July 14, 2010

The Portland Center for Design and Innovation, Inc., (PCDI), identified as a catalytic initiative in the City of Portland’s Economic Development Strategy, has been incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and has elected its first officers: Sia Vossoughi, Ziba Design, President; Scott Davidson, Lane Powell, Secretary; and Dan O’Leary, Geffen Mesher, Treasurer.

A materials resource library will be PCDI’s first initiative, providing Portland and West Coast design firms with access to sustainable and cutting edge materials for a variety of applications, from activewear to architecture, which will spur innovation and increased competitiveness. A complementary online database will augment the physical library with detailed information about materials, pricing, sources, and manufacturing contacts.

Applauding the launch, Mayor Sam Adams said, “Access to PCDI will further position the Portland region globally as a center of design excellence. It will be invaluable in helping innovators and entrepreneurs stay competitive. It will change the playing field for small and medium-sized design businesses, the backbone of the Portland economy. And PCDI will provide inspiration for large companies as well to explore the use of materials in new, interesting and exciting ways.”“PCDI will encourage collaboration and a cross-disciplinary approach across industries including product design, architecture, interior and landscape design, footwear and apparel design,” added Sia Vossoughi, Ziba Design. “It will be a destination where designers at all levels and business sizes — particularly smaller, independent or start-up companies — can explore innovative uses of both existing and new materials.”

The organization has also launched a national search for an executive director, assisted by Portland-based talent advisors Roy Notowitz, Notogroup and Steve Potestio, Potestio.

The Portland Development Commission (PDC) has reserved $1.1 million in River District Urban Renewal Area funds to serve as a placeholder for a potential tenant/building improvement loan until a specific site for the project is identified. PDC has also committed $50,000 toward start-up operations and site selection with an industry match provided by PCDI founding members. PCDI, with PDC help, is pursuing funding through federal, state and regional grant opportunities, industry sponsorships and donations.

PCDI holds significant potential for both small designers and Portland’s biggest players. Ann Desimone of Nike said, “The PCDI has the potential to encourage designers to use more innovative and sustainable materials by providing connectivity across multiple design disciplines in the Portland area. With a focus on sustainable materials, the PCDI will be a fantastic way for design businesses to make positive decisions and lead by example with their material choices.”

The formation of the PCDI is a significant milestone for the city’s strategic support of Portland’s activewear and design industry – an initiative which also includes the creation of an online industry directory launched in April and a genealogy map slated for release this fall, which will show the evolution of the industry in Portland and Oregon, and track the connections among the region’s long-established companies and more recent arrivals and spin-offs.

The other members of the PCDI Board of Directors are: Jamie Bainbridge, Nau; John Bradley, R&H Construction; Frances Bronet, University of Oregon; Ann Desimone, Nike; Bill Dieter, Terrazign; Lani Hayward, Umpqua Bank; Jennifer Nolfi, PDC; Barbara Sestak, Portland State University; and Jan Willemse, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca.

Questions about the executive director search should be directed to Steve Potestio, 503-740-7803 or steve@potestio.com