Today we flew to Curitiba, a city of 1.8 million southwest of Sao Paulo. Like Portland, Curitiba is known as a sustainable city - Brazil's greenest - with a great mass transit system and a commitment to recycling. We sure didn't see that in Sao Paulo!
Curitiba also has a history of commitment to job development through the encouragement of industrial development. We were here to see the Brazil operations of Blount Industries, which is headquartered in Southeast Portland.
This plant has a great history! It was developed in the mid 70s when Blount leaders (then the company was Omark) were in Brazil looking for potential development sites and they had plane trouble. They landed in Curitiba, went to a hotel and mentioned what they were in Brazil to do. The hoteliers told them about an industrial park being developed in Curitiba, they checked it out, and remain their today, employing 320 people.
Blount is a global company; in fact, about 90 percent of the saws on the planet have chains produced by Blount. The Curitiba plant primarily produces chains, and much of their product is shipped to customers in Latin America. But they also ship worldwide, to the U.S., Europe (including Russia), Africa, Asia and elsewhere. One of their brand names is "Oregon," and our group loved seeing boxes with that "Oregon" logo coming off the line in Berlin.
One of our trip participants is Scott Dawson, dean of the Portland State business school. They designed and managed an executive training course for Blount in Portland, and we were thrilled to learn the head of this Brazil plant, Valdir Viana, spent time in Portland to complete that course. And we met another plant leader who is heading to Portland and Portland State University early next year! It is a small world!