Author: Jim Teece
By Jordan Pease – Feb. 2022 Issue of LocalsGuide Magazine – Ashland, Oregon
Over 30 years ago, Jim Teece and his wife Dena Matthews discovered Ashland like many of us Ashlanders did, by stumbling across it. This town has a way of attracting people who ‘belong’ here. Here in this insightful interview, Jim shares his love of business and community involvement with several anecdotes that typify the people who contribute to the great quality of life we enjoy here.
Please tell your “how I got to Ashland” story? My wife, Dena, was getting her master’s degree in international management at Thunderbird University in Arizona and when she graduated, she surprised me and threw an Oregonian Newspaper on my lap and said let’s move to Oregon and raise a family. I thought we were going to travel the world and she would be a manager in big companies. While she was getting her degree, I started developing custom software for Apple Computer, Taco Bell Corp., Pitney Bowes and American Express. I have always had a knack for working with Fortune 500 companies even though I didn’t have any formal training or education. I just have “fearless imagination.”
Once she saw that we could make a living on what I was able to do, she ok’d my dream. Move to Oregon, live in the woods, write software, and never speak to humans again. I laugh at that last part. I’m an introvert, so the idea of spending all my time in front of the computer inventing the future was very appealing to me back then. Little did I know that I would spend 30+ years speaking to people every day.
This was before the internet. We drove from San Francisco airport to Oregon and visited each town that we could. Most were too small for her. We visited Roseburg, Eugene, Bend, and Medford. We gave up and drove back feeling defeated.
She asked if we should stop off in the last town before the border to grab lunch and say goodbye. It was pretty depressing. At lunch I made a napkin list of criteria. I wanted a minivan, a cow and a quiet place to write code. She laughed. Being the smart one she told me to think about infrastructure. We would need Fed-X, (again this is before the internet), voice mail (which they did not have here back then, we had to buy an answering machine), access to an airport, a small college town, and a brewery. The waitress saw our list and told us we could check off everything right here in Ashland (except for the voicemail.)
That was how Jim & Dena and Project A moved to Ashland. I’m still blown away when I think it has been over 30 years here. No regrets. We love Ashland and all Southern Oregon. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family and grow a business or six.
What’s a thing people would never guess about you? I’m pretty open and transparent so I’m not sure. I think people are surprised when they find out that I don’t have a higher education degree yet with what I do for Fortune 500 companies, and have taught classes and served on SOU’s Foundation Board for over 20 years. Some people assume I come from money. I’m not sure why. I’m pretty frumpy and frugal in my personal life. But over the years people have commented that they assumed I came from money when I absolutely have not. We were poor.
Another comment people make about me is that they assume before meeting me that I’m a rough, tough businessperson (aka ‘a jerk’). Then they see me speak at a conference or present in a meeting. Some people come up afterwards and they apologize for assuming I was a jerk. I don’t know why. I was once at a conference wearing a Project A logo on my shirt in line to check in and a guy walked up and said, “Do you know Jim Teece?” And I sheepishly said yes and he said, “I heard that he’s a jerk” and I said, “yeah I heard that too” and smiled the rest of the day. I think that’s funny.
What is a book or movie that’s inspired you? “The Jerk,” just kidding. I will tell you that the movie that woke something up inside of me at the age of 13 was “Star Wars.” It shocked me awake and changed my life. I have wanted to create with my imagination for a living since that day.
Please tell a story about a life-changing incident, or can you recall a life-changing epiphany? I was nearing 40. We had small children. Our business was growing like crazy (we grew to 50 employees) and I was burning out fast and hard. We got a deal on an old beat-up RV that barely ran, I told you I was frugal and frumpy, and drove the family on a vacation. While we drove for days and days and camped in crazy places, I did a lot of thinking. I started counting on my hand what was missing from my life. I had so much but felt like I wasn’t spending my time in areas that were important to me. Counting with my fingers I decided what those areas were: 1) Education, 2) Small Business, 3) Health Care, 4) Local Government, and 5) Community.
I spent the whole vacation counting and repeating the list over and over and it brought a smile to my face. When we got home, I changed my life. I joined boards such as the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, SOU, Asante, and a handful of other non-profits. I joined city and county committees and I intentionally started working with more and more local companies and nonprofits. I wasn’t burned out from working long hours, I was burned out from working on projects that didn’t connect with my soul. That changed my life.
