Growing Utah’s Tech Sector
A history of advocating for technology
I spent the first 10 years of my professional career selling software. Then for 19 years, I helped grow Micron’s presence in Utah and strategized how to grow the tech sector. I worked with the Legislature on policies that helped tech. Then seven years ago, I was asked to lead Utah’s STEM initiative.
People still talk to me on a regular basis about Utah’s tech sector. I’m delighted with the self-perpetuating ecosystem that has emerged in recent years. Silicon Slopes will continue to get better and better.
Overcoming obstacles to grow tech in Utah
Utah has to overcome several limitations:
1. When fledgling Utah tech companies needed cash to grow, California venture capitalists would invest in the company, but then move the company to the Bay Area.
2. Utah had a hard time recruiting C level executives. They had limited options if their immediate job didn’t work out.
3. Utah couldn’t get major tech players to locate a satellite office here. We just didn’t have the sexiness of Silicon Valley or Research Triangle Park or the appeal of a large city like New York or L.A.
4. Utah couldn’t attract or educate skilled tech professionals like software developers fast enough. Okay, that is still a challenge.
The future of technology in Utah
Today, you can leave a tech company on a Friday and start Monday within a mile of the old job. There is huge demand for tech skills. Public Ed and Higher Ed are now responding to the need for technical education. We hope to have computing become a required subject matter with standards in K-12 by 2023.
Innovation is at the heart of tech. My experience around the country has shown me that there is an entrepreneurial spirit in Utah that is unmatched. For a plethora of reasons, Utahns are generally good at looking for disruptive technologies and they aren’t afraid to fail.
Utah’s future will be somewhat tied to technology growth. We have a young, innovative workforce of lifelong learners. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.