by Nancy A. Shenker, Guest Contributor
On March 20, the Duce was as electric as a Lucid vehicle as hundreds of professionals shaping the future of technology in Arizona filled the venue for the Arizona Tech Innovation Summit. The Duce was a 1928 warehouse that has been converted to a club and event space, and it reflects the rapid change and reimagining happening in our state.
From policy leaders like Gov. Doug Ducey, Senator Krysten Sinema, and Representatives Greg Stanton and Jeff Weninger, academic game-changers from both ASU and the University of Arizona, to investors, entrepreneurs and business owners, attendees were ready to be inspired, learn, network and help grow the Arizona technology community.
Arizona Technology Council members who took the stage included Jeff Gulder, president and Robert S. Nichols, senior director & chief environmental management executive of Salt River Project (SRP) , CEO and Co-Founder Clate Mask of Keap, Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president and Dr. Michael Drake, senior vice president, Health Services from the University of Arizona and Glenn Hamer, president & CEO and John Ragan, COO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Highlights of the presentations and panels included discussion of:
- The PropTech Sandbox (applying technology to changing the real estate, construction and homebuying space), which was announced by the Governor and discussed by a panel of innovative businesses – Offerpad, Meritage Homes, Roofstock, Shasta Ventures and Katerra.
- Technology and health (which will be the topic of the Council’s upcoming MedTech Conference on March 28).
- Transportation – from autonomous vehicles to scooters. Bird talked about the impact of micro mobility and the expanded options for today’s consumers that can reduce traffic congestion and environmental impact.
- The FinTech Sandbox
- The Mexico-Arizona Technology Connection
The speaker roster was studded with tech stars, but attendees eagerly awaited the appearance of serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who talked about everything from the skills needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the new job opportunities that AI will present, the pressing need for diversity and inclusion in the technology industry – with an eye toward really understanding customer needs and the value of making mistakes. Cuban also referenced the phases of start-ups and innovations, quoting Warren Buffett, “First you have the innovators…then the imitators…then the idiots.”
Says Steven Zylstra, president & CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, “Those five hours on Wednesday confirmed what I already knew – Arizona is the mecca for innovators. I was thrilled to see so many of our members and thought leaders in attendance.”
Pictured: Leib Bolel, CEO of the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance with Mark Cuban
Nancy A Shenker is CEO of theONswitch. A marketing strategist and brand storyteller, Shenker has a passion for start-ups and transformations. She helps business owners and CEOs succeed through a variety of strategies and tactics, including marketing planning, content marketing, guerrilla marketing, public relations and much more.