“I believe that by putting good things out into the community you will receive positive things in return,” says DJ Widmer, a 2006 graduate of the Concordia University-Portland MBA program. And that’s exactly what he has been doing as vice president of sales for Yolo Colorhouse – an environmentally responsible paint company based in Portland.
Paint the town … environmentally friendly red.
Since his time as an undergrad, Widmer has had one main focus: creating sustainable enterprises that will give back to the Portland community and beyond. Yolo Colorhouse began with the idea that major paint companies had limited selections of environmentally friendly paint. Concerned by how toxins in paint affect both the natural environment and the health of families, Widmer set out to build something better – creating Yolo to fill a natural niche in the paint market.
Yolo recently began an incredible partnership with two business giants to carry their paint – Home Depot and Amazon. “So far, sales have been booming,” says Widmer. And while many young entrepreneurs might consider a move to the larger markets of NY or LA, Widmer points out that Portland has a unique edge on these markets for those wanting to create a sustainable business. “Portland is especially friendly to entrepreneurs,” says Widmer. “Everyone is willing to help one another develop ideas and succeed. People in Portland, no matter what their role is in industry, are willing to grab coffee with you, sit down, mentor, and share networks. CEOs will knowledge-share. Investments are starting to grow in Portland, which is really exciting.”
Color me Concordia.
When asked why he chose to pursue his MBA at Concordia, Widmer explains, “The flexibility of the schedule was the deciding factor for me. I am a busy professional and it was great to go to class one weekend a month and work on my own for the rest of the time. Building a company is time-consuming and the Concordia MBA made it easy to accomplish both.”
His recommendation to Concordia business students interested in starting their own business is simple. “If you’re passionate, persistent, positive, and patient, you will succeed. You may have to pick up the phone again and again, and it may be a slow road to success. But you can do it.”