Bridging Gaps, Fostering Growth: IVIH's Story

After the Dixie Fire devastated the region, John Steffanic, Manager of the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds, proposed the establishment of an economic development organization with a focus on manufacturing products for export. This vision led to the birth of the Indian Valley Innovation Hub (IVIH). Given the urgent requirements in the burn scar area, IVIH initially directed its efforts there.

In essence, our primary objective was to bring together a network of mentors, experts, tools, equipment, marketing strategies, distribution channels, financing options, and branding resources to foster innovation within the Indian Valley community. A significant number of product makers eagerly joined IVIH’s product development program, and we have continued to provide unwavering support to them.

Over the subsequent months, it became evident that entrepreneurs in the region had a broader spectrum of needs. Consequently, IVIH expanded its services significantly and forged partnerships with organizations capable of addressing the unmet requirements of local businesses. This expansion also caught the attention of entrepreneurs beyond Indian Valley, leading to inquiries and requests for support from all corners of Plumas County. In response, we have extended our services to cater to clients throughout the entire county.

OUR MISSION: facilitating Plumas County exports and empowering businesses through innovation and education to drive economic development.


The Plumas Sierra County Fair is especially proud to be part of this effort that checks off so many things a community looks to their Fairgrounds for; economic development, promotion of agricultural products, involving diverse groups of people within the community and most importantly, having the opportunity to show off what our community has made, grown and raised. The core purpose of a County Fair is to share what a community makes, grows and raises. 

The Fair judges recognize these products, as Fairs have done for Centhuer Gieos.

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We Welcome All Entrepreneurs

IVIH is developing a comprehensive website with information that can help business owners connect with funding, consumers, advisors, educational resources, and more. If you don’t see the business support resources you need listed here, reach out to us and we will connect you with the support you need.


Time to create a business plan

If your idea makes it to the next level, further resources can be requested including equipment, expert consultation, market research and more.

After help creating your business plan, you will present to the IVIH team. A decision will be made to move to market. Additional resources may also include:

And finally...


The IVIH team will help put together the resources available at this moment in time. There is no reason we cannot create products that the world would want to know about. If we can do that, then the world will want to buy those things, and that’s how we start to rebuild economically.

The IVIH Team

Click on each bio photo to learn more.

Clint Koble

Indian Valley Innovation Hub Committee Member

Throughout his career, Clint Koble has held prominent leadership roles at the Nevada Rural Development Council, the USDA, the Dixie Fire Collaborative, and the Sierra Small Business Development Center. Clint facilitates business skills workshops covering an array of business development topics for Plumas County, Quincy Chamber, and IVIH, providing business owners with invaluable tools, including business plans, financing assistance, and innovative solutions.

Clint's unwavering passions lie in economic development, tourism, recreation, and the betterment of small, unincorporated towns. Throughout the Dixie Fire response and recovery he has wholeheartedly championed disaster recovery efforts. His dedication to community service and exceptional contributions to disaster recovery were recognized in late 2022, when he was honored with the prestigious SBDC State Star Award. This accolade celebrates his outstanding individual achievements, which have significantly impacted and advanced small business efforts.

As an Advisor for Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Clint has a first-hand understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by Plumas County business owners navigating the complex recovery process. Drawing from his extensive experience in economic development, Clint works diligently at IVIH to help the organization creatively address the gaps in services and find creative solutions.


John Steffanic

Indian Valley Innovation Hub Committee Member

John Steffanic is a mostly life-long resident of Plumas County. He spent several years working in advertising in Reno and the Bay Area. He has been a serial entrepreneur over the past 35 years, and currently owns and operates Sierra Promotions with his wife Denise in Portola. John served as the President of the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce for two terms in the late 1980's. He's has been the Plumas Sierra County Fair Manager for 14 years and was recently appointed Plumas County's Economic Development contact. He served as Co-Chair on the Long-Term Wildfire Recovery Economic Committee where he gained a bird's eye view of all economic development proj ects in the County. Establishing an organization that would support the creation of an economic base of products for export from Plumas County has been John's dream for over 30 years. When the Dixie Fire created a financial windfall for the Plumas Sierra County Fair John saw an opportunity to finally establish this organization while at the same time giving back to people living in the burn scar.

