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Success Stories

Situation

Since Trackers Earth’s founding in 2004, owner Molly Deis wanted to create innovative education and outdoor programs for people of all ages focusing on building a connection to the land. The company’s first summer had 40 students and three weeks of camp with just a handful of employees.  With dwindling wild spaces in the Portland Metro area, Deis knew that in order to preserve this precious resource  for future students; she had to expand the business’s footprint beyond the classroom.

Solution

When a rare opportunity to purchase two 80 acre parcels of wilderness land in Sandy, Oregon came up, Deis knew she needed additional capital to bring her vision for Trackers Earth’s future to life. With the help of SBA Funding Programs, Molly was able to get the capital needed to purchase and improve the company’s spaces in Portland and Sandy.

Impact

Today, Trackers Earth serves more than 20,000 students, youth and adults, offering day camps,... Read More

Keeping Oregon on Its Feet One Step at a Time

As a single parent working as a community organizer, Julie Derrick realized the demanding work environment prevented her from being the parent she wanted to be. Derrick took on a new job working for a shoe repair shop and discovered a trade that truly spoke to her. After years of mastering her craft under the tutelage of master cobblers, the repair shop she was working for had to lay off its entire staff because of the Great Recession in 2008. Derrick learned that repair businesses can do well during recessionary times and decided to opened JD’s Shoe Repair in 2009 in northeast Portland. After seven years in the same location, Derrick was able to purchase a new location in 2017 but knew she could use some help in expanding her business skills in order to take her shop to the next level.

Solution

In 2018, that help came when Derrick learned about the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, a six-month “mini-MBA”... Read More

‘Havin’ Fun Habitat’n’ in the Pacific Northwest

'Havin’ fun habitat’n' is how Kim Erion today describes her construction company’s approach to its work. Founded in 1993, LKE Corporation is a full-service construction company specializing in environmental reclamation, wildlife habitat enhancement, wetland development, and watershed restoration. Erion knew back then that getting her foot in the door in the highly competitive and established construction industry would pose some difficult challenges and knew she could use some help.

Solution

She turned to Portland SCORE to get the counseling and training to help her run her business with confidence. As the company grew, Erion enrolled in programs like the Portland Community College Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Level 3 Business Management course and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program to prepare for the firm’s expanding opportunities. In 2017, LKE graduated from the SBA 8(a) Business Development... Read More


High Impact Technology co-founders Russell Monk and Tom Ohnstad in front of the company's 23 patents

Blast Protection Makes an Impact with Oregon’s Exports

Protecting service members in Iraq and Afghanistan was the top priority in 2004 for High Impact Technology co-founders Russell Monk, Tom Ohnstad and their team when they developed Ballistic Jacket, a self-sealing/self-healing protective coating for military fuel tanker trucks. Projectiles could be shot into the fuel tank, but no fuel could leak out. By 2013, reduced demand by the U.S. government gave Monk and his team an opportunity to take the company in a new direction.

Solution

With 23 patents under its belt, the company knew its technology had applications to protect critical infrastructure not only in the U.S. but all over the world.  In order to introduce itself to the global marketplace, High Impact Technology had to find a way to connect with potential international customers in a... Read More

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