Author Archives: EDCO

Central Oregon Economic Indicators – April 2024

Central Oregon Economic Indicators - April 2024

This month, Regional Economist Nicole Ramos is focusing on employment growth in Central Oregon by firm size, using data from the Quarterly Workforce Indicators published by the Census Bureau. The data in the monthly graph depicts the quarterly employment trends by firm size in Central Oregon, while the data below shows employment growth by firm size since 2013. Overall, Central Oregon has experienced strong employment growth over the past decade, but this growth hasn’t been evenly distributed across different firm sizes.

Historically, companies with fewer than 50 employees have had the most workers, making up the majority of the region’s workforce, highlighting the importance of small businesses as a driver of employment in Central Oregon. While smaller firms dominate numerically, the most rapid growth has consistently been in companies with 20-49 employees. The number of total employees in this size category has grown by 65% over 10 years. However, firms in this employment category have only made up an average of 14.8% of total employment in Central Oregon over the past decade. Employment in firms with 500 or more employees has seen the second strongest growth, expanding by 62% during this period. The latter signifying a potential change in the reliance on larger firms in the regional economy.

Looking at the percentage of total employment held by each firm size category also supports a shift. In 2013, businesses with 0-19 employees accounted for 35.1% of total employment. By 2023, this share had decreased to 30.6%. During this same time, the share of employment held by businesses with 500 or more employees increased from 31.3% to 35.1%.

In short, while smaller firms traditionally drive initial job creation, more recently larger firms seem to be driving employment in the region highlighting their increased importance in the employment landscape of Central Oregon.

Central Oregon Economic Indicators April 2024

Navigating the Energy Landscape – a pragmatic approach

In recent months, the topic of power has been making front-page news in publications like The Bulletin and the Portland Business Journal. Over the same period, EDCO has been facilitating discussions between stakeholders and hosting key regional utility providers at its board meetings, including Pacific Power, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Mid-State Electric Co-Op, and Central Electric Co-Op. These dialogues have shed light on the critical supply and demand challenges that power providers are facing.

Today’s society has an incredible appetite for power consumption, but also generally acknowledges their role in being good stewards of the environment.  These contradictions are converging at an exceptionally rapid pace, leaving power transmission (providers) and generation companies (producers) caught in the middle. Something will have to give because many Central Oregon communities, like others around the country, are reaching the limits of their respective power capacity.  In addition, if you couple the rapidly increasing demand for power with the fact that utilities are becoming the insurer of last resort during catastrophic wildfires, utilities are finding it increasingly challenging to remain profitable.

Recently, in BlackRock’s Annual Chairman’s Letter to investors, CEO Larry Fink introduced the term “energy pragmatism” as an approach that emphasizes the practical aspects of energy production and consumption and recognizes the need for balance between advancing renewable energy technologies and maintaining reliable and affordable energy sources. This concept acknowledges that while the transition to cleaner energy sources is necessary, fossil fuels still play a crucial role in meeting current energy demands due to their availability and established infrastructure.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has highlighted a significant decline in hydropower generation in the Northwest, marking a 22-year low in the period between October 2022 and September 2023. Overall, hydropower generation across the West saw an 11% decrease from the previous year and projections for 2024 suggest another 12% decrease, potentially setting new historic lows. In the Northwest, where the Columbia River Basin’s hydropower dams supply 60% of the electricity and account for 90% of the region’s renewable energy, this is particularly concerning (source).

Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee anticipates a 25% rise in regional electricity demand over the next decade (source). This expectation aligns with the regional trends EDCO and local utility providers are observing, where the demand for electricity is escalating rapidly. On a national level, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission forecasts a nationwide electricity demand increase of 4.7% over the next five years, a significant jump from the 2.6% growth estimated in 2022 (source). This surge is driven by substantial investments in sectors with high energy needs, such as semiconductor manufacturing, industrial facilities and data centers.   While it may be easy to blame historically large power users like data centers, the increased appetite is also being driven by the digital and mobile lifestyles of today’s consumers that requires more power to charge devices, heat and cool homes, run data, and charge electric vehicles.  Additionally, artificial intelligence is further exacerbating the consumption of power and is slated to double the need for data center infrastructure in the U.S. over the next 5-10 years.  Across the country, leaders are looking at infrastructure needs to reinforce the grid and increase capacity for renewable energy solutions.

