-Sandra Slattery, Executive Director, Ashland Chamber of Commerce
People frequently ask me why Ashland has so many innovative and creative businesses and organizations. It is a very interesting question with multiple and complex reasons as answers.
Why do we have high tech innovators located here?
Why have we recently been named the #2 Top Town in the U.S.to live and work as a movie maker by MovieMaker Magazine?
Why will the Rogue Valley be featured by the Smithsonian’s new Places of Invention Exhibit in 2015 in Washington, D.C.?
Is it all happenstance? What are the drivers that create this innovation?
Is it our amazing quality of life?
Is it our highly educated population?
Is it because we are the home of Southern Oregon University?
Or is it our fiber optic high connectivity?
The answer is a resounding YES to all of these things observations, but, how can we support and grow businesses like these who value our community assets?
Two years ago, the Chamber decided to create the first Digital Innovators Conference to showcase hidden gems in the high tech sector doing business in Ashland. Many were amazed by the innovation that exists here and with the global reach of many of these firms. Cities across the country, both large and small, attempt to recruit technology firms with their high skilled, well-paying jobs.
Since that time, we have found out more about this industry and decided it was time to turn the spotlight back on to uncover more firms and determine how and why they are thriving and any challenges they may be experiencing.
We decided to produce another Conference, this time calling it, the Ashland Innovators Conference (April 11, 2014), and expand the presentations to include innovators in film, video and animation. Two years ago, we highlighted a newly created program at Southern Oregon University, the EMDA (Emerging Media and Digital Arts) which has now become a major at SOU and also showcased at the April 11th Conference.
When we decided to create the Ashland Business Resource as a tool for business development, we selected the first industry spotlight to be Innovation in High Tech and Film, Video and Animation. A video interview on the film industry was developed along with video interviews gathered at the April 11th Conference that will be housed on the portal in this section. These videos will tell the story behind the industries.
Economic impact of the high tech sector both in Ashland and the Rogue Valley is featured along with business perspectives by owners of why they are located here and what thoughts they may have on their industry and its future. As the portal continues to develop, it will be populated with more industry profiles, stories from business owners, economic analysis and educational opportunities.
Working together, we believe we can continue to support the growth of creative, dynamic and innovative companies with well-paying jobs that enhance our economy, community and quality of life…maybe the answer is much more simple than we first thought – it’s all about working together in support of our community.
Click Here for information on High Tech in Ashland
Click Here for information on Film, Video & Animation in Ashland