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From the time he was 10 years old and through college, Todd Given grew up helping his parents with their coatings and painting company. He went on to work in the pipe design industry as a tool install de- signer at a high-tech facility in Aloha before becoming a designer and 3D design development specialist for industrial and tech projects all over the world.

When he was laid off in 1998, there were no jobs available. With only contract jobs on the table, Given followed his family’s entrepreneurial mindset and started his own company, ProtoCAD Designs Inc. As he puts it, “Necessity was the launchpad!”

Today, the Clackamas-based company employs 11 others on contract as needed. It provides on- and off-site BIM, engineering, design, detailing, spooling and CAD ser- vices. Its engineering and design services include plumbing, mechanical and process pipe for market sectors that span commercial, industrial, healthcare, manufacturing, biomedical, high-tech and multi-residential projects.

When asked what he enjoys most about his work, Given said, “Growing up I loved Legos – assembling things from my imagination out of a pile of parts. Pipe and HVAC design is very similar.”

Given owns the company with his wife, Danay, and he is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. As owners of a MBE/DBE-certified company, they have learned not to compromise their values of honesty, integrity and respect.

He also emphasized the importance of treating employees as partners or team- mates rather than resources. “Try to make your company the place the team wants to stay until they retire,” he said.


Given also offered fellow entrepreneurs these pieces of advice:

  1. It takes years to build a relationship and minutes to destroy This must be a two- way street for customers and teammates.
  2. It’s far better to under-commit and
  3. Be completely honest with your customer about your It’s better to lose a project and gain their trust. Many long-term customers will work with you to develop the skills they need you to provide.
  4. Allow your mistakes to refine you, not define
  5. After starting a project, if you can’t meet a customer’s expectations, schedule or needs, communicate that with them immediately! Provide a solution and then document the agreed solution with an email or some other paper trail where all parties agree to the
  6. Count t 1,000 if It’s normal to be uncomfortable in business. Remain calm under duress – panic is fear-based. Fear- based reactions lead to poor decisions, which destroy relationships.

Given said that while his company is a new NAMC-Oregon member, he and his wife look forward to broadening their net- work and appreciate NAMC-Oregon’s help with marketing and proposals.