Dick Palmer: Technology spotlight could shine in Duluth
Last week, the University of Minnesota hosted a summit on Minnesota's economy at the St. Paul River Center. Twelve-hundred people attended, including University President Mark Yudof and Gov. Jesse Ventura. What was said and presented opened up so...
Last week, the University of Minnesota hosted a summit on Minnesota's economy at the St. Paul River Center. Twelve-hundred people attended, including University President Mark Yudof and Gov. Jesse Ventura. What was said and presented opened up some eyes and prospects for a brighter economic future in Minnesota, and was dissected, rejected and debated with sincere interest. The diversity of the presentation had a common theme, economic opportunities are taxing the initiative and determination of communities throughout the country in an effort to get a bigger piece of the action while there is still time. The Yudof summit certainly brought that fact out loud and clear.
One of the issues discussed was an apparent lack of skilled workers coupled with investment opportunities throughout Minnesota. William Cadogan, CEO of Minnetonka-based ADC Telecommunications, Inc. was quoted as saying, "Minnesota is not prepared to take its rightful place in the New Economy."
He stressed the need to increase investment funding at the University of Minnesota, and Yudof was pleased. Not all agreed, however. Joseph Cortright, representing Impresa Inc. an Oregon-based economic firm, says the Twin Cities metro area ranks fourth in the nation as a high tech center behind San Jose, Boston and Washington D.C. Without a doubt, this summit opened up some eyes, gave state and community leaders an opportunity to pause and reflect, and certainly defined some perimeters to study and act upon.
One of the most important aspects of this summit highlighted the obvious; there are no confining boundaries for high-tech development and advancement. The magic ingredient in all this represents community investment. Here is where Duluth could shine if present civic leaders are willing to look to the future without being blindsided by the past.
Today, the Twin Cities is growing and getting increasingly complicated. Gridlock is a way of life on the metro roadways. Community pressures are mounting, and suburban growth is gnawing away at the infrastructure of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Generally speaking, large metro areas attract business and industry, but in the case of our fast growing technology, this is not necessarily the case.
The technology business today can be conducted over a telephone line, so any area of the country is as close to the pulse of this industry as another. That's what makes Duluth so special. We have a great quality of life, the basic educational, business, medical and professional base to attract business investments. We have the space for residential development, and we have a great potential workforce capable of stepping up to the plate and taking a healthy swing at this growing technology potential.
All we need is a civic leadership that is not blinded but open to opportunity. This is where it all begins.
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the budgeteer News. he may be reached by telephone at 729-6470 or by e-mail at RPalmer341@aol.com