OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

business and the economy

Off-grid power in remote areas will require special business model to succeed

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Low-cost, off-grid solar energy could provide significant economic benefit to people living in some remote areas, but a new study suggests they generally lack the access to financial resources, commercial institutions and markets needed to bring solar electricity to their communities.

Around the world, more than 1.2 billion people lack access to basic electricity service. The majority of those people are living in developing nations, in rural or isolated areas with high rates of poverty. Steep costs and remote terrain often make it impractical or even impossible to extend the electric grid. 

Developing a successful business model that could deliver off-grid power to this market will require addressing challenges unique to the population, an Oregon State University researcher concluded in a study published recently in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“Surviving and growing in this market is very different than in a typical commercial enterprise,” said Inara Scott, an assistant professor in the College of Business. “There are a lot of people working on off-grid solar products on the small scale, but the problem becomes how can they scale the programs up and make them profitable?” 

When rural, isolated communities do gain access to solar power, the impact on residents can be profound, Scott said. Children are more likely to go to and complete schooling, because they have light to study by. Kerosene lamps, which create a lot of indoor air pollution, are no longer needed, improving people’s health. And work hours are increased, giving people more time to earn money or build home-based businesses.

“Providing electricity starts an incredible cycle of improvement for communities without reliance on charities or government aid,” she said. “There are also environmental benefits to encouraging sustainable development using renewable resources.” 

The market for small solar lighting and charging units has grown dramatically in the last few years, and solar home systems offer cleaner, safer and cheaper lighting over time than kerosene, the primary alternative for lighting in developing nations. But even a small cost can be out of reach for people whose annual incomes are often less than $3,000 per year, Scott said.

She examined successful business models for serving these populations, known as “base of the pyramid” markets, and successful renewable energy enterprises, looking for intersections that might aid businesses looking to market solar energy to base-of-pyramid markets. 

Scott found that a successful enterprise would include four primary components, and she developed a framework around them. Her recommendations:

  • Community interaction: Work with local communities to understand local norms, culture, social issues and economic systems that might influence the effort.
  • Partnerships: Join forces with other companies, government organizations, non-profit groups or non-governmental organizations to share ideas and resources and gain support.
  • Local capacity building: People in the community may lack product knowledge and have little experience with technology, while the community may not have typical distribution channels. Consider the potential customers as both producers and consumers, training local entrepreneurs as distributors, marketers and equipment installation/repair technicians.
  • Barriers unique to the off-grid market: Address issues such as financing of upfront costs, which may be prohibitive to consumers; educate people on the products and their benefits; build trust in quality and reliability; and develop multiple strong distribution networks.

“You’re not going to be successful just trying to sell a product,” she said. “This is really a social enterprise, with the goal of trying to bring people out of poverty while also emphasizing sustainable development.” 

There are a lot of socially-minded enterprises with good intentions that would like to work in these rural, remote and high-poverty areas, Scott noted. Her framework could serve as a checklist of sorts for organizations looking to put their ideas into action, she said.

“It’s a way to pause for a minute and ask yourself if you have all the right pieces in place to be successful,” she said.

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Inara Scott, 541-737-4102, Inara.Scott@oregonstate.edu

Varmint hunters’ ammo selection influences lead exposure in avian scavengers

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Varmint hunters’ choice of ammunition plays a role in the amount of lead that scavengers such as golden eagles could ingest, a new study shows, and offers a way to minimize the lead exposure to wildlife.

Using a new bullet-fragment recovery technique known as “digestion,” the research also suggests that radiographs, or X-rays, a common tool for estimating how much of the toxic metal left is behind in shot pests or game animals, tend to produce low estimates.

A team of researchers that included Oregon State University undergraduate student Mason Wagner and U.S. Geological Survey scientists collected 127 Belding’s ground squirrel carcasses from alfalfa fields in southern Oregon and northern California.

Eleven western states produce roughly 40 percent of the U.S.’s alfalfa, and burrowing mammals such as ground squirrels and prairie dogs can cause significant yield loss. Shooting the rodents is an important form of pest control as well as a popular recreational pastime throughout the West.

The carcasses are typically left on the fields, where avian scavengers like eagles, hawks and kestrels descend upon the carrion to feed both themselves and their nestlings.

