Biz Beat 1-7-2016

We wrote about changes afoot at Wings Seminars in this column Dec. 10 and we’ve since heard from Wings founder Kris King that the company is for sale following a personal tragedy. “My son died a year ago and I realized I work too much. Working 28 days a month is not the smartest thing,” she says. “I have two offers and three more are coming in.” Finding the right new owner may be a challenge, she says. The new owner “needs to be ethically aligned … I’m not just selling a business. They need to really care about this work.” If a change of ownership does not happen soon, Wings will close its doors Jan. 31; however, advanced seminars and trainings already fully booked in February and March will go on. 

“It’s been a great 30 years,” King says. And the biggest rewards? “I’ve seen many incredible transformations” during the seminars. Wings has worked with some 35,000 people over the years, including those sent to the seminars by corporations and government agencies to improve confidence, focus and communication skills.

We hear through the biz grapevine that Andy Vobora, LTD’s director of Customer Services & Planning, will be retiring from LTD after 32 years and will become Travel Lane County’s vice president of stakeholder relations. Vobora was a finalist for the general manager position at LTD, but Aurora “A.J.” Jackson was offered the position in October. Jackson replaced Ron Kilcoyne at LTD. 

Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit provider of both health care and health insurance, opened a medical clinic in the former Eugene Public Library, 100 W. 13th Ave., along with a dental clinic in the former Fletcher’s for Children at 1011 Valley River Way. The clinics serve Lane County members of Kaiser, including UO students on their families’ plans, plus Medicaid patients assigned through Trillium. Call the medical clinic at 431-1250 or the dental clinic at (800) 813-2000. For more information, visit Kaiser has a business model that’s unique in health care. It’s vertically integrated, combining hospitals with insurance plans, increasing efficiency and keeping down costs. 

The seventh annual Fun with Fermentation Festival will be from 11 am to 4 pm Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 13th and Chambers. The festival, a fundraiser for Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance, highlights the many ways of food and beverage preservation. More than 25 regional businesses will be attending and sampling fermented products, from kefir to beer to pickles. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 with two cans of food for FOOD for Lane County, or $10 without food donation. Kids 12 and under are free. See or email

Excelsior Farm in the Pleasant Hill area has been operated by Jeremy and Ashli Mueller for the past three years and supplies more than 100 varieties of organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs to Excelsior Restaurant, community supported agriculture, Lane County Farmers Market and other outlets. Now the couple, with their first child on the way, is looking to grow their farm business by accepting small loans totaling $10,000 through the Kiva Zip website. The loans (not gifts) would be used to build a walk-in refrigerator and purchase labor-saving farm tools. About 95 percent of their farming is done by hand. See for more information.