OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Homecoming reception features noted alumni

10/13/1999

CORVALLIS - A former congressman, the president of the fund-raising arm of the Providence Health System in Alaska, and the founder of one of the West Coast's first "cleanroom" companies will return to Oregon State University for Homecoming Weekend as Alumni Fellows.

The Alumni Fellows program, designed and sponsored by OSU's Alumni Association, brings back to campus prominent alumni who share their experiences with the university's students, staff and faculty and the public.

This year's fellows include: Rod Chandler, a former congressman from the state of Washington and current president of a government relations lobbying firm; Janet Ford, founder of Advanced Cleanroom Maintenance Corporation, a company that generated more than $7 million in sales in 1997; and Rebecca Parker, president of the Providence Alaska Foundation.

A free public reception will be held for the fellows on Friday, Oct. 22, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center at OSU.

Chandler received his bachelor's degree in history and economics in 1968 and was one of the co-founders of the campus radio station, KBVR. He later became a news correspondent and anchorman for KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Chandler represented Washington's 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1992. While in the House, he gained the reputation as a national leader in the field of employee benefits, health care, and pensions. He led the crafting of the Reagan Administration foreign policy initiatives in Central America that resulted in democratic elections in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Parker received a bachelor's degree in liberal studies in 1973. She has been a leading figure in Alaska's public policy debates for the past 20 years. She served for two years as executive director of Commonweath North, Alaska's leading public policy association of 400 business and community opinion leaders.

Parker also worked for 20 years for ARCO Alaska, Inc. As community relation's director for ARCO Alaska, she directed millions of dollars in grants to community and nonprofit organizations. Parker is a past president of both the Anchorage Rotary Club and the science museum Imaginarium. She was named the 1996 YWCA Woman of Achievement and received the Anchorage School District's Volunteer of the Year Award.

After receiving her degree in microbiology from OSU in 1980, Ford set out with her backpack to California, trying out miscellaneous jobs before she became involved in the sales of cleanroom products. That's when her college courses became pertinent, as she saw an unfilled need for cleanroom services and decided to take a risk to start her own company.

By spending only $20 a week on food, Ford managed to scrape $10,000 together for start-up funds. Business expenses left her so poor that in lieu of paying rent on her one room, she cleaned the landlord's whole house. Now, her Orange County, Calif., business employs 500 people and her home is the mansion formerly owned by John Wayne's widow.

Ford's company makes sure that products whose quality would be compromised by contaminants are manufactured in environments that are clean.