Tag Archives: grow

Pinnacle Architecture: Celebrating 30 Years in Central Oregon

Pinnacle Architecture

Bend, Ore., December 16, 2020 – Celebrating 30 years in Central Oregon, Pinnacle Architecture’s mission is to design places that enhance lives and community. The firm provides planning, architecture and interior design services for education, multi-family housing, healthcare, senior living, and social service projects. It prides itself on its solid reputation for integrity, collaboration and socially responsible design.

We chatted with native Central Oregonian Peter Baer, Pinnacle Architecture President, to talk about how he got his start, the growth of the firm and the importance of community and community partners.

EDCO: Tell us more about Pinnacle Architecture and how you got your start. 

Peter: Pinnacle is celebrating our 30th year in business…during a pandemic! So, how did Pinnacle get started? I’m one of those rare Central Oregon locals born and raised in Bend, my family’s roots dating back to 1917. After getting my architecture degree at the University of Oregon in Eugene, I returned to Bend and began working in Real Estate Development. Unfortunately, in 1990 the US entered a recession, and Bend was hit hard. I was laid off, with a new mortgage and a baby on the way. After the layoff, I began working part-time at Central Oregon Community College as an instructor in design, drafting and construction. The work was good, but I wanted to make more of an impact and get back to design. After many conversations with my wife and mentors, I decided to take the risk and start my business, Pinnacle Architecture.

Just three months or so after taking the plunge, I hired my first employee and purchased a small office on 3rd Street. Through word of mouth and attending local events, we were designing everything from single-family homes to churches, bowling alleys, offices, and public buildings. I really found a sweet spot in Eastern Oregon. It started with responding to a request for a proposal for an affordable housing complex in Baker City, and we won. That led to city hall remodels, community centers, senior facilities, and community health buildings. My team and I really enjoyed the work’s social impact, and we began doing these types of public service projects all over Oregon. The mission of Enhancing Lives and Communities evolved and is a guiding belief today.

When I founded Pinnacle, it was always my desire for the company to continue long after I retire. In 2018, Briana Manfrass joined as an owner in the firm. She’s been part of the team since 2006 and a strong leader committed to fulfilling Pinnacle’s mission. We’ve got a great mix of talented employees in Bend, Portland and Vancouver, WA.

EDCO: Who is your ideal client? 

Peter: Pinnacle specializes in affordable housing, community healthcare, behavioral health, senior living, and public service (i.e., government buildings, community centers, etc.) projects. We do our best work when our client’s mission aligns with ours – enhancing lives and communities. For example, we’ve partnered with Housing Works for nearly 20 years and provided more than 500 affordable housing units to the tri-county area. Earlier this year, our team worked with Deschutes County to create the area’s first Stabilization Center to help those experiencing a mental crisis get help instead of being sent to jail or the emergency department.

EDCO: What are the benefits of having a business in Central Oregon?

Peter: Bend is my home. I grew up here and have extended family throughout Central Oregon. When starting the business 30 years ago, various resources helped me start and grow the firm, including COCC, Bend Chamber, Central Oregon Builders Association, and EDCO. Our location has allowed us to work across Oregon and, with easy flights out of Redmond, expanded into Arizona, California, the Carolinas, Massachusetts, and Montana.

EDCO: Do you have a recent development you’d like to share?

Peter: I’m pretty excited about a new project that recently broke ground in Redmond called Midtown Place on the corner of 5th Street & Greenwood. It’s a 47-unit workforce housing project developed by Housing Works as part of the City’s Mid-Town Plan. It took a lot of collaboration and community engagement to make it happen, and it’s going to transform that area and meet a housing need!

EDCO: How have you been affected by the pandemic and what have you learned?

Peter: We keep a balance of private and publicly funded work to respond to the economy’s ebbs and flows. When the economy is good we typically see more private work and during recessions we historically do more public work. The unforeseen impacts of COVID affected both client types equally, causing a significant shock to our business. $1m worth of projects went on hold in a few short weeks when COVID came to Oregon. Our healthcare, non-profit and senior living clients were focused on COVID response. We’re just starting to see an uptick in clients moving forward, including some essential healthcare projects using CARES funding.