To address the local demand for power, utilities are investing billions of dollars in upgrades. The Bonneville Power Administration has initiated over $2 billion worth of projects to enhance Oregon grid capacity, including a new substation near Prineville and a 53-mile power line to La Pine, which are essential for accommodating regional growth and integrating new, clean energy resources. Pacific Power has already invested in more than 20 local infrastructure projects, increasing capacity in Central Oregon and has plans to invest more than $400 million in local infrastructure over the next ten years.  Additionally, they have plans to invest nearly $1.5 billion in a new 180-mile transmission line that will serve the region. Local member-owned cooperatives are also investing resources.  Central Electric Co-Op has committed approximately $100 million to infrastructure improvements in Central Oregon, and Mid-State Electric Co-Op has earmarked $51 million for developments in South Deschutes County.

As the complexities of the regional energy landscape grow, EDCO sees the value in the approach of “energy pragmatism.” Civic leaders, regulatory bodies, investors, and utilities will need to work together to make well-informed decisions that effectively balance risk and opportunity, fostering a realistic pathway towards long-term goals.  While efforts are underway to move towards more sustainable grid technology and more energy-efficient buildings, homes and appliances, more time is needed to create affordable solutions and infrastructure.

The EDCO team remains dedicated to keeping stakeholders informed and engaged as these complex issues are navigated and supporting policies that mitigate regulatory burdens and enhance affordability.

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Member Spotlight: Introducing Bamberger Design LLC

Runner, triathlete and automation expert Martin Bamberger relocated from Portland to Central Oregon last year as he was launching Bamberger Design LLC, a consultancy that offers creative product and system design, along with support for product release and automation.

With over three decades of experience, Martin has led numerous teams through the challenging yet rewarding process of developing cutting-edge products and automating systems. His technical acumen and personable communication skills have allowed him to drive projects from concept to mass production across industries ranging from outdoor products to semiconductor parts and medical devices. Central to Martin’s love of engineering and problem-solving is his affinity for the age-old question, “How do we do that?”

Beyond supporting clients in answering that question, Martin is committed to furthering the next generation of problem-solvers. For over ten years, he mentored high school students in the FIRST Robotics program and helped build a program at DWFritz Automation to engage employees in working with students, appropriately titled “bring your problem to work day.” This program grew to include a full-size robotics testing facility for local high school students housed at the company.

Of his new journey as an entrepreneur, Martin says, “I love that I get to work with clients earlier on in their design process to make sure they are thinking about how to automate processes during product development.”

His recent work with OTTO DesignWorks on their now patent-pending electrical bike lock highlights the value of engaging a systems and automation engineer early in the product design process. Martin worked with OTTO on everything from material selection and product design to engaging production facilities that could support future growth. His efforts have helped establish the brand as a leader in the portable security market.

As a member of EDCO, Martin is enthusiastic about engaging with the local makers community through events like Central Oregon PubTalk and the Made in Bend Tour. To learn more about process automation and the services available through Bamberger Design LLC, visit www.bambergerdesignllc.com.

Central Oregon Largest Employers List

EDCO is pleased to announce the 2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers List, complete with breakouts of the top employers in each Central Oregon community. This data, collected by EDCO annually for the past 23 years, is the most comprehensive major employer list in Central Oregon.

This year the top 50 private companies collectively employ 22,340 Central Oregonians, or roughly 20% of the region’s March 2024 annual average total non-farm employment of 107,550. St. Charles Health System tops the list again, employing 4,791 people regionwide, an 8.9% increase since last year at the same time.

The top five traded-sector businesses, those that primarily sell their goods or services outside the local market and bring revenue into the region from national or international markets, include:

  1. Les Schwab Headquarters & Tire Centers (Regional, OR) – Started as a small shop in Prineville, Oregon in 1952, Les Schwab Tire Centers now employs over 7,000 people across the country.
  2. Bright Wood Corporation (Regional, OR) – The largest independent manufacturer of window and patio door components and engineered dimension lumber in the U.S.
  3. BASX Solutions (Redmond, OR) – An industry-leader in manufacturing high efficiency data center cooling solutions, cleanroom systems, custom HVAC systems, and modular solutions.
  4. Epic Aircraft, LLC (Bend, OR) – Leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance, all-composite, six-seat single-engine turboprop aircraft.
  5. Lonza, formerly Bend Research (Bend, OR) – A leading global provider of integrated healthcare solutions ranging from early phase development to custom development and manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Of these five top traded-sector businesses, BASX Solutions saw the highest percentage increase in new jobs since last year, adding 133 new positions. The company is expecting to continue this employment growth into 2025.

