Kim Erion, President of LKE CORPORATION since 1993, has been self-employed for 24 years. Kim got an early start at age 6 selling painted pet rocks to neighbors. She grew up in the woods with one grandfather who owned a saw mill and trucking company and with another grandfather who worked for the USDA Forest Service and Oregon State Parks. Her father owned a logging company, and her mother owned the Mother Earth spirituality retail shop in Portland called the Goddess Gallery. As Kim grew up, she gravitated toward her own passions and started to refine her business prowess.
For over 18 years now, Kim and Jim, her husband, have been dedicated to restoration throughout the Pacific Northwest. LKE CORPORATION has completed hundreds of miles of watershed restoration and thousands of acres of wetlands and in-stream habitat throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California. Kim and Jim are known for going above and beyond specification with passionate execution. Kim was inspired by her husband’s work in 1980’s on the Mt St Helen’s debris flows. Some of his in- stream restoration designs implemented on the Clearwater and Muddy are still key study areas for in-stream design. Their daughter, Malin, has been home schooled in the field and has done documentary photography that has been an essential part of monitoring successes and failures in new concepts of environmental restoration. Their entire team’s conscientiousness, combined with Kim’s unique “Naturalization Methodology” to engineered restoration, sets a higher standard that is recognized wherever they go. LKE’s team has grown to as many as 42 employees during busy times, and has experienced significant revenue growth during the last 3+ years.
Kim does volunteer work for conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Oregon Trout, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, ExCEL Academic League and is a home school mom. “It’s great to get kids involved and excited. An awesome feeling is when you inspire young adults to make a difference and to live a conservation lifestyle. They are always so intrigued about me, a little gal, playing with BIG rocks and BIG Machines making a BIG difference.”
SBA and her community have recognized Kim and LKE with the 2011 MED Week Award, as an e200 Graduate Class of 2011, and with the 2009 District Director’s Award.
Pete Morones, a bilingual clinical psychologist, didn’t have to think twice about buying a building to house his office. It made sense to purchase a building for his practice rather than continuing to pay rent. Morones now owns his own office building and rents out space to others. Most people aspire to own a building for the same reason they aspire to own a home; they are more in control of the use and the cost. Evergreen Business Capital helped Morones buy his own real estate through the Small Business Administration's 504 loan program. “Morones needed $370,000 to buy the building — at a time when the economy was tanking and banks just didn't want to lend," recalls Evergreen Senior Loan Officer Lori Milton.
Morones is a business banking client with Bank of America. Lori Milton asked the bank to loan Morones the money for his building. The bank funded Morones $250,000, Evergreen funded $83,000 and Morones came up with the rest.
Proceeds from 504 loans must be used for fixed asset projects such as: purchasing land and improvements, including existing buildings, grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscaping; construction of new facilities, or modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities; or purchasing long-term machinery and equipment.
Typically, a 504 project includes a loan secured with a senior lien from a private-sector lender covering up to 50 percent of the project cost, a loan secured with a junior lien from the Certified Development Company like Evergreen Business Capital (backed by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture) covering up to 40 percent of the cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from the small business being helped. To be eligible, the business must be operated for profit and fall within the size standards set by the SBA. Under the 504 Program, the business qualifies as small if it does not have a tangible net worth in excess of $8.5 million and does not have an average net income in excess of $3 million after taxes for the preceding two years. Loans cannot be made to businesses engaged in speculation or investment in rental real estate.
"Because we allow business owners to get into a loan with only 10 percent down, it helps them hold onto their working capital and helps them to purchase their existing rental building if the building owner suddenly offers it up," Milton said. "Most banks want 25 to 30 percent down on a building, and that’s a lot of money if you’re not actively saving money for the purchase."
“Evergreen made it possible for us to finance our project; something we had been working on for some time. Ms. Milton went above and beyond to assist us with securing financing as we encountered unforeseen obstacles in the current market,” said Morones.
