If you live in Bend, then you probably know the name Mike Hollern. Our Chairman of the Board has been with Brooks Resources since its inception as a subsidiary of Brooks-Scanlon, Inc. in 1969. Over the years, he says he’s seen highs, lows and a lot of fun! He and his wife Sue are well-known for their work in the community, and are big supporters of the arts and other philanthropic causes in the region. We asked him a few of our regular questions – plus some extras just for him – for our November employee spotlight!
Tell us a little about how things have changed (or stayed the same) since Brooks Resources was founded.
Our culture remains the same: respect and support for our shareholders, employees, customers, contractors and the community.
Central Oregon’s growth has caused some stress with increased traffic and minor congestion, but we also have a much more diversified economy, first class medical care, great museums and all the outdoor recreation available here. After the pandemic is over (and it will be over), we’ll again have wonderful restaurants and vibrant art and music scenes.
Brooks Resources has always been a big supporter of the arts and community nonprofits. Tell us more!
The founders of Brooks-Scanlon and Brooks Resources have always believed in the responsibility of businesses and employers to give back to the communities where they live. We encourage employees to work with and for nonprofits and social service agencies, museums, arts organizations and local governments. We contribute a minimum of 3% of our pretax profit to charitable organizations with an emphasis in recent years on social safety net organizations and cultural enrichment and education. We have attracted and retained employees who share these values.
The Bend Foundation was started many years ago by Brooks-Scanlon and its shareholders and continues to be supported by Brooks Resources. It has made capital grants to The High Desert Museum, Bend’s Community Center, The Tower Theater, Community Theater of the Cascades, Oregon State University-Cascades and has provided most of the funding for public art in Bend’s roundabouts and public parks.
What advice would you give to people about today’s real estate market?
Real estate has been and, I believe, will continue to be, a cyclical business. It is very difficult to predict when the cycles will turn up or down. We are fortunate to live in an area with an excellent climate, clean water, good transportation systems, great restaurants, excellent schools and colleges, outstanding cultural and recreation opportunities and honest government.
In my view, our land use planning laws providing urban growth boundaries and environmental protections have contributed to the appeal of our area. We are not immune to broader economic and financial conditions in the country, but we are relatively well-positioned to handle the negative impacts of climate change. When you consider that the federal government owns something over 75% of Deschutes County, we have additional protection against sprawl and help preserving our recreation and scenic values. For all these reasons, I believe Central Oregon will continue to experience strong growth for the foreseeable future.
Anything else to add?
For Central Oregon to realize its bright promise in the years ahead, we as a community must do a better job addressing the problem of income inequality, which has contributed mightily to the problems of the lack of affordable housing, homelessness and poverty. In my view, we also need to significantly ramp up our efforts to foster racial justice and embrace diversity, equity and inclusion for all our citizens.
What are you passionate about when it comes to your job?
Observing our wonderful team – led by President Kirk Schueler – perform beyond my expectations.
What is the best way to start the day?
For me it is coffee, newspapers and a walk around Drake Park.
Who inspires you?
My wife Sue and my fantastic daughters and their families.
What’s your favorite thing(s) to do when you aren’t working (hobbies)?
Fishing, hiking, travel, reading.
What skill would you like to master?
Bonefishing. (For those of you who don’t know this is a popular sport in the Carribean and involves fly fishing in shallow water for the bonefish.)