SOAR Board of Directors

Meetings & Minutes


Board Officers

Craig Ladkin, President
Craig Ladkin is the Managing Director at Focus Investment Banking and has twenty-five years of experience managing complex financial transactions between private, public and non-profit sectors in a variety of industries. He has advised on transactions from the very large down to the very small. He has advised and managed the transactions for country treasuries and many multi-national corporations and financial institutions. At FOCUS Investment Banking, Mr. Ladkin concentrates on the middle-market mergers and acquisitions and capital raising transactions in the bio-sciences, IT, energy, aerospace and general industry. He holds an MBA in International Finance and Marketing from the London Business School in London, England and a B.Sc. in Geotechnical and Petroleum Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Ross Hoag, Vice President
Retired. Former Director of Engineering, Cloud Cap Technology/UTC Aerospace. Ross Hoag was one of the co-founders of Power4Flight. Power4Flight was formed to address the powertrain reliability, durability and affordability issues that have been the Achilles heel of every aircraft program since the advent of the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS). Ross also co-founded Cloud Cap with the idea of developing a highly integrated and end user programmable autopilot/flight management system for small UAS integrators. Ross was also part of The Insitu Group, Advanced Nagivation, Tektronix and Doodlebugging.

Michael B. (Mike) Short, Treasurer
Michael Short is a Vice President and Commercial / Ag Lender at Bank of Eastern Oregon. His role includes originating and overseeing commercial and agricultural loans. He is the President of the Round-Up City Development Corporation, and has served on their executive committee since 2003. Michael is a longtime resident of Pendleton. His 30 years of success in banking and economic development in Northeastern Oregon bring a valuable regional perspective to the SOAR board.

Collins Hemingway, Secretary
Business & marketing consultant, business author, pilot. Collins has worked for and helped create startup companies, held senior management positions in high-growth companies, was director for international marketing and business development for Microsoft’s fastest-growing division, and served as interim president for an aviation leasing company. He wrote the initial strategic vision document for civilian UAS applications for Oregon, co-authored the business plan based on that vision as well as the application for the Oregon business development grant, and led the creation of Oregon’s Economic Impact Assessment for the FAA Test Site application. (Bend, OR.)

Other Board Members

Roger Lee, Executive Director, Economic Development of Central Oregon
Roger has been the Executive Director of EDCO for the past 15 years, and has worked in the industry since the early 1990s including both rural and urban areas. He got his start in business development for the Seattle/King County Economic Development Council and later was the Director of economic development for Baker City/County in Northeast Oregon. His industry experience includes employment at Hewlett-Packard Co., and Idaho’s largest electric utility, Idaho Power. Roger currently serves on the Board of Directors for 7X24 Exchange (data center/mission critical industry), is an executive committee member of the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team (RST) and is a past board member of the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP), Oregon Economic Development Association and Pacific NW Economic Development Council and Opportunity Knocks. At EDCO, Roger is responsible for the tri-county area’s economic development strategy, business recruitment, oversight of the organization and its six offices, and development of special projects including industrial parks, expansion of commercial air service and creation and improve the overall business climate.

Jessica Metta, Executive Director, Columbia River Gorge Technology Alliance; Project Manager, Mid-Oregon Economic Development District
Jessica Metta has been the Executive Director of the Columbia River Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA); Project Manager, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District. The GTA is a professional organization that supports, connects and develops the high tech businesses in the bi-state Columbia River Gorge, with focus going to the UAS subsector which comprises about half of the roughly 2500 employees represented by the GTA. Since joining the GTA, Jessica has been instrumental in the organization’s membership doubling, its expansion into new services such as K-12 STEM support and greater recognition of the technology industry’s importance in the region. As an employee with Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Jessica brings connections to and support from other industries and economic development efforts in the region. Prior experience is with regional land use planning under the Columbia River Gorge Commission.

Mark Peters, International Compliance Officer, UAS Operations; Interim Director, Office of Research Integrity, Oregon State University
Mark Peters started his trade career with the U.S. Department of Commerce and was the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Missoula, MT. He assisted business clients in developing international markets. In his tenure he assisted hundreds of companies achieve exports success. He has in-depth knowledge of U.S. Government trade agencies and is well-versed in international standards and worldwide business practices. He is an expert on U.S. export controls. Mark also served as a Congressional Fellow to the United States Senate in 2001 advising Senators on U.S. trade policy. As an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mark has held assignments in Missoula, Montana, Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California; Osaka, Japan; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Prior to joining OSU, Mark established the export compliance program at Oregon Health & Science University starting in April of 2011 until joining Oregon State University. Mark also provides consulting services to institutions and business in their global expansion efforts. He has been successful in assisting small business implement export compliance programs providing contracts under U.S. embargo and military export control regimes.