This pandemic has reminded me of the importance of being flexible and always having a Plan B and Plan C. My team has done a fantastic job supporting me and the business – from adjusting to remote working and changing workload demands to thinking critically about how our designs must adapt. Luckily, we had remote workers before the pandemic, so our team was already comfortable using video conferencing. Now, most of our clients and project partners are too, although we miss the connections you can only make in person!

EDCO: Have you worked on any COVID 19 related initiatives to support neighbors and the community?

Peter: Helping communities is our mission. In March, our team organized a letter-writing campaign for Cascades of Bend Senior Living. On top of COVID, Cascades of Bend was undergoing a renovation we designed. Our team and their family and neighbors wrote over 100 letters to the staff and residents to bring a little joy during an uncertain time. Team members have volunteered at NeighborImpact packing food boxes, donated to Red Cross in a staff fundraising campaign, and are currently doing a food drive and warm weather clothing collection for the Shepherd’s House warming shelter. Both NeighborImpact and Shepherd’s House are clients.

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Peter: Pinnacle is an EDCO member because we feel their work is vital to shaping how our community grows. During the last recession, Central Oregon was hit hard. Because of EDCO’s focus on helping diversify our area’s industry, drawing a mix of business and workforce to Central Oregon, I feel our community will recover better.

Kernutt Stokes: Oregon CPA Firm Grows in Central Oregon While Celebrating 75 Years

Kernutt Stokes

Bend, Ore. – December 15, 2020: Celebrating 75 years, Kernutt Stokes is the sixth-largest CPA firm in Oregon with offices in Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, and Lake Oswego. Priding itself on the longevity of its team, the firm is comprised of 12 partners, 65+ CPAs, and 90+ staff.

Kernutt became a part of the Central Oregon community two years ago when it acquired Spectrum. Today, the Bend office has a team of six serving a variety of accounting and consulting services. We spoke with Amy Delaney, Kernutt Stoke’s Marketing & Business Development Manager, to learn more about the firm, the Bend office, the impact of the pandemic on them and their clients, how they’ve pivoted and more.

EDCO: Tell us more about Kernutt Stokes and the services you provide.

Amy: We provide strategic and personalized accounting, tax and consulting services to businesses in Oregon and strive to help our clients become more profitable, competitive, and successful. We do this by focusing on our core values: people come first, integrity is key, and excellence is expected.

EDCO: Who’s your ideal client?

We work with a range of businesses including local, multi-generational and family-owned, women-owned, private, individuals, and more with a variety of consulting and tax needs. We can also provide business services such as monthly accounting and fractional CFO services, retirement plan administration, and accounting software support. Additionally, we have a deep working knowledge of a number of industries, including construction, medical/dental, beverage, transportation, forest products, and real estate.

EDCO: Why did you choose to have a presence in Central Oregon?

Amy: Central Oregon is growing and the need for experienced assurance, tax and consulting expertise is growing along with the population and we can fill that need with a local, experienced team. As an employer, there are many benefits to having an office in Central Oregon – we can give our staff a variety of locations from which they can work (though most of us are working from home right now), it helps expand our hiring pool and provides additional visibility in this part of the state.

EDCO: How have you and your clients responded to the pandemic?

Amy: We have been affected by COVID 19 in a variety of ways.  We have learned how to adapt and be more flexible than ever! Our offices are closed to the public. We are fortunate in that we already had the technology in place for our staff to work remotely, either from home or from another KS office, so it makes working away from the office seamless. We emphasize the use of secure electronic data delivery both for receiving client data as well as sending client information and are less reliant on paper documents and snail-mail.

As a way to help support our employees, we implemented a technology reimbursement program to help them offset the cost to furnish a home office area while still maintaining their work set-up in our offices. Ultimately, our goal is for staff to return to the office when it is safe to do so in order to cultivate our culture and to strengthen relationships. While we have not experienced a decrease in productivity during this time, we know the importance of in-person relationships with both our staff and clients.

