BEND, Ore. – January 3, 2016 – Ever wonder how the water flow of the Columbia River is managed? Big agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) do it, but they don’t do it alone. They are assisted by people like Terry Buchholz, owner of Integrated Water Solutions (IWS) in Sisters, who along with a council of many other interest groups collaborate to develop the long-term strategic plans for the river’s water. EDCO recently sat down with Terry and realized how lucky we are to have this expertize right in our backyard.
EDCO: What inspired you to start Integrated Water Solutions?
TB: For over 30 years I worked as a Water Resources Engineer and Planner for big firms like HDR Engineering and David Evans and Associates. I rose to Vice President at both companies and managed complex environmental and water resource projects across the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to use my experience to build a company that was focused on delivering a tailor made solution for each individual project, so I started Integrated Water Solutions in Beaverton, Oregon in 2009. We’ve built a small team that collaborates with other companies to find the best resources for a particular job.
EDCO: Tell us more about Integrated Water Solutions.
TB: IWS’s mission is to assist clients in developing their long-term strategic direction for addressing water needs, while improving the natural function of the watershed. We assist in four key areas – comprehensive water management planning, facilitation and process management, program and project management, and compliance strategy. What makes us different is our collaborative, strategic, adaptive approach and client-focused process.
EDCO: Can you tell us more about the projects you are currently working on?
TB: Many of our projects are confidential, but a big one that we’ve been working on for eight years is the Columbia River Treaty. This project is a massive collaboration between the United States and Canada, focused on the management of the Columbia River. Although most of the river runs through the USA, two-thirds of the water volume comes from Canada. The Treaty was originally signed in 1964 after the city of Vanport, OR, flooded. Now, the federal agencies that oversees the Treaty are focused on water flow and the hydropower created by the Columbia River. With 15 tribes, 10 federal agencies and 4 states directly affected by the treaty and the river, it’s a very complex situation. Over the years, we’ve assisted in many ways including policy development, technical recommendations, program planning, and management support. In Central Oregon we have projects with the Tumalo Irrigation District, Central Oregon Irrigation District, The City of Prineville, and Crook County.
EDCO: Why did you choose Sisters?
TB: My husband was ready to retire and Central Oregon seemed to be a great place to live. So, just over two years ago we expanded our company to Sisters. At first I was traveling back and forth (between Beaverton and Sisters), but it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to be in Sisters full time. Sisters has a small town feel where everybody looks out for each other. My daughter Lauren oversees our Beaverton operations, while I focus on the projects in Central Oregon and beyond.
EDCO: How has EDCO helped you grow your business?
TB: With many years of experience in this industry, I felt confident that I could build my own company and we had been running it successfully for a few years before moving to Sisters. EDCO, and specifically Caprielle Lewis (EDCO’s Sisters Area Manager), were instrumental in getting us connected to the local business ecosystem and helping us find office space in the Sisters Tech Center.
EDCO: What are your plans for future growth?
TB: Because our business model is focused on strategic collaboration with other companies, we plan to grow slowly. We just hired a new intern (Jordan Clymens, a Sisters High School graduate) who we hope will grow into a full-time staff member. Eventually, we’d like to get up to five employees, but we’ll take the time to grow organically. We hope that our collaborative approach will help create job opportunities with many of our strategic partners as well.
For more information on how EDCO can help you move your business to Central Oregon, please call (541) 388-3236.