April 19, 2012

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CEO of the Year

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Growing Utah’s Tech Talent Pool

Sarah Cutler

April 19, 2012

Attract, hire and retain the talent in Utah to reflect and match the investment of money into local companies. That is one of the issues of solving the talent shortage in Utah, according to John Spigiel, general manager of Watson Labs.

Spigiel and Keyvan Esfarjani, executive officer of IM Flash Technologies, were the keynote speakers at the Utah Technology Council’s Annual Members’ Meeting on Wednesday, April 18 at the Little America Hotel.

The two speakers addressed the topic of Utah’s talent shortage, particularly in the IT, life science and clean tech industries.

Is there a single fix to solving the talent shortage? No, said both Spigiel and Esfarjani, but they have worked on many levels to confront the issue head on, from developing scholarships and internships to partnering with local government agencies and other companies.

The process begins with local kids. “We need to make sure kids have an appreciation for math and science at a young age,” said Esfarjani. That interest in math and science will entice kids to pursue education, training and careers in technology, thus boosting Utah’s technology sector.

The Salt Lake Chamber, which Watson Labs has partnered with, is promoting its Utah Jobs Agenda, a private-sector plan to create 150,000 jobs over the next five years. “The creation of those jobs are great for Utah and Utah’s economy,” Spigiel said. And to retain the talent, local companies need to promote tech opportunities and have an active involvement in the community.

“If we build it they will come,” said Spigiel, quoting Field of Dreams.

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