SOREDI honors business leaders

Four local businesses and one individual were honored by Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. last week during its annual dinner at the OK Corral on the Rogue River.

The Prosper Awards were dealt to Diode Laser Concepts of Medford, Taylor's Sausage of Cave Junction, Erickson Air-Crane, which still has a major presence in Central Point, and Motorcycle Superstore/Motorcycle USA of Medford.

Diode Laser Concepts claimed the Ingenuity Award. The high tech instrumentation manufacturer is in the process of doubling the size of its facility on Industry Road, north of the Medford airport. Early on, many of Diode Laser Concepts' customers were from the auto industry, Since then, the medical industry has become its major market. Today, the firm has more than 400 clients worldwide.

With the demise of Rough and Ready Lumber, Taylor's Sausage has become the largest employer in the Illinois Valley. It wasn't easy and for its perseverance, the company earned the Tenacity Award.

Taylor's 80 employees produce dozens of products, ranging from smoked and ground sausage, wieners and franks to smoked sliced hams, bacon, turkeys and chickens.

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture balked at the company's request to expand operation and add a second shift, Taylor's Sausage asked for help from elected officials as well as state, county and regional agencies. The end result was getting USDA approval for a second shift inspector, keeping 30 employees and adding 30 more.

Erickson Air-Crane moved its headquarters to Portland from Central Point four years ago, but it has major manufacturing, maintenance and training in the Rogue Valley. The company, which now operates medium-lift helicopters as well as its signature S-64 air-cranes, was given the Prosperity Award.

Through acquisitions in the Willamette Valley and South America, Erickson Air-Crane now has 1,200 employees, nearly 100 aircraft, and revenue of $442 million during 2012.

Long a poster child for e-commerce in Southern Oregon, Motorcycle Superstore/Motorcycle USA received the Collaboration Award for involvement in a variety of regional endeavors. The company participates in events put on by SOREDI and assists in the recruitment of businesses to the region.

The annual Inspiration Award went to John Lamy of Lamy Consulting.

Lamy earned an engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Cornell. After 30-year stint with Hewlett Packard he now resides in the Rogue Valley. Lamy heads has aided SOREDI outreach to local entrepreneurs through the Jefferson Grapevine and SOREDI's Technical Advisory Group.

Other nominees for Prosper Awards were: Cascade Peak Spirits, Harry & David, Highway Products, Linde Electronics, Linx Technologies, Lithia Motors, MV Pro Audio, Project A, Sawyer Paddles, Sleadd Adventures and Yala.

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