Bryan Sims, Wes Mahler and Noah Merritt

» Mar 4 2010

This month we’ll hear from Bryan Sims, local CEO of Brass Media, listed on the 2008 Inc 500 list, and in the top 50 of fasting growing media companies in the nation. His company started in his parents house at age 19, and now has over 40 employees and owns the real estate his company is housed in.

Bryan is joined by Wes Mahler, an entrepreneur and real estate investor that recently sold his Silicon Valley based Prosper 202 analytics company to Los Angeles Firm Bloosky. Mid 20’s and already his first successful exit.

Also joining the panel is Noah Merritt. Noah is the co-founder of NowTowns, an accomplished trumpet player, and also co-founder of Roxr Software Ltd., the software company behind Clicky has grown rapidly to over 180k users around the globe. Noah currently operates Roxr out of Portland.

3 different entrepreneurial stories, all successful. Great opportunity for a Q&A.

RSVP on facebook

Paul Anthony, Founder and CEO of Rumblefish

» Jan 15 2009

Paul Anthony started Rumblefish in his dorm room at the University of Oregon in 1996. The company is aimed at bringing a creative, financial and legal perspective to any music licensing project.

Paul is the current owner of Anthony Estates, the Co-Founder at Starve Ups as well as CEO / Chairman of Rumblefish.

About Paul:

By the age of 22, Paul Anthony had produced recordings with Grammy award winning artist Sarah McLachlan, composed full orchestral scores for two feature films, was nominated the collegiate entrepreneur of the year and established Rumblefish as the #1 start up company in the state of Oregon by the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum. Anthony has grown his company Rumblefish to be a leader in the sonic branding and music licensing agency.

About Rumblefish:

Rumblefish, Inc. has been a pioneer in the development of strategic sonic branding and music licensing services since its founding in 1996. The multidisciplinary agency helps organizations build stronger customer relationships through music — first, by developing distinct music identities that express clients’ unique brand attributes; and second, by creating music branding programs that enrich their customers’ brand experiences. Rumblefish recently launched the first online Music Licensing Store(SM) (MLS) to make licensing music fast, easy and affordable. MLS offers a broad range of authentic, independent music for use on television programs, films, websites, podcasts and more. Rumblefish clients include NBC-Universal, HBO, Nike, The North Face, adidas Originals, Red Bull, MTV, Mitsubishi and Pabst Blue Ribbon. For more information, visit

Paul is a regular speaker at trade shows and seminars internationally and an intellectually property expert regarding the use of music related copyrights. Outside the world of music, Paul is a published author & photographer and has a habit of thrillseeking.

Learn more about Paul and Rumblefish:

Ryan Buchanan, CEO of eROI in Portland

» Nov 20 2008

Ryan BuchananRyan Buchanan, founder and CEO of eROI, started the company in November 2002. He has eight years of email marketing, web and e-commerce experience and frequently speaks about email marketing, social networking, and web marketing-related issues.

He has also been featured in notable industry publications such as the Wall Street Journal,, iMedia Connection, DM News, and eMarketer.

He has led the growth of eROI from a couple employees at inception to a full team of e-marketing experts, creatives, technical, account, and sales teams. Buchanan has driven 720% growth from 2003 – 2006, earning eROI a spot as an Inc. 500 company. Through his leadership, eROI was the only small, young company to be recognized as one of the Most Admired Companies in Oregon by a Portland Business Journal survey of 2,000 Oregon CEOs in 2007. He served for two years as the President of the Board of the Portland Advertising Federation and also serves on the Boards of Friends of the Children, Software Association of Oregon, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Starve Ups and Greenlight Greater Portland. Buchanan was named to the Portland Business Journal’s ’40 Under 40,’ an award that recognizes city leaders under 40 years old. He was also named by Oregon Business Magazine as one of “the 50 Great Leaders for Oregon – 50 who fix it, move it, build it, change it and get it done right.” Buchanan is most proud of the team at eROI and positive culture the company has created, which has resulted in a deeper connection to the community and each other.

