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A Day in the Life: PacTech and Mobile Future team up to criss-cross the Beaver State

While our work at PacTech is always engaging, last month brought a particularly action-packed day. When we heard that Jonathan Spalter, Chair of Mobile Future, was planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, we jumped at the chance to bring mobile technology to the forefront of our regional tech discussions.

We started the day in Salem, meeting with State Representative Jessica Vega-Pederson. Rep. Vega-Pederson has been a consistent advocate for the tech industry across the state, which is why she was recently selected to chair the House’s Tech Caucus. After spending time discussing the state of our state’s networks with Vega-Pederson, it was on to our next stop.

Mid-morning brought us to the office of David Soloos, Oregon’s Strategic Technology Officer, where the state’s Telecom Strategist for Business Development, Chris Tamarin, joined us. While it’s always fun to get together with others that understand the ins-and-outs of the technology that powers innovation in Oregon, this discussion was particularly informative. We spent the hour delving into the technical details of broadband, particularly rural broadband and what that means for communities throughout Oregon. We look forward to working closely with Oregon leaders to tell the story of broadband and to find ways to deliver more of it.

By this time, we were more than ready for lunch! We joined the remaining members of the Tech Caucus and staff, as well as members of U.S. Sen Ron Wyden’s staff and representatives of the Technology Association of Oregon for our “Technology and Innovation Caucus Luncheon.” Rep. Vega-Pederson and Tech Caucus Co-Chair Rep. John Davis kicked off our luncheon and then Mr. Spalter made a splash among the attendees, sharing his insights on the recent Title II decision and how it could be expected to negatively impact private investment in our state’s infrastructure.

After lunch, we made a quick stop to meet with Vince Porter in the Governor’s office. Mr. Porter advises the Governor on policy relating to job creation, the economy and other business issues. Then we hit the road for our trip back to Portland, where we swung by the offices of the Metro Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We heard from President Gail Castillo, who shared her perspectives on the essential role connectivity plays in diverse communities. While we’ve always known that advanced connectivity can make a big difference in the availability of educational opportunities, hearing her connect the dots between those advantages, job creation and business growth cemented our commitment to continuing to press for robust connectivity across the state.

Finally, it was time for our headline event, PacTech’s Salon Dinner, which we co-hosted with the Tech Association of Oregon. At this dinner event, Mr. Spalter spoke to a round-table of startup founders and tech and telecom business leaders about the politics and long-ranging effects of the FCC’s Title II decision. The group shared their thoughts on how these policies will impact their businesses, outlining the challenges startups face every day from funding to regulatory hurdles. Our bottom line message to them was simple – you’ve got to engage in the process to improve the outcome. Policy makers need to hear from the innovators on the frontline of policy implementation.

It was a long day, but worth every minute. It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to access someone as influential and insightful as Jonathan Spalter, and sharing that expertise with our community – while introducing him to Oregon’s best and brightest – was an opportunity we couldn’t miss.

Categories Blog | Tags: | Posted on October 27, 2015

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