What are the qualities of the Ashland community you appreciate most? Ashland was the same size as Bend when we decided to move here. Today Bend is bigger than Medford, and Ashland has kept its growth in check. Some think that is why it costs as much as it does to live here, but with all of Bend’s growth it costs the same to live there.
Ashland is a university town. Ashland is an entrepreneurial town. Ashland is a town filled with people that want to live here. Ashland invested in its future 20+ years ago when it built the Ashland Fiber Network. Ashland residents vote in support of bond measures for schools over and over again.
Please share your insight as an internet provider about Ashland’s particular internet infrastructure, is it unusual or unique? 20+ years ago, the City built the Ashland Fiber Network. That is unique. One of my companies, Ashland Home Net, is a partner with the City providing service to people on the network. That is unique. I have learned a lot being an internet service provider, especially during COVID and the fires. The internet is essential. High speed internet is essential.
The 5G technology that’s been rolling out has some Ashland residents concerned. What’s your perspective on that, please? I don’t really have a perspective on that. I think that every human has the right to be concerned about technology, its adoption, and its impact on humanity. I want people to constantly push back on our society’s addiction to technology upgrades and hold the manufacturers and our government accountable for evaluating and enforcing rules for our safety.
I do think that 5G is an unfortunate collision of marketing terms that popped up on the scene at the same time. There is a technology difference between 5G cellular networks and 5G wireless in your home.
I do not have any concerns personally about either technology. I use my cell phone every day and I have a hard time doing business or taking care of my customers if I’m in an area with little or no cell service or when it has very slow speeds.
Please tell us about a hero or mentor who’s influenced you? I was born in the Philippines. My dad was in the US Navy during the Vietnam War and met my mom. They got married and had two sons. When his nine years of service was over, he moved us all to Southern California when I was five, he left us when I was nine.
My mom was left alone in Orange, California, divorced, not a US citizen and raising four children on her own. She went to night school to become a citizen and then to get her nursing degree while cleaning apartments during the day.
We were poor, children of apartment living, and I was the babysitter when she was gone. She worked hard to raise us four the best she could. Each of us are hardworking, compassionate, married and raising great children.
As my mom nears the end of her life, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t admire and appreciate her sacrifices and hard work as she raised us. She continues to inspire me to this day.
Please fill-in-the-blank; I’m having the time of my life when I’m [Blank]? I’m having the time of my life when I’m working. My wife and I own Project A, Ashland Home Net, Rogue Broadband, Umpqua Broadband, and the Southern Oregon Business Journal. I am also a partner of 1000Museums.com by Art Authority. I also proudly serve on the SOU Foundation Board, Rogue Valley Manor Foundation Board, People’s Bank Board, and the Northwest Telecommunications and Technology Board. I’m also launching another new business soon. I work a lot of hours per day. I work every day of the week. I’m proud of the work I do and the work my employees do. I’m proud of the people I serve with on each board. All great humans. They inspire me every day.
I’m having the time of my life when I’m dreaming. I have a crazy imagination. My brain is constantly dreaming, constantly surprising me.
I’m having the time of my life when I’m spending time with family. I recently became a grandpa with another on the way. My focus has shifted. My next company will be focused on a dream I had when I was a kid.
What advice do you have for the young people in our community? I suffer from what I call “Fearless Imagination.” I don’t jump out of airplanes or free climb dangerous cliffs, but I get the same adrenaline rush from tackling problems and finding solutions.
My suggestion for young people is to just GO! It really is easy to change the world in positive ways. It’s easy to make a positive difference. It’s easy to inspire others to be good humans. You just need to GO! It’s also easy to fail. It’s ok to fail. Be good at it. Fail. Get Up. Dust Off. Go again. I fail all the time. It’s ok. I get up and keep going. I do not fear failure. Be good at failure. Learn from it.
Jordan Pease is a 20-year resident of Ashland and Founder/Director of Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library and Media Exchange. www.RVML.org
It’s been a big part of my mission for the last couple of years to make sure Dena gets equal recognition for what we have built together over the last 30+ years so I was very happy with the paper interviewing us both.
