Kevin Minkoff, CPA – Not Your Ordinary Bean Counter – performed flawlessly as MC for the East Portland Chamber of Commerce’s Government & Economic Affairs Committee hosted Large Business Panel Discussion on June 18, 2014.
Kevin called the group to order at 7:50am and asked the panel participants to introduce themselves. Included were Ryan Pieratt of Home Depot, Stephen Backstrom of US Bank and David Russell of Adventist Medical Center. They each took about 3 minutes to talk about their respective companies.
Panel members then responded individually to the following questions posed by Kevin.
- What keeps you in East Portland, and what is your biggest obstacle of doing business in East Portland?
- How hard is it to find employees that have the right skill set; and once hired, who do you depend on to support your employees with education and HR?
- What words of wisdom or lessons learned can you share with us about any new strategies you have implemented to get more business for your company?
- How can we as a chamber be more beneficial to you in your continued success?
The panelists were in general agreement that East Portland is economically active and growing. They all discussed the importance of finding skilled and educated candidates for employment, and that there was no shortage of talent in the region. Being large businesses they all had well-staffed internal departments to cover employee education and human resources.
They all agreed that personal contact was extremely important to business development, which is why all three businesses have joined the East Portland Chamber of Commerce.
Ryan Pieratt mentioned Home Depot’s transition from mailing thousands of coupons to potential customers each year to more internet advertising by way of website, e-mail and Social Media. Ryan, Steve and David said that the East Portland Chamber of Commerce has done an excellent job at advocating for all businesses, small and large, in East Portland.
They expressed their frustration with the current Portland city administration and their lack of attention and financial support of East Portland, in contrast to their continued focus on the West side, as each of the new city legislators had promised during their respective campaigns. All of the panelists would like to see continued and expanded advocacy for business in East Portland.