Staff Directory

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OBI Policy Management

Betsy Earls

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Vice President & Counsel

Betsy (J.D., Willamette University; B.A., University of Washington) represents employers before the Oregon Legislature and regulatory agencies in the areas of employment practices, general business issues and retail affairs. She has 20 years of experience with OBI and AOI and also represented clients on legislative and regulatory matters as part of a private law practice. She is member of the Chemeketa Community College Board of Education and serves on the Oregon Employment Department Advisory Council. “My favorite part of my job is working with members and policymakers to find workable solutions to complex public policy problems,” Betsy said. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, travel, spending time with her family and attempting to play golf.

Mike Freese

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Vice President

Mike (J.D., Willamette University College of Law; B.S., Environment and Economic Policy and Management, Oregon State University) works closely with Legislators, regulators and diverse interest groups on various environment, energy, and transportation issues that impact Oregon’s business community. “I enjoy working with others to solve important problems that both impact our environment and directly influence the ability for businesses to thrive in Oregon,” Mike said. Previously, Mike served as Senior Counsel for Public Policy with the Oregon Farm Bureau and worked in legislative affairs in Washington, D.C., including positions with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Department of Interior. Mike serves as an Executive Committee Member on the Environment and Natural Resources Section of the Oregon State Bar and participates on several agency rules advisory committees. When he’s not monitoring the political climate, Mike enjoys golf, watching sports and enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty.

Joel Fischer

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Senior Policy Analyst

Joel (B.S., Political Science, Oregon State University) works closely with Legislators and diverse interest groups on education and economic development issues. “I enjoy working to bring a sharper focus to student achievement in Oregon. “A top tier education system, closing the achievement gap and increasing our graduation rate is vital to Oregon economy,” Joel said. Joel lived in Taiwan for nearly three years, teaching English and studying Mandarin Chinese. He is an avid traveler and a small business owner.

James L. Wilson

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Contract Consultant

Since 2008, James (B.S., Willamette University) has served as a tax and fiscal policy lobbyist. He also administers OBI’s Political Action Committee. “I’ve always worked at the intersection of business and politics,” he said. “I find satisfaction solving problems and achieving outcomes that facilitate business and job growth.” An avid Ducks football fan, J.L. looks forward to Saturdays at Autzen Stadium, spending time with his wife at the coast and watching his kids grow up.

OBI Development & Special Programs

D.J. Vogt

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Vice President of Development and Member Services

D.J. (Master of Public Policy, Duke; B.S., Notre Dame). At OBI, D.J. oversees existing services such as CompSafe and HealthChoice and development of existing services while also helping with policy management. While with OBA, D.J., was Vice President of Government Affairs and was responsible for OBA’s public policy agenda. Previously, D.J. served in the Governor's Chief Financial Office and as Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C. D.J. also brings private-sector experience to his job. He worked in corporate finance and investor relations for Schnitzer Steel Industries, as a management consultant with Ernst & Young LLP, and a financial analyst in the investment banking group of LaSalle Partners Limited (now Jones Lang LaSalle) in Chicago. D.J. serves on a board for De La Salle North Catholic High School and Playworks Pacific Northwest. He lives in Lake Oswego with his wife and two children.

OBI Membership

Frances F. Ford

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Membership Representative

Frances has extensive sales and marketing experience (including being the first female in yacht sales!), and she applies this experience in her efforts to expand the OBI family of member businesses. “I love the variety of people and businesses that I encounter in my outreach,” she said. “Hearing of their personal struggles and accomplishments reinforces my belief in the quote, ‘Service is the rent we pay to live here on earth.’ Being a part of that voice gives me great pride.” Frances has bred and raced thoroughbreds, and has raised and shown (and of course, loved) Boston Terriers. She thinks Oregon is the best place in the world to call home.

Gayle McCornack

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Membership Representative

Gayle (B.A., Pacific University; graduate work in Psychology at Lewis & Clark College) spends her days promoting the many advantages of an OBI membership to the Oregon business community. She comes to OBI with a background in private and non-profit development. “I really enjoy working with the diverse population of business owners and CEOs throughout the state,” she said. In her spare time, Gayle enjoys gardening, traveling and interior design projects around the house. She loves Oregon for its diverse environments, Portland’s thriving cultural scene and a climate that supports outside activities year-round…mostly!

Gary Nash

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Membership Representative

Gary (B.S., University of Wisconsin) joined the organization in 2008, and has been engaged ever since in growing and enhancing membership and participation. He previously worked with other State Chambers and State Manufacturing Associations. “One of the things I like most about my job is the challenge of convincing business owners and managers to invest in a competitive Oregon business climate,” Gary said. A longtime Green Bay Packers fan, Gary loves to spend time on Oregon’s rivers, casting flies to willing trout.

Finance

Erin Murphy

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Controller

Erin (P.B.S. Accounting, Linfield College; B.S., Oregon State University) comes from a background in health care management. When she’s not working to keep OBI’s finances in order, Erin likes horseback riding, camping and hiking. “I love the diversity of the Oregon landscape,” she says. “Here in the valley, we’re lucky to live so close to the ocean and the mountains at the same time, and enjoy perfect summer weather.”

OBI Communications

Katie Christensen

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Communications & Data Manager

Katie (M.B.A., University of Phoenix; B.S., Northern Arizona University) manages the OBI database, website, newsletters and marketing materials for all areas of the organization. She joined the organization in 2006, and enjoys the dynamic nature of her job; “Things are always changing,” she says. An avid outdoorswoman, Katie enjoys white water rafting, running, triathlons and camping. “Oregon, with its rivers and seasons, is a great place for outdoor adventures,” Katie adds.

Mark Hester

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Communications Director

Mark (M.B.A., University of Texas; B.S., Mississippi College) is responsible for internal and external communications strategy and produces content for everything from OBI’s social media accounts to a weekly newsletter and policy packets. Mark joined the organization in 2016 after almost 20 years at The Oregonian, where he had stints as business editor, sports editor and, most recently, associate editor on the editorial board. He was part of the four-writer team that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Mark grew up in Mississippi and remains an avid fan of Southeastern Conference sports. Mark and his wife Nancy, who grew up in Polk County, Oregon, have two adult sons.

Operations

Kelly Comm

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Policy Assistant

Kelly performs administrative duties for Vice President & Counsel Betsy Earls and for Vice President Mike Freese. She also is a Notary Public, helps edit OBI communications materials, chairs the OBI Safety Team and assists with other tasks. Kelly appreciates the variety of landscapes and weather in Oregon. She has a passion for horses and enjoys hiking and wine tasting.

Jackie Haugen

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Assistant to the President

Jackie performs administrative duties for the President, Chief Financial Officer and executive management team, as well as for the OBI Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and the Boards of the Foundation, HealthChoice Plan and Trust, Prosperity PAC, and Service Corporation. She’s been employed with the organization since 1986, and has developed many friendships in her work over the years. When asked what she enjoys about Oregon, Jackie replied, “I love the scenic beauty and variety, the mild climate that helps everything grow abundantly, and the informal lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest.”

Patti Winter

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Portland Office Operations Manager

Patti has been with the organization since 2011, greeting visitors at the front desk of the Portland office and helping with human resources, office management, membership services and finances. Patti also plays a major role in event planning. Previously, she worked in alumni relations at Central Catholic High.