I was born the oldest of four children and spent my early childhood in a predominately Hispanic, working-class community on Long Island, New York. My family valued education, hard work, and made a tremendous effort to assimilate into American, middle class culture. My parents were concerned about our safety and exposure to negative influences, so they decided to home school me and my siblings.
At the age of twelve, my parents moved from New York to Oregon, settling in just north of Rogue River in Wimer. My parents wanted to raise the family in a more rural environment, and my dad decided to start his own home business making cabinetry. The economy in Southern Oregon at that time had begun to suffer from the steep decline of the timber industry, and we had a difficult time making ends meet. Financial pressures, combined with seclusion and lack of family support, finally took its toll. My parents separated, and our family scattered. I enrolled in public school for the first time starting mid-year of ninth grade at Rogue River High School. The following year I attended a few months of tenth grade at Ashland High School, while bouncing around between different living situations. That summer I relied heavily on the kindness and generosity of a young couple that provided meals to the homeless kids living in Lithia Park.
I finally moved back to Long Island to live with my grandmother, and started my first full year of public school in the eleventh grade. I was academically behind in many areas, and worked hard to catch up with my peers. I graduated high school and went on to a local community college. To help support myself, I worked at a computer chip manufacturer, Standard Microsystems. That is where I became fascinated with technology.
I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2000 to begin a new career as a programmer/analyst at Integrated Micromachines, a telecom startup. My husband and I were married and bought a house in the spring of 2002. By 2003, the dot-com bubble had burst, and my husband and I found ourselves out of work. Although we both found new jobs, I felt the need to return to Oregon and re-establish ties with my family. My husband and I began to look for jobs in Southern Oregon where we could use our technical background. Unfortunately, there were none. We decided to take a leap of faith. After selling our house in Southern California, we used the money, along with a bank loan and a loan from SOREDI, to open Rogue Valley Microdevices in 2004. Fast-forward to today, our company has twenty employees, we have two wonderful daughters, and I am excited to embark on the next chapter.
Listening To The Community
Jessica believes the best ideas come from our community. She wants to create a more vibrant Southern Oregon through listening and collaborating with others.
Jessica understands the importance of family and hard work. She has had to balance work and community service, all while raising two children with her husband.
Small Business Owner and job creator
Jessica is the founder and CEO of Rogue Valley Microdevices. As a job creator, she advocates for changes which support small businesses and a thriving local economy.