Montrose, Western Slope Leaders Energized by Strengths and Eager to Address Needs
Remote working has never been more viable, especially in the tech industry, and Montrose along with the rest of Colorado’s western slope is working to capitalize.
At a panel discussion along the Colorado Tech Tour on Wednesday, leaders from Montrose and surrounding communities talked about the strengths of their region and what’s missing to become a sustainable tech hub.
Josh Freed, CEO and co-founder of Montrose-based Proximity Space, is banking on the movement toward workplace flexibility, but Internet speed matters.
“The market doesn’t care where you’re from any more,” he said at the panel. “They only care that you’re connected to them. Broadband speed is the single biggest factor to getting a co-working space started.”
A high quality of life and an active, outdoor lifestyle are luring impressive companies like Lada Cube (Grand Junction) to the western slope, but the ability to build density will rely on infrastructure improvements and re-skilling opportunities for those who want to stay out west.
“If we don’t get up to speed, we’ll be left behind,” said John Fay, CEO and founder at Lada Cube.
The company, founded in 2013, creates de-mountable walls that save money, are highly sustainable and offer room for creativity. They already have worked with major players like Tesla and WeWork. It’ll be crucial to attract and retain more talent to be able to grow their workforce in Grand Junction, but everyone in the room was committed to making that a reality.
The city of Montrose is exploring broadband options to create fast, reliable service. But it’ll take a community effort. Not everyone sees the value of high-speed rural broadband, which is why the panel and audience agreed it’ll be up to the tech community leaders to advocate and share the story of the opportunities it affords.
“We need to start treating broadband like water,” said Freed.
With a collective effort across the western slope, evident from the energy at the discussion, Montrose and the surrounding area can become another major piece of the Colorado tech story.