August 1, 2011

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Utah Business Staff

August 1, 2011

We’re actually starting to lose some of the people that we’ve had for a long time, programmers primarily. They’ve been very happy, they love the culture, but they’re coming into my office, just apologizing that they’re leaving. But they’re getting offers for double and triple what they’re being paid right now. Here in the state. And that’s hard to compete with.

LOCKHART: IM Flash is puttering away out there in Lehi making flash memory so that all of you can expand your IT environments. We have about 1,500 employees and we’re currently hiring. We’re going to get up to about 1,700 in the near future.

We’re in a globally-competitive business. Our competitors are Samsung, Toshiba. It’s a multi-billion dollar poker game where market conditions dictate what we’re able to do, all based on supply and demand.

Our engineers are producing patents on a regular basis. Each one of our flash memory chips has several thousand patents in it. So it’s just, can you keep ahead of the curve? Can you keep on the leading edge of Moore’s Law, which is you’re going to double the power at one-half the cost every 12 to 18 months? That’s what we’re doing.

What one recommendation would you give public education and the colleges, universities and ATCs regarding the lack of quality talent?

CHECKETTS: We’ve got a great incentive package for taxes. It was one of the reasons why we chose to put those 500 employees here in Utah. I think we need incentives for working with universities.

ROPELATO: Spend less on buildings, spend more on innovative technology and other methods of teaching. We’re way behind the curve when it comes to education in the technology field. With all of the technology available today, there are so many things we could be doing that do not require buildings or classrooms. I think 20 years from now, most of our education is going to be completely different models than what we have today. We need to embrace it and be the leaders in it.

WEISS: The message I would send to the universities is teach students and faculty how to solve real-world problems.

HALL: From my perspective, being newer to Utah, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the universities and the computer science programs. But one of the things we’re striving for is a tighter collaboration with some of the businesses and universities.

NELSON: I really second that. Getting demand-driven education is really a big deal. And the closer collaborations with an industry are a great way to accomplish that. Even doing innovative programs that bring the classroom into the industry is a smart way to approach it.

LINTON: The jobs are here. But the reality is, we pushed hard for 10 years to create what’s here now. The problem is that it’s not aligned with what’s gone on in the schools. The big push needs to be at the K-12 level, especially the secondary level.

SEELEY: Science is money. We need to find a way, not just at the university level, because by then the selection of people that are going to be available to take the classes has already been pre-selected. If they haven’t already been prepared, they’re not going to do well at the university no matter how much effort is expended.

We need to be looking at kids, and that includes their parents, to help them understand how fun science, math and engineering can be, and to figure out ways to get them involved at the early time, when it’s easy. Because if you miss them when they’re really young, they can’t catch up when they’re a little older.

LOCHHART: We need greater investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). It’s got to be a priority. And a new engineering initiative that’s expanded to include STEM from preschool all the way through the end of the college career.

CULLIMORE: I agree with the fact we’ve got to push down the education initiatives through the K-12. But in order to do that, we’ve got to get changes in the educational model in those areas. There’s just too much of a sedentary approach in the K-12 arena. We’ve got to find ways of freeing up, encouraging innovation in an educational model.

PEDERSEN: I think it is possible to do great, innovative things in the public school system. Little changes can be made without spending a lot of money. I do think, though, that teachers need to be paid more if we’re going to start getting good, qualified people that are the ones that are going to change our kids’ lives. You’ve got to be willing to pay more to compete.

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