Growing up on a small timber community in western Oregon, it was obvious at a young age that Russ’s natural desire to be around people was not going to be a good fit in the remote forests of the northwest. After high school, he attended an electronics trade school that would eventually lead him into a telecommunications career that would span 20 years. Working his way up through he ranks, he wound up founding and playing a key role in some of telecoms early pioneering technology companies in the areas of cellular telephones, prepaid phone cards and cellular directory assistance. A significant milestone took place in 1996 when one of the businesses he cofounded, Metro One Telecommunications, went public on NASDAQ – reaching the pinnacle of $1 billion in market capitalization over the next several years..
In 1997 he concluded that it was time for a career change and bought a small organic materials recycler in Wilsonville, Oregon. Russ wanted to see if the little hobby business could be leveraged into something of regional significance. The result was Oregon Bark – which quickly outgrew its space and required a change of plans. Through a series of transactions, Oregon Bark was traded off and Organix, Inc. was born.
In 2001 Russ launched Organix, Inc. The concept behind Organix was to find agricultural related businesses that were having difficulty with their waste management programs and repurpose this material into marketable products. In 2002, the company secured the huge Threemile Canyon Farms dairy/farm project in Eastern Oregon as a large-scale, integrated compost facility. The concept behind integration was to change the farm mentality from “waste” to “unprocessed resource”. Although the farm now keeps all material for on-farm use, the Threemile facility continues to convert hundreds of thousands of tons of residuals annually into valuable bedding, fertilizer and soil amendments.
Organix currently provides a dozen dairy clients in south central Washington with waste and recycling service – converting the potential liabilities of waste into assets. Russ has designed a patented process called FibeRite that converts anaerobically digested manure into RePeet – a renewable peat moss alternative. Russ brings to the company ideas, sales, marketing, media and public relations experience. Over the years, he has been a featured speaker in telecom, composting and renewable energy expos and conferences. He has been listed numerous times in the “Who’s Who” Directory of Executives and Professionals. He has written over a dozen articles for industry trade magazines and newspapers and continues to be sought after for his ability to take an idea and make it into a marketable product. He is currently assisting in the development of a biogas powered system that expects to convert the manure from 40,000 cows and capture the methane gas to produce renewable energy.
Russ lives in Walla Walla and is happily married to the woman of his dreams and has four beautiful children, who love to ask him to explain why he picked dairy manure as a career.
Organix projects have been featured in BioCycle, the Oregonian, the Portland Business Journal, the Sustainable Industries Journal, Waste News, the Capital Press, Digger Magazine and the East Oregonian. Organix is a member of the Oregon Associated Nurseries and United States Composting Council. Most recently Russ has served on the Washington Organic Recycling Council (WORC) and Walla Walla Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC).