OK 29: Rapidly Growing Product Companies
OK 29: Rapidly Growing Product Companies
Rob Little founded Cairn in the spring of 2014, combining his passion for the outdoors and his interest in changing the way that brands and consumers interact in the industry. As an MBA student at the Wharton School of Business, Rob studied creative retail applications in other industries and brought to life in Cairn the elements that he thought were most relevant for the outdoor market. Prior to launching Cairn, Rob worked as an operations engineer for Lockheed Martin in their Space Systems and Aerospace divisions. Rob is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, having spent over two years building infrastructure projects in Latin America. Rob has a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College. During his occasional breaks from Cairn, Rob can be found backpacking, skiing, biking, and paddle boarding with friends, his wife Betsey, their two daughters, and their Cairn terrier, Rocco.
Adam is the Executive Director for the OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab. With over 10 years of experience in startup acceleration, small business development, and technology transfer, Adam is an expert at building initiatives that support innovators, entrepreneurs, funders, and their communities.
Adam earned his juris doctor from Duquesne University and a bachelor's degree from Penn State University.
Preston’s early career was spent in sales, marketing, business development and management for Hewlett Packard, Advanced Micro Devices, and Price Waterhouse Management Consulting Services. After that, he made the transition to Silicon Valley startups in such roles as business development, product development and information technology. Today Preston is the CEO of Five Talent Software, a Bend-based company focused on custom websites, mobile apps and custom enterprise application development.
I am the owner of Outdoor Ukulele & Guitar, which manufactures injection molded composite polycarbonate musical instruments. I've also been an Industrial Designer for 25 years, and have developed many consumer products for other companies.
Born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan I relocated to Bend in 2011. When I am not in the office you can find me on the slopes or in the woods.
Chris Kratsch is the founder of The Robert Axle Project. A bicycle component and accessory manufacturer producing solutions which inspire travelers, families and commuters to use their modern bikes for local adventures or trips around the world. His background is in account management, forecasting and sales experience in the outdoor industry with Metolius Climbing additional experience in manufacturing while at Outback Manufacturing.
Andy is co-owner of Pure Polish Products. Pure Polish is his sixth company as owner or founder. As a serial entrepreneur, he has run companies in tech consulting, marketing, education, and sports. He was pitcher and CEO of the 6-man team that founded SherpaDash (an analytics & conversion-reporting software for small businesses) which won Startup Weekend in Corvallis, 2009. Andy has also consulted over 100 businesses and government institutions on marketing and development. His Masters Degree is in Sport Psychology, yielding from a long career as a competitive cyclist. He has also participated on the international stage in the World Championships of Poker at the WSOP Main Event.
Affton is the CEO and Founder of Broken Top Brands, a Bend based company curating soy candles, lotions, soap, linen sprays and more. Founded in 2015 in her small kitchen, the company has grown to its current state in a 10,000 sq foot manufacturing facility in Bend, and a tight knit crew of 27 staff members that now make up the growing company. Affton found success in pitching to key wholesale accounts starting locally, and now features her products in Macy’s, Whole Foods, Crate and Barrel, and more, maintaining sustainable packaging and plant-based ingredients along the way!
If you were to meet her person, she’d tell you the following: She’s a mother of three, has an immense love for tacos, paddle boarding, hitting the gym, and spending as much time with family and friends as humanly possible.
More than an inventor, Niki is a 'product guy' and lives for designing, developing, and launching new products into the world. Niki’s expertise stems from almost twenty years in design, development, and management of consumer products in multiple industries. His background in engineering and business has prepared him to problem solve at all stages of the product launch process.
On most days you can find Niki in and around the high desert of Bend, Oregon testing gear, brainstorming ideas, and taking his family beyond their comfort level.