An Interview with GlobeSherpa’s Founders, Nat Parker & Michael Gray

By Megan Nelson

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Started in 2010, GlobeSherpa is a Portland-based company started by Nat Parker and Michael Gray, two MIM alumni. The company provides a secure, mobile ticketing platform for mass transit systems. They are using the same technology to develop mobile ticketing systems for parking, events, and local destinations. Recently GlobeSherpa won the 2014 Juniper Research Future Mobile Award, which supports companies that have made a significant contribution and have the potential to have a significant market contribution in the future.

GlobeSherpa has developed a large talent pool focused on mobile application development. They are now recruiting for openings with their growing company, and have developed a unique video to grab the attention of potential associates, which supports the flare for innovation and fun corporate culture that Nat and Michael have developed into GlobeSherpa.

Nat and Michael will be available for questions after the Age of Pacific Lecture series on Friday, September 26. Recently, I was able to ask some questions about how the MIM program made an impact in the lives of Nat and Michael and for any advice they have for future MIM graduates:

 

Why did you choose PSU’s MIM program and how did it help you in the development and growth of GlobeSherpa?

We were both working in Portland and enrolled in Portland State University’s MIM program because it was convenient, had a strong international focus, and offered a comprehensive curriculum. The professors in the MIM program provided guidance early mentoring to us as we built out the idea for GlobeSherpa.

 

GlobeSherpa seems to be making headway in areas all over the U.S. What are some locations internationally where you are looking to integrate this technology? Why those locations (Personal interest, demand, etc.)?

Today, we are focused on winning North America. We have a lot of momentum in the US with TriMet, Virginia Railway Express, and Los Angeles Department of Transportation among others. In addition to the US, we are actively pursuing opportunities in Canada, including Toronto, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver B.C. As we look out into the near future, Europe and Asia hold a great deal of promise for our technology. We believe the appetite for mobile ticketing is high in all these locations due to high adoption of mobile phones and the desire by transit systems to adopt technologies that make paying for transit easier.

 

GlobeSherpa has won many awards over the past few years. How has this affected the growth and recognition of the company, and how do these awards connect to your brand messaging and what GlobeSherpa wants to be known for?

Winning awards is a great way to be recognized in the marketplace as a leader and innovator. It’s also humbling to be considered for recognition next to other amazing companies we admire and have learned from.  Awards also provide an opportunity to attract talented engineers and designers. We want GlobeSherpa to be known for our focus on innovation, agile development, and design/user experience.

 

The new recruiting video is very unique and fun. How did this idea come about, and is it reflective of the working environment at GlobeSherpa? How has it worked for the company in terms of recruiting?

The recruiting video was created by a friend of the company’s named Carl Tietze. He had created a video for Turbo Tax that we really loved. So we brought him in and talked to him about our platform and company. He then created the music and drafted the words based on that meeting. We worked with him over the course of a few weeks, and the video was done. For the most part, it is reflective of our company and our culture. We are a close group that appreciates each other’s company. We work hard and play hard, and we wanted a video that appropriately pushed the limits but also would resonate with the kind of developers and designers we wanted to hire. Yes, the video has been successful. We have hired four people over the course of the past three months.

 

What advice do you have for those graduating from the MIM program and others looking to start a business in Portland?

For individuals looking to start a company right out of school, we would provide three pieces of advice:

  1. Tell it like it is. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Being upfront and forthright has enormous advantages. Focus on being genuine and authentic in your pitches, your selling, and your products, and learn to say no!
  1. Kill Your Darlings. Focus on the end-user experience vs. the product that facilitates the experience. Its also very important to recognize your own emotional attachments, and don’t let those cloud your judgment about what the customer wants and needs.
  1. Go straight to the top. Communicate early and often with your target customers. Don’t get caught in middle management. Cultivate and maintain a champion that will help you move forward on your goals. And very important, people want to tell their story if you are bold enough to ask—so ask! Stories are often filled with solutions that address their pain point.

 

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Portland in the Fall: Fashion, and Music, and Beer, Oh My!

By Megan Nelson

September Events

Portland Fashion Week

If you enjoy music and fashion, this is a week of events for you! Portland Fashion Week, the only comprehensively sustainable fashion week, features seasoned pros and up-and-coming designers. All events take place at Pioneer Courthouse Square, a great meeting point for a day (or week) of fashion fun. Fashion Week runs from September 29 – October 2. Come see what the fuss is all about, offering fashion for all aesthetics.

Time-Based Art Festival

Art in the Pearl

Portland VegFest

October Events 

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

Set at the Hood River Riverfront, this festival celebrates the end of the fruit growing season and everything that can be made from it. About an hour outside of Portland, this festival is great for all ages, with a variety of shopping, arts and crafts, and tasting. The Harvest Fest runs during the weekend of October 17 – 19.

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

In conjunction with a 5K Run/Walk, people looking for a good time dress up like superheros and row pumpkins across Tualatin Lake of the Commons. This is a popular event that can be a day of fun for the whole family. The regatta takes place on October 18. Knowing Portland as being “weird,” rowing a pumpkin across a lake fits right in!