Randy Conrads - Founder of, current CEO of

» Oct 30 2008

Randy Conrads is the founder of and the current CEO of online marketplace

Randy grew from a startup in his basement to the world’s largest online community with 38 million members and 2 million daily visitors – and then sold it for a cool $100 million to United Online in 2004.

Randy’s a Beaver – he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from OSU.

Alfred Lin, Chairman of

» Oct 16 2008

Alfred LinCOO, CFO, and Chairman of

Alfred joined in 2005 and is responsible for all financial, administrative, and warehouse operations. Alfred focuses on bringing focus, strategy and financial discipline in order to grow the business efficiently and profitably. Prior to joining, Alfred served as VP of Finance and Business Development at Tellme Networks, helping grow that business from no revenue to over $120M in recurring revenue per year, 30% cash margins and a $0.5B estimated contracted revenue backlog.

Prior to joining Tellme Networks, Alfred co-founded Venture Frogs with Tony Hsieh. Venture Frogs is an incubator and investment firm that invested in Internet startups, including Ask Jeeves, Tellme Networks, and of course, Prior to Venture Frogs, Alfred served as VP of Finance and Administration at LinkExchange, where he managed the sale of the Company to Microsoft for $265M.

Alfred met Tony Hsieh (CEO) in college, when Tony was running a pizza business and Alfred was his #1 customer.

Kent Lewis, Founder and CEO of Anvil Media, Portland, OR

» Aug 21 2008

Photo of Kent LewisAs President of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for managing operations, marketing and business development to achieve the company’s mission: to build Anvil into the one of the most respected search engine marketing agencies in the world. Current Anvil clients include ExpressJet, InfoWorld, Nautilus,, Oregon State University, PC World, Planar, Ronald McDonald House Charities, SmartWool and Yesmail. He is currently President and co-founder of SEMpdx, a professional trade organization based in Portland, Oregon that provides educational opportunities for local businesses and individuals interested in a career in search engine marketing. With a background in integrated marketing, Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his Internet marketing career at a Web development firm, where he also created a free monthly lifestyle e-zine. Shortly thereafter, he built and managed his first search engine marketing team at local full-service marketing agency before co-founding Wave Rock Communications and later, eROI. Lewis was also Director of Marketing and Business Development at, an online electronics retailer. In 2001, Lewis created pdxMindShare to build businesses and careers through networking and weekly emails featuring jobs and industry events. He is also an adjunct professor at Portland State University, where he teaches eMarketing and SEM workshops. In 2003, he founded a charity fundraiser event, Anvil’s Annual Get SMART Gala, to raise awareness for SMART (Start Making a Reader Today). Due, in part, to his dedication to childhood literacy and SMART, the non-profit charitable organization invited him to join the board of directors. Lewis is a member of EO, a global organization for entrepreneurs, and is a recipient of Portland Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award. When he’s not working or hanging out with his family, he likes to write about his travels and life experiences on his blog, The Kent Lewis Experience.

Tim Berry - President and founder of Palo Alto Software

» Jul 17 2008

Tim BerryTim Berry is president and founder of Palo Alto Software, founder of, and a co-founder of Borland International. He built Palo Alto Software from zero to 40 employees and 70% market share without outside investment. He built the management team that now runs it while he is blogging, teaching, speaking, and writing. He teaches starting a business at the University of Oregon. He is author of books and software including Business Plan Pro, published by Palo Alto Software, and The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press, due in stores August of 2008. he has a Stanford MBA degree and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame.

Greg Burge VP and General Manager at GE Security

» Jun 19 2008

Greg Burge is the past CEO of Supra Corporation and current Vice President and General Manager of GE Security.

Dr. Ed Ray, President of Oregon State University

» May 15 2008

Dr. Edward J. Ray assumed the position of Oregon State University’s President on July 31, 2003. Prior to coming to Oregon State, Ray was executive vice president and provost of The Ohio State University.

