BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
To usher in the New Year, Oregon Business asked leading industry groups to identify top trends for 2015.
Click through to see their responses.
Steve McCoid, president and CEO:
- Locally-sourced meats, seafood and produce
- Environmental sustainability
- Healthy kids meals
- More natural ingredients and minimally processed foods
- Gluten free cuisine
- Artisan ice creams and cheeses
- Food waste reduction/management
- Mobile check-in
- High-definition TVs
- Free WiFi (No. 1 customer request)
- Allergy-free rooms
- Free health facilities
- More properties certified as sustainable
- LED lighting
- New concepts catering to Millennials featuring more internet connectivity, more open concepts, rooms designed with young people in mind, etc.
From Linea Gagliano, manager, industry & public affairs:
We foresee an increase in international travel to Oregon, along with more travelers and Oregonians participating in outdoor recreation.
A new visa agreement with China, along with the country’s economic surge, strong regional air lift, increased U.S. Visa processing capacity in China and Oregon’s leveraged promotional efforts with Brand USA will bring more Chinese visitors to Oregon. This upsurge in China visitation will have a positive impact on the travel and tourism industry, which generates $9.6 billion for Oregon’s economy and directly supports nearly 94,000 jobs.
Domestically, we foresee an uptick in outdoor recreation, particularly hiking. The success of our 7 Wonders campaign, coupled with the movie WILD, shot almost entirely within Oregon and based on the book by Portland resident, Cheryl Strayed will certainly be a factor.
Bicycling will continue to gain popularity with programs like the Bike-Friendly business program and the only Scenic Bikeways program in the country. Gravel riding and fat tire bike riding will emerge as a popular trend in Oregon, as well.
From Robert Grott, executive director:
Many of our members include engineering and consulting firms, attorneys, and technology providers. Like many sectors, after riding through some tough years, our members are seeing the impact of a rising economic tide. Their industrial clients are acting on delayed projects and the restart of the construction sector is driving lots of activity – especially related to land purchases and future development. Unfortunately, public sector and infrastructure work is still well below prior levels and is expected to stay that way for the coming year. But overall, hiring is up substantially and we are seeing an uptick in the type M&A activity that accompanies renewed growth.
Like many sectors, after riding through some tough years, our members are seeing the impact of a rising economic tide. Their industrial clients are acting on delayed projects and the restart of the construction sector is driving lots of activity – especially related to land purchases and future development. Unfortunately, public sector and infrastructure work is still well below prior levels and is expected to stay that way for the coming year. But overall, hiring is up substantially and we are seeing an uptick in the type M&A activity that accompanies renewed growth.
The energy sector is a different story. With the loss of state tax credits, uncertainty on the Federal level, and the introduction of low-price natural gas, local renewable energy project development is off sharply and is not expected to recover any time soon. Our firms still active in this sector, as well those as in traditional oil and gas, are mostly working out of state. Rooftop solar energy is the one bright spot, as residential and commercial projects continue on due to a combination of lower solar panel prices coupled with the critical incentive support from the Energy Trust of Oregon.
From Jim Geisinger, executive vice president:
The logging sector of the forest products industry expects to see a continuation of improving markets and economic opportunities in 2015, a trend that began last year. Markets for lumber are improving even while the housing market is trying to decide what to do. But with the Federal Reserve pledging to keep interest rates low and to make any upward adjustments gradually, we anticipate significant improvement.
Our optimism is somewhat tempered by the outlook for timber supply from federal forest lands. The federal government owns 60 percent of Oregon’s forest lands that once produced half of the timber consumed by the manufacturing sector of the industry. Today, it is less than 10 percent and the industry has suffered proportionately. Unless the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are allowed to actively manage these lands to produce additional timber, it is quite likely that our industry will miss a huge opportunity to capitalize on the improving market conditions.
More federal forests are burning up in Oregon every year than have ever been logged. It would be a shame to let this trend continue when the timber could be manufactured into finished products that society demands and people use every day.
From Skip Newberry, president:
One of the biggest trends in the tech industry for 2015 is the Internet of Things (IoT). In some respects, IoT is already here, and before long it will be everywhere. I have seen projections ranging from 100 billion connected devices by 2030 to as many as 200 billion connected devices by 2021. To put that rate of growth in perspective, there are approximately 2 billion smart phones in the world today.
David McGiverin, president of NWFPA:
Next week is our annual Expo. This is our largest convergence of food processors in one spot, one of the largest in the country. We’re going to have 5,000 people gather on the Oregon Convention Center to discuss these issues.
There’s one thing that really stands out strong to us as being very helpful for growth and that happens to be the extension of the food processing property tax — an M&E tax exemption on food processing equipment property tax. We’d like to have it extended to three other sectors that are on the rise for growth and that could use this as a catalyst. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, seafood, and nuts are already exempt. They receive a five-year property tax exemption on newly acquired equipment. It’s encouraged investment on energy efficient equipment and helps us innovate. it’s been working really well. What we’re looking to do is extend this to bakeries, dairies, and the egg sector.
[Without additional carbon taxes], the trend there would be an upgrade and a modernization of the equipment and giving them the amount of latitude and financial leverage so they can modernize. There are so many new technologies, but some of the other proposed legislation is competing for the dollars to upgrade and allow for new advancement.
Dennis McNannay, executive director:
Fortunately we are rapidly approaching the $500,000 fundraising match that will trigger the $1 billion dollar Knight Cancer Challenge. This raises the tide for all boats. This Challenge has brightened the spotlight on Oregon’s biotech industry and has attracted a growing number of companies that want to establish a presence here … We predict there will be more companies touring Oregon in 2015 to assess the advantages of doing business here and leverage the medical breakthroughs happening at several of the research universities.
Another trend will be digital solutions that are going to drive health care decisions. … Whether it’s monitoring patients with diabetes or monitoring exercise and heart rate patterns, it’s all becoming more accessible to the modern American. Such local examples include companies such as Amplion that is creating a clinical biomarker database and Intel’s recent acquisition of Basis, the company that makes a leading biosensor-enabled watch means digital health will continue its trajectory as a sustainable, market trend.
I think it’s also going to be a good year for younger companies that have slogged away for the last few years through a difficult time. Many of those are rapidly emerging, such as RevMedx, having recently obtained FDA approval for its wound care technology and Paragon BioTeck, with its recently FDA-approved ophthalmic therapies.
One of the other topics that was a big deal in 2014 that will continue to prevail is the applied STEM training for mid-career bioscience professionals.