Ron Sauer '80 sits in his office on the fifteenth floor of the Umpqua Bank building looking north over Portland's Waterfront Park. He is wearing a crisp, green-and-white-striped button-down and blue tie that set off a ruddy, smiling face. A few rebellious strands of his neatly trimmed dark hair refuse to lie down and behave. He appears simultaneously relaxed yet ready to spring into action.
Undoubtedly, this cool alertness has contributed to Sauer's success since graduating in 1980 with a BS in finance. Sauer is the founder, chairman, and chief investment officer of Mazama Capital Management, a leading manager of U.S. growth equities. Starting in 1996 with three accounts and a $50 million portfolio, Sauer's Portland-based firm now manages billions in assets.
Sauer is passionate about his work, his family, and his University of Oregon experience. And in the Finance and Securities Analysis Center, Sauer has found a project that merges his zeal for the Lundquist College with his desire to give back to the university and the community.
The center promotes excellence in research, develops and coordinates experiential learning opportunities for students, and raises the profile of the college on complex issues pertaining to security analysis. It offers graduate degree specializations at the MBA and MAcc levels, a state-of-the-art trading desk, and a focus on international business.
Sauer's involvement in the center closes a circle that started with Larry Dann at the college in 1980. Sauer credits Dann, a professor of finance and taxation and the academic director for the center, with inspiring him to pursue a career in finance and helping him find his first job. When Sauer saw his former professor at a Duck football game a few years ago, it eventually led to Dann mentioning the vision for the center. Sauer loved it.
In addition to supporting the center, Sauer is leading efforts to engage the talents, knowledge, and experience of college alumni as speakers, panelists, and advisors. As he sees it, the center is an ideal project to rally Lundquist alumni, the Oregon money management industry, and the community at large. It gives graduates a specialized edge in competitive job markets, provides the industry with top talent, and helps the Oregon economy by training, retaining, and attracting the best and brightest workers.
"For me, the center is an intriguing way to make a contribution," said Sauer, who helped provide the founding investment for the center. "I know a lot of other experienced, successful men and women who can also contribute to this cause. And I think we can make something really great come out of this."
If his track record is any indication, it looks like a sure winner.