Friday, December 16, 2011


Loving the holiday season this year. Fortunately, the usual junk food has arrived by the masses so we can all put on a little insulation during the cold. Mike looked at me the other day wolfing down a maple bar and just shook his head. C'mon Mike, who doesn't love a maple bar? I dragged butt the rest of the day, leaving a wake of sticky crumbs in what can only be described as a sugar induced coma circle. Can't wait for tomorrow's truffles!

So much work to do for the upcoming move. Planning, preparation, purging, procrastinating. Not necessarily in that order. Hopefully the usual quiet time around the holidays will give us some much needed catch up time. That is, of course, if we don't stuff our cranial orifice with high fructose corn syrup. Either way, I love the holidays and look forward to time with family and friends, co-workers and clients. Thanks again for a great year! Now pass the egg nog!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tacky Santa, and Carson, WA

What is it with inflatable Santa? Today I saw one with Santa in a helicopter. What the heck? When did Santa get a Sikorsky? Did I miss something, or did turning 40 turn me into a stodgy old man? On the street next to us, it's Santa in a wife-beater tank holding a brewski... Hope that was after his flight... People, just because Wal-Mart sells it doesn't mean you are obligated to buy it! They're NOT cute, trust me. My wife just pointed out how nice it is to see them flat all day, too, like poop on a lawn, in technicolor. There's a lawn fashion faux pas crisis people! Help!

One step closer to a new location - planning stages on the building for expansion in Carson. Looking forward to a facility we can continue to grow in!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 10 Thanksgiving List

Top 10 things I am thankful for:

10. My dog.
9. The Twilight Series - Nothing better than pastie vamps acting poorly.
8. Congress - There are more ridiculously inept people than I!
7. US Armed Forces - Thanks for your service...
6. Jim Harbaugh. 9-1, 'nuff said.
5. Legos
4. Bull trout
3. Morgan Freeman's voice
2. Turkeys
1. My family and friends

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Moving soon!

Well, we have been hard at work looking for a new location to house LUSB. For almost 15 months we have been making offers, viewing locations, and assessing our needs for future growth and stability. While we haven't firmed up our ultimate choice, we are close to making a commitment on a new location not far from where are now. Stay tuned. The one thing I know for sure - it will be a much welcome move from where we are now as the space has become very confined... target date for a move is 1st quarter...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It has been a long week. I just returned from China on a whirlwind trip of factory visits and meetings that were highly productive. Although I will count the trip as a major success for us, I truly walked the streets of China with a heavy heart, thinking about our beloved Joe. Often times I would reminisce about our foolish behavior in the office, or count the many successful programs he and I worked on. It is difficult to lose a friend, a coworker, and a moral compass like Joe. His spirit will continue to live in all of us at the office. His smile will continue to infect us all.

Joe might not have liked visiting China. We ate frogs, duck blood soup, eel - you name it. It was all good, enjoyed every minute! I am not sure Joe would have liked that part. Traveling in a taxi most places is always an adventure there. Almost a disaster in waiting. I don't think he would have enjoyed that at all. Sometimes the toilets are not like ours - again, might have been hard to see Joe thinking those were OK. What Joe would have loved was the adventure, the unknown, and the experience of it all. The great thing was, he was with me the whole time. His spirit travels well...

Overall, time heals the grief we feel when we have loss. I think in some ways, this last trip was the best thing for me this week, allowing me some alone time with Joe in my heart, and some reflections on how he has affected my life. I have to learn to appreciate the time I did have with my friend, and not focus on the time I might not. Thanks again, Joe, for the friendship. I think about it, and you, every day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Loving Memory of Joe Vacossin

We are saddened to announce the passing of Joe Vacossin, our brother here at LUSB. Joe will always be with us. We love you Joe.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm a Parent

Sometimes I screw up. Simple as that. When the time comes for a logical, comforting lesson to be taught it is often replaced with a combative eruption of parental angst. Can't help it, sorry for the occasional messy verbiage aimed at the heart of my two youngsters. My patience, and my temperature, can sometimes overheat. I wonder how many of those times are remembered vs. the times I am truly compassionate and instructive.

I'll be taking on some meditation this next week. Heading to China on Saturday to see factories and thought I might consider resting the mind since I won't have the home duties, perhaps saunter over to a monastery and have the monks revisit my temperament. An oil change and new air filter (poor use of terms in China) could be good for me, heh?