Great American Distillers Festival

Portland is known for craft beer, but it also boasts some great local distilleries. There are tastings from local distillers, but also from distillers that have come from all over the nation to share their creations. This is yet another way to see what the city has to offer, while mingling with friends, new and old. This year is the 10th anniversary of the event and takes place at the Leftbank Annex on October 24 – 25.

Corn Maize on Sauvie Island

Portland Open Studios

Portland Queer Film Festival

November Events

Northwest Filmmakers Festival

A festival celebrating documentaries and short-film makers from the northwest area, offering one stop on the “best of Northwest” film tour. This event gives young and emerging artists a platform to show off their talents. A week long event, the film festival runs from November 7 – 15.

Wine Country Thanksgiving

The Willamette Valley is known for having great wines, and the weekend after Thanksgiving is a great time to sample your way around Portland.  This is an opportunity to check-out family-owned wineries that aren’t normally open to the public. This event takes place November 28-30, so grab a glass a taste some local wine!

Zoolights

Christmas Ship Parade

Whether you are new to Portland or have been here for years, get out and enjoy the city. There is plenty of fun for everyone and definitely an event to meet the likes and desires of people from all backgrounds. Enjoy Portland, it’s a great place to live!Portland landmark

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Our Journey to Mexico

By Qufei Xue

The short spring vacation was the perfect time for Tianjing and me to go to a not-so-far-away but very special place—Mexico. The beautiful Caribbean Sea, white sand, and historical cultures were just a few of the reasons why we made the journey. Mexico also grants visa-free entry to international students who hold an I-20 and a valid Visa.

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Our first destination on the trip was Cancun, which is famous for its Mayan culture and seaside resorts. As soon as we landed, the first thing I noticed were rows of palm trees lining a tropical beach. In Cancun, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in activities in the water, like snorkeling, sky rides, jungle tours, and diving. Amidst the crystal like water of the ocean, lies an abundance of myriad fish and colorful corals—we will never forget our experience snorkeling in its depth. Yet what stood out most to me about Cancun was its Mayan culture. The Maya civilization was one of the greatest that Mexico and the Americas has ever seen, and the Mayan culture is preserved today throughout the Yucatan—some of the places worth visiting are the islands of Cozumel, ruins of Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres. We spent a superb five days with the blazing sun, rows of palm trees, and blue seas, and then we went to Mexico City, which is one of the biggest cities in the world.

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Fortunately, since we are from China, we were not surprised to see so many people in one place, although we were amazed at the city’s old colonial architecture. When we arrived at the center of Mexico City, Zocalo, which is the biggest square in the world, we saw many colonial-era buildings that were not properly maintained. The Zocalo Square is surrounded by the Cathedral Metropolitan, Temple Mayor, and Palacio National. Afterwards, we went to one of the highest modern buildings in the Latin Americas, the Torre Latinoamericana, which overlooks the whole of Mexico City. This experience was unforgettable. The entire city represented a blend of deep history and modern civilization. We were able to appreciate another one of the greatest cultures in the Americas, the Aztec civilization. There is a view of the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan in Mexico City. At the top of one of the greatest pyramids in the world, we were shocked to witness the remains of this ancient place.

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This vacation gave us a lot of surprises. The ancient civilizations, historical buildings, and dazzling pearl that is the Caribbean Sea left us with memories that will last a lifetime.

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MIM Resume Contest – Winner Announced

By  Jodi Nelson
Thank you to the 15 students that submitted resumes for the MIM Resume Contest. It was great to see how many of you were motivated to get your resumes updated. A polished resume is essential to getting an internship or job!And the winner of the contest is….. Chun-Wei Wang! Chun-Wei’s resume highlights her MIM degree and capstone project nicely. She includes lots of details about her work and volunteer experience with quantifiable results. Also, the format is consistent and easy to read. You can see Chun-Wei’s resume attached and it will be included in the updated Resume Guide.  Chun Wei Wang’s Resume

We had two runners-up: I-Ting Chen and Katie Thomas! I-Ting and Katie also did a nice job of highlighting their skills, education and accomplishments.

I know that all of you put time into your resumes and there were some other strong resumes submitted. Over the next week, I will send individual feedback from the committee to each student that submitted a resume. We want you all to have a resume as strong as possible. If you did not submit your resume for the contest, but would like some help, then please let me know.
Thanks all. And congratulations to Chun-Wei, I-Ting and Katie!

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MIM Resume Contest

School of Business Administration is launching a MIM Resume Contest. Now is the time to make sure your resume is high quality and fully updated so that you are prepared to start your job search. Although most of MIMs don’t graduate until December, but with the average job search taking 3 – 5 months you should get started soon!

 

Here is how the contest works:

  • Update your resume using the attached Resume Guide and come in to see me for a resume review appointment. To schedule an appointment, log into www.PSUCareerForward.com and click on “request an appointment”. From there you can view all my available times and select the one that works best for you.
  • Send a copy of your resume to me via email by Monday, August 4.
  • A committee will evaluate all the submitted resumes based on the quality and relevancy of the information you include as well as on the format, spelling, and grammar. You do not need to have a lot of work experience to win. You just need to do a good job of explaining your experience and accomplishments.
  • The winner will be announced by Friday, August 8.

