AUBURN – On May 10th, longtime CEO of Orion Industries, John Theisen, is retiring after 18 years and Jerry Chase will become the new CEO. Jerry Chase, the former
CEO of Bsquare, was chosen as the successor after a three-year transition plan. Orion was looking for a candidate that could continue to grow their successful social enterprise model focused on providing job training and career placement to people with barriers to employment.
“It was my duty to ensure Orion’s legacy was in good hands before I retired.”
“This opportunity came at a time when I was looking to use my skills to benefit others. At Orion,
my experience will be put to use growing their businesses of aerospace manufacturing and
contact centers, while having a large impact on the lives and families of the people we train,”
Chase was the former President & CEO of Bsquare, a leading provider of Internet of Things
software products and solutions. Previously he served as CEO at Lantronix and Terayon where
he successfully led both companies through difficult turnaround situations. He is also a Marine
Corps veteran and graduate of Harvard Business School.
“It was my duty to ensure Orion’s legacy was in good hands before I retired. Through our
extensive search, we found that Jerry’s proven track record, valuable business experience and
passion and respect for our social mission, makes him a great fit for the organization,” said John
Theisen, retiring CEO.
“John and the Orion team have created a social enterprise that is self-sustaining and wildly impactful.”
Over the past 18 years, under Theisen’s tenure, Orion has become a leading national model for social enterprise. Theisen came to Orion at a time when the organization was losing money and didn’t have a clear plan. Theisen built two business lines within the organization that fund their social mission: aerospace manufacturing and contact center services. Their clients include large Fortune 500 clients like Boeing and Microsoft.
Orion uses the business lines as a platform to train individuals with barriers to employment, like poverty and homelessness. The staff works closely with individuals providing personalized
mentorship, job skills, training opportunities, and placement in careers that align with their talents.
As a result of their success over the past ten years, Orion has supported over 2,300 people in their training programs and placed almost 1,000 individuals into careers. All this, with a focus on excellence, winning numerous awards for the quality of their products. The next 18 years are looking even brighter for Orion. Chase’s vision is to continue Orion’s growth, excellence, and community impact.
“Orion is a model for success. John and the Orion team have created a social enterprise that is
self-sustaining and wildly impactful. My vision is to protect, grow, and replicate this model in
other companies and communities while preserving its focus on social impact,” says Chase.
Founded in 1957, Orion Industries is a mission-driven nonprofit, providing career pathways to
individuals with barriers to employment, such as learning disabilities, low incomes, and mental
health. Orion is a social enterprise that uses operations in its Aerospace Manufacturing Division
and Contact Center Services Division as platforms to teach people job skills through a
combination of classroom instruction and paid training, including mentoring and internship
programs. The divisions also provide sustainable funding for their social mission. In addition,
Fortune 500 companies look to Orion for high-quality aerospace manufacturing and contact
center support. Orion is headquartered in Auburn, WA, and are supported by their additional
locations in Mukilteo, WA and Fort Eustis, VA.