Our County Breakfast Conversations kicked off last week in Montgomery County at the Blue Bell Country Club. Over 150 business executives, economic developers and policy officials attended to discuss the development of innovative technology in Montgomery County and its impact on local and regional growth.

The breakfast featured a panel discussion with panelists Gerald J. Birkelbach, Executive Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic and Workforce Development; Rich Budka, Director, IS&GS Advanced Concepts, Lockheed Martin, Information Systems & Global Services; and Geoffrey Kent, CEO, Cognis IT Advisors, LLC. The discussion was moderated by WHYY Host Elizabeth Perez-Luna.

Home to numerous high tech companies, which employ 15.9% of the workforce, Montgomery County is well positioned to lead the development of innovative technology. It also has a highly-educated labor force, with almost half of its workers in management, professional or tech jobs, and with 44.1% having earned a bachelors degree or higher.

“Technology is an enabler,” observed Mr. Kent, “and it should be looked at as a tool.” To continue to drive technology and technological innovation forward, the panelists noted, it is imperative to establish partnerships, both between small and large businesses, and between innovative companies and clients that need innovative solutions. “Innovation is about how to solve existing challenges in new ways to service clients’ needs,” Mr. Budka said.  

Challenging the development of innovative technology is the struggling economy, which has made it difficult for businesses to obtain the funding required to explore new technologies. Mr. Kent, however, observed that innovative technologies, such as cloud computing, can help even a small company reduce its costs. “Fifty percent of your company’s energy bill is what you use to do what you do,” he said.

In its 7th year, the County Breakfast Conversations is visiting eight counties throughout northern Delaware, southern New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania to explore the new opportunities in each county that are driving local and regional growth, and making our region an attractive, competitive place to do business.

The next county breakfast will be in Philadelphia on October 20 and will explore entrepreneurism.

View the presentation by Tom Morr, President & CEO, Select Greater Philadelphia, here.

View photos from the Montgomery County Breakfast here.