Jon Stark, CEO of EDCO, said, “Private, traded-sector business makes Central Oregon more resilient in times of economic shifts and enriches the quality of life across our communities. At EDCO, we are dedicated to supporting these businesses as they face and overcome challenges related to workforce development, market research, land use, physical space needs, and access to capital, among other things. Our engagement with over 400 traded-sector companies annually ensures business leaders have the pivotal tools and resources they need to grow. It’s gratifying to see these companies flourish and increase employment opportunities for Central Oregonians.”

When evaluating the region for investment and new or expanded operations, companies often turn to EDCO for information about the existing employment base and largest private employers from both the traded-sector (ex. high technology, advanced manufacturing and scientific) and non-traded sector (ex. retail, education, healthcare, hospitality, and construction). EDCO’s regional list features private (for-profit and non-profit) employers, while those at the individual community level include both private and public employers.

To view the lists in their entirety, visit our Top Employers page or click on the links below:

2024 Central Oregon Top 50 Public and Private Employers
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Bend
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Redmond
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Sisters
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Sunriver and La Pine
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Crook County
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Jefferson County
2024 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Deschutes County

Data for the lists are self-reported and not audited and should only be used as an informational guideline. Businesses are asked to provide the total number of employees, not full-time equivalency, during their most recent pay period or, for companies with seasonal patterns of employment, their seasonal high. Numbers only include employees working in Central Oregon and contain contractors or interns if they are full-time and long-term. Some businesses chose not to participate in these lists and are therefore excluded.

Message from the CEO: March 2024

Legislative Outcomes and Economic Development in Central Oregon

The 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly concluded on Friday, March 8th, and though it was a statutorily limited short session, several bills were passed related to economic development efforts. This year’s legislative priorities, while varied, were dominated largely by Measure 110 reform and affordable housing. Through Governor Kotek’s $376 million housing package in SB 1537, the State aims to ramp up housing production in local communities, a foundation for attracting and retaining a robust workforce. Moreover, appropriations for local infrastructure through  SB 1530, specifically targeting residential housing development in Culver, Madras, Redmond, Warm Springs, and Deschutes County, represent a targeted investment in our region’s future. While some communities like Bend did not receive funds from this bill, the overarching emphasis on housing development remains a positive stride toward enhancing the economic landscape.

EDCO’s Advocacy in Action

EDCO’s collaboration with the Oregon Economic Development Association (OEDA) to extend the Regionally Significant Industrial Sites (RSIS) program through SB 1526 has been a testament to the proactive approach in economic advocacy. The RSIS program offers a vital mechanism for local governments to prepare industrial sites for use, incentivized through future job creation. Presently, Redmond and Madras both have designated RSIS sites.  Although the recent extension did not include immediate funding, EDCO is set on securing financial support in the 2025 session, aiming to strengthen industrial development in Redmond, Madras and beyond.

Workforce and Industry

Funding was allocated for childcare support through the passage of HB 4098, an important step for Central Oregon’s workforce talent. For local manufacturing, the semiconductor industry was again part of the legislative narrative this session. HB 4154 established an industry consortium to define strategies for building educational pathways and research capacity across Oregon. With Central Oregon being home to three semiconductor manufacturing companies and part of the broader supply chain, these legislative actions offer a springboard for regional growth and innovation.

A Look Ahead: Opportunities and Gratitude

As we look to the future, we remain grateful for the dedication and hard work of the Redmond Economic Development Inc. (REDI) / EDCO Legislative Committee, chaired by Keith Witcosky, Redmond City Manager, and the collective efforts of all members involved. Their commitment to advocating for Central Oregon’s economic development is invaluable.

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Discover Bend Outdoor Worxs Ninth Cohort

Photo of Bend-based Ahoya Life, one of the four BOW cohort companies

Nurturing the Next Wave of Outdoor Innovation in Central Oregon

Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, has unveiled the four startup companies chosen to participate in its ninth cohort. Since its inception in 2014, BOW has been instrumental in identifying and nurturing the unique potential of outdoor product companies through comprehensive discovery meetings, business analysis and tailored curriculum. BOW pinpoints the needs of each company, providing guidance from both founders and an extended mentor group. The accelerator further aids these companies by linking them with crucial resources for success, including legal assistance, financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales, digital marketing, and product development.

