October 30, 2023, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Oregon Tech is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of its second annual Ready, Set, Innovate event. The Oct. 27 event brought together nearly 120 junior high, high school, and college students, along with mentors and volunteers, to foster innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in the local community.

Ready, Set, Innovate provided a platform for students from Brixner, Henley, Horizon Christian, Klamath Union, Lost River, and Mazama, as well as students from Klamath Community College and Oregon Tech, to engage in a day of creative problem-solving. The event also featured 35 team mentors and community volunteers who guided the participants in developing team-based approaches for tackling real-world challenges.

“Innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in students is the catalyst for positive transformation within a local community,” said Hallie Neupert, Oregon Tech Professor and event organizer. “These young minds bring fresh perspectives and creative solutions to the challenges our communities face. By empowering our students to think entrepreneurially, we empower our communities to thrive, as they become hubs of innovation, collaboration, and progress.”

Attendees participated in design-thinking workshops led by Michael Donarski, Chief Operations Officer at Cascade Health Alliance, who brought over 25 years of experience in operations and project management to the event.

“It was amazing to see the talented youth within our community,” said Donarski. “It was an amazing event. Not only was it inspiring for the students, but the mentors and volunteers as well. I’m excited for Klamath Falls’ future!”

Keynote speaker Grant Kennon, Vice President, Chief Legal Officer/Chief Strategy Officer of Sky Lakes Office of Strategy and Innovation, shared his insights on sustainable healthcare innovation. Kennon, who has been at the forefront of driving strategic change at Sky Lakes Medical Center for 17 years, emphasized the importance of design thinking and the freedom to innovate. He also highlighted his commitment to healthcare reform and community health improvement.

The success of Ready, Set, Innovate would not have been possible without sponsorship from Cascade Health Alliance and Sky Lakes Office of Strategy and Innovation. Furthermore, the Klamath County Economic Development Association and South Central Oregon Economic Development District were integral planning committee members and contributed significantly to the event’s success.

Ready, Set, Innovate continues to serve as a beacon of inspiration, nurturing the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit within the local student community. Oregon Tech looks forward to the positive impact the event will have on the future of the region.

Michael Donarski speaking with a student at Ready, Set, Innovate

Students at Ready, Set, Innovate interviewing volunteers