Colorado Technology Association’s Matt Wendel: West Coast Companies, 5G, Smart Cities Ready to Take Mountain State to Next Level
DENVER, CO — Matt Wendel serves as the Government & Industry Affairs Manager for Colorado Technology Association, the state’s premier non-profit tech organization advancing the Colorado technology industry through advocacy, economic development, community building, and workforce development. Prior to his role at CTA, Matt was Deputy Legislative Director for the Majority Office of the Colorado House of Representatives and held previous positions with the office focusing on outreach and communications. Matt will provide the afternoon keynote address at CAPRE’s upcoming Construction, Design, and Engineering Evolution: “The Technology Economy from a Public Policy Perspective: What are the Effects of Trade War and the Anticipated 5G Rollout on Colorado-Regional Jobs and Infrastructure?” In this Q&A, Matt provides a sneak peak into his perspective and commentary.
CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us Matt. Please tell us about what you do.
Wendel: I work with Colorado Technology Association on all of our government relations and public policy efforts, as well as oversee our communications. Additionally, I maintain relationships with the various partners that we have, such as economic development and community organizations and state agencies. We partner a lot on different programs from those organizations.
CAPRE: Let’s talk about Colorado then. What is the most exciting tech opportunity facing the state?
Wendel: It’s an exciting time for tech here in this state. Denver is definitely becoming more and more of a tech hub, and it’s exciting to see the number of tech companies that are moving here or opening an office. We have a great population that’s ready to plug into those jobs, and these companies are tapping into that workforce. We’re seeing a lot of companies from the Bay Area opening an office here, for example such as Slack, Gusto and Strava. There are so many different tech ecosystems in this state as well, whether in the Denver metro area or Boulder, communities popping up in other areas like Grand Junction, Cañon City, or Durango that have some exciting things going on.
CAPRE: What about the mission critical space? What’s the latest on that side of things in Colorado?
Wendel: Colorado is a great state for data centers. The climate is great for it, and we have a stable environment. We have a lot of great locations to host them in as well – ranging from urban centers like Boulder or Denver to out in the more rural areas, and it’s a great environment for them.
CAPRE: What about the roll out of 5G? How is that set to impact Colorado?
Wendel: We’re seeing Verizon rolling 5G out in Denver, among other cities in the US. It’s one of the first 20, actually. And recent news may see Hometown Dish doing the same in the coming years. It’ll take a while for most of it to get rolled out, but there is a lot of opportunity here, especially when it ties into the concept of Smart Cities. It could impact so much, from mobility to environmental issues. And it has a lot of potential for consumers when products go on the market with 5G-enabled applications.
CAPRE: What is the legislative agenda for the Colorado Technology Association over the next 12 months?
Wendel: We’re focused on educating lawmakers on tech issues — especially the issues that are going to be discussed in the next year or so. We are seeing conversations around blockchain, privacy, AI, etc! So we’re still defining our strategy, but we’re always looking to have conversations with policy makers around any tech issues in Colorado, and trying to ensure that while we understand there may need to have rules in place around new and emerging technologies in the technology policy space we encourage innovation and rules and that allow innovation to flourish, rather than be hindered or inhibited.
CAPRE: How has the trade war impacted the Colorado technology sector?
Wendel: We’re members of CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) – a global trade association, and they’ve been doing a lot of work on the impact of the trade industry across the country. They’re advocating for the administration to not move forward with many tariffs on tech-related items. We would generally agree that the fewer tariffs, the better, because it will impact the tech industry, whether that’s companies making components of tech or companies in the tech space doing global trade.
CAPRE: What are you looking forward to about CAPRE’s upcoming Colorado Data Center Construction, Design & Engineering Summit on August 13th?
Wendel: Last year’s event was really great. I moderated a panel on site selection, and it was a fascinating event. I’m looking forward to the different topics of conversation this year, and I think it’ll be interesting to hear these new topics and arcs about technology and data centers. It’s going to be exciting.
CAPRE: We agree. We’ll see you in Denver!
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