Opening plenary panel with Julia Richman (City of Boulder), Andrew Grolnick (LogRhythm), Makenzie Lystrup (Ball Aerospace), Brody Wilson (IBM) and Dennis Kyle (Zayo)

Opening panel "Revolutionary Advancements in Technology" with Julia Richman (City of Boulder), Andrew Grolnick (LogRhythm), Makenzie Lystrup (Ball Aerospace), Brody Wilson (IBM) and Dennis Kyle (Zayo). Not pictured: Moderator, John Tayer (Boulder Chamber)

Dynamic Discussions Mark 2019 Boulder Economic Summit

Despite the rainy weather, over 350 business and community leaders convened at CU Boulder on May 23 to take part in the 2019 Boulder Economic Summit, an annual event presented by the Boulder Chamber and Boulder Economic Council. Speakers and panelists discussed the exciting opportunities and potential risks that rapidly advancing technologies present to our workforce, mobility, and daily lives.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser presenting "Colorado's Smart Economy"

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser presenting "Colorado's Smart Economy"

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser provided the opening keynote address, setting the tone for the day's plenary panels and breakout sessions. He first noted that our interactions with one another have shifted from a system of hierarchies to one of networks, a change that has pushed us into a "smart economy" of collaboration and technological innovation. Weiser applied this observation to future technological advances and their potential impact in Colorado, particularly emphasizing the importance of networks and inter-community cooperation in order to successfully implement the forthcoming 5G revolution across the state. Additionally, he promoted networking and mentorship in the startup community throughout Colorado as a means of further strengthening the state's economy. Although technology can certainly drive a healthy economy, Weiser also cautioned against allowing it to weaken interpersonal skills and eliminate healthy competition in the marketplace.

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"Smart Workforce" panel with Kristin Lawrence (The Hopper), Andrew Moore (Boulder Valley School District), James White (CU Boulder), and Maddie Stoddard (Peaksware). Not pictured: Paul Harter (Camp Creek Holdings) and moderator Elena Sandoval-Lucero (Front Range Community College)

Later in the morning, top business and community leaders representing a variety of industries led panel sessions in which they discussed the impact of technology in three key areas: daily living, transportation, and workforce development. Questions from the audience raised issues of ethical uses of technology, cultural awareness in hiring practices, and equity in how and for whom technology is developed. Data privacy and the dangers of digital tribalism were also brought up as issues to continuously monitor and address. The closing plenary panel concluded on a positive note, with a brief preview of upcoming technological advances in banking and healthcare that will benefit people across the state.

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Closing plenary panel "Living with Technology. What's Next?" with April Giles (Fitzsimons Innovation Community), Scott Green (Google), Gretchen Wahl (MidFirst Bank), Robert Vissers (Boulder Community Health) and moderator Frances Draper (CU Boulder)

The Boulder Chamber and Boulder Economic Council would like to thank our presenters and everyone who attended and offered their ideas, concerns, and expertise regarding Colorado's smart economy. The 2019 Boulder Economic Summit served as a catalyst for leaders across Boulder County to engage in this critical and timely discussion, and your participation highlights the importance of technology's influence in our local economy. We appreciate your support and look forward to future conversations and collaboration in promoting Boulder's economic vitality.

So grateful to the Boulder Chamber and the sponsors that pulled together the brilliant people and resources to make the 2019 Boulder Economic Summit possible. We were so impressed by the multidisciplinary panelists that spoke about the challenges and opportunities ahead of us with the rapid deployment of smart technologies across our Colorado sectors. What better place to discuss these tech topics than in Boulder Valley?!

 

Phil Weiser's words about collaboration within sectors instead of waiting for policy inspired our team to collaborate with fellow industry professionals. Since the summit, we have reached out to industry colleagues and shared notes on pain points that have generated positive results. I encourage all industries to take Weiser's recommendation around collaboration for the purpose of being leaders for impact within our trades and continue to make Colorado the amazing place it is. 

Maya Resnick

Commercial Solar Consultant at Independent Power Systems

Photos courtesy of David Harwi

A special thank you to our sponsors:

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