The ninth cohort, hailing from locations around the west coast and featuring an array of innovative outdoor products, include:

  • Aeronaut Outdoor (Ventura, California) – Warm and comfortable camping quilts.
  • Ahoya Life (Bend, Oregon) – Durable, inflatable float tubes for aquatic adventures.
  • Rustek Collective (Portland, Oregon) – Creators of the most sustainable hats on earth
  • Ryoken Instinct (Seattle, Washington) – Pre-scored energy recovery bars for active dogs

Gary Bracelin, co-founder of Bend Outdoor Worx, expressed his excitement about the new cohort, “Each year, the talent and innovation we see in our accelerator program inspires us and this year’s group is diverse and exciting. We’re excited about their creative, forward-thinking ideas and look forward to collaborating and growing together.”

The founding team of BOW, composed of Gary Bracelin, Will Blount, Justin Rae, and Eric Meade, brings together a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the outdoor industry. This foundation, coupled with the support from strategic partners like White-Summers Law, Price Fronk & Co, LLP, the Relativity Agency, and Algofy Outdoors, ensures that BOW’s cohorts have access to top-tier resources and guidance.

BOW’s Manifesto:

We’re dreamers, radicals, achievers, believers and vanguards with a shared belief and a common goal.  We’re an independent organization with independent spirit – and we love the outdoors. We embrace the unpredictable nature and the grit it takes to navigate the hurdles and obstacles in our industry. In fact, we enjoy it. We’re fearless, but we value vulnerability. We encourage risk, but we support solid strategy. We’re not even remotely interested in the status quo.  We’re interested in lending our expertise, our stories and our respect for the crazy-but-we-love-it volatility of the outdoor industry to help our companies adapt, adjust and achieve. WE’RE HERE TO LEAD OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ENTREPRENEURS.

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Member Spotlight: Deschutes Brewery Announces BrewVo® Technology

Photo of new Deschutes Brewery non-alcoholic beers, the Fresh Squeezed IPA and Black Butte Porter

Photo of new Deschutes Brewery non-alcoholic beers, the Fresh Squeezed IPA and Black Butte PorterCrafting the Perfect Non-Alcoholic IPA: No Compromises on Taste

Deschutes Brewery has been crafting beloved beers since its inception in 1988. What began when Gary Fish established a small brewpub in downtown Bend, has grown into a family and employee-owned craft brewery that employs over 250 people in Central Oregon and sells more than 225,000 barrels per year across 32 states (and even a few other countries). Utilizing the volcanic filtered waters of the Deschutes River and hops from local farmers in and around Washington and Oregon, Deschutes is committed to a high standard of craftsmanship and quality, and well known for its best-selling brands such as the Black Butte Porter, the #1 porter in the US.  

Deschutes Brewery has recently unveiled its latest investment in BrewVo® Technology, positioning itself at the forefront of the rapidly expanding non-alcoholic beer sector. This groundbreaking technology reflects over five years of dedicated research and development and an investment surpassing $5 million. Deschutes is the first brewery of scale to have installed BrewVo® technology along with the necessary end-to-end technical capabilities which enables the brewery to gently remove alcohol from the beer while preserving the sensory elements that contribute to a full-fidelity craft beer experience.  

“Crafting a full fidelity non-alcoholic beer that delivers the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel of a great craft beer involves a lot more than just removing the alcohol. When we began our research and development five years ago it became clear to us that the technologies in broad use to produce non-alcoholic beer all led to certain degrees of sacrifice on sensory experience of the final product. We didn’t want to accept sacrifice in the beer drinking experience and sought a better way. Our patented and proprietary process, rooted in decades of brewing experience, ensures that our non-alcoholic products offer an excellent craft beer experience without the alcohol,” said Peter Skrbek, CEO of Deschutes Brewery. 

The advent of BrewVo® Technology comes in response to an increased demand for non-alcoholic beer options, a category that has seen 163% growth in sales from 2019 to 2023. Deschutes Brewery is putting the groundbreaking technology to work with the introduction of Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA, which features the same Citra and Mosaic hops as its alcoholic counterpart, offering refreshing notes of bright citrus and tropical fruit, with less than 0.5% ABV. The Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA comes on the heels of Deschutes’ first packaged non-alcoholic beer, the Black Butte Non-Alcoholic, which quickly became the brewery’s highest rate-of-sale six-pack. The Black Butte Non-Alcoholic was inspired by America’s favorite craft porter, Black Butte. 

