recognition of their excellence in encouraging and embracing others in their industry, who might otherwise be viewed as competitive threats. Linda Donovan, founding partner and wine maker was on hand to share their efforts as a “vincubator” assisting other small wineries with the chemistry, the blending, the barreling and the aging processes according to the client’s unique specifications. This custom-crush process offers small upcoming vintners the infrastructure needed to get started, while saving the expense of equipping a full winery from the ground up.
Pallet Wine Company was founded in 2009 and located in a historic 21,000 s/f building on Fir Street in Medford. The company has 25 clients and has produced more than 1,000 wines, covering 35 varietals. More recently in 2016, Pallet Wine Company opened their tasting room, The Urban Cork within walking distance of downtown Medford.
The 2017 Ingenuity Award went to MaskIT of Ashland, in recognition of the development of their biodegradable consumer product in the feminine hygiene consumer market, not previously available. After many hours in the kitchen making homemade prototypes, many obstacles, and many nay-sayers, founder Shallan Ramsey heard a resounding “yes” to her innovative new product when the Southern Oregon Angel Network committed to providing close to $600,000 in angel investment support.
The company, founded in 2013, has now received national attention including an appearance on the Kathy Ireland show and more recently received a personal visit from Governor Kate Brown, who offered encouragement and resources. MaskIT products are available in numerous local retailers and online at Walgreens.com and Amazon.com.
Southern Oregon’s Lithia Motors Inc. received the 2017 Prosperity Award, as one of the fastest growing Fortune 500 companies with 160 locations nationwide, 12,000 employees across 18 states and 30 brands. Medford is home to its corporate office complex and provides an attractive, stylish, and community-driven hub for the downtown area. In 2016 the company’s revenues increased 10%, making it one of many strong candidates who have realized significant market growth over the past 12 months. Since 2010, the company has experienced revenue growth of 400%.
Lithia Motors was founded in nearby Ashland in 1946 and now boasts 1200 local employees. The company contributes its success to the same principles they adopted at their founding – taking care of employees and customers. Sid DeBoer, founder and chairman of the Board was on hand to receive the award.
The 2017 Tenacity Award went to Varney Manufacturing of Medford, a local contract machine shop established in 2003. The company went through its worst year on record a few years ago in 2015, only to follow with its best year on record in 2016. It has remained nimble with market ups and downs, and equipped to meet the need of its ever-changing customer base.
From the assembly of precision parts for commercial and aerospace companies to high end ear buds, Varney Manufacturing continues to persevere, become leaner more efficient in the process, while maintaining a strong community presence in the local economy. Founder Gary Varney accepted the award.
Bern Case, Director of the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport received the 2017 Inspiration award. Case was honored for his numerous successes at the airport over his 23 year career in Medford thus far and 40 years in the industry, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his partnership in helping SOREDI promote its economic development services. After stints in Salt Lake City, Saginaw Michigan, and Lubbock, Texas, Case arrived in Medford. Since his arrival, the airport has undergone complete renovation, has expanded its direct flight service from 2 cities to 10 cities, and has become a hub for 5 air carriers. He is the entrepreneurial spirit behind the Oval Office, Casper, and Sally Port – all of which are innovations at the airport designed to add amenities inside and efficiencies outside the airport.
About SOREDI: SOREDI is a private, membership-based, non-profit organization, governed by a 28-member board of directors. Its seven-person staff is charged with local business expansion and new business recruitment efforts, financial assistance to start-up companies through its business loan fund, and management of Enterprise Zones in Jackson and Josephine Counties. The agency was formed as a regional economic development agency in 1987. Learn more at www.soredi.org.Click Here to Download the PDF