It’s a great insight to some of the work our companies have done and what we have built together.
Here is the link to the article – https://www.mailtribune.com/lifestyle/2021/08/08/the-magic-of-a-small-town-is-clear/
Here is the text of the article in case they upgrade and the article goes away.
‘The magic of a small town is clear’
By Steve BoyarskyAug 08, 2021
Digital pioneers Dena Matthews and Jim Teece work to bring people together
Editor’s note: Community Builder is a periodic Q&A series providing perspectives from local people who have been involved in significant change in Southern Oregon. Today’s conversation is with Jim Teece and Dena Matthews, founders of Project A.
Q: You both started Project A, which is a digital commerce and software development business in 1990. How did you come to Ashland?
Jim: That was 31 years ago. We moved here from Arizona. Dena was getting her MBA in international management, and I was a programmer. Working together, we were able to attract business. Our first clients were Apple Computer, Taco Bell Corporation, Pitney Bowes, CB Commercial, all Fortune 500 companies. Dena was getting her degree while I was doing projects. We were tired of the heat in Arizona and ready to move.
Dena: I said, “Let’s move to Oregon, live in the woods, raise a family and you can write software all day.” So, we toured the state. Before the internet you had to do it in person, right? Ashland met our criteria: small college town, brewery (Rogue Ales before moving to Newport) and good transportation, including an airport.
Q: How has your business evolved?
Jim: I started building databases to track Taco Bell restaurants. For Pitney Bowes, I wrote a database to track legal documents. For Apple, we built systems for tracking promising practices in primary education. Databases were my niche. I would meet with a client who had a need, dream up a solution, they would approve it, and we’d write it. We didn’t have a real plan other than to live where we wanted to live and write code for cool companies.
Project A grew over the years to 50 employees. And then, the dot-com bubble burst. That almost killed us, literally. It was the scariest time of our careers. I learned some valuable lessons. One of them was, size doesn’t matter. We learned we can change the world in a small town with a small team.
Dena: Business was growing, and the projects were increasing. Back then, you had to physically install solutions at your customer’s location. And then this thing called the internet came along. I remember Jim saying, “That’s dumb. It’s not going to go anywhere.”
Jim: A couple of our employees showed me what the internet was, and all they could show me was porn and underwear. I said, “I just don’t get it. I don’t think this is a thing.”
Q: But don’t you own and operate Ashland Home Net, an internet service provider?
Jim: Now, the internet is how we make our living. We’re resellers of the Ashland Fiber Network. Ashland Home Net provides high-speed internet phone and cable TV service to folks in Ashland. We acquired AHN from Gary and Rosalie Nelson 13 years ago. We met them because I was interested in putting content created by Ashland people on local TV. I pitched this idea to Ashland Home Net. I promised to “fund the whole thing, the hardware, everything. I’ll write the software, and it’ll be awesome.” So we launched Channel 20 with local content, everything from hiking to making videos.
Dena: We would video the Ashland 4th of July parade and put it on channel 20. You could watch it live on TV from home. We acquired AHN to be able to grow locally.
Jim: Our focus has always been mom-and-pop small business. We want to help Southern Oregon businesses with their internet presence. Our slogan is, “We invest in Main Street, not Wall Street.” We love entrepreneurs, they’re fun, exciting people.
Q: Don’t you provide high-speed internet to rural customers too?
Dena: Jim’s crazy. He likes to keep innovating and evolving. Rogue and Umpqua Broadband are rural high-speed internet providers for people who live rurally, like we do. I work on the financial side of the business, mostly from home. I needed broadband service to work from home. That’s how we got into rural internet service.
Jim: To get into the wireless internet business with Rogue Broadband, I had to learn. I learned to climb towers when I was 50 years old. Like I said, “nothing scares us.”
Q: “Tech Talk” was a Rogue Valley TV program for years; how did that get going?
Jim: I had this idea for community television called “Tech Talk.” It was a monthly show where I interviewed different people who lived in Southern Oregon. They were super smart people who changed the world. They invented the internet and happened to live here. “Tech Talk” was on the air longer than “Gunsmoke.”
Q: Is Southern Oregon a technology oasis or a technology desert?