Deschutes has also installed a 65,000-pound tunnel pasteurizer, which ensures the safety and quality of its non-alcoholic beers, giving the brewery a unique advantage to maintain full control of supply which enhances their ability to deliver on consumer demand; many other non-alcoholic brewers rely on third-party cross-brewing, co-packing and off-site tunnel pasteurization.  

Peter explained, “With the launch of Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA and the installation of the BrewVo® technology, as well as our tunnel pasteurizer, we aim to redefine the craft beer experience for our fans. We want our non-alcoholic beers to be excellent when compared to any beer with or without alcohol. Gone are the days of our fans and customers needing to make trade-offs in their beer drinking experience based on whether a beer has alcohol.”  

Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA, Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA, Black Butte Porter and Black Butte Non-Alcoholic are available nationwide at select retailers, bars and restaurants. For more information, use the beer finder to find the closest retailer or visit DeschutesBrewery.com to purchase the new non-alcoholic options online.  

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Nechville Banjos Announces Relocation to Sisters

Photos of Tom Nechville, owner of Nechville Musical Products

Nechville Musical Instruments: Harmonizing Craftsmanship and Community  of Sisters, Oregon

Tom Nechville recently announced that Nechville Musical Products has wrapped up manufacturing operations in Minnesota, completing the last phase of Tom’s long-planned relocation to Sisters, Oregon. The relocation of the manufacturing operation will enable Tom to consolidate all Nechville operations in his hometown of Sisters.

In 2020, Tom finalized the purchase of his new company headquarters. While managing operations in Minnesota, Tom remodeled the building. With his partner Linda Leavitt, he opened a retail sales shop, Nechville Banjos West, in Sisters. The shop offers banjo repair, lessons, events, workshops and a music community gathering place. Ever since Tom arrived in Central Oregon, customers have regularly made the trek to Sisters from Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area, and from other far-flung places to visit Tom and Nechville Banjos.

Central Oregon is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country and home to an increasing population of musical instrument builders and musicians. Tom’s connection to the area runs deep. His father moved to the area during the 90’s, where he manufactured banjo bridges for Nechville. For the past three decades, Tom has been envisioning his eventual relocation to the area.

Since his move in 2020, Tom has become an active force in the Oregon Bluegrass Association and a sponsor of the Sisters Folk Festival. Tom and Linda host a monthly jam at his Sisters shop. Touring musicians regularly stop by the Nechville Banjo Kitchen to pick with Tom and to record videos for his YouTube series, “Live From The Banjo Kitchen.”

According to Tom, “Sisters provides an ideal physical and creative climate for the manufacture of musical instruments, as well as a supportive business climate tailored to artisans. The city is home to the Sisters Folk Festival, which produces two annual music festivals and monthly music events, and our building is located a half block from Preston Thompson Guitars, which builds guitars for a long list of fine musicians, including Molly Tuttle, Peter Rowan and Billy Strings.”

Tom is grateful for all of the support he has received through the years from the wonderful Minnesota bluegrass community and from the fine luthiers he has employed over time since his humble beginnings building banjos in his garage.

For more information about Nechville Banjos visit www.nechville.com. More about the retail store, Nechville Banjos West, is available at banjoswest.com.

Navigating the Future of Work: Insights from the 2024 EDCO Annual Luncheon

April Rinne and Skip Newberry on the main stage at EDCO's Annual Luncheon

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) hosted its Annual Luncheon at The Riverhouse on the Deschutes, drawing 780 business leaders, policymakers and entrepreneurs from around Central Oregon. This year’s event introduced the audience to the transformative impact of artificial intelligence in business and the leadership skills needed to succeed in a future filled with uncertainty.

In an interview-style discussion moderated by Skip Newberry, President and CEO of Technology Association of Oregon, with Futurist and Bestselling Author April Rinne, the duo explored the importance of building comfort with ambiguity in today’s rapidly changing world. April shared insights on the dramatic shifts in the concept of work, citing that since 2008, 94% of net new job growth has not been a result of traditional W-2 employees. She said freelance and independent workers (1099’s) now represent 36% of the American workforce, a figure that is expanding more rapidly than traditional employment.

Considering the impact of AI on businesses, a topic that was highlighted in a cross-industry panel prior to April’s keynote, she echoed the panelists’ optimism related to this technology replacing mundane tasks or dangerous work. With thoughtful regulation and business leadership, speakers at the Luncheon agreed that AI could be a boom for the economy and human potential.

While these trends can be viewed positively or negatively, April focused on the fact that these new realities require a strategic response from business leaders to adapt their approaches in order to remain competitive. She also addressed educators and policymakers in attendance, calling upon them to consider systems that address the mobility needs of the workforce, such as supporting skills-based learning programs like OSU-Cascades’ Cascades Edge career development program.

