Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Sue Page Oral History Interview, September 14, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction; Early Life; Early Inclinations; Book Keeping

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Partial Transcript: Okay excellent, so we will start with your name.

Segment Synopsis: Sue Page was born in Long Island, New York, where she lived until she was two years old. Her father worked in for the airlines as a flight engineer for PanAmerican, which required the family to move often. Shortly after Sue turned 2 the family moved to Houston where they lived for 6 years before he was transferred again to Connecticut, where Sue attended high school. She shares some early memories from living in Houston, telling stories about the flooding that often occurred on the property as well as the horses they owned.
She shares her inclinations as a young kid, sharing about her involvement in girl scouts and the ability she displayed in mathematics, but ultimately chose to pursue forestry when in college. Later in life her husband started a business, and she decided to leave the forestry industry and studied up in bookkeeping in order to keep the books for the new-founded business.

00:10:49 - Exposure to Activism; Forestry; Mother's Art;

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Partial Transcript: Did you feel like the late 60's and early 70's arrived in Connecticut? Was there things that you remember about that time socially or culturally?

Segment Synopsis: Sue explains how she grew up relatively sheltered in Connecticut, not being exposed to many social and cultural changes while still in High School. Once she attended college she was exposed to more social activism, particularly pertaining to the protests of the war.
During her collegiate years, she studied both forestry and park recreation, but ultimately pursued a track in forestry following graduation. She back tracks to what her mother did to occupy her time as a stay at home mother during Sue's childhood. Her mother attended Stanford University where she studied Archaeology and participated a in a few digs. But as she transitioned into a stay at home mom, she did a lot of volunteer work as well as creating art work which she sold for a commission.

00:20:22 - Prineville; Plotting Job; Seasonal Jobs; Bend in 1979

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Partial Transcript: So you are in Colorado, you are thinking about graduation, how did you end up in Prineville?

Segment Synopsis: Sue explains how she found her way to Prineville, Oregon following her graduation from College. She had put out feelers for jobs, and there was a summer job in Prineville allowing women to work for the first time. The job consisted of finding plots that had been previously placed to remeasure the plots between trees.
After that summer job, she attended Oregon State University to pick up more forestry classes before working another seasonal job in Burns the following summer. She continues to share about various seasonal jobs she held throughout the state of Oregon.
Sue preferred working the Eastern region of the state, sharing that she favored the climate and the layout of the mountains there far more than she did on the coast. She and her husband eventually found their way to Bend, Oregon, and she shares what the town was like in 1979.

00:30:31 - Leaving Forestry; Book Keeping; Children; Starting at Deschutes;

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Partial Transcript: So when did you leave the forest service?

Segment Synopsis: Sue talks about her husband opening an auto detail shop, which led her to leave the forestry service to do the book keeping. During this period she also worked for Sullivan Glove company as their book keeper as well.
She moves forward to share about Bend as a community, talking about community leaders, neighbors, and local politics. She continues to briefly share about her kids, one of which lives in Portland and the other in Hood River.
In 1989 Sue was hired at Deschutes, and she explains some of her early roles she held within the company.

00:43:02 - Staff; Community Reception; Wholesale;

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Partial Transcript: It was not a good situation that I walked into, especially because things were really tight.

Segment Synopsis: At the time of her hire, their were about 25 total staff members within the restaurant. Gary was very involved at this point of the business, working 7 day weeks every single week.
In 1990-91 Deschutes upgraded to a new POS system, and Sue explains how she witnessed a transition into a healthy and viable business. At about this time the wholesale business began to take off, which led them to the conclusion that they could no longer continue on in the way that they formerly had.

00:53:19 - Integration of Technology; Decision Making

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Partial Transcript: Did it feel like it got exponentially more complicated or did you feel like you were growing with the company so you were able to keep up in that sense?

Segment Synopsis: Sue explains how the integration of technology in the early 1990's helped ease outside costs and internal workloads. When they first purchased computers, they were able to acquire an accounting software that handled their payroll, allowing them to eliminate some of the costs they used on out sourcing. Sue was referred to as the "Jedi Master" within Deschutes for the unique skillsets she brought to the company.
She moves forward to share about her thought process when making decisions, and explains that she often considered decision as if she was the owner of the business, and considered the implications of her decision from that perspective.

01:03:32 - Transitioning to Full Time; Company Culture; Relationships within Management

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Partial Transcript: You know I never thought of it as a career, it was just one of those things that I was looking for as a part time job, and the job kept growing...

Segment Synopsis: Sue's role with Deschutes expand greatly over her tenure, she began by working only two hours a week, and eventually in 1995 she hired on full time. Leading up to that decision, she had been taking accounting classes to put her in a position that would make her qualified to take on the accounting role.
She shares the attitude of the brewers at the time, who considered themselves at the top of the organizational hierarchy, which at times could lead to some tension among fellow employees. The sales teams didn't feel as recognized as they felt they should be. Despite that, Sue says that she felt there was a strong family culture within the business, which helped them in all facets.
As they expanded, Sue appreciated that her relationships with the management group didn't seem to change much. As they progressed, they got to a point where Sue explains that she felt everyone was pulling in the same direction.

01:13:30 - Retirement; Projects; Writing a Novel; Photography;

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Partial Transcript: When did you decide that it was time to retire?

Segment Synopsis: Sue shares that her goal for retirement was always at the age of 65. In her early 60's she noticed that she was losing her energy to solve problem and handle other tasks as she began to slow down. She credits an eye disease she developed as part of the reason that she decided to step down. In the early years after the retirement she felt a little uneasy, but eventually she found her feet underneath her. She really misses the people she worked with at deschutes, and shares a funny story she remembers during her tenure.
She moves forward to elaborate on some of the projects she has picked up during retirement, specifically the novel that she has been working on. She also developed a passion for photography. Sue and her husband own a house in Montana, which she explains that they are slowing transitioning into spending more time out there.

01:26:09 - Gary's Relationship with his Father; Family Business; Philanthropy

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Partial Transcript: I was wondering about Gary and his dad Tom's relationship, and how that worked in the early years.

Segment Synopsis: Sue talks about the relationship between the founder of Deschutes Gary, and his father Tom. They appeared to have a very healthy relationship, both being able to bounce ideas off of one another and have productive dialogue. Dan served as a strong support system for Gary, embodying the family culture that Deschutes was all about.
She shares a bit about Gary's philanthropic activity through Deschutes. Their family always emphasized these ideals, and it naturally fused its way into the organization.