If your resume is selected as the winning resume, then:

  • You will win a $50 gift card to Amazon
  • Your resume will be featured in the next version of the Resume Guide as an example for all future MIM students

If you have any other questions about your job search, then please contact our Assistant Director of Career and Student Services, Jodi Nelson with her email jodi.nelson@pdx.edu. She can help you identify potential career paths and companies, write your resume and cover letter, learn about CPT/OPT, prepare for an interview, and more.

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Be prepared and come to get the $50 gift card to Amazon!

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Student Highlight: Jonathan A. Ruff

By Jonathan A. Ruff

Why would someone study international business in Portland, Oregon? If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have told you major companies like Intel, Nike, Adidas, Vesta and Daimler have large offices located here. However, ever since I started my new internship this summer, my understanding of Portland’s connection to international commerce has expanded. Starting in June, I began working for a company called U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). USW is an export market development organization that actively promotes the sale of American-grown wheat to more than 100 countries around the world. The company has offices in fifteen different countries and two in the U.S.

As it turns out, the Port of Portland is the largest export port for wheat in the country. In fact, 90% of the wheat grown in Oregon is exported. The variety of wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest, soft white wheat, is unique to the world. Soft white wheat is a type of wheat ideally suited for Asian style noodles and primarily imported by Asian counties. Historically, Japan has been the largest consumer of U.S. wheat and remains a major customer. Interestingly enough, there are a number of Japanese-owned grain elevators and laboratories that assist in exporting and verifying wheat quality located in Portland. It should come as no surprise that Portland exports a lot of wheat to Asia. Take a look at a map; it is one of the closest U.S. ports to the Pacific Rim and has a highly developed infrastructure for wheat exports.

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It’s been an exciting and busy summer for me. Besides taking a full load of classes, I have been dedicating a lot of time to my internship. During the harvest, which takes place in the summer, a number of international buyers come to Portland and the Northwest to learn about the year’s crop. The USW office in Portland hosts many of those international trade teams, and I have had the opportunity to assist in hosting duties. So far we have met with teams of flour millers and food producers from Panama, Japan and Taiwan. Still to come this summer are representatives from China, Korea, and the Philippines.

Not only has the internship opened up new horizons, but it has also given me the opportunity to use many of the skills I have developed during my studies in the MIM program. The intercultural and language skills learned in the daily language classes have proven to be invaluable, as have some of the hard skills acquired in the accounting, finance, and supply chain classes. All in all, I am very happy I decided to study international business in Portland, and I am continuing to learn about our region’s connection to the rest of the world.

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My Experience in the SBA Mentor Program

By I-Ting Chen

The School of Business and Administration (SBA) Mentor Program is designed to help students increase their workplace savvy, gain clarity on their career interests, develop their networking skills, and successfully make the transition from college to the workplace through a mentor relationship with a business professional. As an international student in the MIM program, I really benefited from the SBA Mentor Program because my mentor helped me better understand my career goals and build connections with professionals in the US.

My mentor, Todd Ruberg, helped me edit my resume, gave me advice on choosing my specialization, taught me how to use LinkedIn, and helped me analyze my strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, he did his best to help me build connections with his employees, friends, and even business partners.

Todd is Vice President of Customer Business Development at P&G, which is the company that I have always wished to work for. He arranged a P&G company tour for me and introduced me to many important employees. He also arranged three one-on-one meetings for me to have a deep conversation with some managers and specialists experienced in the Asian market. These meetings were extremely helpful because the people I met with have the careers I want in the future.

When Todd found out that I applied for the internship at Nike, he tried to figure out which connections he had at the company for me. Then he introduced his friend, Kevin, who is a Global CRM manager to me. We arranged a meeting at Nike, and I now finally have the chance to get into the Nike campus and learn more about this company. Next month, Todd will also introduce me to one of his important business partners, Franz Lazarus, the Executive Vice President of Costco. I am looking forward to this meeting as well.

As an international student, I am so grateful that I can have this amazing mentor who is willing to help me build connections with his employees, friends, and business partners. Although he is very busy, Todd always makes time to meet me in Portland. If I have any questions, he is always available. I feel like he really wants to help me find a good job, and I feel so grateful for him and this mentor program.

At the end of the mentor program, the SBA holds a Mentor Appreciation Event in the lovely Simon Benson House, which is located on the PSU Campus. This is the time for refreshments after finals and networking as we thank our outstanding mentors! I brought a special gift that I bought in Shanghai for Todd. It is a Paper Cut Art of the 12 Chinese Animal Zodiac. He was so happy, and we took a nice picture with the gift. This Mentor Appreciation Event will be the end of our mentorship, but a start of our friendship.

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For more information about the mentor program at PSU:

http://www.pdx.edu/sba/mentor-program

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