These local leaders are paving the way as true pacesetters for our business community. Here are featured success stories from local businesses and organizations. 

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Mark Matthews elected to lead PBDG

Mark Matthews has been elected the new president of Professional Business Development Group, a nonprofit community benefit organization that works to improve business conditions in the construction industry for certified minority- and women-owned businesses in the Portland Metro area.

Matthews is the owner of Pacificmark Construction, a general contracting company. His firm has a long list of notable projects to its credit, including the Portland Community College Cascade Campus Student Union Building. The company also has built strong partnerships in the construction industry, including working with Slayden-Sundt on the Sellwood Bridge.

For Matthews, serving as president of PBDG will give him an opportunity to help colleagues and partners grow their firms and companies.

“These are people I care about and have worked with over the years,” Matthews said, “and to be engaged in something that will strengthen their businesses, I consider this an opportunity.”

Matthews replaces Vicqui Guevara, owner of Valley Growers Nursery and Landscape and a founder of PBDG, who has served as organization president for the past several years.

Under Guevara’s leadership, organization leaders say, PBDG has experienced a high level of growth and provided training on topics requested by members, built partnerships and held spirited bimonthly meetings. An experienced contractor with all proven systems in place, she freely shared many of those successful techniques with PBDG members.

Sonia Marie Leikam joins OBG board

Sonia Marie Leikam, co founder of Leikam Brewing, was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Oregon Brewers Guild, one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations. The OBG is a non-profit trade association, made up of 165 brewing companies, that promotes the state’s brewing industry and independent breweries.

Sonia Marie and Theo Leikam launched Leikam Brewing out of their own backyard in 2014, becoming the only kosher certified brewery on the west coast and Portland’s first community-supported brewery.

Sonia Marie Leikam serves many roles for the company as marketing director, sales executive, social media ambassador and assistant brewer. She also works as a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Portland and has 12 years of experience working in nonprofit leadership and government affairs.

For the past three years, she has led the Portland chapter of the Pink Boots Society, which aims to help female professionals in the beer industry advance their careers through education.

Leikam was elected to the board in January, joining incumbent members from several well-known Oregon breweries: President Dan Engler (Occidental), Vice President Marcus Reed (Widmer), Ben Edmunds (Breakside), and Jamie Floyd (Ninkasi).

Portland firm earns five PRSA awards

A.wordsmith, a boutique communications firm founded by Ann Smith in 2009, was awarded five 2018 Spotlight Awards from the Public Relations Society of America Oregon Chapter. The firm, which specializes in thought leadership public relations and writing, was recognized in the categories of event campaign, editorial/op-ed column, media relations and B2B marketing for work done over the last 12 months.

The Spotlight Awards honor communications campaigns and professionals in Oregon and SW Washington. A.wordsmith was awarded for campaigns in partnership with Technology Association of Oregon, Consolidated Supply Company, Unosquare, Prokarma and All Classical Portland.

From Smith’s one-person operation, A.wordsmith has grown to a staff of ten and last year was recognized as one of Portland’s fastest growing and most diverse companies. The firm has built a portfolio of clients that includes IDL Worldwide, Levy Restaurants, Propeller, Aspen Ridge Resort, BrewGroup and TerraFirma.

A.wordsmith also partners with many local nonprofits, including PDX Women in Tech, Opal Creek Ancient Forest and With Love.