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Every once in a while, a collaboration yields fruit; this one was particularly bountiful. In this second of four events planned by the Technology Coalition of the North Shore (TCNS), today’s audience of 60-plus STEM business people, students and enthusiasts were treated to an insightful update on the state of the technology sector North of Boston, and a lively idea exchange on how to foster growth. More to come!

About TCNS

TCNS is a collaborative effort by five organizations to support the technology cluster on the North Shore in various ways to spotlight, strengthen and grow the cluster and resources to support technology companies and jobs in the region. These 5 organizations are: the North Shore Technology Council, the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, North Shore Innoventures, the North Shore Workforce Investment Board (NSWIB) and the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development (NSAED). The third breakfast in this series is scheduled for June 28th and will report on the results of a 10-month study on the Future of Work conducted by the NSWIB and the NSAED.

Why Today’s Briefing Matters for North Shore Business Growth

Consider your homework done.  Today’s briefing, dubbed “Update on the State of the Technology Sector”, was the culmination of months of work by volunteers from academic, industry and agency worlds. Judging from the clamor among the audience requesting prompt access to the slide deck –  and actively recruiting the Endicott Seniors – there is high interest in carrying the momentum forward, putting our collective shoulders to the yoke, and stimulating business growth in the North Shore region. The findings in the Endicott students’ slide deck is, to say the least, an essential element in the strategic plan of any regional business. Enjoy!

Briefing Highlights

Bookended by an introductory announcement of our upcoming May 25 visit from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker by NSTC President Linda Saris, and ending with a discussion of parallel “lessons learned” by Newton-Needham Regional Chamber President Greg Reibman, the middle meat of this meetup was emceed by Jim Kawski of Applied Materials and featured a student team from Endicott College’s F.U.E.L. (student-run venture accelerator) who eloquently delivered a guided interpretation of economic data findings on the state of tech industry in the region. Punctuated by a brief thank-you from Endicott alum Matt Sweitzer, who led last year’s inaugural briefing on this subject and described how his participation in this project helped him land a job at Greentown Labs, we enjoyed a standout performance by some brilliant young minds.

Favorable Cost of Living. Endicott Senior Zach Bassett showed us how, compared to the US National averages and to other local tech economy hotbeds like Cambridge, North Shore living stretches the dollar nearly 20% further. Housing, healthcare, transportation, quality of life and other key factors all tilt positively here.

Life Sciences Well Represented. Endicott Sophomore Abigail Keim explained how, using a “location quotient” derived by comparing aggregate job and wage numbers regionally vs. all of Massachusetts, the team found that Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing, Instrumentation, Medical Equipment, Scientific R&D, and Medical and diagnostic Labs all figure prominently, especially in Beverly, Danvers, Peabody and Salem.

Advanced Manufacturing is Strong. Endicott Senior Eric Owens reviewed the strengths of the manufacturing sector, particularly Fabricated Metal, Machinery, Electronics, Appliances and Chemicals. These sectors are as strongly represented here as anywhere in the state.

InfoTech is a Growth Opportunity. Endicott Senior Zach Bassett outlined how IT services, being a less capital intensive sector (little need for equipment, shipping, or assembly space), can more flexibly locate just about anywhere. While it thus makes sense for Infotech to cluster closer to an urban center, still our region’s available computing and telecom infrastructure, transport and workspace resources suggest an opportunity to locate IT services closer to the regional customer.

Regional Alignment Questions: Industry Strengths, Location Preference

Using the city of Gloucester as an example, NSTC co-founder Jim Kawski, aided by a briefing deck from Jim Dowd of Flying Car, demonstrated how Gloucester, a historically prominent home to “Yankee” innovations in food processing, telecom, science and ocean transport, is particularly poised for growth. Anchored by significant tech firms like Applied Materials, ample manufacturing and R&D space, bolstered by favorable education, housing, cultural arts, transport, healthcare, recreation and other desirable quality of life conditions, Gloucester is a now prime target for tech industry growth.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to: event sponsor North Shore Community College and STEM Dean Laura Rubin, Ph.D.; North Shore Workforce Investment Board members Mary Sarris, Ed O’Sullivan and Will Sinatra; Steve Winter from Metropolitan Area Planning Council; Endicott College Entrepreneurship Center Director  Deirdre Sartorelli, Endicott Business Dean Michael Page, Ph.D., Arts & Sciences Dean Gene Wong, and Arts & Sciences Associate Dean Justin Topp.

The Endicott team (L-R): Matt Sweitzer (2016), Greentown Labs; Zach Bassett, Senior, Global Business Development; Eric Owens, Sophomore, Biotechnology; Abigail Keim, Sophomore, Biotechnology, Psychology; Justin Topp, Assistant Dean, School of Arts and Sciences; Kamarin Khun, Senior, International Business; Deirdre Sartorelli, Director, Entrepreneurship Center; Gene Wong, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences; Jessica Kaufmann, Associate Professor, Biotechnology.  Not pictured: Michael Paige, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business.