This study looked at how much lead remained in the carcasses and how that correlated with the type of bullet used. Models were also created to estimate from radiographs the amount of lead left in a carcass and the potential effect of the lead on nestlings’ mortality, growth and production of an enzyme critical to the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

Results of the study by Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the USGS were recently published in PLOS ONE.

The research found 80 percent of shot carcasses had detectible fragments of lead. The study also found bullet type didn’t have an effect on the number of fragments, but it did influence the mass of the retained fragments. Also, smaller carcasses showed more “pass-through,” i.e. less retained lead.

Squirrels shot with high-velocity, high-mass .17-caliber Super Mag bullets, for example, had 28 times the retained fragment mass of those shot with .22-caliber solid bullets. One percent of the Super Mags’ original mass was left behind, by far the highest percentage of any ammo type, and the Super Mag fragments also dispersed more than two times farther through the carcass – making them more likely to be eaten by a scavenging animal.

Modeling suggested that hawk and eagle nestlings fed regularly with shot ground squirrels could likely lose more than half the production of the key enzyme ALAD throughout the nestling period, though no nestlings would be expected to die of lead poisoning. They could, though, eat enough lead to impair late-nestling-stage growth, but by then they would have done most of their growing anyway.

The digestion procedure for extracting bullet fragments involved processing carcasses into a solution that was run through sieves and a gold-prospecting sluice box. Researchers used digestion on 30 carcasses to determine a relationship between digestion results and radiography results.

“We found that radiographs are not very accurate at estimating how much lead is left in a carcass,” said study co-author Collin Eagles-Smith, a USGS ecologist and OSU courtesy assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife. “They underestimate density when there are more small fragments. Small ones are the pieces that are more digestible and likely to enter the circulatory system.”

Radiography has also been used to estimate how much lead is present in shot game animals such as deer and elk.

In addition to providing a check on the accuracy of estimating via radiography, the research also suggests a way for hunters to minimize the amount of lead left in varmint carcasses.

“The sheer number of carcasses after a hunting session is a challenge to pick up, assuming you can even find all of the carcasses,” said lead author Garth Herring, also a USGS ecologist. “Picking up every last carcass is not realistic, but there are choices people can make regarding ammunition that may result in smaller amounts of lead in the carcasses left behind.”

Eagles-Smith noted that rodenticides, an alternative to shooting, have their own toxicological implications.

“These pests are really an economic threat to farmers, and shooting them is one method to control their numbers,” he said. “Choosing an ammunition type, such as .22-caliber solid bullets, that creates substantially fewer fragments can be a way to minimize lead exposure to scavengers and other wildlife.” 

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Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Belding's Ground Squirrel

Belding's ground squirrel

Curiosity can predict employees’ ability to creatively solve problems, research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Employers who are looking to hire creative problem-solvers should consider candidates with strong curiosity traits, and personality tests may be one way to tease out those traits in prospective employees, new research from Oregon State University shows.

People who showed strong curiosity traits on personality tests performed better on creative tasks and those with a strong diversive curiosity trait, or curiosity associated with the interest in exploring unfamiliar topics and learning something new, were more likely to come up with creative solutions to a problem, the researchers found.

The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting that testing for curiosity traits may be useful for employers, especially those seeking to fill complex jobs, said Jay Hardy, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Business and lead author of the study.

As workplaces evolve and jobs become increasingly dynamic and complex, having employees who can adapt to changing environments and learn new skills is becoming more and more valuable to organizations’ success, he said.

“But if you look at job descriptions today, employers often say they are looking for curious and creative employees, but they are not selecting candidates based on those traits,” said Hardy, whose research focuses on employee training and development. “This research suggests it may be useful for employers to measure curiosity, and, in particular, diversive curiosity, when hiring new employees.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Co-authors are Alisha Ness of University of Oklahoma and Jensen Mecca of Shaker Consulting Group.

Past research has shown that curiosity is a strong predictor of a person’s ability to creatively solve problems in the workplace. But questions remain about how, why and when curiosity affects the creative process, Hardy said. The latest research helps to pinpoint the type of curiosity that best aids creative problem-solving.

Diversive curiosity is a trait well-suited to early stage problem-solving because it leads to gathering a large amount of information relevant to the problem. That information can be used to generate and evaluate new ideas in later stages of creative problem-solving. Diversive curiosity tends to be a more positive force.