Do you folks ever lose it once in a while? Not often, just that one time that you know it is building like a water balloon stretched to its limit, close to bursting, then the massive eruption. It's like slow motion - you know it is coming but you can't stop it! Like a car accident. Lays out in front of you like barf after a bender, full viewing of the mess you created. Well, time to clean up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Departing

It was just over one year ago my friend, colleague, travel pal, sage advisor, hunting partner, co-worker, and brother in Spirit was diagnosed with yet another bout of cancer. His journey and trial has been difficult to say the least. His cancer has been mischevious, hiding out from view and then pouncing on his faculties. There is nothing good to be said for this disease. It is sad to watch it sap the life from good people, disabling their daily activities, placing them in a state of anxiety, and sometimes fear, and in some cases taking them from this life and placing them in Heaven.

I sincerely wish there would be a cure for this disease found, so we could take away this injustice.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall is here...

The leaves are beginning their metamorphosis. Got a bunch of them on the ground already, with every day a few more turning to a shade of yellow. I love fall, the cool evenings, and the chance to find a silver in the river...

LUSB has a whole slew of events happening right now - The International Quilt Market for Bluefig is around the corner at the end of October. GOTE is traveling the NW with the Last Rooster Standing roadshow. LUSB is launching a competition for a customer-designed bag. Lots of things to prepare for so get your game face on. Interested in learning more? Give us a call. 1-800-688-6442

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Measure twice, cut once...

I will never be able to stress the importance of test and evaluation. Over the last year I have been challenged with projects that have not been adequately tested, resulting in changes to the basics of a project that derail the ability for immediate success of a product. Oversight is common, however, blatant disregard for proper consideration of function and form in a new product is often suicidal for a product launch. More often than not a new project is rushed to market well before it is ready, resulting in costs, both financial and opportunity, that cannot be accounted for and an eventual loss beyond whatever could normally be expected.

So the moral to my story is - Test your great idea thoroughly before you think you should be making money from it, then test it again to make sure.


Terrible memories of a horrific tragedy and day. But knowing we are a strong, resilient, and passionate country reminds me that we will persevere through such events, perhaps wiser and potentially more diligent than before.

I am thankful to live in the US, and I appreciate the country for the principles it was founded on. I may disagree with the politics of the day, but after careful consideration, there is no place I would rather live.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fire in the Hills

Those of us living west of Mt. Hood were greeted yesterday with orange-brown haze of wildfire drifting across the gorge and clogging our senses with the distinct odor of wood-fueled smoke. It's fire season, and the alert is sent out to all of us to live smart and tread lightly near areas prone to fire. In the last three weeks the grasses have become crisp and golden brown, ready to ignite from a careless spark or ember, and the potential for a mass burn grows daily until the fall rains submit their offering, which is some time from now.

Bless those fire fighters that work 18 hour days working the lines, risking injury and tempting fate daily in their rugged pursuit of battling an encroaching fire.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Update on little dude...

Little Dude has appendicitis, thus the vomiting and perpetual pain. At Doernbecher tonight, surgery in the AM. Prayers for a safe surgery and recovery....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Sickness

So our little dude is sick as heck today, and I have come down with a head cold. Now that summer has finally arrived in the NW (it was 88F today) we've decided to get sick. Love it. Way to go out with a bang.

Why is it the late summer cold strikes just when I might get out and swing a fly this weekend? Why, I ask? Since I don't med-up often I typically ride these out, challenging my sinuses with brutal workouts to try to sweat it out. I always feel better when I do, so I know where I am off to first thing in the AM. By about 9am I will be tired and groggy, and then ready for a nap. Oh well... Doubt I'll be worth much tomorrow.

Quick update - Our outstanding sales pro, Joe, has once again experienced a setback in his fight. Joe fell Tuesday night and broke his hip, undergoing surgery last night to repair the bone and looks like a few weeks of rehab. Joe, we love you and wish you well...

New Bluefig site launches sometime next week. Awesomeness abounds!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


There's something cool about Bremerton. Standing at the Kitsap Convention Center, overlooking the Sinclair Inlet, Navy vessels on both sides staring down the glow from the sunset. Cool breeze blowing and seagulls crying. Just a neat picture.

