Silicon Valley’s Workbench
In May I heard a speaker from Brookings Institution speak at a Western Association of Chamber Executives board meeting in Las Vegas. Brookings is a Washington DC based think tank but he was based in Vegas and specialized in studying the economic trends in the West. One point that he made struck a chord with me. He said that cities in the western states are Silicon Valley’s workbench. That, of course, would include Fort Collins.
What an interesting way to put in. The heart of America’s high tech sector is in Northern California, for sure. However, getting everything done requires the talent and manpower of many communities and states.
Software is an important part of the local tech scene but hardware is at the core. Our ‘workbench’ includes specialties in chip design, data storage, systems on a chip, microwaves and remote sensing. About 3,000 people are employed in 17 firms that make up this cluster. The biggest companies are Avago (1000+ people), Hewlett-Packard (1000+), Intel and Advanced Energy.
The quality of life of the area, educated populace and relative affordability (at least compared to Silicon Valley) keep us as a top high tech workbench. Even as some companies contract and restructure, Fort Collins will stay on the radar.