Under his leadership, OSU has completed a visionary campus-wide strategic plan that is serving as the framework for the university’s development in profound and historic ways. Research funding has grown to $209 million since Dr. Ray’s arrival, and the university has opened such key scientific facilities as the Kelley Engineering Center and the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Mindful of OSU’s commitment to the people of Oregon, Dr. Ray has overseen the expansion of dual-enrollment agreements with 16 of the state’s community colleges, making it easier for students to complete four-year degrees. He has also taken a leadership role in fostering a more seamless P-20 system, working with area school superintendents, community college leaders and university colleagues to strengthen institutional connections and enhance the student experience. Dr. Ray has also helped to usher in a new era of partnership and cooperation between Oregon’s public universities.

Dr. Ray was a member of the economics faculty at Ohio State from 1970-2003, serving as economics department chair from 1976 to 1992. He served as an associate provost from May 1992 until May 1993, senior vice provost and chief information officer from 1993-1998, and executive vice president and provost from 1998-2003.

His research interests include the history of protectionism in the United States, the determinants of U.S. foreign direct investment and foreign direct investment in the United States, the structure of tariff and non tariff trade barriers in the United States and abroad and the adoption of Social Security. His work has been published in The American Economic Review, The Journal of Political Economy, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, The Review of Economic Studies and other leading journals. He has co-authored a principles text, and his book, “U. S. Protectionism and the World Debt Crisis” was published by Quorum Press in 1989.

Dr. Ray received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Queens College (CUNY) in June 1966, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his master’s in economics from Stanford University in 1969 and his doctorate in economics from Stanford in June 1971.

His wife Beth was a counselor and assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences while at Ohio State. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Tim Leatherman, Founder of Leatherman Tool Group

» Apr 17 2008

Tim Leatherman founded the Leatherman Tool Group in 1983.

Corporate Background

In 1975, Tim Leatherman was on a “low-budget” trip through Europe. He got fed up with his standard “scouter’s knife.” It just wasn’t much help on his old European car and other fix-up tasks. What he really desired was a compact pocket knife with full-size pliers, but no such tool existed.
“I made notes of what I really needed,” says Leatherman. “When I returned to the United States, I went to work in the basement and started designing a new kind of tool—one that would replace the knife with something more useful.” He says he was “trying to build a pocket tool that not only met my needs, but the needs of others as well. I managed to take these pieces of metal, and pick up a file and hacksaw, and tried to make what I had in my mind.”

Leatherman spent the next eight years using his engineering background to design just such a tool. In 1983, after working with hundreds of prototypes, he and Steve Berliner founded Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. and began production of the original LEATHERMAN Pocket Survival Tool™, now known as the PST. Manufacture of the second Leatherman product, the Mini-Tool™, commenced three years later. The high-end Super Tool® includes more features and ten locking blades. It was released in the fall of 1994.

Today, Leatherman Tool Group remains the leader in high-quality, compact, multi-purpose tools. Company sales growth has averaged almost 50 percent annually since the company’s inception. Buyers include retailers, mail-order catalogs, military units and emergency services departments. Leatherman brand products are marketed in more than 70 countries. In 1988 the Oregon Economic Development Department named Leatherman Tool Group Governor’s International Marketing Firm of the Year. The company also received the 1996 Oregon Marketer of the Year award from the Portland chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International.

Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. moved into its current facilities near Portland International Airport in 1992 and completed an expansion of those facilities in 1994. A second expansion project was finished in 1997. Approximately 500 people are employed there, including two production shifts.

The rate of new product releases has increased significantly in recent years. In 1996, the company began shipping its fourth model, the PST II®. It is based around the same full-size, full-strength pliers as the original Pocket Survival Tool but adds, among several significant advancements, the strongest, most useful scissors found on any competing multi-purpose tool. Also in 1996, the company released the unique Micra®. This scissors-based product is incredibly small and light, but it is packed with a surprising number of useful features. Like all Leatherman brand products, it is made of all stainless steel and carries a 25-year guarantee. The Tool Adapter™ was introduced in 1997. It is a hex bit driver attachment designed to make full-size Leatherman tools even more versatile.

