Innovation Partnership Award (2015)

Mark Whitham

Many tribal members in Oregon and Washington know Mark Whitman as a powerful partner. A Sea Grant Extension faculty member in Astoria, Mark is considered an innovative and unique force for good among tribal members, with a strong reputation among the many coastal seafood producers.

Mark isn’t new to this; he has been working with the Columbia River Tribes for years. In 2013 he realized he could add as many as 18 jobs to the local economy, and contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development. The result: a feasibility and business plan for a traditional foods processing plant on the Warm Springs reservation.

Mark has the knack to bring groups of people together. He strengthened the connection between the Oneida Nation and the Warm Springs tribe, holding joint meetings to discuss potential intertribal business and future opportunities for development.

Mark’s work with Oregon Seafoods has been equally praiseworthy. Mark was instrumental in the design of a new processing facility in Coos Bay, and is credited in the success of several of their new products. The facility now employs more than a dozen people who sell products in nearly a thousand retail outlets. A local entrepreneur behind the project gives credit directly to Mark and Oregon Sea Grant for this success.

Mark clearly knows how to connect content with stakeholders, and we are delighted to award Mark with this year’s Innovation Partnership Award.

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