Mark Peters is currently the Export Compliance Officer for Oregon State University. He joined OSU in October of 2014. Oregon State is the largest University in Oregon and has a diverse portfolio of research from nuclear engineering to marine sciences. OSU is one of only two institutions to be designated as a land, sea, space, and sun grant institution. Mark was hired to establish an institution wide export compliance program as part of the institutions far reaching compliance initiative. He has now also taken on the responsibilities for supporting classified research at OSU and providing leadership to the OSU UAS operations program.

Cynthia Sagers, Vice President for Research, Oregon State University

Cynthia Sagers serves as the Vice President for Research at OSU. As Vice President, Dr. Sagers will provide leadership to OSU’s vast research enterprise, which last year brought in $285 million in research grants and contracts in areas including agriculture, forestry, marine sciences, public health, and engineering. Dr. Sagers will also work with academic leaders and the University community to expand OSU’s entrepreneurial and economic development activities with industry and other public and private partners. In 2012, Dr. Sagers was named Associate Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development at the University of Arkansas. In just two years, she helped the university increase research awards by 30 percent. Beginning in 2005, Dr. Sagers worked in Corvallis for two years as senior research associate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Research Council. In 2007 she served as Arkansas state commissioner for the governor’s Global Warming Commission, and in 2010, she was named program officer for the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering. A biological scientist by training, Dr. Sagers earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. She launched her academic career in 1994, joining the faculty of the University of Arkansas, where she has remained except for leaves of absence to work on leadership initiatives.

Skip Newberry
Skip is the President and CEO of the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) and is a frequent speaker on technology trends and topics, economic development, public-private partnerships and civic innovation. Before joining the TAO, Skip served as an economic development policy advisor to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, where he helped create Portland’s first comprehensive economic development strategy in 16 years, recognizing software as a key industry cluster. While at the City of Portland, Skip’s projects included the adoption of the nation’s first open source software procurement policy at the municipal level, an award-winning regional open data initiative and the development of resources to support entrepreneurship, like the Portland Seed Fund. Previously, Skip was a corporate and IP attorney and entrepreneur.Skip is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TECNA, Technology Councils of North America, which is a global network of technology and entrepreneurship associations, and he serves on advisory boards for Wells Fargo and Worksystems, Inc. Skip is also a 2012 recipient of the Portland Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. When he’s not working on behalf of the region’s tech industry, Skip enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Tammy Dennee, CMP, CAE
Tammy Dennee resides with her husband in Dallas, Oregon. She serves the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association as their Legislative Director and has been in this role since January 2015. She and her husband, Michael, are transplants to the mid-Willamette Valley from Pendleton, Oregon where they resided for 18 years.
Tammy has spent the majority of her career championing the issues of importance to Oregon’s agricultural producers at the State and Federal levels. Prior to joining the staff at the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, she was the Executive Director for the Oregon Wheat Growers League. Her total time in service to the wheat industry spanned 17 years. Between the wheat and dairy industry, she was a private consultant for a renewable energy client and also a mental health provider.

She contributes time and energy to her local fair as a member of the Board of Directors, the Oregon Ag in the Classroom Foundation as the President, the REAL Oregon Steering Committee, Denim & Diamonds Steering Committee, Salem Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, and numerous committees for the Salem Downtown Rotary Club. Tammy was recently invited to join the SOAR Oregon Board of Directors.

Tammy and Michael have raised two young adult children and are now empty nesters. They enjoy spending time with family and friends and volunteering their time annually to the Pendleton Round Up (because that is what locals do).

Gale ‘Jake’ Jacobs, Executive Director, ORAVI
Jake Jacobs is executive director of Oregon Aviation Industries (ORAVI) and is a board member of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVSI) Cascade chapter.

ORAVI is a non-profit trade organization of 100 corporate members focused on aviation economic development across the state of Oregon. The group conducts industry meetings, represents aviation to the legislature, works closely with the Oregon Department of Aviation and is connected with many other economic development organizations.

Jacobs’ aviation background includes: US Navy plane captain and mechanic in VS-38 anti-submarine squadron on the USS Hornet; Instrument rated private pilot with 2,800 hours; aircraft owner for 20 years; owns a small drone; Director of Sales and Marketing at Flight Dynamics (now Rockwell Collins) airliner head up displays; and Director of sales at ARNAV – general aviation navigation systems.

As an entrepreneur, he co-founded of two high tech companies and was an executive at several startups. His large company experience includes 25 years of management positions at Olivetti, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Tektronix.

He served as SBDC Business Advisor at Blue Mountain Community College for 8 years and Economic Development Manager for the City of Baker City for 2 years.

He holds a BA in Management from Marylhurst University where he was named outstanding alumni in their centennial year and has attended a wide range of corporate training programs.

Member of Lake Oswego Rotary, Columbia Aviation Association, Oregon Business Council Aviation Cluster, Portland Navy league, AOPA, Angel Flight West, many economic development groups and has previously served on several non-profit boards.

Conflict of Interest Statements