John's idea of producing products for export became IVIH's ultimate mission. At IVIH, he connects product developers with experts in their field, and works to support the development of a distributorship headquartered in Plumas County. Economic Development in his home county is John's passion.

━ John Steffanic

Kest Porter

Indian Valley Innovation Hub Committee Member

Kest Porter moved to Indian Valley with his young family in 1986 and retired in 2010 after nineteen years as Greenville and Taylorsville Elementary Schools’ principal and five years as the county and district curriculum director. He then became involved in the Greenville Cy Hall Memorial Museum, researching and creating exhibits documenting the history of Indian Valley’s Maidu and the changes to the valley since prospectors arrived during the Gold Rush. After he and his partner Cheri, lost their homes in the Dixie Fire, they moved to another home in the valley and committed themselves to helping the community recover and rebuild. Kest has served on the Dixie Fire Collaborative Steering Committee and acts the community liaison for Plumas County where he provides regular updates to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors about the burn-scar recovery.

Kest volunteers as a Rotarian. and on the Long-Term Wildfire Recovery Economic Committee, He spearheaded the Greenville Pop-Up Business District and is helping to establish Indian Valley Innovation Hub. Currently he's forming the Business Funder's Roundtable. Contributing by working with others for the benefit of all, and enjoying himself, are guiding principles for Kest.

━ Kest Porter

Ted Stout

Indian Valley Innovation Hub Committee Member

Ted Stout lives in Crescent Mills. He attended Cal-Poly Pomona majoring in mechanical engineering and materials engineering. He went on to work in the software industry; primarily in startups focusing on developing and improving new products with Fortune 500 companies. Ted brings experience in innovation and long-term planning to the organization. He's an IVIH Product Development Program Project Advisor and an outside the box thinker who is also highly skilled at finding creative solutions for product development clients and for the organization itself.

━ Ted Stout

Lara Wheeler

Indian Valley Innovation Hub Director.

With maternal and paternal family roots in Greenville dating back to the early 1900's, Lara is deeply connected to the area. She grew up working on commercial fishing boats in and around the Gulf of Alaska, she's been a U.S.C.G. Merchant Mariner for 21 years, where she worked in management positions aboard Navy contract vessels and for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's world-leading oil spill prevention and response system. She brings a wealth of diverse experience to her role at IVIH, spanning various industries. Lara has professional expertise in the fields of business management, food service operations, and event coordination. She has comprehensive training in commercial advertising from the Art Institute of Seattle, equipping her with skills in visual communications and strategic marketing.

Lara's fervor for disaster response and recovery ignited over three decades ago when she experienced the profound impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a delegate representing her community, she underwent specialized training to grasp the effects of natural and technological disasters on rural areas, as well as the strategies community leaders can employ to navigate the social and economic recovery process. She was active in the challenging, transformative process of establishing new economic foundations, witnessing steady progress over 34 years, with the economic landscape now showing remarkable improvements.

In the aftermath of the Dixie Fire's impact on Indian Valley, Lara secured the Crescent Hotel, assembled a team of volunteers, and worked to bridge the gap between generous donors and response organizations, providing essential assistance to individuals returning from evacuation. Fire survivors received vital resources including drinking water, food, clothing, WiFi, camping gear, emotional support, and guidance in registering with insurance companies, and relief organizations such as FEMA, Plumas Crisis Intervention Resource Center, and Plumas Rural Services (PRS).

Business owners in need of critical resources began contacting Lara and she helped them locate grants, loans, suitable business locations, office equipment, WiFi, and organizations supportive of business recovery. The Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center received generous funding for long-term operating costs and is now a program under the PRS umbrella named The Dixie Fire Resource Center.

Driven by her inclination towards business and economic recovery, Lara transitioned from her role at RGRC and rallied around Steffanic's idea to establish IVIH. At IVIH, Lara focuses on a range of pivotal initiatives aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and bolstering the organization's capacity, including the establishment of IVIH's comprehensive online Business Resource Directory and the Made in Plumas County Program. She collaborates with leaders of partner organizations paving the way for innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable growth, ensuring our local businesses have the support they need in a rapidly changing world.


We are happy to offer free services

The Indian Valley Innovation Hub supports the development of business owners and their products.