Jim: We’re absolutely not a desert, but we’re not the oasis we used to be. Twenty years ago, we were the oasis. I was part of the original steering and design committee for Ashland Fiber Network. A small town of 20,000 people creating their own fiber network, unbelievable! We were unique.
Q: Is there enough technological expertise in Southern Oregon?
Jim: Southern Oregon is super cool for quality of life. It attracts intelligent people who want to do good things for the community. When you bring them together, we do some cool things.
Dena: The problem is, there’s no real mechanism to bring them together. Right before COVID, Jim, Cynthia Scherr and other business owners started Southern Oregon E2E (Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur) with monthly visits to talk about business issues. It was really starting to get some legs and then COVID hit.
Q: What drives you?
Jim: Getting the community we love connected, so we don’t go backwards or get left behind. When you have technology and the level of education that we have in Southern Oregon, good things happen. Southern Oregon has great education, great businesses and great stories. Stories like what Ken Trautman and Mike Sickles did when they started People’s Bank, or Sid DeBoer and Lithia Motors. There’s story after story of people who have built great things here.
Dena: We’re involved in the 4-H program. It’s insane how much money businesses spend for those kids. It’s about the kids. Our community is there to support schools and kids. Really, it’s special.
Q: Project A was selected as a top 10 e-commerce provider. How did that come about?
Jim: Nothing scares us. We have clients all over the world. E-commerce is very stressful because there is zero tolerance for problems from security to technology to customer satisfaction. There’s so much competition. We build technology solutions that are a seamless experience for the customer. We have a reputation for really great work done really fast.
Dena: Dr. Martens, the shoe company based in the United Kingdom, is our number one client. Several years ago, they decided to change e-commerce platforms — “if you guys can’t do it, we’re going to go somewhere else.” It was a platform our programmers had never used. Jim learned it and figured it out. We have an amazing team at Project A. Over the years we have become experts in this new e-commerce platform.
Q: One of your employees said, “Jim and Dena think about community first, rather than how getting involved in the community will improve their business.”
Jim: Being a community leader is a privilege and a requirement of living here. We have so many role models. For decades, we have watched what Sid and Karen DeBoer have done for the community. If you want to live here and have an amazing quality of life, you give back. It’s in our DNA, literally. I respect those who have given and still give. They inspire me to do more every day.
Dena: We struggled for years just keep afloat, so we’ve helped more with our time than our finances because that’s what we had. You’re not just put on Earth here to make money and make yourself happy. You’re put on Earth here to contribute to the world. That’s a core value that we both share.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for Southern Oregon?
Jim: To help Southern Oregon be a place that encourages entrepreneurs and innovators to come here. Honor and learn from your past, but constantly seek change and growth. If there are innovators and intelligent people who want to work together and solve real community problems, let’s bring them in. Let’s be inviting. When we first moved here, Dena and I fell in love with the people because of the way they treated us.
Dena: Ashland is unique, but there’s a lot of unique small towns. I just got back from Enterprise. Small towns each have their uniqueness and charm. Hopefully, small towns keep growing but maintain their quaintness and vitality.
Jim: Southern Oregon has its own identity that’s different from the Willamette Valley, that’s different from Eastern Oregon. We can keep our identity and evolve and change. We can create a healthier community and at the same time honor the past.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge in our region?
Jim: I’d say equity or access to technology. I got involved 20 years ago with the Ashland Fiber Network because I didn’t want Southern Oregon to fall behind. Ashland Fiber Network meant that Charter had to step up and invest millions more than they had in other communities.
Dena: Affordable housing. I’m not talking about low-income housing. We pay our employees a decent wage. When our employees feel like they can’t afford to live here, that’s a problem.
Q: What’s clearer to you now?
Dena: Keeping strong relationships in the community is very important and very clear.
Jim: One person, with access to technology, can truly change the world, and it doesn’t matter where you live. Also, the magic of a small town is clear. The integrity of people in small towns is higher because you see each other every day.
Dena: You hold yourself to a higher standard in a small town because you don’t want to disappoint the people you know.
Steve Boyarsky is a retired educator and longtime resident of the Rogue Valley. He continues to be involved in educational and youth programs.