Two new tools were introduced in 1998. The Sideclip® is the company’s first clip-on tool. It offers genuine Leatherman quality at an attractive price. And Wave®, according to Tim Leatherman, “raises the standard of what a compact multi-purpose tool can be.” Besides a visually striking design, Wave provides one-hand access to two locking knife blades (one straight-edge, one serrated) without opening the tool. These new tools “are representative of our commitment to innovation,” adds Tim. Two more product introductions occurred in 1999, including one that features a corkscrew and another offering locking pliers. Since this time multiple tools and more recently folding knives and multi-tool pruners have been added to the product line. In all Leatherman has devloped more than 25 different multi-purpose tools and knives. Visit to view the full line of products.

Outdoor enthusiasts comprise a significant portion of Leatherman’s market. Leatherman tools are also popular with electricians, mariners, stagehands, farmers, do-it-yourselfers, emergency services personnel and an ever-expanding range of professional and recreational users.
Leatherman Tool Group has been diligent in its efforts to protect its products against imitation. Since 1985, Leatherman has filed more than two dozen lawsuits and sent out hundreds of warning letters informing infringers of its patent and trademark rights. According to president Tim Leatherman, the company is “vigorously enforcing our legal rights against sellers of knockoffs of all genuine Leatherman products. Knockoffs and other kinds of unfair competition drain American manufacturers of millions of dollars in sales every year, after they have invested extensively in product development and marketing.”

Read more about Tim on the Leatherman Website

Steve Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Tec Labs

» Mar 13 2008


Steve Smith is president and CEO of Tec Laboratories, Inc., in Albany, Oregon. Mr. Smith’s business passion is marketing. He holds a degree in Marketing from Oregon State University and has been an advisor for other Oregon businesses. He took over the reigns of president and CEO in 1985—celebrating his 22nd year in April. He has enjoyed traveling the world. Recent trips have taken him to Fiji, Greece and Australia. Steve relaxes by playing the grand piano that inhabits the foyer of the corporate headquarters. Steve is an active runner and recently took up the challenge of learning Spanish. At his core, Steve is as passionate as anyone you will ever find. He embraces life with a bear hug and created a “special ops” team at Tec Labs to celebrate the company’s successes throughout its wonderful journey.

About Tec Laboratories

Tec Laboratories, Inc. is an innovator of over-the-counter topical pharmaceuticals and the developer of breakthrough technologies in this area. Founded in 1977, Tec Labs’ commitment to new product development has fueled the company’s growth. Tec Labs has been protecting consumers and industrial workers for more than 30 years with products that cleanse, relieve, repel and protect, including the very popular Tecnu®, Tecnu® Extreme, Tecnu® Rash Relief Spray, StaphAseptic®, Calagel®, Licefreee! (r), and CortiCool®. The company also makes professional products for the industrial/outdoor markets, including The 10-Hour Insect Repellent™.

The company has received some prestigious recognition for being a wonderful place to work. In 2007, for the third year in a row, The Scientist magazine ranked the company #1 worldwide in its annual survey, “The Best Places to Work in Industry.” The survey included companies from 21 countries, including the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. In 2007, Tec Labs once again acknowledged in Oregon Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies” annual survey. It was the 8th year that the company has been recognized in the survey.

Bernie Newcomb, co-founder of E*trade

» Feb 21 2008

Bernie Newcomb is the co-founder of E*trade, one of the first online brokerage houses to go public. Read more about Bernie on Wikipedia

Ron Loe, Founder and CEO of Woodcastle

» Jan 10 2008

Ron Loe is the Founder and CEO of Woodcastle- a global fine furniture manufacturer.

