Klamath Co. Chamber of Commerce
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News Releases
Oregon Tech Student Entrepreneurs Wow Industry Judges with Highly Technical Business Products, Win $20k in Seed Money and Services - 05/19/17

May 19, 2017, KLAMATH FALLS, OR -- Innovative, highly technical and eager student entrepreneurs at the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) came together on Thursday to compete for seed money to turn their product ideas and prototypes into real businesses. The winning project, called Helios Hive, is an invention by Renewable Energy Engineering student Mathias Dean. The project is a solar bee hive system which allows for the temperature regulation within a hive or set of hives, in order to assist with the elimination of a parasite currently leading to mass losses in bee populations.
This is the third annual Catalyze Challenge, which began with the concept of keeping Oregon Tech graduates in Klamath Falls to start entrepreneurial efforts after graduation, and help spur economic growth and stability in the region. Up from $9,000 in 2015, this year the competition had a total prize pool of $20,000, including donated space at the Gaucho Collective. With the theme of 'Innovation Close to Home,' six strong teams competed in the final round of judging on Thursday, May 18. Five volunteer judges, all from Oregon Tech's business, community and university connections, watched the presentations, asked many probing questions, and decided on the top winner. The distinguished judges determined which two runners up would receive $5,000 and $2,000, respectively for second and third places, and which winning plan and presentation would receive $7,000 to invest in start-up costs and ignite project development. Additionally, Business Oregon awarded two teams $2,500 and presented the opportunity for the teams to continue on to the InventOR finals.
Projects presented at the Challenge included:
* Grey Tech 3D Scanner: Eric Pahl- Inventor, Nick Mitchell-Hooge and Josh Whitley
* Helios Hive: Mathias Dean- Inventor
* Oregon Tech Micro-Malter: Jennifer Berdyugin, Kelsey Sampson, Reece Ishihara, Miles Taylor, Jacob Thompson, Jimmy Finch, Keith Omogrosso and Eric Pahl
* Minimize Development, LLC: Joslyn Lindsey, Zanna Vetter, Josh Allan and Kevin Smith
* MOG Metalworks and Design: K.C. Crawford
* Wind Turbine: Colin Yoshinaga, Grant Gholston and Brandon Walker
The three winning projects were:
1. Helios Hive, 1st Place: $7,000 prize for a Solar Bee Hive which allows for the temperature regulation within a hive or set of hives, in order to assist with the elimination of the varroa mite. This device uses the concept that the varroa mite cannot survive in temperatures between 104 Fahrenheit to 116.6 Fahrenheit while the hive and bees remained unharmed. Using direct solar radiation to heat the hive, the Solar Bee Hive uses a solar panel to convert solar energy into electricity in order to power heating elements placed directly into the hive. Inventor Mathias Dean is a Renewable Energy Engineering student graduating this year.
2. MOG Metalworks and Design, 2nd Place: $5,000 prize to expand the current capabilities of an existing business that designs and fabricates top-of-the-line products, from roll cages to signs. Specializing in CNC plasma cutting, welding, and fabrication, the money will allow MOG Metalworks to increase efficiency and larger production volumes due to the larger operating window and no need to resize raw materials. K.C. Crawford is a Mechanical Engineering student.
3. Micro-Malter, 3rd Place: $2,000 prize for an automated, transportable machine that malts barley or other grain products, which can then be used to make other products, such as beer. The machine is small enough to transport place to place and has the ability to run off of renewable energy, whether it is solar thermal energy or geothermal energy. Team members include Jennifer Berdyugin (Renewable Energy), Kelsey Sampson (Renewable Energy), Reece Ishihara (Mechanical Engineering), Miles Taylor (Mechanical Engineering), Jacob Thompson (Mechanical Engineering), Jimmy Finch (Renewable Energy), Keith Omogrosso (Electrical Engineering), and Eric Pahl (Mechanical Engineering).
Throughout the event, finalists presented and defended their business plans to the panel of judges which included: John Lamy, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Katie Klos, Oregon BEST, Janet Soto Rodriguez, Business Oregon, Rob Jellesed, Klamath Basin Brewing, and Andrew Stork, Klamath Economic Development Association.
Also in attendance were Juan Barraza and Rachel Brunette from Business Oregon, who presented Helios Hive and Micro-Malter with Invent Oregon Best Inventor awards of $2,500 each to build prototypes and present them at the InventOR competition in Portland in October. Oregon BEST presented an additional prize of $500 to Helios Hive for a Clean Tech project and MOG Metalworks was winner of the Student Choice Award.
Kelley Minty Morris, Klamath County Commissioner and Oregon Tech Board of Trustees member, was the Master of Ceremonies and effectively led the teams and judges through the fast-paced, timed presentations.
The 2016-17 Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge was sponsored by the Deans of Oregon Tech's College of Engineering, Technology, and Management, the College of Health, Arts, and Sciences, and the Office of Strategic Partnerships. The event is made possible through generous sponsorship and donations from AVISTA, Business Oregon, Gaucho Collective, City of Klamath Falls, Oregon BEST, Klamath County, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), and the Wendt Family Foundation.
Members of the Oregon Tech Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee include: Hallie Neupert, Chair, Lita Colligan, Dan Peterson, SophiaLyn Nathenson, Tara Guthrie, Mason Terry, Don Lee, Franny Howes, Aja BettencourtMcCarthy, Jesse Chaney, Mark Ahalt, and Barbara Neal.
For more information regarding the Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge, visit www.oit.edu/catalyze.

