Transactive Energy in Oregon?

What on earth is “transactive energy” and is it a good economic development idea for Oregon? Karl Mundorff of Oregon BEST invited us to participate in an initial conversation about it with many others this week. James Mater of QualityLogic, who is also Chair of Smart Grid Oregon, introduced this very technical topic.

What is a smart grid? It is modern electricity delivery that allows two-way energy demand management between customers and electricity generators or utilities. It makes our grid more efficient, more reliable, more able to support distributed renewable energy sources. The smart grid will allow the integration of electric vehicles, electricity storage, and smart appliances, all decentralized conservation systems in a way.

Transactive energy is a phrase that describes the energy system of the future where dynamic pricing, which reflects the supply-demand equation of the moment, will help smooth out peak demand. It is a marriage of high-tech meters and new energy business models, if you will. This will help us avoid the extreme capital expense of constructing mostly idle, and thus wasteful, peaking plants designed to deliver electricity at times of highest demand.

This is almost opposite of our current centralized utility business model, where big companies are independent, yet heavily regulated. Financial transactions for energy in this traditional model are simple: the customer pays the price for a kWh set by the generator or distributor. However, spot wholesale markets do underpin this system, so utilities are not without experience in dynamic pricing.

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project can already claim leadership in smart grid/transactive energy research, “contributing technology, utility applications, customer engagement strategies and policy”. For more than a decade, five states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) have worked together to experiment and demonstrate exactly how smart grid infrastructure can actually work, on many levels. Now is the time to put this new technology together with good regulatory policy and good business models. Exciting new work for our sustainable business graduates!

Written by lstrohm@uoregon.edu

Dr. Laura Strohm is the Program Manager and Senior Instructor of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon.

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Not My Father’s Vietnam

I wish I could describe the look on my parents’ faces when I told them that I had accepted an internship near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I watched as two of their emotions clashed with one another: an internal war pitted excitement versus unrelenting fear. We hugged, we celebrated, but perhaps what is most important to this story are the things that were left unsaid. My parents’ body language suggested there was a passenger of doubt resting comfortably on both of their shoulders.

My parents were both children of the 1950s, coming into adulthood right as the world watched the United States enter into a perilous war with Vietnam. This very war would leave an impression on the young adults of that time like no other before it. My father’s Vietnam is death, my father’s Vietnam is destruction, and my father’s Vietnam left more questions than answers. And now, nearly fifty years later, his son was going to return to that same Vietnam, voluntarily.

I can only speculate that brutal images of the past were brought to the forefront of their imagination. Would they be sending their son to the same place that claimed the lives of so many of their friends, family members, and neighbors? In their minds Vietnam was a war zone, and who could blame them? I imagine that Vietnam to their generation represents what select countries of the Middle East represent to my generation. And what that boils down to is that the fear of the unknown is an incredibly powerful force. One that is virtually incapable of being masked over by a smile.

I landed in Vietnam in early June to start my twelve-week internship with the Ching Luh Group, a shoe manufacturer, as a strategic projects intern working on Nike business. Though the work has been both challenging and exciting, the focus of this piece is on Vietnam as a whole. When I got off the plane I was immediately welcomed by the Ching Luh Group and in that moment, was brought into their family. Family is everything to the Vietnamese and even though I don’t speak the language, I feel like I’ve been with them for my entire working career. I’m fully supported in all aspects of my projects and everybody makes an effort to include me in outside activities. The streets are alive with activity. Smiling children and adults permeate through despite what many Westerners would consider a harsh lifestyle. I absolutely love it here and couldn’t be happier.

Realize, of course, that “my parents” in this story don’t just represent the couple that gave birth to me. Rather they represent a whole generation of individuals that still question the unknown that is Vietnam. I am happy to report that the images, thoughts, and connotations traditionally allocated to “Vietnam” can be comfortably laid to rest while my generation works to restore the Western perception of this great nation.  Upon my return to the United States, I’m sure to get the question, “How was it?” to which I will proudly reply that it was unbelievable and it’s NOT my father’s Vietnam.

Written by Collin Hoyer

Collin is a first year student in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He is looking to use his experiences working for Stanford University, DBI Beverage, and The Ronnie Lott IMPACT Foundation to begin a marketing career specializing in sports products. Collin did his undergraduate work at Chapman University and originates from Pleasanton, CA.

18 Years in the Making

It all started in second grade when I was bitten by a deer tick and contracted Lymes Disease.  At the age of 8, I already had arthritis-like symptoms, and my knees were among the most affected joints.  From that time, I cared more about how shoes made my knees feel instead of how they looked.  Nike worked the best, plus Nike always had cool new innovations and technologies coming out, and I wanted to try them all.  The obsession with Nike shoes remained, when it was time to select a college and begin planning what I wanted to do with my life. After visiting Iowa State and seeing their Kinesiology program and Biomechanics lab, I knew that working with footwear was going to be my passion.  I spent two years in college volunteering in the biomechanics lab without ever having taken an anatomy, physics or biomechanics class.  I also spent that same two years applying to internships at Nike and emailing anyone whose name I came across.  When neither the e-mail nor online internship application process worked, I took a leap of faith and moved to Portland, OR, to attend Portland State University on a National Student Exchange Program and be in Nike’s backyard.  Needless to say, my parents were a little surprised, since I hadn’t really mentioned this to them, and I didn’t have an internship when I moved!

Again, for the next six months I emailed any Nike connections and applied for internships, this time with a different objective.  I was in Portland, and I was determined to intern at Nike.  I was lucky enough to spend seven months in the Nike Sports Research Lab as their first ever intern… which also meant there was no game plan, no set schedule, and no other interns on campus yet. I spent seven months learning about biomechanics, human physiology and the inner workings of Nike. It was a dream come true!

