Opinion

OPINION

STCC Technology Park Is an Asset for the Region

Lost in the controversy earlier this year about the possible location of a new state information technology center either at the STCC Technology Park or in the former Tech High School on Elliot Street is the vital role the tech park has played, and will need to play, for Western Mass. to be considered an inviting address for new, emerging, or native tech-savvy companies.

When former STCC President Andrew Scibelli had the vision to create a technology business park adjacent to the college campus, he, and those of us who were part of the founders’ team, were responding to changes evident in a global marketplace early in the high-tech revolution. It was bold, risky, and the first of its kind.

It was just that kind of ahead-of-the-curve thinking that led STCC’s first president and visionary, Edmond Garvey, to establish STCC, known then as the Springfield Technical Institute, in 1967, turning a suddenly defunct federal armory into a center for technological learning.

Just 10 years ago, around the time the technology park was launched, E-mail and use of the Internet in daily commerce was still in its infancy. That the technology park has grown, changed, and broadened its scope is a testimony to just how fluid and dynamic this new age of technology is. Just as Edmond Garvey saw a niche to fill, so too did all of us who were involved in the startup of the park.

As I exit at the end of October from my service as chairman of the STCC Assistance Corporation Board, I leave satisfied that the park has upheld its original mission but also acutely aware that it will need vision and renewed commitment from all involved in order to respond to a rapidly changing and expanding business environment.

So much has changed, yet the focus, and need for the technology park, have never been greater. Events in the global marketplace and the acceleration of technology at all levels of business and commerce make the case that not only was development of the park the right thing to do, but that it is a critical piece of the puzzle in attracting new business development.

Flying somewhat under the radar to date, the park now has a broad range of business concerns that represent an asset to Springfield, the region, and STCC. These include organizations such as One Communications, the largest privately held competitive telecommunications provider in the U.S.; C2C, the E-mail archiving and management firm; and national and regional companies such as Verizon and Western Massachusetts Electric Company.

On the other end of the spectrum is a company like Mind Wing, a small startup technology firm born in the Curtis Blake Day School at American International College that recently graduated from the STCC Incubator. The park also hosts the National Center for Telecommunications Technology, the advanced technology center that develops and pilots telecommunications courses in high schools and colleges. It is a testimony to the original vision that organizations large and small have the confidence to be stakeholders in the park.

The park has also attracted a breadth and scope of business concerns that are utilizing the park’s unique assets of security and redundant digital capacity. These are important elements needed by growing technology-based companies and can be duplicated nowhere else in the Valley.

And it isn’t just those of us who had a founding role who feel this way. The park has won some national acclaim over the years: in 2001 the Economic Development Administration recognized it for ‘Excellence in Urban Development,’ and the International Economic Development Council bestowed its Excellence in Economic Development Award on the park in 2002.

At the end of the day, it isn’t about awards or recognition, or about my own view of the Technology Park’s success and prospects.

What’s at stake here is how we do business as a larger community — putting on display all of the region’s assets as we go about the task of advancing economic development in the region.

And, as Edmond Garvey proved to all of us, we shouldn’t limit our own thinking about what is possible.

Brian Corridan is the outgoing chairman of the Springfield Technical Community College Assistance Corp.

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