On the other hand, people with strong specific curiosity traits, or the curiosity that reduces anxiety and fills gaps in understanding, tend to be more problem-focused. Specific curiosity tends to be a negative force.

For the study, researchers asked 122 undergraduate college students, to take personality tests that measured their diversive and specific curiosity traits.

They then asked the students to complete an experimental task involving the development of a marketing plan for a retailer. Researchers evaluated the students’ early-stage and late-stage creative problem-solving processes, including the number of ideas generated. The students’ ideas were also evaluated based on their quality and originality.

The findings indicated that the participants’ diversive curiosity scores related strongly to their performance scores. Those with stronger diversive curiosity traits spent more time and developed more ideas in the early stages of the task. Stronger specific curiosity traits did not significantly relate to the participants’ idea generation and did not affect their creative performance.

“Because it has a distinct effect, diversive curiosity can add something extra in a prospective employee,” Hardy said. “Specific curiosity does matter, but the diversive piece is useful in more abstract ways.”

Another important finding of the research, Hardy noted, is that participants’ behavior in the information-seeking stage of the task was key to explaining differences in creative outcome. For people who are not creative naturally, a lack of natural diversive curiosity may be overcome, in part, by simply spending more time asking questions and reviewing materials at the early stages of a task, he said.

“Creativity to a degree is a trainable skill,” he said. “It is a skill that is developed and can be improved. The more of it you do, the better you will get at it.”

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Jay Hardy, 541-737-3016, jay.hardy@oregonstate.edu

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at OSU is expanding

CORVALLIS, Ore. —  The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University’s Valley Library is celebrating its third anniversary with expanded collecting areas.

To meet the needs of researchers, the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives is broadening its reach to include the history of home brewing, cider, mead, barley farming and research, and the pre-Prohibition eras. In August 2013, the library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center established the first archives in the country dedicated to collecting materials related to the history of hops and craft brewing.

"We are so proud of the support we've gotten over the past three years and are excited to broaden our collecting areas to cover more topics, more time periods, and more territories," said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, an archivist at Oregon State’s Valley Library and the curator for the library’s Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives.

The archives includes the papers of world-renowned beer historian Fred Eckhardt; oral histories with growers, brewers and scientists; the records of the Oregon Hop Growers Association; extensive industry periodicals and book collections; homebrew club newsletters; photographs; memorabilia and advertising materials from Oregon breweries; and OSU research on plant disease, breeding and processing that dates to the 1890s.

“OBHA is an archive unlike any other, one that allows scholars to research seriously the craft beer revolution and the rich agricultural history of hops upon which good beer rests,” said Peter A. Kopp, author of “Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.”

To celebrate the expansion of the collecting areas and the three-year anniversary, the archives is releasing a photo per day for three months beginning on Aug. 1.

The photos will be on “The Brewstorian” blog (http://thebrewstorian.tumblr.com/and OHBA's Twitter and Facebook pages. For more information http://guides.library.oregonstate.edu/brewingarchives.

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Daniel Moret, 541-737-4412; dan.moret@oregonstate.edu

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Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387, tiah.edmunson-morton@oregonstate.edu

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Norman Goetze, OSU; Wilson Foote, OSU; Warren Kronstad, OSU; Scotty Coleader, Amity

Oregon State University celebrates record year for fundraising

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Foundation closed the books June 30 on its best fundraising year in history, with gifts totaling $130.8 million to advance university priorities.

The fiscal-year total eclipsed the previous record set in 2007-08 by $4 million, when the university publicly launched its first comprehensive campaign. The Campaign for OSU concluded on Dec. 31, 2014, with gifts totaling $1.14 billion from more than 106,000 donors.

“While this level of philanthropic support for Oregon State is historic, the lasting impact it represents is truly amazing,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “OSU has become an internationally recognized public research university, and the incredible momentum driving our work today has been powered by unprecedented support from Beaver Nation.

“Thanks to our supporters, the best is yet to come for this university and all those we serve.”

Donors are supporting high-achieving and diverse OSU students at record levels, creating more than 600 new scholarship funds over the last 10 years – an increase of 45 percent. Donor-funded scholarships coupled with other awards like Pell Grants allow OSU to provide more scholarships and grants to undergraduates than any other institution in the state, university officials say. More than 13,500 undergraduates at Oregon State receive support from these sources annually.

