Successful IT conference

January 20, 2010

Jobs & the Economy

I had the pleasure of attending part of the IT conference yesterday at the Frank Hasenfratz Centre of Excellence in Manufacturing.  It was a huge success with over 180 participants.  One of the sessions I attended featured Phil Greenway (Greenway Home Products) and Ali Asaria (Well.ca).  It was really interesting to hear the story of these two Guelph companies and how they embrace technology for exceptional customer service.

Here are my welcoming remarks:

Good morning everyone. I’m very pleased to be part of this conference – the first technology conference of its kind in Guelph.

A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of businesses from Guelph’s IT sector. I was struck by the fact that, while it doesn’t often make headlines, this sector has been building a significant presence in our community over the past couple of years. Quite a few of these businesses are located in our downtown.

After meeting with the businesses, I commented on my blog that an IT Accelerator Centre in our downtown could be just what we need to help achieve the important goals of job creation and downtown revitalization. My post was well-received, and I was impressed with the number of enthusiastic and creative ideas that were posted in response.

I learned that those in the technology sector meet regularly to share ideas and talk about all things tech-related. These meetings are open to all. Business leaders have also set up peer-to-peer networks. Clearly, this is a group of professionals who thrive on collaboration. So, it’s no surprise that they have come together to organize this conference, and connect the technology sector with other sectors in our local business community.

It strikes me that these are exactly the kind of professionals who would thrive as part of an innovation cluster or an accelerator centre, where the strengths of each firm contribute to the collective growth of the sector as a whole.

As all of you know, Guelph’s economy has been affected by the global recession. We know that we need to diversify our local economy in order to build resiliency for the future. A strong information technology sector offers an ideal opportunity to do that. And, it helps us to attract a skilled, creative workforce – exactly the kind of “creative class” workers that every city is trying to attract.

From what I have seen, our local IT professionals are committed to Guelph and excited about the potential that exists here. I think today’s conference will build that excitement, and move us further on the path to becoming a centre for technology innovation.

As one local IT enthusiast commented on my blog, “These are exciting times to work and live in Guelph.” I couldn’t agree more.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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One Comment on “Successful IT conference”

  1. Tony Johnston Says:

    Mayor Farbridge,

    It was a real pleasure to meeting you on Tuesday at the Guelph Technology Economy Conference (my thanks Jim Estill for the introduction). I thought the event was a tremendous success. Events like these are a real boosts for local economies and job creation. Congratulations to everyone responsible. I met great people, learned about important ideas and new opportunities, and I expect it will lead to more profit-making business for everyone in and around Guelph.

    Tony Johnston
    President
    Compass North Inc.

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