Biographies at a glance
Companies Jim Teece and Dena Matthews own and operate:
Project A – e-commerce and database driven mission critical departmental solutions
Ashland Home Net – Internet, cable TV and phone service in Ashland
Rogue Broadband – Wireless internet for rural Jackson County
Umpqua Broadband – Wireless internet for rural Douglas County
Southern Oregon Business Journal
Jim: Jackson County Fair & Expo (past chair), Southern Oregon University Foundation (VP), Northwest Telecommunications Association (past chair), Rogue Valley Manor Foundation, People’s Bank of Commerce
Dena: Hope Equestrian Center (board president), 4-H leader with the Ashland 4H group
Jim’s past board involvement: Asante Foundation, Ashland Independent Film Festival (chair), Ashland Chamber of Commerce (chair), Jefferson Public Radio Listeners Guild, Southern Oregon Telecommunications and Technology Council (chair), Software Association of Oregon & Southern Oregon Chapter (chair)
Jim and Dena have two adult children and a 1-year-old grandson. They have lived on a small farm by Emigrant Lake for nearly 30 years, with horses, goats, chickens and dogs.
by Jim Teece
Two years ago Dena and I went on what I called “The Last Road Trip” with Grandma Shirl (Sweets) and MayMay and among the many things we did on that amazing trip, I saw Wyoming and the Tetons for the first time.
I told Dena then that I wanted to come back and actually get out of the car and hike Jenny Lake someday.
(It actually ended up being MayMay’s last road trip, but thankfully not Sweets)
It took us two years but we finally scheduled the trip back.
Dena and I would drive there and hike and pick up Karl the horse, which has been under Kailey’s expert care for 3 years or so.
Friday, August 6
My mom had a heart attack event recently and my sister coordinated a family gathering/camping reunion in Roseburg on the weekend we were scheduled to leave to celebrate her survival, so we changed our plans a little and drove to the campground as everyone was arriving and visited a little and took a couple of photos with family and my mom.
Then we drove to Quinn and Kriya’s house in Redmond to spend the night.
Saturday, August 7
We left the next morning and drove to Twin Falls, Idaho. We got an expensive hotel room (everything is so damn expensive now days), and ate a great dinner out at some loud college bar.
Sunday, August 8
The next day we hung out in Twin Falls (both our first time there) and toured the falls and visited the newly opened Japanese American Concentration camp (Minidoka War Relocation Center) before heading to Afton. Just like when we toured the holocaust museum in DC, Dena and I had a hard time processing it all after we left.
On the way we found out that it was Tevis’ last day of work at Melvin Brewing, in Alpine, so we diverted there and had a pleasant dinner in smoky Wyoming before heading to Kailey’s house in Afton.
Kailey was roping after work, so we stopped by and watched her rope and Dena got to ride Karl a little. Kailey was sad to hand over the reigns.
Monday, August 9
Dena and I drove to the Tetons and Jenny Lake to do our hike. We got a late start and didn’t arrive at the lake until 1pm. It was hot and hard but I’m proud of us. We did it. Not only did we hike the lake, we also did a side diversion to Hidden Falls and then up to Inspiration Point.
We saw two baby bear cubs sleeping in a tree and nervously kept hiking thinking the momma bear was on the trail looking for dinner.
Tuesday, August 10
We (along with the now unemployed Tevis) drove to the airport to pickup Teague and PJ at noon and then drove to see Old Faithful in Yellowstone.
The drive was long but we got to walk on a boardwalk around many hot pots and geysers. It was awesome.
Wednesday, August 11
We went to the fairgrounds and watched Kailey as a Dog Agility 4H club leader with many kids competing in a fun dog run on a obstacle course. Her kids and dogs did great and it was fun to see Kailey in action as a leader. (She is always in action, never resting)
Teague and PJ went back to the house to nap and rest (they started feeling sick) so Dena and I toured downtown Afton. We found a vending machine with live bait and tackle in an alley. Never seen that before.
Dena and I found a Cowboy bar. Everyone but us was smoking in the bar and the locals even did some kind of gambling dice game for a chance to win a free drink. 1 buck a dice roll.
It was hot and PJ, Teague and Dena cooled off in the irrigation ditch in the horse pasture.
Rik, Marcia, Tana, Russell and Cecca showed up that night and drank all my good whiskey, but I got one sip of it before I went to bed, so I’m not bitter. 😉
Thursday, August 12
I had a couple of 2 hour zoom meetings in the morning so the crew that never rests went for a hike to intermittent falls.