I love to visit Seattle. Riding the ferries across the sound from town to town, smelling the sea air and watching time move slowly. I grew up fishing with my dad near San Francisco, the remotely familiar scent of Puget Sound reminds me of those days. Wrangling salmon and being exhausted after 10 hours near the Farallons. Now every time I visit Seattle I think of those times, and a slight smile comes to my face.

Visited a client in SODO Wednesday. Boy, is there a lot going on in our industry near Safeco and that area. Love to visit and sometimes hate to leave.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


LUSB is continuing LEAN manufacturing activities. This is continual improvement folks, not a short term cycle of events, but a long term investment in our future. It means that as we grow bigger, we are better equipped to deliver goods and services in a more efficient manner. Now I must say, the skepticism around the office was somewhat overwhelming. Change is hard, people dislike change. I am guilty of it, too, but give credit to the team - They have taken it on like a freight train through a desert. Whatever that means.

Any interest in LEAN for your business? Try checking in with the Columbia River Economic Development Council. They assisted us and it sure makes the transition easier!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Becoming a Hooligan

Somehow I have become a soccer hooligan.

I have coached and admired kids playing soccer for a few years now, and while my youth was spent at 49er games in S.F. admiring Joe Montana, I have found a vigorous passion for the game of futbol. I am glued to the tube, if I haven't carped tix from a friend, to watch the Timbers run the pitch against the latest foe. I am studying the players, the way I once studied the 49ers' player roster, and I am engrossed in the 107ist (you'll need to look that up.)

Granted, the MLS has a long way to go in terms of quality of play, however, the league is scoring huge wins along the way to becoming a mainstay sport in the US, where it was once relegated to Saturday mornings with moms in minivans, or so the cliche goes.

My sincere hope is that soccer does gain more prominence in the US - Not because I want a more 'Euro' lifestyle, but because I have truly learned to admire the game and the and the passion the fans carry for it. If you have a chance to attend a Timbers game, you'll know what I mean. The Timbers Army sings and chants from an hour before the game to well into the night. It is a sight to see, and a pleasure to experience and participate in.

When I root I root for the Timbers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oslo, Amy Winehouse, and Katy Perry

Another sick mind terrorizes the world, this time in Norway. So sorry to see this news...

I can only believe the answer to terrorism is education. Perhaps not the education we in the US consider, but simple education for those that have no access to it. Any education can and would deter such mindless acts by offering a constructive outlet for which one can pursue. In some cases, such as this one in Oslo, nothing may have prevented a deranged psychopath from committing to a heinous act, however, for the scores of ignorant that follow false leaders of terrorist groups into insane suicide missions, attacks on the innocent, and other ridiculously ill-founded strikes across the world, there is most likely a method in which to teach some basic human fundamentals along with some practical career choices.A positive example of such an effort is with Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute. If you haven't already, read 'Three Cups of Tea,' his book about his call to educate those that had no access to formal education.

I read that Amy Winehouse was found dead this morning. Not a surprise, however, a sad testament to those who become addicted. What led this talented young person to this fate? Was it access to drugs? A lousy childhood? I most likely won't try to find out, however, I can only imagine that those around her did not help the situation, rather enabled her into a life of chemical dependence. Maybe that's the wrong assumption? Maybe she desired it to hide from acts like those in Norway?

My wife and I attended a Katy Perry concert last night. Not where most would believe me to spend a Friday night. I have to admit, I was impressed with the young lady's performance and her natural ability to entertain a crowd of 12k screaming Portlanders. It was a an excellent show overall, with a lot of entertainment coming from the crowd itself. Not sure why I posted this at all. Baby, you're a firework.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


In Spokane today, hijacking a colleague's desk to write while I wait for his exit from a staff meeting. Love this town. Cool architecture, history, landscape. Working on some great product with his team to launch for their fall collection.

I am not a good traveler. I got it from my mom. I hide it well, though, so I don't scare my kids and wife at the aeropuerto. I wiggle in my seat. I always have to pee. I get hungry in front of snack bins, creating a carbfest that produces a pseudo-diabetic coma. I sit on one cheek too long and exit with a new curve to my spine.

I think airports are cool, though. Totally fun people-watching and a great place to pick up the latest strain of the flu. I like the idea that at any time the plane could crash. Keeps you on your toes, or, cheek.

I was once in an airport in China where my temperature was taken 4 times before I got my baggage. Fortunately, they use forehead scanners, and not a posterior probe. That would have been interesting. The lady in 23C would not have taken well to that. I don't think the scanner would have, either.