Donors are also boosting the university’s research enterprise through investments in facilities, programs and faculty. Since 2004 Oregon State’s number of endowed faculty funds has grown from 47 to 128. These prestigious positions support global leaders in teaching and research, with earnings from the endowments also creating opportunities for students they mentor.

“Our donors see the university’s potential for leadership on issues critical for Oregon’s future as well as key challenges facing our world,” said OSU Foundation CEO and President J. Michael Goodwin. “Their investments in Oregon State build the critical mass and excellence that make real progress possible.”

Building on this momentum, the OSU Foundation has launched the first in a planned series of strategic fundraising initiatives designed to support the university’s areas of distinction and its goals for student success. These include plans to advance the university’s marine studies program; accelerate forestry education and research on advanced wood products; and renovate the Valley Football Center.

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Molly Brown, 541-737-3602

OSU researchers discover the unicorn – seaweed that tastes like bacon!

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein and has an unusual trait when it is cooked.

This seaweed tastes like bacon.

Dulse (Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is harvested and usually sold for up to $90 a pound in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement. But researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center have created and patented a new strain of dulse – one he has been growing for the past 15 years.

This strain, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants – and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight, Langdon said.

“The original goal was to create a super-food for abalone, because high-quality abalone is treasured, especially in Asia,” Langdon pointed out. “We were able to grow dulse-fed abalone at rates that exceeded those previously reported in the literature. There always has been an interest in growing dulse for human consumption, but we originally focused on using dulse as a food for abalone.”

The technology of growing abalone and dulse has been successfully implemented on a commercial scale by the Big Island Abalone Corporation in Hawaii.

Langdon’s change in perspective about dulse was triggered by a visit by Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business, who stopped by Langdon’s office because he was looking for potential projects for his business students. He saw the dulse growing in bubbling containers outside of Langdon’s office and the proverbial light went on.

“Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” Toombs said. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.”

Toombs began working with OSU’s Food Innovation Center in Portland, where a product development team created a smorgasbord of new foods with dulse as the main ingredient. Among the most promising were a dulse-based rice cracker and salad dressing.

The research team received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to explore dulse as a “specialty crop” – the first time a seaweed had made the list, according to Food Innovation Center director Michael Morrissey.

That allowed the team to bring Jason Ball onto the project. The research chef previously had worked with the University of Copenhagen’s Nordic Food Lab, helping chefs there better use local ingredients.

“The Food Innovation Center team was working on creating products from dulse, whereas Jason brings a ‘culinary research’ chef’s perspective,” said Gil Sylvia, director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. “The point that he and other chefs make is that fresh, high-quality seaweed is hard to get. ‘You bring us the seaweed,’ they say, ‘and we’ll do the creative stuff.’”

Several Portland-area chefs are now testing dulse as a fresh product and many believe it has significant potential in both its raw form and as a food ingredient.

Sylvia, who is a seafood economist, said that although dulse has great potential, no one has yet done a full analysis on whether a commercial operation would be economically feasible. “That fact that it grows rapidly, has high nutritional value, and can be used dried or fresh certainly makes it a strong candidate,” he said.

There are no commercial operations that grow dulse for human consumption in the United States, according to Langdon, who said it has been used as a food in northern Europe for centuries. The dulse sold in U.S. health food and nutrition stores is harvested, and is a different strain from the OSU-patented variety.

“In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food,” Langdon said. “There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. But this stuff is pretty amazing. When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”

The vegan market alone could comprise a niche.

Langdon, a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU and long-time leader of the Molluscan Broodstock Program, has two large tanks in which he can grow about 20-30 pounds of dulse a week. He has plans to up the production to 100 pounds a week. For now, they are using the dulse for research at the Food Innovation Center on dulse recipes and products.

However, Toombs’ MBA students are preparing a marketing plan for a new line of specialty foods and exploring the potential for a new aquaculture industry.

“The dulse grows using a water recirculation system,” Langdon said. “Theoretically, you could create an industry in eastern Oregon almost as easily as you could along the coast with a bit of supplementation. You just need a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine.”

The background of how Langdon and his colleagues developed dulse is outlined in the latest version of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress at : http://bit.ly/1fo9Doy

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Chris Langdon, 541-867-0231, chris.langdon@oregonstate.edu;  Chuck Toombs, 541-737-4087, Charles.Toombs@oregonstate.edu;

Michael Morrisey, 503-872-6656, Michael.Morrissey@oregonstate.edu;  Gil Sylvia, 541-867-0284, gil.sylvia@oregonstate.edu

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Dulse in its seaweed form

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Dulse prepared in a dish

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Chris Langdon near a vat of growing dulse

OSU names ASU vice president as dean of the College of Business

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University, has been named the Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business at Oregon State University.

