Green Jobs Abound in Portland
So you’re considering a move to Portland to take that hot technology job. But your significant other is wondering what kind of work is available – and not sure where to start looking.
Good news! If your life partner is interested in sustainability, Portland is the place to be. With roofs of commercial buildings turned into gardens or topped with windmills and solar panels, a city code that allows for cob buildings, and commitment to mass transit, bicycles and foot travel, Portland is one of the most eco-friendly cities in America. The best part about Portland’s environmental rep? We have loads of green jobs.
Here at EnGn, we’re technology job recruiters. We know many job candidates need to think about spouses who aren’t software developers, Ruby programmers, or any other stripe of technologist we could place in a good technology job.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some Portland sustainability companies that are rising stars – and currently hiring to fill some great green jobs.
Vestas Wind Systems
Denmark-based Vestas is a leading wind turbine manufacturer with offices and production facilities all over the world. Its Portland offices are in a newly renovated historic building in the swanky Pearl District – very conveniently located for almost any nice Portland neighborhood. Vestas employs about 400 people in Portland, and is actively hiring.
Another alternative energy company, Agilyx, takes hard-to-recycle plastics and turns them into synthetic crude oil. Located in Beaverton, a small city that’s adjacent to Portland, Agilyx is a fast-growing company that landed $25 million in funding late last year. The company is looking for engineers who are passionate about helping to scale Agilyx’s solution for turning waste plastic into fuel, and helping to reduce America’s oil dependency.
SERA is an award-winning architecture firm that has helped to create Portland’s reputation for sustainable architecture and green building. The 90-employee firm is located in Portland’s vibrant Pearl District, and offers urban design and planning, interior design and consulting services, in addition to traditional architectural design services. SERA practices what it preaches, following Natural Step guidelines for office sustainability, and providing employees with incentives to use sustainable transportation for commuting to work. SERA’s robust benefits package includes multiple retirement plans and continuing education. (Speaking as technology recruiters, we know those are some serious perks!)
Ecova, a division of publicly traded Avista Corp., provides facilities management and energy management solutions that help businesses and utilities reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts, and become more sustainable. Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, Ecova employs more than 1,000 people at multiple locations around the country, including Portland. The company is growing and hiring.
Need more green jobs resources? Sustainable Business Oregon, a publication of the Portland Business Journal, has a page devoted to green jobs:
Staye tuned as we will be posting a few more blogs on other industries/clusters that could be helpful for those who are new to town.
Looking for software developer, software QA, Database Admin, Business Analyst, Network Engineering, Systems Engineering, Electrical engineering, and other technology jobs in Portland? Review our jobs by clicking below or contact us.
If you are interested in being a consultant or working with a unique Portland technical staffing firm to augment a project see our Why EnGn Page?
Bikes, gourmet food, beer, beautiful countryside…it’s all any Portland software developer could ask for. (Portland has great software jobs, too – just ask us!)
The Gourmet Century took place last weekend, launching the unofficial long-bike-ride season in Portland, Oregon. It’s been sponsored for a few years by Chris King Precision Components, a bike components manufacturer and retailer located in Northwest Portland.
For some Portland tech folks, the Gourmet Century is the premium organized ride of the summer – a chance to ride 100 kilometers of beautiful countryside, while enjoying gourmet food, beer and wine along the way.
Portland tech folks – and other bicycle-obsessed types – started the day early, with a sumptuous breakfast at Chris King headquarters, cooked by Chris King’s own chef, Robert McSpadden. (Lucky Chris King employees are fed by McSpadden every day!) Then they climbed on their bikes and rode up and over Portland’s West Hills, stopping for a snack before pedaling west.
Cyclists ascended as much as 1,000 feet in some spots to enjoy breathtaking views. The lunch, afternoon and dinner stops were catered by McSpadden, along with chefs Jason French of Ned Ludd, Chris DiMinno of Clyde Common, and John Gorham of Toro Bravo – all well-loved Portland restaurants.
In the words of one avid biker and software developer we know, “every bike ride should be in such beautiful places, and involve great food.”
