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KLCC's Oregon Rainmakers: Eugene and Springfield Chambers of Commerce Leadership

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Brittany Quick Warner and Vonnie Mikkelsen

Oregon Rainmakers

A conversation with Leadership from the Eugene and Springfield Chambers of Commerce and Michael Dunne

Businesses push on, despite the odds against them.
Brittany Quick-Warner

Inflation, a massive labor shortage, continuing challenges with homelessness, a housing shortage and more, the economic and business challenges of 2022 were seemingly endless.

Yet, good news and opportunity were also prevalent like the World coming to the region during the World Track Championships as well as continued development and improvements without our communities’ downtown corridors.

Indeed, the past 12 months have been a mixed bag, and for Brittany Quick-Warner, President and CEO of the Eugene Chamber and Vonnie Mikkelsen, President and CEO of the Springfield Chamber, it’s all about perseverance and perspective.

“Businesses push on, despite the odds against them,” said Quick-Warner. “That’s the headline for 2022.”

Both leaders who’ve served the business community for years, agree that 2022 has been a roller coaster of economic development for the region. Like the Pacific Northwest weather, Quick-Warner and Mikkelsen said that as soon as a condition or trend settled in, change would happen instantaneously during the past year that would force businesses to respond.

This whiplash of conditions, the two leaders pointed out, was often exacerbated by a state regulatory environment that may not always offer business a seat at the table.

For Mikkelsen, the challenge for small businesses – which makes up 97 percent of all businesses in the state – is to get policymakers to collaborate more with them so that the entire state can thrive. “I would be thrilled if the new governor and other leaders would recognize that small businesses should be their partner and that laws and regulations should not be enacted without solid participation and input from them.”

Michael Dunne is the host of KLCC's Oregon Rainmakers podcast. Do you have a suggestion for an Oregon Rainmaker's guest or topic? Email Michael at mdunne@klcc.org.