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Duralee Joins New Ecology Group


Duralee Products, a company that uses recycled plastic to make landscape tree containers used by nurseries, last week became the first entrepreneur member of the newly formed Thousand Oaks Environmental Business Cluster.

The cluster, a public-private coalition of area officials and companies including GTE, Southern California Edison and AT&T, will provide office space and management services to budding businesses in the environmental technology field.

Member entrepreneurs will operate out of an 11,000-square-foot office building on Lombard Street in Thousand Oaks. Cluster consultant Steve Wright, a special projects manager with GTE, said plans are to bring in 15 to 20 businesses, 2 years old or younger, over the next eight months.

"They have to be involved in environmental technology or a product or service related to a sustainable environment, and they need to be able to clearly demonstrate growth potential with their management staff," he said. "They will probably be undercapitalized, but looking for a place to grow and make the deal that is really going to launch their company."

Duralee is a good example. "They've been around for a couple of years," said Wright, "but they needed to be in an environment where they are going to get more visibility and assistance in marketing."

The goal of the cluster is to get these businesses to fulfill their potential, assisted by the expertise of the cluster director.

The cluster office building has 31 office cubicles with more than 100 desks. Wright said the entrepreneurs will not be forced to assist one another, but he expects a good working relationship to develop between them.

"Since everybody here is involved with environmental technology, there is going to be some natural sharing of information," he said. "We're trying not to pick directly competitive firms."

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