On Sept. 14, Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) presented its Annual Awards to a crowd of over 200 business and civic leaders at the Salem Convention Center.
Before the awards were announced, SEDCOR President Erik Andersson gave a brief presentation detailing the numerous projects that have been announced, launched, and completed in the previous year, all within the three counties SEDCOR serves—Marion, Polk, and Yamhill.
“This past year, local, national, and international firms made significant investments in our region,” said Andersson.
These projects include an expansion of Yamasa’s production capacity at its Salem soy sauce facility, the construction of a new production facility by Shinsegae Foods, the acquisition and remodel of the former AGT Building in Dallas by Ascentec Engineering, and the announcement of a $168M Dollar General distribution center at Salem’s Mill Creek Corporate Center which will create up to 500 new jobs.
“These are all significant projects that will strengthen our local economy,” said Andersson. “But they do not overshadow the daily on-the-ground work being done by our team to foster innovation in our agricultural supply chain and tackle workforce obstacles like childcare and affordable housing.” He went on to note the excitement in the region for the recently launched Latino Microenterprise Development Program.
After Andersson’s presentation, a host of SEDCOR board members announced the year’s winners, representing a variety of industries from across the region.
Agri-Business of Year:
GS3 Quality Seed is a multi-generational, family-owned business outside of Monmouth that has led the adoption of state-of-the-art, sustainable practices, is known as well-respected representative of Willamette Valley farming, and is a key contributor to the success of SEDCOR’s Ag Innovation Hub.
Business Partner of the Year:
Stayton’s Siegmund Excavation and Construction/Allied Rock made significant contributions in the recovery of communities in the Santiam Canyon by transporting material, providing site work, and other valuable resources.
Community Service Award:
The SEDCOR Awards Committee voted to recognize two area businesses for their commitment to community service. Aumsville’s Blazer Industries has given their time, labor, and material to build and deliver countless sheds to survivors of the 2020 Santiam Canyon wildfire and has never asked for anything in return. K & E Excavating of Salem also gave generously in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 wildfire by carving fire lines and delivering water. As the recovery still carries on, they have continued to give and shown themselves to be a business based in selflessness.
Entrepreneur of the Year:
Chomp! Chocolate of Salem has quickly grown from a kitchen experiment to one of the most respected (and requested) vegan chocolate brands in the nation.
Innovative Product of the Year:
“Solid Carbon” was developed by John Mead and his team in order to transform traditional concrete (a substantial carbon emitter) into a carbon-negative building material. Solid Carbon, Inc laid their first slab in McMinnville this year.
Outstanding Public/Private Partnership:
Project Oasis is a nonprofit childcare facility in Newberg whose goal is to provide truly affordable childcare to working parents. Their public-private model was designed to be emulated by other employers and communities suffering from their own daycare desert.
Community Leadership Award:
When the dental equipment manufacturer DCI suffered a devastating fire at their parts facility and head offices, they needed to quickly find suitable industrial space where almost none existed. The City of Newberg quickly navigated legal channels to rezone an empty pharmacy building, allowing DCI to return to production and keep on its entire workforce.
100 Years of Innovation:
In 2022, Freres Engineered Wood marked 100 years in business at their Lyons headquarters. They continue to innovate and create new products and processes, including their Mass Plywood Product which will be featured at the remodeled PDX.
To close the event, the Marion County Board of Commissioners gave special recognition to SEDCOR Marion County Business and Retention Manager Nick Harville for his tireless work and dedication to the communities impacted by the Santiam Canyon wildfires.
“Nick quickly jumped into action once the fires started,” said Commissioner Colm Willis. “He gathered all the people he knew who had something to offer and he delivered real relief to so many people.”
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