Anyway, would much rather travel by car to be honest. I like to see the countryside and explore the small towns along the way. I can also stop to pee whenever I want, which is good. And I don't need my temperature taken.

Hopefully can stop in to see an old friend today if time permits. Nature's Pet Markets in Spokane and Nine Mile. Support your local pet stores!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blogging Help & Dogging Yelp

My 12-year-old son is assisting me this evening in updating the blog design. Somewhat surprising to me, he began his own blog recently, and of course, he already has a better design on his than I have here. Whatever.

We bought our dog an automatic throw-&-fetch machine. He was scared of it. He barked at it, then whined, then barked again. My wife says she will train him to use it. If she succeeds she wins the Nobel Peace Prize for canine rehabilitation. If the dog resists, we have something to pawn at the next neighborhood garage sale.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Show

For about 4 years now we have had the idea of putting ourselves on the road in a more intimate manner. Today we took that first step - We partnered with our friends at Northwood Mfg., makers of Nash, Arctic Fox, etc. in La Grande Or. to get our little road show going. Beginning this fall, we will be hitting the road in the NW taking our team to different retail locations to showcase our product and hold some dealer activities. I am so excited to get this going after thinking about it for so long - Keep an eye out for the LUSB teardrop swinging by soon! As the trailer is equipped we'll post pictures for you to view, and updates on where we will be!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Time for Innovation

Tonight I was blessed to have a young man hang out in the office who truly inspired. This young gent startled me with some deep understanding of physics, and then proclaimed he struggled to get through algebra! What I left with was some hope that great minds are being nourished still, and perhaps the entitlement generation is not all spoiled by the proverbial rotten apple. We're getting ready for some great innovation, and folks like this will be a critical part of our growth.

Look for some great new products being delivered from Last US Bag soon. We've got an incredible lineup coming for the wind and safety product line, and the GOTE semi-not-quite-nationwide-trailer-tow-tour hits the road in August!

Check our HighKey Camera. Great company and cool product overall.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm number 1!

I left work Thursday evening at about 6pm. Same route home as is usual, traveling onto SR500 towards 205. The normal merge game began, with each car jockeying for position in the general direction they were headed. As I moved ahead of a merging small passenger car, a horn blared, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the driver telling me I was number 1! It's great to be loved.

Still not sure what this disgruntled yahoo was upset about. Perhaps he had never driven an on-ramp before? Or maybe, he lost his teddy bear. Whatever the case, people need to chill out on the road. You're not the only one out there you know...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Rolling Stone

2:30 AM Tuesday morning. My wife turns on the light, enters the bathroom, and proceeds to tell me her side hurts. Within 10 minutes she is buckled over, nearing tears, breathing heavy and nausea taking hold. 5 minutes later it is clear she needs some medical attention. We call my sis-in-law and ask if she can come over to stay with the kids for a few hours while we rush to the hospital. I start thinking about appendicitis, food poisoning, plagues, etc. and what the heck is causing my dear wife so much agony. Hop in the car and drive.

The emergency room was fairly vacant, with the exception of an overly odoriferous fella who was cross-eyed and loopy. Steered clear of said dude. Got her into a waiting room, where she paced for a half hour, sort of crying, but not quite, and obviously in a lot of discomfort. Eventually, after a CT scan, some pain meds, and some other thing I won't mention here, she relaxed a little bit, but not totally. Numerous texts were shuttling between sis-in-law and I about kid duty, etc. I jettisoned home once a room was assigned and got the kids off to school. Not sure what we would do without sis. I take back anything negative I have ever said. For now. ;)

My poor wife. For the next 12 hours all she did was barf and wretch in pain. She is a trooper, and took on that kidney stone for some time till it rolled into a better position, we think. Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quilt Market

Bluefig was on the road this last weekend in Salt Lake City. Over 3 days we met lots of new dealers and made some new friends, while getting to know some of our long-time dealers even better! We offered a sneak preview of our new 4-wheeled traveler case, set to be shipping in the fall.

Was a pleasure to have dinner at Cafe Molisse with Tom and Tammy Rice of Textile Endeavors. They cover the Midwest states for us and are doing a wonderful job. I was happy to see them and finally meet Tammy face-to-face. If you are fortunate enough to know them, then you know what I am talking about!

