InnoTech Oregon showcases several Southwest Washington businesses

RapidProtoCasting is one of four recipients of this year’s InnoTech Innovation Awards, which recognizes companies for their innovative development of a product or service.

The company started up last year and is focused on providing fast turnaround manufacturing of small quantities of complex metal parts.

The recognition by InnoTech Oregon is encouraging.

"It means a number of people read through our business model and feel it is valid in today’s market," said owner Ken Silva.

As a 30-year veteran of the manufacturing and metals industries, Silva commonly had a need for the service his company provides when he wanted just one part or was developing a new product.

"Everyone else is focused on long term, large orders," he said.

Silva is finding there is a demand for RapidProtoCasting, and hopes the business grows.

Silva will get to network his company’s idea to innovation and technology leaders in Southwest Washington and Oregon as they converge in Portland this month at the third annual InnoTech Oregon expo.

"It’s one time a year that key players in the technology industry can get together and network, talk about what they are doing and build strategic partnerships," said Sean Lowery, executive director of InnoTech.

Lowery also operates an annual InnoTech conference in Austin, Tex., which began one year prior to the first Oregon event.

"It started … as an avenue to showcase technology and innovation growth," he said.

The event is primarily focused on Oregon, but the event has become more regional with Southwest Washington companies exhibiting and attending.

More than 50 exhibitors from Washington and Oregon will be featured at the event. The two-day event also features more than 50 break-out seminar sessions with 60 local executives. Topics range from e-marketing to IT leadership.

Executives from Vancouver’s Business Planning Methodologies Group LLC will speak on IT strategic planning at the conference.

BPMG was formed by Leslie Rohrs, Lance Harris and Sal Tramaglini about two years ago. The firm is focused on strategic business planning.

A company’s IT department tends to be perceived as a cost center, said Harris, simply a provider of internal services. But it is critical to the function of a business.

"IT touches or is involved with every activity in an organization," said Harris. "Computers run so many parts of businesses."

In its session, Harris said BPMG will try to give IT leaders the tools and ideas to create a business plan for IT apart from the overall business.

This is the second year BPMG has participated in the event. The conference is in line with the product they provide and gives them chance to meet other leaders, said Harris. It can be particularly useful to small- and mid-sized business that don’t always get face time with other players in the industry, he said.

"Innotech brings together a lot of different companies based or involved in the region in one place," said Harris. "And it gives them the opportunity to see products and services that may be valuable to them."

InnoTech’s Keynote speakers include Howard Charney, senior vice president of Cisco Systems Inc., and Jeff Yapp, executive vice president of MTV Networks.

Charney will discuss how innovation drives technology revolution and, ultimately, productivity.

"Since the industrial revolution there have been five long, large and pivotal economic cycles that have driven the economy in the western world," said Charney. "We are in the fifth cycle and … we should be in a period of expansion that should last two to three decades."

Additionally, Charney will highlight key technologies, such as RFID and increasing bandwidth, and how they will change business.

Charney said the Vancouver/Portland metro region has developed into an area with a cluster of high-tech business due to a phenomenon that occurs where there is a collaboration of universities, venture capital and major anchor corporations.

Silva said events like InnoTech are critical to building the core competencies Charney is talking about by bringing together education, government and business leaders.

InnoTech Oregon runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 in Hall D of the Oregon Convention Center. More than 2000 people are expected to attend. Visit for more information.

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