Colin Barr

Visiting Swanson Group Inc Plant

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Lucky group we were today, City of Springfield, Oregon Government managers and your Springfield Chamber of Commerce team visiting Swanson Group Inc plant.

Deep-rooted plywood manufacturing at its best, a huge investment in Springfield by the Swanson Family after the set-back of a fire, but resulting in the most advanced plywood and layup plant in North America. Clean, safe, high tech and impressive, exclusive product lines. A predictable supply of timber will drive this kind of plant and continue to employ several hundred workers at living wages and with benefits and overtime too.

Thank you Steve Swanson and team!


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Colin Barr

Jobs in Manufacturing: Good Pay and Benefits, Very Rewarding Work

James Wichert is a slender guy with a quick smile. Slightly North of 22-years old, he has the energy to match. He’s a sander operator for our new member, Western Panel Products located in Eugene. Western Panel is a specialty producer of high-end and exotic hardwood veneers, creating architectural panels for commercial and interior application. And while technically referred to as “plywood,” they are actually artisan-crafted pieces involving a lot of hand-work and skill. We visited with James at the plant to talk to him about how he found his way into plywood manufacturing... Read More

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Colin Barr

Local Public-Private Partnerships and the Case for Seamless Collaboration

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Public Schools and the City of Springfield have been focusing efforts around the intersect of commonly shared visions, goals, and challenges. That nexus where seamless public-private sector collaboration presents the greatest opportunity to advance favorable outcomes. Read More

Colin Barr

Movers and Shakers – Deal-Makers & Innovators

The expression “movers and shakers“ makes me smile, and at the same time cringe, just a tad. Perhaps because itʼs a dated expression, even cliché. But also because in the years I spent abroad, I often found myself in otherwise engaging conversations that quickly went sideways because of some random, enigmatic and quirky colloquialism, like “movers and shakers.ˮ Which brings me to “networking.” Read More

Colin Barr

The Right Resource at the Right Time

Entrepreneurial passion, knowledge and instinct can bring a business from nothing into something. However, every business inevitably comes to a crossroads, where access to outside resources is necessary if it is to move forward. Read More

Colin Barr

Chamber Champions – Why are they important? Who are they?

Recently I’ve been thinking about why people participate in the Chamber? Why do they participate in business after hours? Why do they come to committee meetings at 7 AM? Why do they come to Greeters at 7 AM? Why do they say YES when Robert or Judy invite them to join the Chamber? Of course there are a variety of reasons - some know that belonging to the Chamber gives their business a level of status and legitimacy in the community. Read More