The EDCO Annual Luncheon provides a platform for sharing new ideas and economic trends that can impact the region’s robust business community. In a world of constant change, April emphasizes that ambiguity and fostering adaptability are not just strategies but necessities for success.

As EDCO CEO Jon Stark summarized, “[Central Oregonians] find ourselves amid a series of economic shifts. A moment of profound Flux, as April Rinne would say. In the midst of this transformative juncture – every city, every county, elected officials, peers, even some competitors – have come together in celebration of our shared journey toward a brighter economic future for Central Oregon.”

EDCO Member Spotlight: FiOR Innovations

A screenshot of FiOR Innovations platform

A screenshot of FiOR Innovations platform

Bend Venture Conference finalist Paul Tice has been on the forefront of 2D and 3D imaging in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry for over 20 years. In the early 2000s, he began working with clients to create 3D renderings of historic sites around the globe before they were destroyed by time or war. Most computers at the time lacked the hardware to operate the file sizes needed for these images and Paul found himself sharing pdfs and screenshots of the digital renderings with clients.

Describing his project workflow before cloud streaming, Paul said, “We used to have a [light detection and ranging] lidar unit that sat on a tripod and we would walk it around the space and take a scan in hundreds of different locations then stitch all those individual point clouds together like a 3D jigsaw puzzle in the software, and that would make the full 3D representation of the building. It would take at least two days to capture all the images and a month to eight weeks to process all the data.”

Through his first company, ToPa 3D, Paul and his team have provided reality capture services to document buildings for superintendents, engineers, facility managers, and historic preservation groups. Projects consist of high-resolution photos, drone maps and construction drawings that require streaming massive amounts of data to share with clients and team members.

FiOR Innovations’ platform was born out of this need to stream data and present rich 2D and 3D images for contactors in the field. Their image capture technology allows individuals to walk through a space with a camera or fly a project site with a drone, leveraging FiOR Innovations’ cloud streaming, computer vision, machine learning, and AI algorithms to automatically correct for error and create highly accurate interactive virtual tours or maps of a project in real time.

“Error perpetuates itself. If a floor layout in a building is slightly inaccurate and then the walls go in, by the time it gets to certain types of contractors, things may not fit and contractors will have to take liberties to meet the building needs. Documenting the building for future management and construction professionals helps minimize future costs and protect contractors from accidentally cutting into wiring or other hazards,” Paul explained.

Compared to its competitors, FiOR Innovations offers customers shorter processing times and the ability to upload larger data files, such as those required for a full building 3D rendering. All this at a price point that is accessible for smaller contractors that can’t afford the large software platforms.

Paul Tice, CEO of FiOR Innovations pitching at Bend Venture Conference in October 2023

Paul Tice, CEO of FiOR Innovations pitching at Bend Venture Conference in October 2023

The AEC industry is rapidly evolving, with an increasing demand for more efficient, accurate and accessible data management systems. Adoption of construction management software programs has advanced collaboration across the industry and project managers can rely on photo documentation to stay informed of progress and have up-to-date information about a construction site. FiOR Innovations has built APIs with established platforms such as Procore Technologies and Autodesk to allow clients to integrate image files within their project management software system. These files can also be downloaded and available in a simple-to-use and free offline viewer for areas without internet connectivity, a common issue in the industry.

FiOR’s novel cloud streaming technology is poised to revolutionize the way contractors and professionals in the AEC industry access and utilize 2D and 3D as-built data, opening up potential for new employment opportunities and investment in the local economy. The company is a testament to the potential for high-tech industries to thrive in Central Oregon, bringing with them a wave of job creation that spans from specialized technical roles to administrative and support positions.

By fostering growth and innovation, entrepreneurs like Paul Tice are not just revolutionizing their respective industries, they are also playing a pivotal role in enhancing the economic landscape of the region, making Central Oregon an increasingly attractive hub for technological and industrial talent.

“FiOR Innovations recently joined EDCO as a Titanium Member and is a testament to the pioneering spirit that serves as a catalyst for economic growth in Central Oregon. Their involvement in the Bend Venture Conference underscores the immense potential of our region to nurture and elevate local entrepreneurs. FiOR’s commitment is a significant step in our collective journey towards a vibrant, innovative future for our community,” said EDCO CEO Jon Stark.

Learn more about EDCO Membership.