Contact: Jasmine Agnor, OMEP, 503-406-3776/ or Shawn Uhlman, PDC, 503-823-7994/

March 10, 2015


The Portland Development Commission and Oregon Manufacturers Extension Partnership have joined forces to initiate the NW Manufacturers Switchboard, an online tool to increase collaboration and resource education among Oregon and southwest Washington manufacturers.

Slated to launch on Wednesday, March 11, in conjunction with the Oregon Manufacturers Summit, NW Manufacturers Switchboard is intended to spark transformation by identifying and resolving common problems, sharing best practices, and improving productivity and efficiencies.

Members of the NW Manufacturers Switchboard will be able to interact with specialized experts and resource providers quickly and take the guesswork out of finding a subcontractor or other vendor.

A Portland-based startup, Switchboard is an online forum focused on building community; participants ask for what they need and offer what they have. It’s been called next generation networking; co-founder Mara Zepeda calls it “Craigslist, but just for people you trust.”

The manufacturing industry joins a diverse collection of individuals and communities that are using Switchboard as a means of positive interaction and problem solving, from farmers marketing to new customers to recent college grads looking for jobs to travelers seeking international connections.

PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton said, “Working with OMEP members, we often see our role as connector or convener. The opportunity to collaborate on the NW Manufacturers Switchboard is the logical next step in our process to support and grow the advanced manufacturing industry sector.”

David Parry, founder and designer at OpenFab PDX, a 3-D fabricator, said, “I’m always on the lookout for local manufacturers that want to try new ways to make things. The NW Manufacturers Switchboard will help me connect with the right folks!”

Chris Scherer, OMEP president, said, “I’m really excited to offer this new OMEP Network collaboration option to the manufacturing community. Companies should be able to move forward faster with this tool at their disposal.”

About OMEP: Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a non-profit organization that aims to help Oregon manufacturers respond to the challenges of competing in an increasingly global economy.