Montoya begins her new duties on Aug. 31. She succeeds Ilene Kleinsorge, who announced her retirement earlier this year after 12 years as dean.

As dean at OSU, Montoya will oversee a growing College of Business that has 3,900 students seeking business majors, 850 students with business and entrepreneurship minors, and more than 800 design students. The college just moved into its new headquarters - the 100,000-square-foot, $55 million Austin Hall, which opened last year.

In her position at Arizona State, Montoya has been responsible for advancing entrepreneurship and innovative collaborative initiatives across the ASU campuses. She also has been dean of the College of Technology & Innovation there, and vice provost of the ASU Polytechnic campus.

“We are very excited about Mitzi joining OSU – her candidacy generated a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement across the campus community, and I am thrilled that she will join our leadership team,” said Sabah Randhawa, Oregon State’s provost and executive vice president.

“She has a background that dovetails nicely with the strengths of OSU’s College of Business – including entrepreneurship and innovation – and she also has the vision and experience to help the college grow in other areas,” Randhawa added. “The college is seeking to expand its graduate programs and work more collaboratively with other units on campus, and with private, public and non-profit organizations.”

“She also has done a lot of work in the aerospace industry and with clean energy – two initiatives that Oregon State University has become deeply involved with in recent years.”

Montoya established the Aerospace & Defense Research Collaboratory in Arizona, a statewide platform for collaboration across the aerospace and defense supply chain and research institutions.  She also has been leading ASU’s global training program for clean energy, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Montoya is a professor in the Management Department of ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Before coming to ASU, she worked for 15 years at North Carolina State University, where she held the Zeinak Chair in Marketing and Innovation in the Poole College of Management. She also founded and led the Innovation Lab, a collaborative effort between different NC State colleges and private industry.

An international scholar, Montoya has taught courses on innovation and marketing strategy – at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels – in Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, England, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Panama, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.

Her research has focused on innovation processes and strategies, and the role of technology in team decision-making. She has received research funding from numerous institutions, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, USAID, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and others.

Montoya has a bachelor’s of science degree in applied engineering science, and a Ph.D. in marketing and statistics – both from Michigan State University.

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 Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111, Sabah.randhawa@oregonstate.edu

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Mitzi Montoya, dean of the OSU College of Business

OSU to join National Science Foundation “Innovation Corps”

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a three year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to become one of just 36 academic institutions in the United States designated as an “Innovation Corps Site,” to help bring ideas and discoveries to the commercial marketplace.

This recognition will enhance OSU’s collaboration with the National Science Foundation, and allow it to join other prestigious universities that have received the same designation, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Illinois, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California. 

The program is designed to accelerate commercialization of new technologies, products and processes that emerge from American universities, according to NSF representatives. It will nurture students and faculty involved in projects with commercial potential; develop a larger system of mentors, researchers, and entrepreneurs; and encourage collaboration between academia and industry.

At OSU, involvement with this program will be another boost to activities in its Advantage Accelerator, an existing initiative to help identify research discoveries with commercial potential and assist startup companies in bringing those discoveries to commercial success.

“This support from the NSF will be particularly helpful in preparing early stage concepts, to keep our pipeline full of new companies,” said John Turner, co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator. “One example is a pre-accelerator program we plan to begin next month, which will be a set of workshops open to both student, faculty and community innovators.”

This series of four workshops will allow participants to explore the formation of a startup company, generate a flow of new business concepts and help prepare applicants for the full Advantage Accelerator program, officials said.

OSU officials said this support also helps position the university to apply for larger grants and support from the NSF in the future.

As part of this program, OSU will be expected to create teams that engage competitively with other NSF “I-corps” teams for small business grants and other competitions, and contribute to a “National Innovation Network.”

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John Turner, 541-737-9219

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New company
Building new companies

New analysis puts OSU’s economic impact at more than $2.37 billion

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An analysis of Oregon State University’s economic impact released today estimates that Oregon’s largest university contributed $2.371 billion to the global economy last year – an economic footprint that has grown by $311 million, or 15 percent, since 2011.