Saw some very interesting new product at the show - seems like this next year is going to be a good one in the home arts...

Visited Park City Olympic Park - VERY cool. Did you know you can ride in a bobsleigh there? Seriously! Although the attendant warned me it was not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, it was closed until after Memorial weekend, so I did not get to test my skills in the sleigh... Soon they will be practicing the aerial jumps into the pool as well, and the ski jump will be rockin' too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Congrats to Pat!

Our good friend Pat Thompson has moved on to pursue a great opportunity, one that will surely challenge and utilize his unique and broad skill set. We wish Pat the best and know he will make his new home better for being there. He is a good man... Good luck navigating California!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bummer News...

We tried long and hard to make the Camas PO our new home, but in the end, it was just short of a workable solution for LUSB. I was bummed to have to pass on this opportunity and looked forward to working with the City of Camas, the local merchants, and the surrounding community on establishing our new base of operations. Alas, it was not meant to be. We will continue the search soon...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mom's Day!

All our best to the Moms out there that help create and shape our lives. We love you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Week at LUSB

What a week! LUSB finished a LEAN training series that is certainly going to increase our efficiencies. We wish to thank Mark McGrath, our LEAN Champ, for his hard work and efforts in getting through this initial phase of 'Get The Waste Out 2011.'

I am still in awe of all of the natural disasters occurring. The people along the Mississippi River, the ravaged Japanese, the southern tornado victims, etc. I wish all that are affected some peace during these terrible times. All the more reason for each and every one of us to be prepared when nature strikes...

Our screen printing operation is up and running. This has been an initiative of mine for over 2 years - good to see it moving forward. Now, who needs t-shirts?!!!!

I was told yesterday that Timberline might stay open until August this year as the snow pack is enormous! Skiing on July 4th? Now that's cause to celebrate!

Congrats to Brandon Gallawa, my cousin-in-law, for guessing the correct answer. Now I need to send he and his lovely wife and daughters a gift!

Salt Lake City next week for International Quilt Market. Can't wait to check out this city I have never been to!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Impending Move and a Riddle!

So, The Columbian decided to post an article that claimed LUSB was buying the Camas Post Office. While we are seriously considering this location as a potential move for our admin and offices, it is far from a done deal as reported. Basically, we agreed to the price and offer, but we still have a bunch of work to do to find out if it is a viable location for us. Unfortunately, inspections and occupancy investigation cannot occur until the parties agree to an offer, so here we go...

The Camas PO has a lot of interesting features, and some inherent benefits to us, however we will continue to evaluate our interest based on what occurs in the next few weeks. So stay tuned... There is no shortage of available property on the market!

We have begun our LEAN training for 2011! Mark McGrath is our LEAN champion, and he will be working hard to redesign how and what we do internally. Go Mark!

In addition, Rob Hicks has been hired as VP of Tactical Markets. Rob's resume reads like a state department press release - full of info I don't understand, and am not allowed to understand. We'll leave it at that!

Here's our first riddle for you all. If you answer correctly, you win a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks and one of our cool dog GoBowls...

Q: A seller sells it, and doesn't need it.
A buyer buys it, but doesn't use it.
A user uses it, but never sees it.

What is it?

Post your answers in the comment section.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Whoa, Nellie!

When the S&P downgrades your credit rating, do you think the politicos might respond with a bit of caution? Nah, why? What, me worry? Silly rabbit, ratings are for kids!

If the fiscal disaster that is our government doesn't truly resolve to solve their hemorrhage of not-yet-printed-nor-actually-even-real cash, then maybe we deserve to be sent back to econ grammar school. That vacuum sound isn't just taxpayer clams, it is the sucking sound of politicians playing smoke and mirrors with their constituents and fancy accounting lingo.

I don't buy talk. Try again. We'll be here waiting, hostage.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Top Secret Mission Confirmed

That's right, we're on a top secret mission right now... Can't say what it's for, but I can tell you it's a big hit for LUSB. Good job team, we're proud of all of you!

Next up, finding a new home for LUSB. Should know more by end of April...

New LUSB site coming very soon, maybe even this weekend...

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Barely spring in the NW, still searching for sunshine. The elusive season of flowering bulbs and chirping birds seems to be hiding around the proverbial corner. Come on spring, let loose. We got some playin' to do up here along the Columbia...

