Colorado Springs rates high in technology report

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Colorado Springs’ first Heritage Technology Report was recently released, citing facts and figures that support the area’s position in the world of high technology. It also highlights the Springs’ top 25 high technology companies and support companies with information on its history, area of specialization and its look toward the future.

The area’s labor force, the report says, is skilled, educated and hard working. It is home to more than 620 high technology firm and the U.S. Census Bureau ranks the Pikes Peak region 52nd nationally in terms of technology activity. It ranks 41st in salaries generated by high technology firms with an annual payroll of $1.4 billion.

Supporting Colorado Springs’ growth are a number of area businesses including the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Colorado Institute of Technology Transfer and Implementation, the 28 area universities and colleges, and the area’s five military installations. Smaller companies that have played a large role in its development as well include the Better Business Bureau, the Colorado Springs incubator, venture capital companies and the Small Business Development Center.

At one point in the area’s history, the five military installations — United States Air Force Academy, Ft. Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD and Falcon Air Force Station — supplied nearly 50 percent of the region’s circulating revenue. Because of the influx of these installations over the past 50 years, high technology companies either initiated or relocated headquarters, additional offices or manufacturing plants since. This, along with a desirable lifestyle and low cost of living, has contributed to other forms of revenue-producing businesses such as retail stores and restaurants. The area is also home to 156 city and county parks, an airport and more than a dozen golf courses.

The report, available at the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce — reports that Colorado and its “Convergence Corridor” — Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Pueblo and Fort Collins — employs more than 145,000 high technology workers. That translates into 84 out of every 1,000 workers. The average salary is $60,400 and ranks as the 8th highest in the country.

Forbes magazine ranked this region as the 10th best metropolitan economy in the nation. David Packard, one of the founders of the Hewlitt Packard Co. who hails from Pueblo, based his company in California but has its second largest number of employees working in the Colorado Springs area.

The demand for technology workers continues to grow, said the report. According the Information Technology Association, the demand the high technology workers is expected to grow by 1.6 million during this year. Experts predict a nationwide shortage of nearly 850,000 technology workers during this time. Colorado businesses will need to fill between 4,000 and 7,000 openings with a demand near 600,000.

Although nearly 50 percent of the state’s technology graduates remain in the state, Gov. Bill Owens helped to develop the Colorado Institute of Technology in Denver that offers scholarships and incentives to draw and retain the best and the brightest students and teachers. He also created the Office of Innovation and Technology — one of only two in the country.

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 3rd annual Rocky Mountain Technology Expo 21 and Job Fair at the Colorado Springs World Arena September 17, 18 and 19. It will showcase local technological advances both locally and statewide, include technology-oriented exhibits, and provide an opportunity for technology job seekers to connect with employers.