Kailey and Marcia groomed lots of doggies in Kailey’s “Groom Your Pooch” side hustle at the house.
I met the group at a cowboy bar after their hike for a sandwich and beer and then Dena, Tana and Kailey went on a couple of horse rides. (One arena and one trail) while I over cooked, over-smoked some Marcia potatoes in Kailey’s insane smoker machine.
Friday, August 13
Kailey took Dena and Teague to a horse class and I babysat PJ. After the class, Tevis dressed up in some kind of funky pink chicken hippy costume and we all went to the fairgrounds to watch her perform her practiced free-style reigning pattern, that she spent all summer perfecting.
And then in the heat of the day we all helped setup panels for Kailey’s Ranch Sorting Competition that was going to happen the next day. It was fun watching us all work together under insanely stressful conditions and do something none of us have ever done. The stress and chaos and heat was insane. It would be a precursor what was to come that night and next day.
Kailey wasn’t there as she was out picking up baby cows for the event.
After we set up the panels, Rik, Marcia, Dena and I visited with Larry and Carolyn and I got a jar of their amazing pickles and the recipe.
Tevis “floated” on the lawn and PJ drank out of the dog water bowls because his siblings are dogs and he thinks he is a dog.
That night Kailey sat down with her boyfriends daughter and started working on the ride order list for the event. That is when it got insane.
Tana invited a friend over to drink and talk on the porch. Then the party moved indoors while we desperately tried to figure out how to do the ride planning for the event at the same small dining room table. OMG, It was nearly impossible for me to think. I kept thinking it was a good thing that Boone wasn’t there.
Kailey, Marcia and I didn’t finish until after 2am. That was an insane night. I can’t explain in words how hard it was to do what we did.
There was even a point, when we were done with the spreadsheets and drove to the vet office that Kailey works at at 2am, to print the ride order sheets that I got pulled over for speeding by the local Po-Po and Kailey sweet talked him out of giving me a ticket, but that’s another story for another day.
Saturday, August 14th
We all woke up early and started heading to Kailey’s event. We all had jobs to do. Because my job was done the night before, I was only in charge of getting ice and donuts and babysitting PJ so that Teague and Dena could be in the event.
We were all operating on 4 hours or less of sleep. Stress was high. Tension and Emotion were at their limits. And then the event started and it all went great.
Marcia was in charge of recording all the times and calculating all the results.
Kailey was in charge of the overall event and rode in most of the races as well, because she has Marcia/Matthews blood in her.
Russell was helping everyone that needed help and was helping reset gates, duck taping, icing, running around and just being Captain Russell.
Cecca was in charge of the gate duty. (I really enjoyed her energy)
Rik was in charge of the cows. Making sure they were where they were supposed to be and watered. Tana was assisting.
Dena and Teague were riders. They even got to be a team in one event. Teague ended up in the championship round and getting 9th overall.
Tevis helped until a gate attacked her and she hurt her elbow so I drove her home.
PJ and I just hung out and did errands when asked and it was a chance for PJ to get his first rides in with his mom.
It was fun for me to see how the family worked together to pull off a great event.
Kailey and Marcia did an amazing job. They spent weeks prior learning at other similar events and coordinating with many moving parts and pieces.
That night, we celebrated. Rik invited all his friends over (Who knew Rik is just like his mother?) and we sat and drank and talked and relaxed. Exhausted but proud. (earlier in the week Kailey wanted to smoke a brisket that day but she got busy and ran out of time so I tried to do it for her in that crazy smoker. I ended up burning it but everyone ate it. )
We toasted ourselves and Kailey and we talked about how to improve it next year.
Because for most of us, it was a special event that brought us all a little closer, even though it was crazy, crazy stressful.
I started working on a program to make it easier for next year. This year was crazy. I spent hours fighting my way through manual processes in Excel until 2am. Not good.
After the party, we packed everything up for the long drive home and went to bed completely spent.
Sunday, August 15
We left at 4am and drove Teague and PJ to Idaho Falls airport for a flight home.
We then drove to Sam’s house in Eagle, Idaho with Tevis and her new cat (Ahsoka) and Karl and Jelly Bean in the horse trailer and all of Tevis’s stuff.