Ron was born and raised in the Mid-valley and went to high school in Philomath. He even spent time with Rex & Ethyl Clemens to understand entrepreneurship.

Ron graduated from OSU in Marketing and Forestry, then from 1976 to 1978 worked at Georgia-Pacific in industrial sales and was named Salesman of the year in 1978.

In 1978, Ron founded Wood Castle Furniture in Corvallis (in a garage!).

By 1984 he built a new shop and retail store on highway 34 in Linn County.

In 1991, Ron was the Governor’s choice for board member on manufacturers association board and he toured more than 200 factories worldwide.

In 1993, Ron was elected President of NorthWest Manufacturers Board.

Wood Castle burned to the ground in 1996, — a total loss, but in 1997-98, was rebuilt as a newer, modern wood working factory.

Things continued to change. In 2001, 70% of American furniture capacity is lost, mostly to China, but Wood Castle continued to expand and grow.

2007 Wood Castle has designed and built more than $100 Million in products here in Corvallis for national market. Wood Castle currently has about 60 craftspeople employed. About one third of Wood Castle’s business is for high end hotel, University, resort business (Bandon Dunes, OSU, etc.) Two thirds is for high-end retail stores in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Seattle, etc.

Corkey Gourley, Founder of Figaro's Pizza

» Dec 6 2007

Corkey founded Cork’s Donuts, Gramma Damma Donuts, and Figaro’s Pizza, now a multi-state chain. Corkey has been successful in a variety of other ventures as well.

Bill Zipp President of Extra Mile Media and CEO of Leadership Link

» Nov 15 2007

Bill Zipp is President of Extra Mile Media and CEO of Leadership Link

Steve Nigro, Senior Vice President, HP, General Manager-Corvallis,OR

» Oct 25 2007

Brian McMenamin, Co-founder of McMenamin's Restuarants, Pubs, and Hotels

» Sep 27 2007

Isaac Tolpin, North Pacific Division Manager of Vector Marketing Corporation

» Aug 23 2007

Dave Lundahl, CEO and President of InsightsNow!

» Jul 19 2007

Portland Business Journal recently recognized InsightsNow! as being the #2 fasted growing company in Oregon with 538% growth. It is one of only two Corvallis companies to be listed in the top 100.

You can read more about Dave here

Ken Austin - Founder of A-dec

» Jun 21 2007

Ken Austin, the founder of A-dec, the largest dental equipment manufacturer in America. See a bio of Ken here

Karla Chambers - Founder, Stahlbush Island Farms

» May 24 2007

Karla Chambers started farming in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1985 with her husband, Bill, planting and harvesting just 2 crops. She is now the Co-owner and Vice President, of Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc

As founders of Stahlbush Island Farms, the Chamberses have always recognized the importance of caring for the land, and in 1997 became the first farm to become Certified Sustainable by the Food Alliance. Unlike most farms, Stahlbush Island Farms is also a food processor.

In 1998 Stahlbush Island Farms launched its own brand of sustainably grown frozen fruits and frozen vegetables in the distinctive, recyclable brown paper package. More recently, in 2003, Stahlbush Island Farms, started selling the Farmer’s Market brand of organic pumpkin products.

Today, Stahlbush Island Farms grows many crops on over 4000 acres. Much of the food grown and processed at the farm is sold to other food companies who use the fruits and vegetables for ingredients in soups, pies and baby foods.

Click here to see a bio for Karla Chambers in PDF form.

Bryan Sims- CEO, BrassMedia

» Apr 19 2007

Bryan Sims is the 23-year-old CEO and founder of brass|MEDIA Inc., publisher of brass magazine. Bryan founded brass when he was just 19, but has to keep changing his bio because he keeps getting older, and it sucks.

Back in the day—before Bryan was “of age”—Bryan had a vision to create a national magazine that would speak TO young adults, not AT them. After several years, lots of hard work, a bit of luck, and many supporters, that vision is just as clear as ever. brass magazine is circulated to over 350,000 young adults across the country, through 37 states, and to every public high school in New York. However, chances are those stats are out of date, since brass is growing so fast there just isn’t enough time to update them.

