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PacTech hosts Rep. McMorris Rodgers at Gravity Jack in Liberty Lake

Cathy_McMorris_Rodgers,_Official_Portrait,_112th_CongressQuick—name a hotbed of innovation in Washington State. You might have said Seattle or Tacoma, or even Vancouver. After hosting U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers for a discussion at the offices of a company called Gravity Jack, PacTech can confidently add Liberty Lake, WA to that list.

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s Fifth Congressional District, which covers a good portion of Eastern Washington. In Washington, D.C. she sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce which oversees economic development across the country. It should come as no surprise then, with her professional focus on job creation and her representation of a largely rural district, that rural economic development and job creation are an important focus of her work. That’s why we recently convened a small group of local tech, policy and civic leaders to discuss the impact of mobile broadband access on rural Washington with Rep. McMorris Rodgers.

From the outside, Liberty Lake (a small town in the Fifth District) might appear to be a typical small town of the Pacific Northwest. But as we learned recently, advanced connectivity and a little bit of elbow grease has helped Liberty Lake-based company Gravity Jack become a high-tech, economic driver for their community. You need look no further for an example of how the “app economy” is benefiting communities in rural Washington.

Jennifer Richey, co-founder of Gravity Jack, spoke at the event, highlighting the company’s work as a developer of not just cutting-edge, but bleeding edge technologies and platforms. Gravity Jack is an award-winning industry leader in the creation of custom software—and they do it all right here in rural Washington. Particularly well-known for their expertise in augmented reality (the intersection of virtual reality and its interaction with the real world), Gravity Jack was named one of the best entrepreneurial companies in America by Entrepreneur magazine in 2015. They were also a finalist for the Vuforia Vision Awards “Best Interactive Product” honor in 2015.

One of Gravity Jack’s most impressive projects, commissioned by golf company Taylormade, allows consumers to adjust the loft, face angle and shot shape of a virtual golf club, before taking a real swing to see how adjustments change the arc and distance of a virtual shot. Another project allows prospective car buyers to see a virtual display of the internal features of a Lincoln MKX on the screen of a smartphone, turning any location into a virtual (or rather, augmented) driver’s seat.

Companies like Gravity Jack work every day and use every resource at their disposal to create technological innovations that seems like things we could only imagine a few years ago. It’s up to policymakers and regulators like Rep. McMorris Rodgers to ensure we structure and regulate the industries that provide innovation infrastructure, like high-speed, mobile Internet access in a way that encourages constant investment and improvement.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers said it best when she said, “We need a free market approach to drive investment in technology and innovation, there’s huge potential there.”

It’s incredible to see a Silicon Valley-like company operating in Liberty Lake (what Gravity Jack calls “Silicon Alley”), and meet the new generation of innovators that are employed there. They’re creating incredible, cutting-edge applications and driving the economic future of Liberty Lake and other small towns across the Pacific Northwest. You can see profiles of other people working to drive Washington’s innovation economy in PacTech’s “Faces of Technology” profiles.

Categories Blog | Tags: | Posted on June 3, 2016

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