Business Insider

Tommy Ahlquist: Boise’s Downtown tech hub drives vital growth

Idaho’s hallmark characteristics of can-do attitude, innovative thinking and global ambition are on full and dramatic display in the heart of the capital as we reach the midpoint of 2015.

Commuters into Downtown Boise see the cityscape changing with each new sunrise. With cranes and construction crews on nearly every corner bringing the city’s next chapter to life, the skyline and the businesses inside it are changing, too.

While it’s easy to see on the surface how Idaho will benefit from all the construction, the Gardner Co. and fellow members of the Idaho Technology Council are doubly excited about what is about to happen inside the walls of these transformational businesses. Planted inside these new facilities are the seeds of the powerful technological growth coming in the very near future.

Headquarters have been established for Clearwater Analytics, CradlePoint, WhiteCloud Analytics and a vital new presence: the computer science department of Boise State University.

For the Idaho technology community, one of the most crucial strategies of the modern era is the move of BSU’s fast-growing program across the river and into the heart of Downtown Boise. Suddenly there is a new epicenter in Idaho high tech.

With new headquarters being developed in industries ranging from agriculture — such as food science technology leader J.R. Simplot Co. — to known tech stars such as Clearwater and WhiteCloud, Downtown Boise is hot. With every girder that is lowered into place, Idaho companies are showing their commitment to the future of our state.

As tech leaders are quick to point out, Boise State University President Bob Kustra helped light this fire by pledging to triple the number of BSU computer science graduates over the next few years. The state’s innovative IGEM program added budgetary muscle and accelerated the change. Leaders recognize the huge need — and significant opportunity to grow tech employers — by qualifying more capable technologists.

Unlike many tech hubs outside Silicon Valley, Boise will allow BSU students to collaborate with potential future co-workers on an everyday basis or just mingle in the coffee shops with them. Students will able to network with technology pros and get a better understanding of the key needs in the tech sector. Internships will be simple to design.

Clearly, when you look at Simplot’s role in food science, CradlePoint’s networking solutions, WhiteCloud’s health care cost innovations and the financial services of Clearwater and Keynetics, technology is very quickly becoming the linchpin of the next era of growth and development in Idaho’s economy.

As one of the lead developers of Downtown projects and the “home court” of the Idaho Technology Council in the Eighth & Main building, the Gardner Co. is energized by the passion that Idahoans are bringing to the tech ecosystem.

We’re getting better every day.