Kurt Huffman


 

Company: Chefstable

Profile:
Kurt Huffman is a Portland boy, born and raised. It’s not that he’s being coy when he describes his restaurant group ChefStable as “a small company.” It’s that he gets what Portland is all about: chef-driven, independent concepts. He applies his experience to assure that every time ChefStable works with a new partner that the chef's vision remains sacred.   The goal is that the final shape and identity of the restaurant proves to be a true reflection of this vision.  And it has paid off. From James Beard-nominated Aaron Barnett's St. Jack to Greg and Gabi Denton's Ox and Rick Gencarelli’s casual sandwich shop Lardo, things have gone well.

The seed of the business began at Huffman’s first cooking class, when he was 10 years old. Four years later, he was working as a dishwasher and grill cook at Fat City Café in Multnomah Village. He would go on to study at UC Berkeley, but at 25 he found himself in Scotland, balancing rugby and a good amount of beer drinking with a master's degree in law from the University of Glasgow. He had beer in mind when a French friend asked him to collaborate on a business in Lyon, France. They settled on a brewery, “because it’s such an obvious thing to do at 25.” It turned into a gastropub called Ninkasi. By the time Huffman left France, there were five locations.

He returned to his hometown of Portland and founded ChefStable in 2008, with the mission to open culinary concepts geared toward the vision of individual chefs. From there the business has grown mostly by word of mouth and continues to get bigger everyday.

Midori Karasawa

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Company: STYLE GUIDE ID Company

Languages: Japanese and English

Born and raised in Tokyo Japan, Midori came to Portland to attend the University of Portland. Upon graduation, Midori started her long-term career at Nike in Tokyo and Beaverton. Midori brings a unique perspective to the Portland design community with her creative vision, merchandising expertise, and solid business acumen acquired from 25 years of apparel product marketing/merchandising at NIKE, GAP and Columbia Sportswear. 

Over the years, she has developed strong expertise and passion in how consumers engage with brands through captivating retail experiences and how environmental design plays a key role in establishing that relationship. In 2016, she founded her own design firm offering a full-service commercial interior design services focusing on retail and restaurant. Her firm approaches the environment design starting from brand identity development and integrates the brand DNA into interiors to ensure brand identity is kept intact throughout the design process and the interiors reflect the brand and create an emotional connection with customers. 
 

 

Michelle Battista


 

Portfolio: Stockpot Collective, The Nightwood Society
Instagram: @smallsuppers

Profile: Bringing people and ideas together has always been at the heart of what drives Michelle Battista. She built her reputation in the design and marketing world with international brands, including Walt Disney World and Adidas, then struck out on her own to start a creative consultancy in 2001. 

In 2014, she opened the gathering space, Elder Hall, with the intent of connecting people around a table while breaking bread, sharing stories, and cooking up new ideas. Then in 2015, she launched Stockpot Collective, a community of creative thinkers and professional storytellers. In October 2017 she launches The Nightwood Society which is a women-owned and operated event space and creative studio. The goal is to present the intersection of food and design, to activate every sense, and immerse people in each experience. 

Each of these endeavors circles back to her desire to bring together the right mix of people and ideas for inspired collaborations. While food may seem like an unusual move for someone who went to fashion school and built marketing strategies for big brands, she feels right at home in this space. 

Nat West


 

Company: Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider

Portfolio: http://reverendnatshardcider.com/

Profile: Nat West is a craft cider revolutionary who started Reverend Nat's Hard Cider in his basement in 2011 and continues to dedicate his time there as Founder, Owner, Cidermaker and President. Known for his unusual American ciders and love of experimentation, Nat has created some of the most unusual ciders than no one else will make including unique products like the multiple-fermented Revival, dry-hopped Hallelujah Hopricot, quinine-bittered Deliverance Ginger Tonic and many barrel-aged and one-off ciders. In the past four years, Nat has grown the business from 1 employee operating out of his basement to 18 employees with distribution up and down the West Coast and all the way to Japan.