Most pest control programs have a problem: They put too much of a particular chemical into the environment, and much of it is spread without being effective. Residues can be dangerous to humans and toxic for animals. The runoff can become problematic for water quality. The solution? Integrated pest management (IPM), a combination of chemical, biological, and cultivation techniques, minimizing negative effects.
A company based in Portland, Oregon, which has taken its name from this method, IPM Tech, Inc. has created just such a line of products. This new method is easy to use, effective, and environmentally benign. Its use is growing in agriculture and forestry. It has also attracted attention abroad, and exports are spreading the technology to Australia, South Africa, and most recently Belgium.
"These innovative products will sell themselves," said Philip Kirsch, president and founder of IPM Tech, Inc. "Their potency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental benefits will make them the most competitive solution to agriculture's and forestry's pesky problems." After graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in entomology, Kirsch's career centered on the use of pheromones for insect monitoring and control in the worldwide agricultural pest control market.
The way to detect pests and determine the optimum timing for sprays is through the use of pheromone traps. Pheromones are chemical substances secreted by animals that influence the behavior of other animals of the same species. They are usually wind-borne, but may be placed on soil, vegetation, or various items. Once the structure of the behavioral chemical is determined, it is produced synthetically and used for a range of management purposes. A lure is saturated with synthetic pheromones. The lure emits the synthetic pheromones at a predetermined level and rate for a specified period. The lure is placed in a trap and set up in a specified manner and location, depending on the habits of the insect. The insect's behavior, size, population level, and the user's bio-monitoring objectives determine the use of a bucket or sticky trap.
The secret of IPM Tech's success is combining pheromones of specific insects with a pesticide in a blend that attracts and kills the target pest. The pheromones, which are synthesized versions of the sex hormone produced by the female of the species, attract the male insect to the poison that is placed in a concentrated droplet on a tree trunk. When this method is applied on an acre of apple trees, only about three and a half to five grams of insecticide per treatment is needed. Even with three applications per growing season, only a maximum of 0.5 ounce per acre is necessary to control the pest. In comparison to the 2.75 pounds of pesticide per application in traditional spraying techniques (which require typically six applications per season), the difference between these two methods becomes clear.
A little-known fact is that less than 1 percent of the insecticide in a traditional spray application actually hits its target, which makes IPM's LastCall™ a groundbreaking pest control method. It is superior in eliminating chemical runoff that can contaminate the groundwater, since such small amounts are used. As the application is targeted, it is more effective and at the same time more cost-effective. In field trials the attract-and-kill method has demonstrated a 300 percent greater kill rate, proving that the technique developed by IPM Tech, Inc. outperforms traditional spraying by a wide margin.
This type of research and development does not come cheap, and the personal investment by IPM Tech's owner Phil Kirsch has been enhanced by the federal government's research grants in support of new technology. "IPM Tech has been able to develop these innovative techniques through the assistance of many federal grants," said Kirsch, who is a well-known scientist and started the business in 1994.
The company's success in attracting research and development grants through Small Business Innovative Research Program has brought awards of proposals from several federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Without these grants, the long lead times for bringing new products to market might have left the business cash starved and unable to weather the low revenue years.
Sales growth has been boosted by exports as IPM Tech's products find overseas markets. Since 1997, the Portland U.S. Export Assistance Center has been the "one-stop shop" for exporting for IPM Tech, said Scott Goddin, director of the center. IPM Tech developed its export savvy via Commercial Service industry sector reports on New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Canada. Commercial Service trade specialists also helped with regulatory issues and referral to Foreign Agricultural Service staff when needed.
Financed with the Small Business Administration's Export Working Capital Program, exports are a profitable part of the company's sales now. The most substantial export so far, a large contract from the Belgian Ministry of Forestry for lures to combat an outbreak of a non-native bark beetle, would have exceeded IPM Tech's financial capacity. "The SBA program has come to our rescue twice," said Dennis Kviz, who is new to IPM. "The first transaction with South Africa could not have happened without the assistance of the SBA, and now the Export Working Capital Program has again provided us with extraordinary support."
Exports to 14 countries now are just the beginning, said Kirsch, as integrated pest management products continue to draw the attention of world markets.