When the world celebrated the dawn of a new decade with a blaze of fireworks, parties and revelry on January 1, 2020, few could have imagined what the year had in store.
It was a year that changed the world like no other for at least a generation, possibly since World War II. Businesses folded. Schools and colleges shut. Live sport was cancelled around the globe. Commercial airline travel contracted. Shops, clubs, bars and restaurants closed. Social inequities were exposed. Work and education all went remote. And human interaction went virtual.
Moderated by Phoenix Business Radio Owner & President Karen Nowicki, a distinguished panel of technology leaders from KEO Marketing, PADT, Inc. and the University of Advancing Technology discussed how the world can rebuild following such a tumultuous year, the new technology to get us there, and the innovative Arizona companies that helped pull us through and gave us optimism for the future.
In the Arizona Technology Council’s January 2021 podcast, KEO Marketing CEO Sheila Kloefkorn kicked off the conversation by shedding light on the positioning and martech trends that transformed the marketing industry as a whole, as well as businesses across industry sectors.
“Without a doubt, 2020 forced everyone to button up and get creative,” Kloefkorn said. “A lot of companies were in shock. While many of KEO Marketing’s logistics clients expanded their operations, some of our other clients were scrambling and trying to pivot quickly…and now it’s in the DNA of their company.”
“During all last year, it was like living in a constant state of changing rules…you just didn’t know what to expect next,” said Dr. David Bolman, provost of the University of Advancing Technology (UAT). “For UAT, our delivery model already included an option for in-person or virtual learning. The K-12 education sector was hit hard, though, in having to come up to speed quickly for both teachers and students was a challenge.
Bolman added, “The silver lining for 2020 was that the K-12 education system advanced as far as classroom instruction resources and technology to make it all happen remotely. Virtual interaction became the norm.”
“It’s interesting and quite fascinating that when we’re under stress as humans, we deal with things and get really creative,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal of PADT, Inc. ” We gained the confidence of adapting quickly and moving forward.”
“The hospitality industry was hit the hardest, after that the supply chain was completely disrupted,” Miller added. “China basically shut down. And whether we want to believe it or not, we get a lot of parts and products from China. We’re in a good place now, but it took a lot to get it back to some normalcy.”
All of the podcast panelists, as well as Arizona Technology Council CEO Steve Zylstra agreed that 2020 should be remembered for more than a pandemic. In some cases, competition was put aside to achieve results only a team can achieve.
“I believe 2020 should be considered a year in which our tech ecosystem grew stronger,” Zylstra said. “The tech industry really stepped up. Many tech companies pivoted. Honeywell made personal protection equipment. Analyze Inc. started making antibiotic handwash. Universal Avionics opened up their facility to other companies. Intel Corporation provided suits and masks for those on the frontline. Many companies dug in to make a positive difference.”
The pandemic also brought to light and propelled the need for rural broadband across the globe.
Zylstra added, “Arizona’s technology community demonstrated the leadership and innovation at the right time. I’m proud to say many efforts originated among the Council’s members. “
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/techcast to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.
About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.