In other news, the salmon are slowly making their way through the Columbia. Lots of boats out fishing lately looking for a springer...

Upland bird hunting season ends in a few days. Bummer we only got out once this year to chase a rooster or two...

Working on a huge project - top secret stuff involving clandestine operations, black helicopters, spy cameras, etc. Would tell you but would have to, well, you know. Look for an announcement sometime soon if it goes public at all...

Other than that, Bluefig is poised to launch a HUGE new product at spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City. Be there or be square.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I am still mesmorized, and horrified, of images and videos from Japan 10 days ago. Please God help those poor folks and find some healing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Shamrock Run tomorrow in PDX... Who's running????

If you see my green bandana whizzing by, send me a pic and get free stuff from Bluefig.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Was it not just a month or so ago that 'hate rhetoric' was alerted on all networks as being condemned? Was it not alerted to the public that all of us were not to use speech that might remotely suggest violence or aggression?

Then why on earth, with all of the protesters across our country, are we hearing BOTH sides of the argument using similar tones? A union official called for 'blood spilled' in the streets, while a GOP supporter suggests 'taking them out.'

When do we practice what we preach, and how short are our memories, after all?

Somewhat pathetic, don't you think?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Road Show

We left Vegas in the dust on Friday, driving to Alturas late for a short rest, then hammered the pavement early Saturday to make a break for home. The show was a huge success as we launched a whole line of economic rolling bags and displayed our new trade show booth for Bluefig. One thing is for sure - Color is king!

I love driving long distance. Road trips have always been one of my favorite activities. It is one thing to fly to a location for vacation, but to really know the landscape and get a feel for it, you have to drive. Passing through small towns, hamlets, disheveled settlements, etc., there are so many unique and wonderful kernels to uncover. These small towns offer so much of America to discover, and an opportunity to learn something about our short history is always entertaining.

On the way to Vegas, we passed many landscape features, man-made landmarks, and assorted oddities that I came home with a list of things to explore via Internet, always considering a future visit. Of particular note:

Alturas, CA.
Most probably pass right through this sleepy little Ag town, but you may want to stop a moment and consider its history. The history so rich and dramatic here, any passerby would be foolish not to slow down and learn a bit. Here the Modoc tribe lived for hundreds of years, and of particular note, Captain Jack's stronghold - a natural fort where the Modocs held off the army for over 5 months. Not far from here, Lava Beds National Monument resides, just outside of town a dozen or so miles and visible from the highway for a time while passing through. Caves, lava formations, and considerable exploration opportunities await.

Tonopah & Goldfield, NV
These two old mining towns were once major population centers, believe it or not. Tonopah, known for it's rich silver mines, and Goldfield, a high volume gold producer, began the 20th century in true prospector style, growing to large populations rapidly before submitting to the ill fate so many boom towns ultimately succumbed to. Of particular note, check out the amazing architecture in Goldfield's downtown, and the cool mining towers overlooking Tonopah. A great place to see history and how the west developed.

Beatty, NV
The Gateway to Death Valley, this little hustle and bustle town lay at the eastern entrance to one of my favorite places on earth. A great place to check in, fuel up, and take a drink before making the grade into the Valley of Death...

While gas prices soar and summer turns up the heat, consider making a trip to the desert this spring to see the many jewels it offers. You won't be disappointed. While I am not a fan of Vegas (no disrespect, of course), I am definitely delighted to have made my way there in a fashion that I could learn a few things along the way.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I try not to play hooky from work often. In fact, I rarely take time off during the week for much of anything, even Dr. appointments. Yesterday was the exception. My 12 year old son and I traveled through the Columbia River Gorge en route to Mt. Hood. We were set on trekking across Timberline Lodge and snowshoeing a few miles on Timberline's dedicated trails, and it was just what we anticipated.

Perfect day for shoeing, light snow falling, temp around 28 degrees, and soft airy snow throughout the trail system. We hiked about 4 miles total, not a huge number, but for Noah's first trip I was thrilled to get that far without complaint. In fact, he enjoyed every minute of it and could have done more most likely. I think I have a partner for this activity from here on out. Word to the wise, it is not flat, and you do share the trail at times with snowboards and skis.

