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Success Stories

In 2002, Cecil DelaCruz was one of a handful of engineers and technicians tasked to oversee the shutdown of a fabrication facility when months before he was overseeing its construction. His employer was a major semi-conductor manufacturer in Portland, Oregon, which had become the latest victim of the dot-com bubble of 2000. Although he came from a mechanical engineering background, the experience Cecil gained managing the construction of the facility would have a lasting impact on the direction he would take for his future. The question he had to answer was, what comes next?

Cecil answered that question by registering the name of his future company with the state of Oregon as Viking Engineering + Construction, which was inspired by his alma mater of Portland State University and his twin passions – Engineering and Construction. All he had at this point was a company name and a dream that someday it would be a reality. That dream would have to wait as... Read More

Vinh, Mai & Lisa Tran

Strength, Resilience, and a Little Sauce are the Ingredients for a New Beginning in Oregon 

When Lisa Tran’s parents escaped Vietnam in 1976 after the capital city of Saigon fell to North Vietnam, they would embark on a harrowing journey and endure unspeakable hardships to carve out a new beginning for their lives together. Lisa joined them after being born in a refugee camp in Indonesia where they eventually immigrated to Oregon. After 20 years working in the Pacific Northwest’s aerospace and footwear industries, Lisa’s parents took a new journey as entrepreneurs when they open the doors to Tân Tân Café & Delicatessen in Beaverton, Oregon.

Tân Tân means “New Beginnings" and it did not take long for the restaurant to grow a loyal customer base who embraced not only popular dishes such as Phở (Beef noodle soup) but also the signature sauces the restaurant created to complement the subtle flavors of its dishes. The... Read More

Music Together of Portland Co-Directors Mary Beth Camp (left front) and Bonnie Singer at the microphone performing with their team members to a sellout audience during their annual scholarship program benefit concert at the Alberta Rose Theater.

Making Music Together and Building Community in Oregon

With a mutual passion for helping families discover the joy of making music together, Bonnie Singer and Mary Beth Camp teamed up to open Music Together® of Portland in 1998. Part of a worldwide network, Music Together is an early child development program for children from infant through age five that emphasizes families making music together to stimulate early learning and mobility. Starting with 23 families at one location, Music Together of Portland has grown to 1,300 families singing and dancing together in seven locations throughout the Portland metro area, making it one of the largest Music Together centers in the world.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit... Read More

Turning Up the Heat on Oregon’s Food Scene

When Nikki Guerrero moved to Portland from Phoenix, Arizona to pursue a career in commercial photography in 1999, Mexican cuisine had not yet made a significant impact on Oregon’s food scene. Guerrero grew up making salsa and tortillas with her grandmother from Mexico and was always asked to bring the salsa to social gatherings. One day, a friend from Arizona who had just purchased a local produce and grocery store in North Portland, asked Guerrero if she could supply fresh salsa from locally sourced ingredients for the store. After convincing a neighboring bar to let her use their kitchen before opening, Guerrero was able to put Hot Mama Salsa on her friend’s shelf for the first time in 2008. Demand quickly grew for Guerrero’s traditional salsa and she knew she could use some help managing her growing business.


Guerrero turned to the Portland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Portland... Read More