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What RAIN Can Bring To The Southern Willamette Valley

Meeting Date: May 30th, 2014
Air Date: June 2, 2014

Last summer, the Oregon legislature approved $3.5 million seed funding for the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN). RAIN’s goal is economic development for our area, which is slowly making the transition from a dependence on natural resources to a knowledge-based economy.

RAIN will help researchers at the UO and OSU to spin off private companies in a number of ways, such as providing successful entrepreneurs as mentors to the fledgling enterprises and creating workspaces for tech start-ups. As the concept developed last spring, Governor Kitzhaber named the conveners for the project: Mayors Piercy and Manning of Eugene and Corvallis.

Both mayors and the OSU and UO speakers on the program consider economic development a top priority for the southern Willamette Valley. RAIN’s project will help emerging technology companies obtain resources and recruit talent.

The speakers will describe the vision and plan to address our region’s specific economic development needs, discuss what RAIN has accomplished to date, and the benefits we can expect in the years ahead.

Mayor Manning was elected to a four-year term in November 2010. She also serves as Vice President for Marketing, Public Relations and Development for Samaritan Health Services, a regional health system based in Corvallis.

Mayor Piercy was first elected to her current post in 2004. She had served three terms in the state house, was assistant Democrat leader in her second term, and leader in her final term. Earlier, she had been a teacher and early childhood educator. Among her other efforts, she launched Eugene’s Sustainable Business Initiative.

Spinrad became OSU Vice President for Research in 2010. He previously served as Assistant Administrator for Research with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Jones became UO Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation in 2012. He joined the UO after serving as the Director of Technology Transfer for the University of Arizona from 2002 to January 2012.

Coonan has been Executive Director of RAIN since the January of this year. Previously, he spent three years as the Venture Capital Manager for Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO).

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