I went back to Iowa State knowing that I needed to apply for graduate school, so I could come back to Nike someday and hopefully land a job and make a difference.  My professors and academic advisor helped me determine my graduate course of action. After finishing my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, I went to the University of Tennessee and got my Masters of Science in Biomechanics… with the University of Oregon Sports Marketing Center in mind as my next step.

Once I moved to Oregon, I hit the ground running as far as networking goes.  The week before University of Oregon prologue started, I spent three days at Nike making new connections and reconnecting with old ones.  During my first year at Oregon, I put over 8,000 miles on my car just driving back and forth from Eugene to Portland making sure I was putting the proper foundation in place for, hopefully, working at Nike after earning my MBA in Sports Marketing at Oregon.

During my second year, I was spending even more time in Portland, only now sharing time with the University of Oregon Sports Product Management Initiative which gave me great visibility across the entire sports product industry. When it came time to actually start applying for jobs, the process went pretty quickly.  I had met some of the hiring managers at Nike, and I’d already been talking with a recruiter.  When I got a job interview, I tailored my resume to that job, I had references from Nike employees and I nailed down my situations for competency based questions.  Everyone I’d shared my goal with, including friends, family, professors, mentors and my boss all helped me prepare for this moment.  Although nervous, I went into the interview feeling comfortable and confident.  After about a week of waiting, I was offered a job as a Footwear Developer II… a job that was, for me, 18 years in the making.

Elizabeth Brock, M.S
Warsaw Sports Marketing Center
MBA Candidate

Written by ebrock4@uoregon.edu

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Diving into a day at bell+funk

Anna Seydel explored her interest in marketing by spending a day at Eugene-based boutique marketing agency bell+funk. Read on for the story of her day there.

During spring break of my sophomore year, I job shadowed at bell+funk. bell+funk is a small marketing agency located in the heart of downtown Eugene. To prepare for my job shadow, I researched the company and participated in the dress rehearsal put on by the Job Shadow Program. At the dress rehearsal, we discussed what we could do to gain the most from our experience. This included dressing correctly, giving a strong handshake, and asking the right questions.

During my job shadow, I had the opportunity to work on a marketing campaign for the Kiva in downtown Eugene. We walked to the store to learn more about their goals and target market. We then worked on creating advertisements that would be displayed on Facebook.

The most memorable part of my day was having the opportunity to talk to the entire team about their roles and how they decided to go into marketing. The conversation was extremely relaxed and it was easy to talk to all of the professionals about what they do and how they got there. What surprised me was the mix of majors among the team. Some had graduated in Business, as I expected, but others had graduated with degrees in Journalism, which was something I hadn’t considered.

By participating in the Job Shadow Program, I learned that I have a greater interest in making advertisements than I do in general marketing.  For this reason I’ve decided to explore my interest in advertising more within the University. Without the Job Shadow Program, I never would have realized this interest or have even considered working at a marketing or advertising agency as a career path.

It is for this reason that I would highly recommend the Job Shadow Program to anyone who has the opportunity to participate. Even if you think that you know exactly what you want to do, this is one of the few opportunities available to experience a job for a day. This program gives you the opportunity to receive an inside look at your field of interest and the chance to learn from professionals within the business world. There are a wide variety of fields and companies available to job shadow with, so there really is something for everyone.

—Anna Seydel

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

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Shadowing Marketing Group DriveMG

Pre-business student Katie Breeden spent the day at DriveMG, a Portland-based marketing group whose clients include Nike, Intel, and NerdDeck.

How did you prepare for the job shadow day?
I went to the Career Center and looked at the pamphlets they offer, specifically the one about interviews. Obviously this isn’t a job interview, but I thought it would be good to look at since the job shadow was also an informational interview. Earlier in the year I went to the Student Alumni Association’s Business Etiquette Dinner that taught me more about proper attire, manners, etc. The Job Shadow Dress Rehearsal was very informative as well.

What did you do during your day at the company?
During my job shadow I had the opportunity to do many things. Firstly I got to sit in on a video conference meeting with Eric, the founder and CEO; Anna, one of the accounts managers; and Chandler, the chief strategist. Secondly I got to sit down with Kalina, the chief of motion graphics design and hear about the projects that she’s been involved in with Drive. Because the company has eight members I was able to get a good idea of the company culture and everybody’s responsibilities and job overviews.  Lastly I sat down with Eric and discussed his entrepreneurial endeavors and how he’s gotten to where he is today.

What was the most memorable part of the day?
Getting the chance to sit down and hear Eric’s story and ask my own questions about the lessons he’s learned was the most memorable part of the day. I came away with a lot of good advice and information.

What surprised you about the day?
I didn’t know much about DriveMG before the Job Shadow day. I had done all the research I could, but there just wasn’t very much out there about the company and so I didn’t know if I was going into some big corporate entity or a small company. I learned about what it’s like to be part of a small company, and I found that I really like the environment and culture of a small business.

How do you think participation in the Job Shadow Program will benefit your career?
I was able to learn about a career path that I’m very interested in and do lots of self-analysis on what I’m looking for within this path. Being able to articulate my own wants and needs is very important and this career exploration got me thinking about how I can best position myself as a college student, and later, a grad.

What would you tell someone else who was thinking about participating in the program?
Do it, but commit 100 percent to it because you will reap the benefits of the program if you really sit down and do the activities that are assigned. If you happen to go above and beyond, then you’re doing even more to help yourself. Likewise, if you only go through the motions, you won’t learn much from the experience. Read up as much as you can about the companies that are available because you may think you know what you want to do, but this is an environment where it’s safe to take moderate risks and do something out of your comfort zone.

—Katie Breeden

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.