(Photos above courtesy of EDCO)
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) shifted gears for its Annual Membership Meeting this year, as a bus tour highlighted local entrepreneurial success stories the organization helped foment, as part of a “Made in Bend” tour.
Rather than the typical static meeting forum, EDCO members gathered at The Barrel Thief Lounge at Oregon Spirit Distillers before boarding three buses to visit other stand-out companies, including DrinkTanks, Bend Research and Cv International, then reconvening at the lounge to tour the distillery, sample offerings – including an acclaimed bourbon which took Double-Gold at this year’s prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition – eat and network.
Before embarking on the tour, members heard of updated highlights for 2016-2017 during which EDCO:
- Helped 50 businesses create 475 new jobs in Central Oregon.
- Brought in over $300 million in new capital investment, plus an additional 190 companies and 2,174 jobs in the pipeline.
- Saw nearly $10 million invested in 10 companies via the 2016 Bend Venture Conference, making it the largest such VC forum in the West and shattering funding records.
- In conjunction with the Technology Association of Central Oregon and Oregon Bioscience Association, provided dedicated support to the tech and bioscience sectors with a full-time Tech Industry Coordinator.
- With funding from the City of Bend, sustained industry development for the specialty food cluster, plus support for the outdoor industry.
- Attracted over 2,000 attendees for the popular Central Oregon Pub Talk series, which featured renowned speakers from nationally acclaimed companies such as DocuSign, Hydro Flask, Marketo and Oregon Angel Fund.
First destination on the tour of homegrown companies was Bend Research, which is internationally known in the bioscience industry for forging new trails in drug development technologies, and lauded as a cornerstone of the high-tech industry in Central Oregon. The company specializes in providing drug delivery expertise and technologies to other firms, with their clients including Pfizer, Lilly, Merck and more.
Next up was Cv International, which moved to Bend in 2010 and since has more than tripled its workforce and grown into a 25,000 square foot building, specializing in the design and manufacturer of nitrogen systems, aircraft maintenance stands and ground support equipment for the aerospace industry.
At DrinkTanks, groups observed the operations of the manufacturer known for premium stainless steel, double-wall, vacuum insulated growlers and cups along with a full line of accessories. With a deep commitment to the community, DrinkTanks has made a conscious choice to bring as much of its production labor in-house to provide jobs locally, as part of a growing outdoor gear industry targeted by EDCO as an optimal fit for the Bend economy.
Back at the NE First Street base of Oregon Spirit Distillers — a small batch artisan distillery founded in 2009 and focused on creating unique and special spirits with an emphasis on using local, sustainable ingredients – visitors got an exclusive look at the alcohol alchemists’ inner workings.
As a fitting conclusion to the event, attendees walked away with a Made in Bend “swag bag” filled with products from a cross-section of inspiring local companies