Fred Ziari quietly becoming a heavy hitter among Oregon's business leaders

PENDLETON -- Fred Ziari interrupted a visit to a government official in the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar last spring to use his iPhone to turn down the thermostat in his Hermiston office.

Sheik Hamad bin Ali-Thani was speechless. The sheik, a technology buff, is vice chairman of the emirate's food security program.

"He loved it, he just loved it," said a laughing Ziari, whose Oregon company, Onsmart LLC, developed the software that allowed him to access the thermostat.

{josquote}He spent four months during 2004 talking to farmers and ranchers and organizing a nonprofit called Farmers Ending Hunger.{/josquote}

Onsmart plans to begin marketing that technology next year. With it, consumers will be able to go online with smart phones and laptops and remotely control most of their home's electrical consumption.

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