As part of his unusual, and seemingly over glamorized job, Bryan travels quite a bit, which means he can now cut in line at airports. Speaking at conferences all over the country, Bryan has been quoted as a “youth marketing phenomenon,” but really he just makes stuff up on the fly, which is probably his one and only skill—being a quick witted smart aleck. In a fluke accident, Bryan was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, the youngest person to ever receive the award. This will forever be an unsolved mystery.

When he is not jet setting across the country, mingling with “high level executives,” or speaking at conferences, you can find Bryan sleeping in his own bed (a rare treat). On the off chance that Bryan has some free time, you can probably find him doing a variety of activities which might include, snowboarding down the side of a mountain, jumping out of planes, or just hanging out with his buddies.

Bryan’s future goals include, but are definitely not limited to: influencing and inspiring millions of teenagers and young adults across the country, creating profitable education reform in high schools, and revolutionizing the publishing industry through use of technology.

But in all seriousness, Bryan is just a regular guy who is trying to make a difference and do something worth doing.

George Puente- President, Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods

» Mar 22 2007

George is the President and CEO of Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods. George has received a number of local and national awards as a community leader and businessman over the years. He was interviewed by President Bush and honored at a recent visit of his. His company is on the list of Top 250 Hispanic Owned businesses in the U.S. As of 2003, his company is the 2nd largest Hispanic Owned business in the state of Oregon. Today, his company produces over 2.5 Million tortillas per day.

Kevin Kiker

» Feb 21 2007

Kevin is the founder and President of Western Tool Supply. They sell tools to contractors all over the US and Canada. He started it with one store back in 1982 and now has over 60 stores throughout North America and revenues well over $100M. Kevin is a long-time resident of Jefferson, Oregon.

Kevin offered these ten best practices –

  1. Personal improvement- Must grow personally so as not to limit my company
  2. Fight bureaucracy
  3. Treat everyone with respect
  4. Spend time in the stores- be present with clients and employees
  5. Utilize technology- enhance communication and create new efficiencies
  6. Be open and honest- transparency before clients and employees
  7. Keep costs down
  8. Advertising is like fertilizer- it must be used in proper amounts
  9. Never use the word “Policy”- empower your people to do what is right in every circumstance
  10. Monkey see, monkey do- your team will emulate what they see in you. Set the right example from the top down.

John Acres

» Jan 24 2007

John is a local uber-successful entrepreneur who has had businesses in a number of different industries, most notably in the casino business.

Dan Whitaker- Serial Entrepreneur

» Dec 13 2006

Rich Carone

» Nov 15 2006

Rich began his career with Hewlett-Packard in the late seventies, and was the manager of the software group that produced the HP 12C calculator, still the industry standard 25 years later. In 1981, he co-founded and was Vice President of Intelledex, an early robotics company. In 1985, Rich co-founded (with Korvis employee Neal Pierce) Accu-Fab Systems, and for 10 years was General Manager of this highly successful producer of custom robotic systems. In 1994, Accu-Fab was sold to ATS Systems, and Rich was General Manager of the West Coast and Asian Divisions of ATS until 2001. Rich spent 2001 through early 2003 as a General Partner with Pacific Horizon Ventures, a Venture Capital firm specializing in Life Sciences Investments, before joining Korvis Automation as Executive Chairman. Rich is also a partner in Riverfront LLC, the developer of the Renaissance Building in Downtown Corvallis.

Frank Cloutier- Past CTO, Hewlett Packard

» Sep 20 2006

Derrick Luksch- CEO and President, O'brien Dental Lab

» Sep 6 2006

Mario Pastega- President, Pepsi of Corvallis

» Jul 26 2006

Phil Doud- President, John and Phil's Toyota/Subaru/Scion

» Jul 12 2006