I have to put yesterday behind me now and get ready for a road trip to the VDTA trade show. Packing up the trade show booth today and heading out Monday. Doubt I'll get any snowshoeing in next week! ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Saw lots of old friends tonight at the Sportsman Show. Of note, I ran into Dean Crouser - A remarkable artist, athlete, and gentleman. His art can be viewed at Please support his remarkable efforts!

Spent time working with Jeff and Jennifer DuPont at the Youth Outdoor Adventures booth and Wild Winds Ranch. Jeff and Jenn host hundreds of youth in the summer for adventure camps that teach the principles of the outdoors. This hard working team is ceaseless in their efforts to get kids off the couch and into the field! Support them by visiting

From a conservation standpoint, CCA is always at the forefront. I applaud their efforts and hard work to restore and conserve our outdoor heritage. Support theirs efforts at

For those of us that grew up with a backpack on hitting the trail, or those that learned a family tradition in the field, we know what it is to appreciate nature to its fullest. Our natural world is a wonder, and to experience it with family and friends builds memories that will never be forgotten. Time to get off that couch, drop the remote and game controller, and hustle outside for some fresh air, wildlife, and exhilirating landscapes.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Big C

Some months back our good friend Joe was diagnosed with cancer. While I wrote a few pieces on this, I thought I would follow up with an update on how my dear friend is doing...

Joe's a trooper. Chemo, radiation, doctor visits, discomfort, shots, and countless other issues that arise when cancer becomes a 'lifestyle' have tormented my dear friend, but he pushes through with a smile, a strong faith, and a positive attitude in spite of it all. I cannot begin to tell you how much I admire him for being a model of what one should be when faced with difficult circumstances.

Joe's resting at home some days, coming to the office as he feels fit to, and generally just getting through the multiple treatments he goes through. I pray constantly for his good health. Love you Joe.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Additions!

Hello All!

Thought I would announce some new additions to the team!

Joining us as Sales and Marketing Coordinator is Bret Vorhees. Bret's a U of O grad with a degree in bean counting and an avid outdoor enthusiast. Bret will oversee the internal workings of and carry the torch in accounting. Sorry about the championship game, kid...

From way up north (well, Seattle) we have added Marty Michalson as Director of BizDev. Marty is a client's dream, always thorough and excellent on delivering beyond your expectations. I've known Marty for years and we are thrilled to have him on board...

Look for a great written piece on these two gents in our upcoming newsletter!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Plan, and how to execute...

Came across an important life lesson this last month - Planning and a diligent, meticulous detail focus, while cumbersome, pay off with a result that meets your expectations.

Sure enough, in my haste to develop a project in a tight but reasonable time frame, I failed to cross every T and dot each I. This produced an end result that was less than spectacular, not entirely ready for prime time, short of sufficient, but far from disaster. What did occur, however, is a renewed vigor toward the planning stages and an increased focus on the details that will make it a success. It's the old adage - measure twice, cut once.

I've got to tell you that the details bore me. I get through them in my head faster than I can put them to paper, and sometimes, like this time, it bites me in the rear. It's a blessing and a curse - the ability to mentally develop and conceptualize, but the inability to write it out in detail so another can execute. I have to get better at this...

Next time you see me moving too fast on something, tell me to slow down...

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Sad to see the finger pointing over who is to blame for such a heinous crime, beyond the perp himself. I have been reading for hours this morning the personal blogs of the shooter, the media reaction from both sides, and the unfortunate opinion of 'why' this happened by so many. Is there socially negligent behaviour at play? Very tough to answer succinctly, but very easy to slip to tangential theory. Philosophy classes taught that initial emotional reactions were often fueled with the same vengeance and malice that may have incited the original acts, so please, everyone, slow down.

Prayers to the families of the victims.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year!

A wonderful two weeks we've had with the boys home from school. Time to see friends, family, and share in the holiday spirit. I was thinking recently that this spirit should truly be carried the entire year, instead of just for a few short weeks surrounding Christmas and the New Year. So the challenge I set forth is how to carry it through the rest of the year, and keep a healthy spirit alive when no one might normally expect it.

We are setting forth on our move to a larger facility soon. We have our eyes and minds set on building a world class manufacturing facility near Stevenson, WA while building our administration center in the Portland metro area. We'll expand our employee base dramatically in Stevenson, and hopefully grow by serving the underutilized area as we expand. A big ambitious project, but one we are excited about...

Also, and are both being renovated right now - take a look at those changes as they develop. I think you'll like what we are doing...