On Colorado’s 140th birthday, we kicked off the 2016 Tech Tour this morning by hopping on I-25 south and heading to Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs has hosted a Go Code Colorado Challenge Weekend each of our first three years, with an eager group of participants every year. Of the first nine Go Code Colorado winners, Colorado Springs has delivered two: LocalSage in 2014 and Hively in 2016. So it was nice to visit one of the program’s long-standing stakeholder communities.
The visit started with a return to Catalyst Campus, a technology and innovation campus housed in the original Colorado Springs train station building. A year ago, the tour stopped at Catalyst when it was an empty building with plans to renovate. What a difference a year makes. The campus co-working space already had occupants, and programming filling the high-tech conference rooms. We heard updates from several community leaders about efforts to foster and promote tech in the city and region. The mood was upbeat, with leaders indicating the community faces challenges–as all do–but the overall sentiment was that they were also making progress and improvements.
Next, we visited the United States Olympic Training Center. Just a few days before the opening ceremonies for the Rio Olympics, this was a highlight of the day. We got to see the state-of-the-art facilities where thousands of athletes from the across the country come to train. The training center seeks to boost their performance by sometimes just 1 percent, which doesn’t sound like a lot but can mean the difference between a medal or eighth place.
The facility is a former military installation and boasts 35 acres of the finest in sports technology. Our tour guide said that making it onto the training team–physical therapists, nutritionists, trainers, psychologists and others–is as difficult and elite a group as the athletes themselves. They apply cutting-edge technology to give U.S. athletes the best chance to succeed.
Among the highlights of the tour, a room where athletes can simulate conditions in any city in the world. In the room, they adjust factors including temperature, humidity, and elevation, to prepare for venues like Rio, while training with all the other support and amenities the training center provides.
Finally, we visited IvyWild, a former school building turned brewery and community center. There, representatives from several local businesses told their stories about utilizing tech to drive the region’s economy. The group included national defense contractors, advanced engineering and manufacturing, and tech-leading marketers among others. Tech is alive and well in Colorado Springs, and community and industry leaders are actively searching for ways to advance the city, and region, as a place that attracts and grows tech talent and employers.
The sun set as we headed west, making it to Frisco where we’ll pick up the tour tomorrow. Stay tuned for more from Day Two.