If you’ve been even remotely involved in the Portland software scene over the past 18 months or so, you’ve no doubt encountered PDX11, the work of the Portland Development Commission (PDC), or efforts surrounding the “Portland Software Cluster,” an initiative designed to help the businesses and workers in Portland focus on economic pursuits in which it already excels—for the benefit of everyone.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been around here during that time period, you’ve also noticed that we’ve been battling a down economy. And that’s why—ironically and sadly—the organization charged with helping Portland create jobs has been forced to reduce jobs. And that’s directing the Software Cluster directly.
Okay. So first the bad news. Or the second bad news. Because a layoff ain’t good news. But it’s old news. We knew this was coming.
Sigh. I hate this.
And that’s a big loss.
Unassuming, genuine, engaing, and always willing to admit what he didn’t know, Gerald was a perfect complement to the sometimes cynical Portland software scene. He was a guy who wanted to get stuff done—but one who realized that it was going to have to be grassroots to make it stick. And in the time that he worked with the Portland software scene, he seemed to have this uncanny knack to move the needle farther and faster than many of us who had been struggling to do the same work for a much, much longer time.
And he did it as a veritable outsider. And that was impressive to say the least.
But now that the programs Gerald helped launch will live beyond his tenure, where does that put us? Are we off on our own? Trying to sustain the momentum?
Well, no. That’s the good news here. You see, the PDC is doing their best to continue to support the software community. And that’s why they’ve appointed Chris Harder to take over the reins on the project.
In his new capacity, Chris is assuming management of the Software and Research & Commercialization clusters. He is also managing a team that includes entrepreneurship, the Portland Seed Fund, and the Film & Video Project Coordinator. His background is strategic economic analysis. And he came to the PDC from North Carolina where he spent time with technology sectors like medical research, interactive digital media & gaming, and information technology.
He’s already worked with the PDC and Mayor’s Office staff focused on the Software industry and is getting increasingly involved with PDX11. So you’ll get the chance to meet him if you’re attending those events.
So there you have it. This is where we are. And we’ll see where we go from here.