Bike manufacturing visionary Chris King heads to White House
By Suzanne Stevens
Digital managing editor
Chris King (left) talks manufacturing with U.S. Department of Commerce staffers during a tour in August 2011. Photo by Dylan Van Weelden
Another Portland-area executive is heading to the White House to talk manufacturing.
Chris King, founder of Chris King Precision Components, will participate in a roundtable discussion with 11 other business leaders Thursday evening in the Roosevelt Room in the White House's West Wing.
The company designs and manufactures precision aluminum, steel and titanium bike frames, components and tools that are exported to customers worldwide. About 40 percent of its customers are in Europe and Asia and its parts are regularly featured in world-class cycling events including the Tour De France.
In January, James Curleigh, who was then CEO of KEEN Inc. (he has since decamped for Levi Strauss & Co.), joined President Obama at a White House event celebrating the trend of domestic manufacturing.
It's not clear whether King will shake hands with the president, but he'll definitely rub elbows with senior administrators.
According to the invitation letter from Ari Matusiak, executive director of the White House Business Council, participants will receive a "macroeconomic and budget overview from top Administration officials and engage in a discussion on job creation and key areas of focus for spurring American economic competitiveness."
The invite comes courtesy of Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, who toured Chris King's Northwest Portland manufacturing facility in August 2011. As bikeportland.org reported at the time, the visit was part of a listening tour undertaken by Department of Commerce staffers to better understand the needs of U.S. manufacturers.
King will certainly have plenty to talk about during his White House sit down.
Founded in 1976, his company now employs nearly 100 at its 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Northwest Nela Street, and is primed for growth. All of the metals and nearly all materials used in manufacturing come from U.S. sources and all the company's packaging material is made in the U.S. The company also puts a premium on recycling and sustainable manufacturing practices.
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