Quantum Innovations Announced as November IDEA Talk Speaker

Norm Kester and Dr. Elvin Fenton with the new FusionM at 3D Optical in Texarkana, Texas. ( Quantum Innovations Facebook )

Norm Kester and Dr. Elvin Fenton with the new FusionM at 3D Optical in Texarkana, Texas. (Quantum Innovations Facebook)

The Klamath IDEA (Inspire Development, Energize Acceleration) will host an IDEA Talk on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at MC’s on Main.

This month’s Big IDEA feature is Norm Kester, founder of the of the Central Point, Ore., ophthalmic coatings company Quantum Innovations.

Kester started the company in his garage in 2002 after relocating to the Rogue Valley to be closer to family. Since then, Kester has combined his knowledge of lens coating technology with his passion for helping people to grow the company to serve a global market. In 2013, Quantum Innovations was named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” by Oregon Business Magazine, in large part due to employees being treated like family and given the freedom and knowledge to work effectively.

“We are so excited to continue our 2018-2019 season with an innovator like Norm. His journey from garage to midsize employer, with a spirit to help others along their journey, is a terrific one! You won’t want to miss it,” said Klamath IDEA Director Kat Rutledge.

Kester is serious about advancing local economic opportunities and providing students with skill development. He represents the manufacturing sector in several regional workforce initiatives, is a leading promoter of the annual Careers in Gear youth success expo, is a member of Rogue Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, leads the local Business Education Partnership, and is co-chair of Southern Oregon Business Innovation Group.

This month will also include a new Start-up Spotlight to showcase a new local business. Brothers Ry and Ty Kliewer of Skyline Brewing Company will share the story of how they transformed an old milk barn on their family farm in Midland into a modern microbrewery. The brothers credit community support for their launch from hobby to enterprise while running their farming operation.

“We’ve ramped up a little faster than we imagined. The people around here, and their enthusiasm, are a really big part of how that happened,” Ty said.

Klamath IDEA is committed to creating a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem to increase opportunities for wealth and prosperity in South Central Oregon. Klamath IDEA is a community initiative made up of organizations, events, and individuals cooperating for a common purpose: entrepreneur-based economic development.

The 2018-2019 IDEA Talks season has been generously sponsored by the Klamath Community College Small Business Development Center, Craft 3, Coldwell Banker Holman Premier Realty, and Klamath County. IDEA Talks are also supported in part by Oregon lottery funds, which are administered by the Oregon Business Development Department (Business Oregon).

IDEA Talks are gatherings designed as a networking opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial mindset interested in learning, connecting, and being inspired. Each gathering features one or more guest speakers discussing an inspirational or educational entrepreneurial-related topic. IDEA Talks bring together entrepreneurs (of all ages), founders, business owners, innovators and support organizations under one roof to hear about and discuss opportunities, needs, and great ideas for starting a business, expanding a business, or getting support in the process.

“Entrepreneurship is so important to the economic vitality of our region, and IDEA Talks are a tangible way for people to engage with the local community and get excited about what’s going on and what’s possible here,” said Ben Blanchard, entrepreneur concierge with Klamath IDEA.

IDEA Talks will continue through the winter and spring with a new line-up of speakers and networking opportunities.

MC’s on Main is located at 617 Main St. in downtown Klamath Falls. Appetizers prepared by MC’s on Main and a non-alcoholic beverage ticket are included in the cost of entry. A no-host bar will be available. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m. and the presentations will start at 6:00 p.m. Those interested in attending this event can purchase discounted tickets in advance online at Eventbrite.com or on Klamath IDEA’s Facebook page for $15. Tickets will also be available at the door for $20 (cash only).

Press release provided from the Klamath IDEA & Klamath Community College.

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