” At right, Guest Columnist Jamie Chase Economic developments related to technology in Tacoma last year did not reflect the industry doom and system crashes predicted by Y2K prophecies. Not even a stock market downturn could stop Tacoma’s momentum as the fiber optic investment spawned new business and national attention.In 2000, fourteen major downtown construction projects started with public and private investment partnerships. This created a single year record for building permits totaling $260 million. Over 100 new businesses moved to Tacoma in the past eighteen months. In 1999 and 2000, Dun and Bradstreet and Entrepreneur maga-zine rated Tacoma the leader among midsize cities for Best US City for Small Businesses. To recognize contributors to Tacoma’s momentum, I present the: Best of 2000Best legislation for our industry from our region: (Tie) The Digital Signature Bill and the proposed tech institute at the University of Washington in Tacoma.Governor Locke made the tech institute proposition last month. It is the only proposed higher education funding on his budget. If representatives in Olympia approve this funding in the final budget a skilled labor force and research opportunities will be created in the South Sound. Support Governor Locke’s plan by joining him and members of the Washington Congressional Dele-gation on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. The meeting to discuss the technology institute will be held in Douglas Room 280 on the University of Washington, Tacoma.Congressman Adam Smith worked as a representative of Tacoma’s businesses to pass the Digital Signature Bill in 2000. This legislation enables contractual business transactions to take place over the Internet. Best state wide technology forum to locate a chapter in the South Sound: Washington Software Alliance (WSA).The WSA is a statewide organ-ization working with government, education and community leaders to foster a positive climate for information technology companies and to raise the regional, national and international profile of the technology industry. To join the WSA or to attend one of their events in Tacoma visit: www.wsa1.org.Best place to network: Tacoma Network.It is also the best place to close a deal, find a partner and promote your tech company. Events are held the first Wednesday of each month with the location occasionally diverting from the Washington Building. Visit their site at: www.Tacomanetwork.com to obtain location and event information.Pierce Counties most decorated tech companies: IDmicro and Advanced BiometricsBoth companies were recently named to a prestigious 50 to watch list by Seattle Local Business. They were each recognized as a Top Ten Business in America’s #1 Wired City during eBusiness Day. IDmicro received a national award from its partner Budget Rental and Parking. Rob Grenley, CEO of IDmicro, was featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine.Best advocate for business in Tacoma: Juli Wilkerson.As Director of Tacoma’s Economic Development Department, Wilkerson worked diligently to encourage businesses around the nation to consider relocation to Tacoma. Additionally she introduces Tacoma’s television viewing audience to a diverse representation of business leaders on her program, Business Matters.Best industry conference in our region: South Sound Technology 2000.Paul Schindler, editor of Byte Magazine, was the keynote speaker at this conference held in downtown Tacoma in May. His remarks revealed industry trends and their application to business and technology in our region. Will his recommendation to give Internet access away for free come true in 2001? Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and RealNetworks all had representatives speak during the conference. Look for the SST001 later this year.Biggest step toward venture capital accessibility: Tacoma Venture.A collaboration between the Northwest Venture and the Tacoma Technology Consortium, it is the only event in the South Sound to bring venture capitalists and angel investors together with Tacoma’s entrepreneurs. The premier event this year marked a milestone for the city of destiny. Their next event is Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Club and reservations are required. Contact Paul Ellis at the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber at (253) 627-2175.Best forum representing Tacoma’s technology interests: Tacoma Technology Consortium (TTC).The year 2000 was one of new guidance and direction for the TTC. It established a board of directors composed of technology stakeholders in Tacoma. Recent meetings brought important industry and regional issues to the attention of attendees, Governor Locke and the Tacoma City Council. Events are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 3:30 in the Tacoma Club. “
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