TechND champions technology growth in N.D.
by Luann Dart
Jeremy Neuharth, TechND president and co-founder of Sycorr, an IT company based in Fargo, sees technology as another pillar in North Dakota’s economy.
With a renewed mission to advance technology to strengthen North Dakota’s future, the Information Technology Council of North Dakota (ITCND) has changed its name to Technology Council of North Dakota, or TechND. The name change reflects the organization’s broadened scope to encompass not only information technology, but the greater technology sector.
“ITCND has spent the last 17 years successfully encouraging the use, growth and development of information technology in the state. However, North Dakota is well-positioned to be a leader in other technologies as well,” says Jeremy Neuharth, TechND president and co-founder of Sycorr, an IT company based in Fargo.
Advances such as unmanned aerial systems, along with technology in the oilfields and the wheatfields, will now be included in the larger focus, he says.
“We want to change the name as a symbol of our focus on expanding to make sure we’re addressing the greater technology needs of the state,” he says.
“Our organization will expand its voice to include the emerging technology community. We need to be positioned to drive policy, develop talent and champion the greater technology sector as the state moves forward in these areas. In addition, technology is and will continue to shape virtually every North Dakota industry, including agriculture, energy, manufacturing, health care and finance. Our new focus will allow us to better advance technology in these areas as well,” he says.
During a strategic planning session last summer, the board made changes in its mission and operational plans to better align with encompassing all technology in the state.
Broader board representation will be sought and workforce programming will be adjusted to include technical skills in all areas, he said.
“We’ll be driving policy and addressing workforce needs as a champion for the greater technology sector, with the ultimate goal of making technology another pillar in our state,” Neuharth says. “Technology can be another pillar to diversify our economy. We could be known as a technology hotbed, maybe not the Silicon Valley of the world, but there’s no reason we can’t be the ag technology Silicon Valley. We have areas we are really strong in. Why can’t we bolster those areas and advance them with technology?”
Through the IT Career Awareness Program, TechND and industry stakeholders collaborate with the educational system to increase awareness of IT careers and prepare that workforce. TechND will continue that work with the educational system to stress the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming and training students in technology.
Another focus of ITCND had been increasing broadband connectivity in North Dakota. In 2013, ITCND became the champion for the Dakota Fiber Initiative, as a representative of both the supply and demand side of the broadband issue.
“Having worked with ITCND on the Dakota Fiber Initiative after it accepted my challenge in 2013 for North Dakota to have the highest speed and greatest bandwidth Internet infrastructure in the world by 2015, it’s exciting to see the organization continuing to reinvent itself to meet the needs of emerging technology companies into the future,” Gov. Doug Burgum stated in a news release.
Founded in 2000 by North Dakota business, government and education leaders, TechND has spent the past 17 years advocating for a positive business climate for IT companies, addressing IT workforce needs, encouraging infrastructure development and providing knowledge-sharing opportunities for its membership. Signature programs have included the Dakota Fiber Initiative, IT Career Awareness Program, State of the IT Industry Guide and the IT Awards Program.
For more information on TechND, visit www.techND.org.