Meet the investors behind the PDX Diamond Project
MLB to PDX Investors
In the famous words of the 1989 hit movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” In the case of MLB to PDX, this is true. Getting Russell Wilson and Ciara on board was a public relations dream, but the support didn’t stop there. On Wednesday, the Portland Diamond Project released its list of charter investors who are backing the project with approximately $2.5 billion dollars. What is a “charter” investor?
Founder of the Diamond Project Craig Cheek explains, “The charter investors are people who really grasped the vision and had the resources to get involved. They have strong ties to the area and are passionate about what we’re doing.”
Scroll through to find a list of these investors and some interesting facts you didn’t know about each of them:
List of charter investors: Russell Wilson (quarterback Seattle Seahawks), Ciara (recording artist and entrepreneur), Harvey Platt (former CEO of Platt Electric) and wife Sandy, Darwin Barney (Former big leaguer/OSU Baseball star), Samantha Richardson (retired business owner and philanthropist), Mike Fritz (CEO/Founder of DWFritz Automation) and wife Kristin, Rick Dillon (founder and CEO of Avamere Group), Grant Hammersley (Opus Agency co-founder and restauranter), Marcus Harvey (Founder/CEO of Portland Gear), Dan Portait (Founder of Kamp Grizzly) and wife Sheena, Mark Allen (NIKE VP of Global Footwear Product Creation) and wife Peg, Tyler Williams (Founder/Entrepreneur, Jevo), Kelsey Williams (real estate broker)
Russell Wilson & Ciara: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and recording artist Ciara have been on the MLB to PDX train since the very beginning. In Wilson’s words, “We’re really fired up about the family aspect of baseball coming to PDX… We want to create a winning formula; we want to have a championship caliber team.”
Facts you didn’t know about Russell & Ciara:
- In 2007, Wilson was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school; but decided to go to college instead (North Carolina State, and then Wisconsin).
- Russell Wilson’s favorite Gatorade flavor is “purple”
- Ciara’s name was inspired by a fragrance (her middle name is Princess)
- Every Tuesday, Russell and Ciara visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital
Harvey and Sandy Platt: Harvey Platt is the former CEO of Platt Electric, where his business practices cannot go understated: “Our electrical wire isn’t any better than anyone else’s, but I think our employees are happy and it makes all the difference.”
Sandy is a retired pre-school teacher. This article from 2000 is a must read when Portland Business Journal’s Andy Giegerich who describes the atmosphere of the Platt Beaverton store: “You walk through the building's main corridor and see artifacts such as a 1992 Dream Team-autographed basketball and an original pair of Air Jordans in display cases. In nearly every office, you see, yes, more massive bowls of sweets…”
Fact you didn’t know about the Platt’s:
- You can catch them courtside at the Portland Trail Blazers games as they are season-ticket holders
Darwin Barney, former OSU baseball player: Of course an Oregon State (National Champion) baseball player would jump on board the MLB to PDX movement! That player is Darwin Barney, the shortstop during the Beavers’ 2006 & 2007 National Championship squad. In an interview with the Portland Diamond Project, Barney says: “I was born and raised in the Portland area and being part of this campaign to bring an MLB team to my hometown is especially meaningful to me. I want to provide any expertise and support I can to the success of this initiative.”
Fact you didn’t know about Darwin Barney:
- Shares a birthday with chef Gordon Ramsay
Rick Dillon - Avamere Group: Rick Dillon joined the Avamere Group in 1997 where he became the Chief Operating Officer of Avamere Family and Companies Inc.
Facts you didn’t know about Rick Dillon:
- In this YouTube video, he has a baseball bat hanging on the wall behind him
- He got a Masters degree from Portland State University, go Vikings!
Grant Hammersley - Opus Agency: Grant Hammersley has been in the corporate event management and sponsorship business for 12 years. He also hosts an annual charity golf tournament with all the proceeds going to the Children’s Cancer Association.
Fact about Grant Hammersley you didn’t know:
- He is the Founder of The Children’s Cancer Association Pro-Am golf tournament
Marcus Harvey - Portland Gear: Marcus Harvey is 28-years-old and the youngest investor of the group. From Instagram to a monthly rental space, Portland Gear has seen partnerships with the Trail Blazers Widmer Brothers, OHSU Doernbecher, and the University of Portland since opening in 2012. “This is not a get-rich-quick scheme for me,” Harvey said. “I really had to think about it because I was investing all I had. I also just got married. But I had to be a part of this. I want to take my kids to a game someday. Be part of that. Be there Opening Day.”
Facts about Marcus Harvey you didn’t know:
- He coached a youth boys basketball team this year and won the championship
- He just got married last year
- Spoke as a TED talk guest
Dan Portait, Founder of Kamp Grizzly, and wife Sheena: Kamp Grizzly is a creative, full-service, immersive studio featuring films like “adidas running: fearless af”; “adidas: The Summer of Harden”, and “adidas skateboarding: Trap Lord.” Founder Dan Portrait, and his wife Sheena, just expanded their company into New York City.
Mark Allen, Nike Footwear: Mark Allen, Vice President of Global Footwear Product Creation, and his wife Peggy Allen, has been with Nike for 27 years.
Fact about Mark Allen that you didn’t know:
- He has a poster of himself cycling up on Pinterest
Other names on the list:
- Tyler Williams, Founder/Entrepreneur, Jevo
- Samantha Richardson, retired business owner and philanthropist
- Mike Fritz, CEO/Founder of DWFritz Automation, and wife Kristin
- Kelsey Williams, real estate broker