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Parker and James Fitzgerald


 

Company: Ransom LTD

Portfolio:  http://ransomltd.com

Profile: Parker and James Fitzgerald are co-founders of Ransom Limited, a photo production and creative agency headquartered in Portland, OR. With almost a decade of experience in commercial and editorial photography, Ransom works to build campaigns and sophisticated content for global companies and organizations including partners such as Nike, UNIQLO, Honda, Nikon, Margaret Howell, Levi’s, and more.

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Seth Neefus


 

Profile: https://redcloudscollective.com/

Profile: Seth was born and raised in Hudson, New York. He ended up living in Mammoth Lakes, California and some friends had started a snowboard company. They needed some help with a new website and other design projects. Within those first few months Seth designed everything from their website to products to advertisements. Being part of the design team, he got to know the world of textile design. They ended up moving their design studio to Portland, Oregon.

After about 5 years of designing clothing on the computer, he realized that he was unhappy with what he was making and stepped away from that industry because the trend and quality felt very disposable. Years down the road he started to playing around with some bag designs and other ideas for products. He bought the materials, created the patterns by hand and through trial and error taught himself how to work with the new materials. Working with leather and waxed canvas came naturally to him and felt like they worked in a way that felt very real. He wanted to make everything that was missing in his life, at least things that were more functional and better quality. Him and his friend worked together get up to speed with industrial sewing machines and basic pattern construction techniques. That was the beginning of Red Clouds Collective.

Red Clouds Collective's process is very organic. They make things they believe in and serve a purpose. Everything is brought to life through necessity. They make sure they are 110% happy with something before it is released to the world. Seth believes that Inspiration comes from living life, you have to get out and enjoy it, or get dirty and do some seriously labor intensive work. He lets life come at him and find the need to create something to make it easier and more enjoyable. Their collection of products will have a very long life and bring people happiness when it is used.

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Stacey Givens


 

Company: The Side Yard & Farm

Profile: Stacey Givens is the farmer/chef/owner of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen. Based in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, her team grows vegetables on several urban lots. She sells her harvests to nearby restaurants, in what she calls an invaluable “chef-to-chef” produce service.

Since then, Givens has also established the first 'urban' seed-to-plate catering company and supper club in the Portland area where she uses Side Yard produce, and sources from other urban farms.

Stephen D. Bloom


 

Company: Portland Japanese Garden

Profile: Stephen D. Bloom is the chief executive officer of the Portland Japanese Garden. Mr. Bloom’s background lies in dynamic management and stewardship of nonprofit organizations. Mr. Bloom is a 2015 recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation awarded by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII.  He currently serves as a friend of the U.S.-Japan Council in Washington D.C., as a board member and Treasurer of the Omomuki Foundation in New York City, Vice Chair of the Japan-America Society of Oregon,  the founding president of the North American Japanese Garden Association, and as vice president of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association. Previously, he served as president of the Honolulu Symphony and executive director of the Tacoma Symphony. Other professional positions have included employment with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Sacramento Symphony. Mr. Bloom received his BA from the State University of New York’s Crane School of Music and an executive education social innovation fellowship from the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Steven Kasprzyk


 

Portfolio: Jolby & Friends

Profile: Steven is the Business Development Manager at Jolby & Friends in Portland OR. Jolby & Friends is a multi-disciplinary creative studio building meaningful and thoughtful experiences through collaboration. Their clients include Epitaph Records, Disney, Google, Nike, Sanuk, Barista, Hopworks Brewery and more. 

 

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Tetsuya Tom Minami


 

Portfolio: http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/

Profile: Tetsuya Tom Minami was born in New Jersey, USA. After being in Osaka, Japan since he was one year old until the end of his high school career, he decided to study industrial design at California State University, Long Beach. While gaining years of experience as a freelance artist, his Lunar Design won many awards during his time in college. In 2004, he started working as Japan’s first footwear designer at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

Focusing on well-known soccer players like Neymar and Ronaldinho, he designed soccer spikes that became a popular product all over the world. In 2012, he joined the “Innovation Kitchen”, a department part of Nike’s core, to help innovate the development of next-generation products.

Tetsuya himself started playing soccer when he was just six years old, ranked 3rd nationally in Japan during high school, and was even nominated MVP player on his team at his university. This just goes to show that not only is he specialized in soccer spikes, but is experienced in the sport as well.