Western governors will form tech council

Western governors will form tech council

By Trudy Walsh

GCN Staff

At the Western Governors' Association's recent winter conference in Las Vegas, members agreed to create a technology council that would work to form strategic alliances among state governments, technology companies and universities.

Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, chairman of the Western Governors' Association, announced a technology alliance among Western states, universities and computer companies such as Intel and SGI.

Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, WGA chairman, unveiled the plan to form a council of 15 to 20 representatives from information technology and biotechnology companies, plus educators and government officials.

More innovation

At the meeting, Michael Mailbach, vice president of Intel Corp., read a letter from Intel President Craig R. Barrett. Taking on major issues such as security, ethics and the work force would lead to greater innovation, Barrett wrote.

Phil Englehardt, senior adviser to SGI's chief executive officer, said many businesses would be interested in working with the governors to give them early insight into technological changes that could affect public policy on education and other areas.

In the past, companies have based their operations 'where the greatest return is,' Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer said. 'High-density, high-population areas.'

Echoing the sentiments of other governors of mostly rural states, Geringer said the council would need to examine how to bring jobs to those states and 'enable people to live where they want to live.'

Come and join

The governors asked representatives from Intel, SGI and other IT companies to work with WGA's staff and several university partners to develop a draft of a business plan for the technology council early this year.

The concept paper, which the association posted on the Web at www.westgov.org/wga/wgainfo/hightech.htm, lists several ideas for the council to consider: privacy and information security; ethics; work force development; protection of intellectual property rights; and trade and competitiveness in the world marketplace.

At the WGA's annual meeting, to be held in June in Honolulu, governors will review recommendations developed by the technology council.

The association's 18 member states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


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