After dropping off the horses, we even helped Tevis pick up a couch she bought online in a neighboring town.
Then we went to a cool California mall dropped in the middle of Idaho and ate chichi food with rich people.
Monday, August 16
We left Sam’s house at 7am and drove with Karl to Redmond. It was Quinn and Kriya’s moving day. We helped them finish packing and in a caravan of 4 vehicles with a horse, 2 ducks, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 6 chickens we drove to Ashland through what felt like the apocalypse, as smoke filtered the sun and filled the freshly burned forest surrounding us.
We were home by 9pm.
It was a long day ending a long week.
My head hit the pillow sometime after midnight and I instantly fell asleep and I’m sure that I smile-dreamt all night long.
It was a great vacation.
Not very relaxing.
Just the way I like it.
I recently lost a dear friend to COVID, so I was looking forward to being alone and clearing my head. What happened instead was that I was surrounded by family the entire time and it helped me heal faster.
I love my family. They are crazy… Just like me.
I am presenting at the 17th annual Rogue Valley Business Resource Forum.
Rogue Valley Business Resource Forum
Saturday, October 26, 2019 | 7:30am – 4:30pm
RCC/SOU Higher Education Center 101 S. Bartlett Street, Medford, OR 97501
I recently had the honor of sharing the TEDx Ashland stage with my friend Trever Yarrish. We were asked to present our idea on creating a personal education plan and how to not only future proof yourself but also your community in doing so.
Job Loss will come more and more normal as technology replaces all of our jobs. What are we going to do about it?
Here are a few snippets from the talk that show my speaking style and audience reaction. I have to admit that the TEDx Talk is not normal for me to do. I don’t normally memorize what I’m going to say on stage.
I’m also quoting the section of the video I’m linking you to, so you can get a feel for what I’m saying and how I’m saying it.
“Today we encourage children to go and get a degree when they graduate they stand at this cliff at this edge and they’re presented with this concept of choosing a path from 10,000 paths. “
“My kids had a hard time choosing what to eat in a restaurant from a 2-page menu, imagine what occurs when you’re standing there and you’re told congratulations you’ve graduated now you need to make a choice. It leads to a lot of anxiety and some paralysis for many and it may be part of the reason why we’re seeing such a huge number of our graduates return home
after they graduate.”
“We live in a time of exponential change. Our children know this. It used to take a thousand people to build a billion-dollar company. Instagram sold to
Facebook for 1 billion dollars and it had a total of 13 employees.”
“If I stood here 20 years ago and I told you that we would be sleeping on strangers couches instead of a hotel and paying for it, you would think I was crazy yet we do that every day with Airbnb.”
“If I told you we would put our children in strangers cars and ask them to drive them home safely you would think I was crazy yet we do that every day with Uber.”
“If I told you that a man was going to disrupt the auto industry by building a luxury electric car and oh by the way that car is fully autonomous as soon as society is ready for it, you would think we were both crazy yet that’s exactly what Elon Musk is doing with Tesla and if you told me that today the largest software platform would live in this thing called the ‘cloud’ and there would be 1.5 billion people using it every single day and oh by the way it updates two times a day to all 1.5 billion people seamlessly without anybody knowing, I would say you were crazy and yet that happens every
single day on Facebook. “
“We know during all of this times of change and a lot of it’s exciting but it does create some challenges and the main challenge that Trevor and I are kind of focused on today with you is we’re talking about job loss what happens when Tesla’s Robo taxi becomes a reality no more taxi drivers, no more Uber drivers. What happens when autonomous trucking becomes reality? No more truck drivers. I’m talking about, in the United States alone, 5 million jobs. 600,000 of those in California. I’m talking about 3 percent of the US workforce. This keeps Trevor and I up at night. we’re part of the industry that’s creating amazing solutions yet there’s a price to pay and we have got to find a solution. “
“It isn’t you can’t just say well we just won’t create those solutions that’ll fix it. We can’t bury our head in the sand we need a better way.”
Here is the full video. I strongly encourage you to watch it in it’s entirety and send me feedback on what you think about our idea. Please also feel free to share this video with your friends and family on social.