Our clients have been affected as well. Many have experienced a decrease in business while others are doing well. Our quality of service has stayed the same while our technical knowledge has expanded to include small business loan expertise and PPP loan expertise, which has been extremely important for businesses, whether they are already a client or not.

EDCO:  Have you worked on any COVID 19 related initiatives to support neighbors and the community?

Amy: Currently, we have been supporting our staff in a broader sense, including more flexible schedules to allow for homeschooling. As we continue to celebrate our 75th anniversary, we do have some exciting news that we’ll be announcing soon that relates to neighbor and community support. Stay tuned!

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Amy: We support EDCO by being a member and attending events and hope to expand our partnership as we continue to grow in Central Oregon. We feel EDCO is an important local organization that enables professionals to cultivate relationships and learn about local businesses.


Grow: Laird Superfood Expands in Sisters

Laird Superfood staff outside Sisters facility

August 13, 2019 – In November 2015 Laird Superfood started its operations with just three employees in Sisters, Oregon. Their flagship product, Laird Superfood creamer was making waves across the natural products market thanks in part to the company’s namesake and co-founder, Laird Hamilton. The company creates clean, all-natural superfood products that are sustainably grown and responsibly sourced, including coffee creamers and hydration products.

Today, the company has over 80 employees and a brand new 20,000+ sq. ft. state-of-the-art campus. A recent investment from global co-working giant WeWork (now The We Company) gave the company the capital needed to continue its expansion with innovative growth plans.

What started as an idea would not have been possible in Sisters without help from EDCO. Laird Superfood CEO Paul Hodge had recently moved to the Sisters community and wasn’t convinced manufacturing a globally distributed product would be possible in a city with just 2,700 residents. EDCO quickly aligned city and county leadership, state government and local support to give Laird Superfood the resources needed to launch. From incentives to land selection, workforce and development assistance, EDCO worked closely with the company, providing the necessary help for them to achieve a successful start with roots firmly planted in Sisters.

For more information about Laird Superfood, visit: https://lairdsuperfood.com/

Laird Superfood To Open New Facility in Sisters

Laird Superfood New Sisters Facility
Paul Hodge, Co-Owner of Laird Superfood, accepting a forgivable loan check with (L-R) Sisters City Council President Nancy Connolly, EDCO Sisters Director Caprielle Lewis, and Sisters City Councilor Andrea Blum (photo by Nicole Abbenhuis)


SISTERS, OR (June 27, 2017) – Earlier this month, Paul Hodge, Co-Owner of Laird Superfood, accepted a forgivable loan check from the City of Sisters to help build a new production facility in town. Working with the City of Sisters, EDCO’s Caprielle Lewis helped Laird Superfood secure the forgivable loan, which was essential in locating the company in Sisters.

“Caprielle Lewis at EDCO was instrumental in keeping our business in Sisters,” noted Hodge. “Capi did this by finding and connecting us with key employees, finding available land to build our new facility, helping us secure a forgivable loan with the city to fund expansion, and lead us through tax incentives, among many other things.”

Hodge continued, “EDCO went above and beyond the call of duty in support of our business, which was the determining factor in building our business in Central Oregon.”

With groundbreaking slated for later this summer, Laird Superfood is expecting to produce their nutrient-dense superfoods in the new facility by the end of 2017.

Laird Superfood currently has 15 employees including the recent addition of four new key hires: Chief Marketing Officer, Customer Service Manager, FDA Quality Control and Compliance Manager, and Purchasing Manager, two of which were direct referrals from Lewis who helped bridge the employer/employee gap. A full workforce of approximately 45 employees is expected by next summer.

Laird Superfood was founded by serial entrepreneur Paul Hodge and Laird Hamilton, the world-renowned big-wave surfer. The company creates clean, nutrient-dense products free of preservatives and chemicals, which currently includes coffee, coffee creamer, and other performance/superfood supplements.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations.