Redmond Economic Development Inc. Showcases Successful Business Development with the First Made in Redmond Tour


Community members, business owners, educators and government leaders toured several unique businesses in this first ever event promoted by REDI.

Leaders of Redmond Economic Development Inc., (REDI) took pride in showcasing four outstanding companies to community leaders in late October. Connie Druliner, president of REDI welcomed the group at Redmond’s City Hall and outlined the tour that would include visits to Key Technology’s, CIES, McConnell Labs/Light Elegance and Central Oregon Truck Co.

The four companies selected are successful examples of the progress that has been made in economic development. REDI and (EDCO) Economic Development of Central Oregon have collaborated extensively with city county and state leaders in cultivating a fertile climate for business to be successful in Central Oregon.

After Druliner’s opening remarks Jon Stark, manager of REDI, said, “ Companies wanting to move to our region are looking for affordable site and development costs, a competent workforce, affordable labor costs for their business and transportation access including air, highway and rail.” 

The businesses selected for the tour have all benefited from a “can do” attitude in Redmond’s City Hall that has cooperated with Deschutes County officials, paving the way for development, resolving zoning issues and mitigating important site or development matters.
Rick Williams, CEO of Central Oregon Truck said, “Without the help of REDI, EDCO, ODOT, city and county we would not have been able to improve our location that would benefit our transportation business.”

Williams’ company operates in 48 states and Canada with a fleet of 220 Kenworth flatbed trucks. The company has 270+ employees, 220 of them drivers. CEO Williams personally led the tour explaining in detail the coordinated functioning of Central Oregon Truck with the fluid placement of administration, dispatching, training, safety and employee/driver amenities. 

Now located in their new building Central Oregon Truck broke ground in 2012 on the new Redmond location for a 26,000 square foot building.The site was also large enough to park 75 tractor units and is conveniently located near access to all transportation routes. At that time Williams said, “I hope the public understands what a great thing that has happened here when government entities come together and work to support and foster business environment, business growth and development.” Those sentiments were echoed by Jim and Lezlie McConnell who are founders of two startup business, Light Elegance and McConnell Labs that moved to Redmond from Eugene. 

The McConnell’s explain, “We moved from Eugene to Redmond in 2010 for a few reasons, but a main factor for us was the convenience of working with the City of Redmond compared to the City of Eugene.  Redmond has also chosen to use the Enterprise Zone program and we have benefited from being in that program. We are planning on expanding our warehouse another 6,000 square feet in 2014.” 

Lezlie McConnell started Light Elegance in 1999 with her husband Jim a polymer chemist, when they began using their own polymer nail formulations in Lezlie’s salon. Years of testing and product development led them to more and more outside sales. It wasn’t long before McConnell Labs was begun to formulate and produce the polymer nail products sold by Light Elegance. 

Their product line has grown from five to five hundred additional skew items and  McConnell Labs now produces high quality UV curing lights for solons and custom product formulation for other companies. The McConnell’s are using nearly all American products for the items they produce and are proud to say, “all our products are made in Oregon.”

Another Redmond company that creates products made in Oregon is CIES. The acronym translates to, Creative Individuals Engineering Safety. CIES provides reliable fuel sensors for aviation.  CEO Scott Philiben says, nearly all the materials we use are from the USA and our finished products are made in Oregon.”

CIES has improved on a patented fuel sensor technology and produces “Fuel Quantity Indication Systems that are designed to provide exceptional fuel level accuracy in the harshest conditions imaginable.” CIES is successful in the world aviation market and is leading the technology for additional liquid fuel markets in the USA and Europe. 

CIES has expanded on their aviation technology and are now adding new markets selling their Fuel Quantity Indication systems for such uses as propane vehicles, domestic devices and the marine and transportation industries that are sold in Europe and numerous foreign countries.

The software technology used in the devices allows applications for several evaluations on the fuel condition. The information can be programmed to extract data on many levels from cost per gallon, miles to empty, mpg and amount of minutes till empty. The cost for their products ranges from $150 for consumer items and $500 and up for aviation devices. Aircraft require two devices, one for each wing fuel tank.

Philiben says, “CIES employs mechanical and electrical engineers and high quality skilled workers. We make about 3000 devices a year CIES has added six jobs to the Redmond economy. We will grow at 50% per year for the next several years.”

Key Technology manufactures large scale food processing equipment and is now in its new location a 30,000 square feet building formerly used by Bright Wood manufacturing that includes office, warehouse and manufacturing space.

Mark Olson, supervisor for the Redmond location described the difficulty in finding a larger location that fit Key Techs expansion plans, he said, “ finding a building that allowed for a one hundred foot space run for assembly wasn’t easy. In the future we will be assembling a machine of that size in this location. All agencies, landlords and others involved worked to make it possible.”

Olson further explained, “Key Tech builds primarily food processing equipment that sorts, sizes, slices and conveys. These machines are mostly mechanical but new ones are being equipped with optic sensors that can detect and remove a brown spot on a single cut French fry and automatically expel it from the production line.”  

The tour included visits to the manufacturing area where highly skilled machinists were building parts or assembling machines from the ground up. All products Key Technology produces are built from raw materials of steel or plastic.

Key Technology is headquartered in Walla Walla, Washington and the Redmond location manufactures a variety of high quality machined parts in steel and plastic including mechanical processing machines for the food industry.

The tour wrapped up with a lively box lunch discussion hosted by Central Oregon Truck that was moderated by REDI Manager Jon Stark. The participants discussed several positive issues about the Made in Redmond Tour and included community members, local leaders in education, commerce, business development, city, county and state government.

Rick Williams CEO –

Lezlie McConnell-Light Elegance –

Jim McConnell-McConnell

Scott Philiben CEO

Mark Olson-Supervisor Redmond-


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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