Tuesday June 25, 2019 from 2pm to 3:30pm
Idaho Banking Association, Nevada Banking Association & Oregon Banking Association 2019 Convention
IBA, NBA & OBA 2019 Convention
Monday, June 24, 2019 8:00 AM – Wednesday, June 26, 2019 7:30 PM PST Coeur d’Alene Resort
Future Proofing Your Bank
Jim Teece, President & Chief Executive Officer, Project A
Jim Teece is an entrepreneur, innovator, public speaker, author,
educator and community bank board member – all at the same
During this provocative, inspiring and engaging session,
Jim will offer insight into how to “Future Proof Your Bank”.
He’ll discuss how to simultaneously focus on today’s customer
expectations, innovation and security, transparent marketing, and
Conference website – https://web.oregonbankers.com/events/IBA-NBA-OBA-2019-Convention-348/details
TEDxAshland.com – May 20, 2019
We spent months after being selected, creating enough content to speak for several hours and write many books and launch a blog on the idea we came up with and refined into a 17 minute TEDx Talk.
The elevator pitch of the talk is that in 15 years 40 percent of the jobs are going to become obsolete because of robots and AI. We need to develop a new way of learning new skills rapidly using a derivative of the agile approach that Trever and I use in our shops, to write code.
The video of the talk should be posted on TED.com and/or Youtube soon and I will include a link to it when it is posted as well as a full transcription of the talk.
SOREDI published an article about me written by Chris Cook on June 14, 2014. You can find the original article here. I copied it onto my page for convenience and long term storage.
ASHLAND, OR – What brings a software development company to Southern Oregon? After living in California and Arizona, Jim and Dena Teece chose to move their company, Project A, to Ashland, Oregon, for a combination of business and personal reasons: good transportation options, FedEx service, a small college-town atmosphere, a brew pub and it was friendly to small business.
“When we moved here we were blown away at the brilliant people that we kept meeting,” Jim exclaimed. “The quality of life is so high that brilliant people move here on purpose, and when you have this sea of brilliance, you really can do anything.”
That was 20 years ago—before the Internet—and while there are many more benefits for businesses today, not everything has changed. The quality of life and the quality of resources remains central to people’s happiness and success.
As a provider of e-government solutions, Jim and his team developed an easy and inexpensive way for municipalities to develop websites just as the Internet was taking hold. “I was realizing that a lot of the cities were spending a lot of money to get on the Internet and I don’t like that. I like keeping taxpayers’ dollars wisely used,” Jim explains.
Project A created a “Site in a Box” that any city employee could use to build a website that informed and empowered its citizens. It includes everything from news updates, council agendas and minutes to utility bills and traffic ticket payment systems.
After noticing that most citizens who are city council members are not versed on how to manage a city-sized budget, Jim is currently working on a subscription-based model for cities to help citizens, the city council and staff prioritize their budgets. This alleviates the need and expense of hiring consultants with taxpayer money.
“Chief Disrupter and Host” of the Ashland Innovators Conference, Jim has been a lightning rod, bringing simple solutions to complex problems and bringing people together for the common good. When Jim sees a void, he creates a solution. “We’re small, just 14 people, but I like being a SWAT team. Our team is awesome. It’s the right mix of programmers, designers, project managers and support people. We go in, work on a project and when we’re done, we get out,” Jim explains.
“What would I tell any business that was thinking about moving to Southern Oregon?” “Well, I’d say, do it. Go as fast as you can. Hurry up,” Jim muses. “There are organizations here that are set to help you. They’re here to welcome you with open arms to help you thrive.
“What would I say? I would say welcome to Southern Oregon. We’re ready for you. We are developing a wonderfully supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem with Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), the Jefferson Grapevine, Sustainable Valley Technology Group Business Accelerator, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network, among others.”
5350 Hwy. 66
Ashland, OR 97520
PRINT VERSION: Brilliant People: Project A
I was invited to share my education story to teachers, students and administrators of the Medford School District during an inservice day where they met to redesign the future of education.
It’s a crazy story about not fitting in at school and yet somehow finding a way to make a difference in the world.
The segment below is a piece of the whole conversation called “It’s supposed to be hard” – I like it because it’s short and fun and shows off my speaking style.
Here is the full video. It’s long but has many short stories.