Leadership Award: Bruce Laird shapes Oregon's clean energy sector
By Erik Siemers
As the chief recruiter for renewable energy manufacturing firms, Bruce Laird played a key role in developing Oregon's sustainable economy.
When SoloPower Inc. opened the doors on its North Portland manufacturing plant in September, it wasn’t Bruce Laird who cut the ribbon.
That’s the job of politicians and C-level executives. They get the glory.
Laird, most likely, stood somewhere in the background, explaining to anyone who would listen why thin-film solar technology will rewrite how corporate offices are powered.
But ask anyone involved in business recruitment in Oregon and they’ll tell you this: Without Bruce Laird, Oregon’s renewable energy manufacturing cluster wouldn’t be what it is today.
“I think Bruce is one of the unsung heroes behind our having established not just a national but a worldwide reputation as a center for renewable energy and clean technology,” said Wally Van Valkenberg, a partner at Portland law firm Stoel Rives and chairman of the Oregon Business Development Commission. “Bruce is the guy who gets the deals done.”
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As the clean technology recruitment officer at Oregon Business Development Department, Laird is Oregon’s chief salesman to renewable energy companies.
It’s through him that companies like SolarWorld, Sanyo Solar, Solaicx, and others came to learn about Oregon’s clean energy friendly policies, its robust and transferable semiconductor work force, and its arsenal of incentive packages — from the once-formidable Business Energy Tax Credit to tax-friendly enterprise zones.
It’s a job he’s done pretty well.
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