The greatest impact is in Oregon, where OSU was responsible for adding an estimated $2.232 billion to the state’s economy in 2014 – a figure that accounts for 31,660 jobs.

The analysis was conducted by the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest, based on OSU expenditure data, visitor data, student enrollment and a 2013 Oregon Travel Impacts study.

The ECONorthwest analysis looked for the first time at OSU’s contribution in Portland, where OSU contributed $401.9 million to the economy in 2014, along with 2,350 jobs.

The economic impact of OSU in Benton and Linn counties was $1.334 billion, along with 25,110 jobs.

Oregon State’s impacts come in three ways, direct impacts ($973 million), indirect impacts ($424.2 million) and induced impacts ($834.8 million). Direct impacts include spending on operations, goods and services, and capital construction; indirect impacts result from companies purchasing additional supplies or hiring additional employees to support spending by OSU; and induced impacts result from the purchasing power of the university’s employees.

The total does not include other significant OSU influences to the state, regional and national economies, including the contributions by university graduates or the benefits of OSU research, such as improved varieties of wheat and other crops used by Oregon farmers; spinoff companies that have major economic impacts; and scholarship that has improved public health and environmental stewardship.

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Steve Clark, 503-502-8217; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge announces retirement

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ilene Kleinsorge, dean and Sara Hart Kimball chair of the College of Business and executive dean of the Division of Business and Engineering at Oregon State University announced today that she will retire from OSU effective June 30.

“The significant impact of Dean Kleinsorge’s contributions to the College of Business, the university and the local and regional business communities will continue long after she retires,” said Provost Sabah Randhawa. “Her commitment to alumni, students, faculty and staff is reflected in the enduring relationships she has cultivated, the college’s collaborative community, the business partnerships she has created and students who are graduating and entering the work force prepared and ready to make an immediate impact.”

Under her leadership, the college raised more than $78 million in private philanthropy during The Campaign for OSU. More than $30 million of those gifts were for the construction of Austin Hall, the new 100,000-square foot home for the College of Business that opened in fall 2014. It was under Kleinsorge’s guidance that the funding was secured; the building was planned for, designed, built and opened.

Austin Hall accommodates more than 5,800 students each year, which includes 3,900 business majors and pre-majors, nearly 850 business and entrepreneurship minors and more than 800 design students. The college also teaches service courses for more than 1,500 students from outside of the College of Business. 

Kleinsorge, who started at OSU as an assistant accounting professor in 1987, was appointed dean in March 2003. Other accomplishments achieved under her tenure as dean include: 

  • Revising curriculum to create discipline specific majors and establishing a competitive professional school model, which requires students to apply for and be accepted into the college;
  • Growth of graduate programs including the launch of the first business doctoral program and the diversification of the MBA program to meet market demand;
  • Integrating the design majors into the College of Business;
  • Establishing a college specific Career Success Center;
  • Launching the Austin Entrepreneurship Program;
  • Collaborating with the university and the Office of Commercialization and Corporate Development to launch the Advantage Accelerator.

“It has been a privilege to lead, serve and be a part of such an accomplished community of alumni, students, faculty and staff,” said Kleinsorge. “Together we have evolved our curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and programs to provide a business education that prepares our graduates to be ready to work in the local, regional, national and global economies.”

Kleinsorge served as department chair of Accounting, Finance and Information Management from 1995-2001 and again from 2001-02. She serves as a technical adviser for the Governor’s Oregon Innovation Council; is the treasurer for Benton Hospice Board of Directors; and she is a member of the Advantage Accelerator Advisory Board; the University Budget Committee; and the Campus Planning Committee. She is also the university representative for the local Economic Vitality Partnership in Corvallis.

She has served as past chair of the Western Association of Collegiate Schools of Business; as a member of the Executive Commercialization Advisory Council; and has been active in community service including being on the Corvallis Chamber board of directors; co-chaired a capital campaign for an advocacy center for the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence; and held various positions on the Majestic Theatre board.   

Kleinsorge earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and her B.S. from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. As an associate professor her teaching and research focused on cost and managerial accounting systems, with an emphasis on multi-national companies and health care.

Randhawa said a national search will be conducted for a new dean.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, jenn.casey@oregonstate.edu

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Kleinsorge

Ilene Kleinsorge