Cut to the Chase – Tacoma's Tech Column -Fridays in the IndexTacoma Technology Consortium Evolves and Matures

“An evolved Tacoma Technology Consortium (TTC) unveiled itself at the Tacoma Club this past Wednesday.The TTC began its second year under the guidance of an executive-level steering group and as an official affiliate of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the TTC changes reflect the growing maturity of Tacoma’s marketplace and are designed to enhance services provided to the Tacoma-Pierce County technology community.Along with Chamber affiliation, the TTC established new means of attaining goals instituted during its creation in 1999. The goals are to outline needed infrastructure and services, to prioritize projects and to develop strategic partnerships within Tacoma’s technology community. The evolved consortium plans to reach these goals through the leadership of the TTC Steering Group. The new focus allows people with a vested interest in Tacoma’s success to shape and influence policies and issues that affect the technology community, said Joey Caisse, President and CEO of Web-X and one of ten members of the Steering Group.Scott Bourne, Chairman of the TTC, describes the benefits of the official affiliation with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce as bringing credibility and better access to the business community at large. Bourne was initially appointed acting chair of the TTC Steering Group and at the first meeting was voted chairman by the other nine members. With his leadership, the Steering Group and the Chamber decided to make the TTC more focused as a policy board. We are trying to move beyond mere networking. We want to get more stakeholders involved in TTC, people who have something to add to the future of technology in Tacoma, Bourne said.This shift in focus was reflected by the panel discussion, which highlighted Wednesday’s meeting. Three representative members of the technology community discussed, How long can Tacoma-Pierce County maintain its competitive advantage for technology? The highly interactive and lively discussion branched into the audience for response and questions over half a dozen times. The informative, multi-opinion approach stimulated audience response.We will be bringing more of the same in future months, Bourne said. A multitude of opinions shared rather than a single speaker gives us an opportunity to show varying opinions. People can make their own mind up,Audience members shared differing views on Wednesday’s controversial topic. Panelist Bruce Greene, General Manager of Advanced TelCom Group and TTC Steering Group member, said Tacoma was missing one element, a skilled and available workforce to fill technology jobs, as he pointed to undeveloped education work programs.Panelist Dr. Chung-Shing Lee, a specialist in business and technology at Pacific Lutheran University, shared his idea of a science and technology park to keep Tacoma’s competitive advantage. Presenting the park as an incentive to attract businesses, he compared the distance from Tacoma to Seattle to the distance between San Jose and San Francisco. Lee’s comparison creates a simile between our I-5 Corridor and Silicon Valley or Research Triangle. An audience member from Pacific Lutheran University disputed the blame of educational institutions for not meeting the demand, while another individual referenced a survey that showed supply of educated technology workers will not meet the global demand for at least twenty years. Ending on a high note, the panel discussion ended with agreement that Tacoma does have an edge in the technology field and that skilled employees will move to Tacoma from areas like Seattle and Silicon Valley for a higher quality of life.Tacoma does have several competitive advantages. The fiber optic network that makes Tacoma the #1 wired city, innovation and the exchange of ideas propels successful businesses, and four ports enable global exchange of good and services from Tacoma’s businesses.Air, Rail, Sea, and Cyber Ports, said Bruce Greene. The fiber optic network creates the fourth port. The Tacoma Technology Consortium should be viewed as one of Tacoma’s advantages. In the past I have praised the TTC and Tacoma Network as providing an opportunity for networking and sharing ideas to strengthen the community and business relationships. The evolved TTC proved Wednesday that even more opportunities would become available through this forum.Please call or email Jamie Chase at 253-573-1030, or e-mail with comments or suggestions for topics.Jamie Chase is vice president of public and investor relations for ContractQuest. Chase is the founder of E-business Day in Tacoma – Thursday, August 24.To learn how to participate in the E-business Day Web Fair community high-tech open house, or the E-wards ceremony, visit the Links section of and click on the E-business Day link. “