Plenty of long rides for Portland software developers and I.T. Pros. [H2]
The Gourmet Century isn’t the only event that combines Portland’s biggest obsessions: bicycles, food, beer and wine:
- The Portland Century, scheduled for August 19, is a popular blend of biking, countryside, good food and beer. The Portland Century can be enjoyed as a 100-mile, 80-mile or 40-mile day, depending on your strength, stamina and ambition.
- Harvest Century – A 100-mile, 75-mile, 45-mile or 3-mile ride that starts and ends in Hillsboro, where farmland still graces the rolling hills. The ride, like other centuries, includes meals, snacks, wine and beer. Live music, too.
- Cycle Oregon is a major event – a week-long or weekend ride that’s not for the untrained or faint of heart. This year’s one-week event marks the 25th anniversary of Cycle Oregon, and it’s sold out. There’s a waiting list for the weekend ride. This is the real all-in deal, with everything laid on: not just food, but sleeping arrangements, massage and entertainment, and a route that shows off the many beauties of Oregon.
- Bridge Pedal- A celebration of urban biking, Bridge Pedal is an annual ride over Portland’s Willamette River bridges. This year’s ride is scheduled for August 12th, and it will cover all 10 bridges. Food? You bet. Participants in Bridge Pedal can also go to Bite of Oregon for free. The nosh-for-charity event takes place on August 10-12, and benefits Special Olympics. Beer? Yes, of course. Wine, too. It’s Portland, remember?
Have we left out any great rides? Tell us in the comments section below, and we’ll add them to the list.
September 21, 2011:
Every week I find myself in a dialogue with clients and candidates about a very common topic, skills demand. My clients are very interested in knowing how much talent exists in Portland metro; skills in software, hardware, C#, java, SQL, Oracle, etc. and their availability. Candidates are asking how highly sought after their skills are. This led us to put a talent temperature gauge on our website. Over the coming months, as we collect more data, we will show trend lines from previous months.
These simple questions are at the very root of a community’s micro-economic structure. Simply put from the client: “If I want to grow or scale my business, are there enough people in town to support it? How much will it cost?” From the candidate: “If I want to change employers will I be able to do it? How quickly can I make this transition? Are there cool companies/opportunities, and can I get more $$?”
I have found that my response to these questions around supply and demand of talent swings as the local and national economy thrives or slips into a contraction mode. It only makes sense. While certainly my point of view and experience is relatively localized to Oregon and SW Washington on the demand side (companies seeking people), we have always had to look in and out of this region to find enough supply (people with skills). While I recognize that quite literally this discussion is different from one “job market” to the next, I think it is very fair to say, from our experience at EnGn in 2011, the pendulum has swung back to a position where the “talent” is in a position of power within the software, semi-conductor and I.T. fields.
What does that mean? Companies must first recognize that even though unemployment is at 9.1%. that Software, Hardware, or large I.T. shops must be careful not to fall behind the curve. For the two and a half years, prior to the middle of 2010, wages have been relatively flat. Demand had not created the need or economic impetus to drive wages or contractor labor rates up. My personal experience is that is no longer the case. We are seeing clients hold tight to recessionary contract or consulting rates even though the demand for talented contractors has continued to outpace full time permanent openings. Admittedly, my colleagues and clients on the direct/permanent employment have been quicker to respond and compete. THIS means to invest in recruiting, as well as your partnerships with talent suppliers. Prepare your interviewing team to sell your opportunity once they believe they have identified someone who fits. Act quickly without jeopardizing your selection process. Frothy skills like Mobile applications development, whether for Droid or i-phone, need to be well thought out and expect very strong competition.
EnGn has many competitors in the Portland area. Companies like Edgelink
, Vanderhouwen & Associates
, Mainz Brady, Kforce, Brentwood Group
, Pamela Jones, MRI, ATSI, etc. I list them freely because Generator Group
, our parent company being around for over 10 years, and EnGn with its new focus exclusively on technology, will put its model up against any of them. In the next couple weeks I will share how to select a good firm if your company has very aggressive growth goals. This will not be your traditional sales pitch but a fairly revealing look at the inner workings of a multi-service recruiting firm and what makes them tick. I will also give clear business logic on why even with 3+ agencies signed up to work on your jobs companies, you can experience getting very few candidates if any at all.