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Working to satisfy clients around the globe
In the fast-paced, high tech world of corporate events planning, sometimes it just boils down to knitting a sock.
At Satis&fy, a global events company with a relatively new branch in Hillsboro, manager Maika Janat said the goal is, indeed, to satisfy the clients.
Recently that entailed knitting a 12-foot sock for Nikes launch of Kobe 9, a basketball shoe that resembles and feels a bit like wearing comfy socks.
Janat said there were six knitters in the office working feverishly to finish the sock on time.
Satis&fy, a privately-owned company based in Karben, Germany, has offices across Europe and opened the PDX office 18 months ago on Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro. Its the only U.S. office, said Janat, who moved from Germany to open the branch.
Satis&fy plans and executes large events ranging from trade shows to product launches to rock concerts handling the design, logistics, equipment needs and setup.
In a nutshell, Janat said, we do what the project wants and needs lighting, audio and video design, exhibit construction, inventory management even knitting giant socks.
They (the clients) put all their trust in our hands. We decide how to split that cake, Janat said.
Nike is the branchs largest client, currently accounting for about 80 percent of its business. According to Janat, Nike had been asking for many years for Satis&fy to open a local office. With email and videoconferencing, Satis&fy was able to work with Nike from afar. Then came the recession in 2008.
There was always a reason not to do it, Janat said.
Starting with just two employees at the PDX branch, Satis&fy now has 16 employees and in just 18 months has outgrown its current digs. The woodshop will soon be moving across the alleyway to the next warehouse.
All our offices are a little off center, Janat said, referring to its location. Its part of our business model. For one, warehouse space is less expensive outside the main city center.
Hillsboro provides easy access to clients, vendors, transportation and shipping.
Satis&fy recently hosted two high school interns through the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerces School-to-Work program. The 30-hour internships gave the students a taste of career opportunities and company culture, which is a bit different than a typical office, said Satis&fys Gayle Ritt.
The office atmosphere is casual and flexible, and at the same time dynamic, Ritt said. Theres no real need for titles and an office hierarchy.
We need a team to get things done,Janat explained.
Thats why the companys internship program in Germany is well established.
We need to have people who understand the whole system, Janat said. We can educate them best (about how the company operates) if they start young with us.
Janat herself started at the company as an intern.
This summer, the PDX office will offer a week-long summer camp at the end of July. Details are still being worked out, Ritt said, but will be finalized soon.
Interested high school and college students are invited to send a resume to: WendyTaunton@satis-fy.com.
A lot of people say there is nothing green about the events industry, Janat said.
Green and sustainable materials can be more expensive, she said, but the company recycles or donates items that dont come back to the warehouse for reuse.
Just how green an event is depends in part on the clients, who have choices about what types of paper to print on and whether to use printed materials, as well as whether to print signs on vinyl or recyclable material.
We try to be as green as the industry allows and as green as the client wants to be, Janat said.
A member of AV Alliance, a global network of event technology rental specialists, Satis&fy uses the network to find sustainable solutions. Additionally, Janat draws on knowledge from 350 employees all over the globe.
There is so much knowledge in this company, she said.