Archive for Vocational

PPRC members lend job advice with Open Meadow

Open Meadow’s Career Connection’s program drew in-person support in mid-April by ten members of Portland Pearl Rotary.

On April 13 at the Speed Interviewing event, Rotarians conducted mock one-on-one interviews with students…and then provided feedback and general advice. “This [was] a great chance to support students as they put their learning into practice,” said Sarah Lechner, training coordinator for Open Meadow’s program. Six Rotarians participated, including PPRC Vocational Service Director Yelena Girich, at the event held in downtown Portland at the Marriott Courtyard hotel.

Three days later six Rotarians contributed an hour of volunteer service at the Networking Fair, this time at the Northwest Natural conference room. The event operates like s standard job fair, only in reverse. Job seekers present at their own booths, while potential employers circle the room to meet the candidates and offer feedback. Students, many about to enter college for the first time, shared career plans ranging from health care to human resources, from computer networking to automotive services.

“This was (most) valuable and much appreciated by the students at Open Meadow,” said Yelena. “I myself felt very proud to be part of our group that represented Pearl Rotary.”

PPRC’s outreach to Open Meadow includes tutoring Step-Up students at Madison High School, funding camperships at Step Up, volunteering for clean-up projects at the school site, and inviting students to club events like Przybilla Blocks Polio and the April 28 Intel museum vocational tour.

Photo Caption; Pearl Rotarians volunteered their knowledge of interviewing and job skills at two Open Meadow school events through its Career Connections program.


Leatherman tool now created 8,000 times daily

The Leatherman show came to Pearl Rotary Nov. 16.

Tim Leatherman, founder and chairman of the board, told the story of how he created the hand-held multi-tool and then waited eight years for the first sale.

The idea came on a budget trip to Europe when he and his wife toured in an old car that frequently needed repairs. The tool began by adding a pair of pliers to a pocket knife. Leatherman showed images of early prototypes. “It took three years to come up with a tool I thought the world would like,” the Portland native said. “I certainly liked it.”

He applied for a patent; from countless patents, the New York Times chose his tool for a feature story. Leatherman expected his big break had come. But only one inquiry came.

Leatherman also visited manufacturers.

“I had a knife with a pair of pliers,” he remembered. “I went to knife companies, but they saw it as a tool. To tool companies, it was not a tool; they said it’s a gadget.”

Undaunted, Leatherman continued his search for sales. He tried the U.S. Army…and AT&T…but with similar results.

In 1983, Leatherman and his friend, Steve Berliner, formed Leatherman Tool Company. It was a time that the company took off, initially with an order from a mail-order catalog, Early Winters. Prime promotional space was given in the printed sales piece. “The strange-looking contraption,” as Leatherman described his invention, had “tremendous word of mouth sales.”

Just a few hundred tools were sold with the initial orders (including a sale to Cabella’s). But sales from the then home business were on the rise 29,000 in 1984, and 70,000 in 1985. Leatherman, headquartered in northeast Portland and today with 300 employees, reached the one million mark in orders in 1993. “Today we make and sell 8,000 tools a day,” Leatherman reported.

Leatherman retired in 2005 as president, but remains today as majority owner and boar chairman.

The entrepreneurial effort ended with a question and answer period and then the club’s weekly “Brag” session. At least five Rotarians endorsed the Leatherman tool, adding their own vignettes of reinforcement:

FROM DUANE COOK, owner, Pearl Ace Hardware:

We carry six different SKU’s of Leatherman tools.  Ace now has Leatherman tools in the warehouse. We originally had to buy them direct. I really don’t have any personal experiences in regards to Leatherman tools. I can say that the other two competitiors are not the quality of the Leatherman. We only carry Leatherman because that is the most requested brand. Not too long ago I got a phone call requesting 12 tools for a Chinese business delegation. Of course, I did not have that quantity of one SKU in stock. I referred the customer to Leatherman direct. Never did hear the outcome but I can safely assume that Leatherman took care of the customer. That is one of the good things about having local manufacturing.

FROM PEYTON CHAPMAN, principal, Lincoln High School:

I graduated from high school in 1984 and my freshman year in college my step-father gave me, as well as all of the men in our family, a Leatherman tool for Christmas, sure that I’d use it often. I’m sure I didn’t use it as often as I could have but I remember his excitement in finding this new tool and unique present.


On a trek in Nepal, I carried a Leatherman tool but decided to give it to our Tibetan hosts as a gift for putting us up for a week.  I watched in amusement as the man I gave it to delightedly used it to pull out whiskers one by one.


I have been a volunteer ski patroller on Mt Hood since moving to Oregon in 1974.  I’ve carried a Leatherman tool in my fanny pack for over 20 years and used it for adjusting bindings, repair emergency sleds and equipment, cut zip ties and rope, file ski edges, peel oranges and a hundred other things. I’ve never had to use it on a patient, however! If ever you choose to make a tool more specialized for winter sports use, it would have fatter, stronger screw drivers, maybe a 90 degree edge file. Keep up the great work!


I got my first Leatherman multi-tool a little while before I went into the Marine Corps. While in the Corps, I used it for every conceivable thing, from cleaning my M-16 to making animal traps and snares during mountain survival training. It didn’t take long before my fellow Marines were asking if they could borrow my multi-tool and eventually my Leatherman became invaluable and was used by all. However, after only a short time virtually everyone saw the value enough to get their own. I wish I could say I still had my original Leatherman, but it was stolen a few years back. After my loss, I needed a replacement; this was when I made an upgrade from my old Leatherman multi-tool to the new Leatherman Wave. It was everything the old one was and more. This is the one I still have now and I use it just as much if not more than my old original. My Leatherman has traveled the world with me from Asia to Europe to the US. It is without question one of the best investments I have ever made.

P.S. from Don Smith: Drew now has two new Leathermans. He was the winner of a tool Tim Leatherman brought as a door prize during the Pearl Rotary meeting.