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EDCO hires new 'venture catalyst'

BEND, Ore. - Economic Development for Central Oregon on Monday announced the hiring of Brian Vierra as its Venture Catalyst , effective June 23rd.   

"We are very excited about Brian, who brings personal credibility to the position as a business founder and angel investor. He expressed a sincere interest in helping young companies prosper," said Chris Kraybill, a local technologist and entrepreneur who served on the volunteer hiring panel for the position.

Vierra is a relatively new resident to Central Oregon, relocating here with his wife and two children 2 1/2 years ago from Singapore. 

During that time, he has quickly plugged into Oregon's startup scene as an active investor in Portland-based Oregon Angel Fund and the newly formed Cascade Angels, which was established in Bend earlier this year. 

Prior to moving to the region, Vierra founded two companies in Vietnam, Embers Asia Ltd and Phat Tire Ventures. 

Embers was a consulting firm providing corporate training services to multinational corporations, government and international schools in Asia, and was successfully sold in 2008. 

Prior to establishing Embers, he launched Phat Tire Ventures, a full service adventure sports outfitter, running everything from White Water Rafting Trips to International School Excursions.  The company has maintained 12 years of consecutive growth to become the largest business of its type in Vietnam.  Vierra continues to hold the title of Director at Phat Tire, a role he intends to wind down over the next year.  He will remain an owner and investor. 

Other professional experience includes several years as an import manager for Expeditors International, where he managed a department of 21 employees handling distribution, customs brokerage, air exports and imports, ocean export sales and accounting. 

He also worked as an assistant trade specialist for the International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce in Portland, where he helped Oregon businesses with exporting. 

He got his career started with the U.S. Peace Corps in Tanzania (Africa) teaching economics after which he was employed by Hyundai Electronics in South Korea.    

"We were impressed with Brian's experience, humility, and mindset of continual learning that typifies work in economic development," said Roger Lee, EDCO executive director.  "We think he is going to be a great fit for the organization and helpful in establishing Bend and Central Oregon as a top 10 national destination for entrepreneurs." 

Express Employment Professionals – Specialized Recruitment Group in Bend conducted a professional search on behalf of EDCO for the Venture Catalyst position, which was spearheaded by Karen Turner, Managing Director.  A volunteer hiring committee representing different aspects of the entrepreneurial community interviewed and evaluated finalists.

"The unique requirements of this position made it one of our more challenging searches, but we were pleased to have high quality finalists from which Mr. Vierra was selected," said Turner.  "We believe so strongly in the mission and work of EDCO, it was our honor to do the search."   

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