Klamath County Chamber Brings Back the Putting Challenge - 05/17/17

May 16, 2017-The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce will host its Hula-Palooza 2017 Putting Challenge on July 27, 2017. This event is sponsored by Fisher Nicholson-Debra Gisriel and will be held at the Running Y Ranch & Resort's Executive Golf Course. Registration begins at 3:00 pm and the tournament begins at 4:00 pm with a shotgun start.

Lose yourself on the green while golfing and networking with fellow businesspeople. Register individually or put together a team, and enjoy the fun of mini-golf, with reception including appetizers and drinks, sponsored by Henris Roofing and Supply, Rachael Spoon-State Farm Insurance, and Final Touch Interiors. Mug for the camera and receive a photograph of your team, thanks to our Social Media and Scorecard sponsors, US Cellular.

Prizes will be awarded after the reception, including highest and lowest grossing team as well as the most Hawaiian themed team.

Join the fun at the Hula-Palooza 2017 Putting Challenge! Sponsorships are available through the Chamber office. Those interested in sponsoring the event can contact the Chamber at (541) 884-5193 for information, or go to www.klamath.org.

Benefit for the Basin Awarding Scholarships to Local Students - 05/09/17

May 9, 2017-Benefit for the Basin will be awarding 26 scholarships to local students on May 24th. These students are from around the Klamath Basin, and receive these awards based on their essays regarding contributions to their communities. The scholarships will be awarded on May 24th from 6pm to 7pm at 205 Riverside Drive; all are invited to attend.

Oregon Tech Foundation launches presence in Downtown Klamath - 05/03/17

May 2, 2017, Klamath Falls, OR- The Oregon Tech Foundation has a new home this month in Downtown Klamath Falls.

In an exciting move that better connects the university with the community, the Oregon Tech Development office--which encompasses the Foundation and Alumni Relations--has moved from campus to the second floor of the renovated Hoss Business Center on Commercial Street in Downtown Klamath Falls.

The opportunity to move is in line with new president Dr. Nagi Naganathan's goals for Oregon Tech to have a more visible presence within the Klamath Falls community. This is a sentiment which has been shared by many in the city over the years--to more closely bond the university's work and mission into the downtown core. The new, more centrally located space provides ample parking and easy access for Foundation visitors, who sometimes faced limited parking on campus during busy times. Additionally, visitors to the Foundation will have the opportunity to conveniently support other stores, restaurants and services located along or near Main Street.

"A unique opportunity emerged for the Foundation to help our new President accomplish one of his goals and better serve donors and community members," said Tracy Ricketts, associate vice president of Development & Alumni Relations for the Oregon Tech Foundation. "The new office is a great location for our operations as we continue to expand and upgrade our outreach activities on behalf of the university, and create stronger relationships with our Klamath Falls partners and friends."

This new space will provide increased community visibility for the Foundation and Oregon Tech, and allow for more staff engagement in community meetings and activities. The move also created much needed space on-campus for growing operations such as enrollment management.

The University Development office currently employs eight people, six in Klamath Falls and two at Oregon Tech's Portland-Metro campus in Wilsonville. The department also has student workers, who will be working both on-campus and downtown. Contact information for the Foundation, including mailing address and phone numbers, remain the same.

The Oregon Tech Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which includes community and business leaders who have experience in finance, education, real estate, agriculture, medical sciences, and other fields. Many of these volunteers are also Oregon Tech alumni. At this time, the Foundation currently provides more than $550,000 in scholarships for Oregon Tech students each year.

To experience their new location, the Foundation would like to invite the public to an open house on Wednesday, May 31st from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The physical address is 735 Commercial Street, 2nd floor of the Hoss Business Center, located above Winema Electric. Questions may be directed to the Foundation at 541.885.1130.
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The Oregon Tech Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and funds the educational, cultural, charitable, and service functions of the Oregon Institute of Technology.

About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier public polytechnic university the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering, technology health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on, applied learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls, an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville, an Online campus, as well as other degree delivery sites. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.