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Diverse Works paints a path to success

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Portland Community College’s Small Business Development Center has worked well for local painting company Diverse Works Inc.

After working through its business plan and incorporating advice from SBDC counselors, the company is expanding by moving into new headquarters in Southeast Portland. Soon, it hopes to add to its five employees.

“We have worked hard to choose employees who reflect who we are,” said Diverse Works owner Rebecca Oates. “It is important to us that our crews and we as owners have the same vision.”

Diverse Works provides general exterior and interior painting services for residential and commercial contractors, but the specialty applications set them apart. This busy and growing firm creates unique, custom finishes on walls, floors and countertops. They craft faux wall finishes, acid wash concrete floors, and texturize with sand and other elements. They fabricate and finish concrete forms for retail, bar and restaurant interiors, as well as design and custom build exquisite metalwork, including handrails, wine racks and gates.

Diverse Works currently is adding those specialty touches to an 1885 Victorian triplex on Southwest First Avenue. The general contractor on the job is Megan Mahar of Cellar Doors Designs Inc., who loves Diverse Works

“If I want something really cool, creative and wonderful in my properties, they always come up with something to take it to the next level, but they are also very competitive on general painting jobs,” Mahar said.

But Diverse Works needed to grow. So to learn how to incorporate her company, Rebecca, who co-owns the business with husband Alan Oates joined PCC’s small business management program. She met with a small business adviser and shared their financial statements and its future goals with an adviser.

“It has been great,” she said. “They never criticize. They tell us what needs to be done, but it is empowering, not critical.”

Oates points out that since joining the small business management program in 2006, and attending monthly one-on-one counseling sessions, the company has grown revenues tripled in a year.

“Central to their success is the love and commitment that is shared by the couple who lead it,” said Tammy Marquez, PCC business adviser. “They are a team that is committed to quality of life to their business and to their family and that translates into quality for their customer.”

Indeed. Alan and Rebecca Oates met in 2002 Rebecca, a Spanish teacher, and Alan, a painter with 20 years of experience working on bridges and dams and other commercial and residential projects. Once they met, they knew early on that together the two could strategize and build a company, drawing on her organizational skills, his experience and craftsmanship, and their mutual dream.

“Once we realized there was a personal commitment, we knew it was a matter of putting our minds together and making it happen,” Rebecca said. The year they married, 2004, is the year they began Diverse Works.

For more information please visit the PCC Small Business Development Center:, or the Oregon BizCenter:

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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