If Georgia is going to remain a technology leader in the U.S., it not only must continue to be on the cutting edge of technological advancement, but also must produce the manpower to maintain and operate these innovations, Larry K. Williams said.

“What I hope you will understand is that Georgia is a leader in the technological field and that is important because technology drives economic growth and is the job creator both currently and in the future,” said Williams, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia.

That was the message he gave to more than 35 members attending the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs’ Aug. 5 meeting at the Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Suites hotel in Sandy Springs.

In his presentation, Williams, a recognized leader in economic development, said many times residents don’t realize how far the tech industry has come in Georgia, and how much companies in the state are driving innovations.

“(The association) has more than 30,000 members and we are the largest statewide technological association in the country, which I feel is a great accomplishment and a point of pride for all Georgians,” Williams said.

In 2018, which were the newest statistics available, Williams said Georgia ranked as one of the nation’s top 15 technology markets with more than 291,286 private-sector tech employees. In addition, according to an association pamphlet given to those attending the meeting, the state is fourth in the nation in technological growth at 12.94% since such statistics began to be recorded.

Market leaders believe there is room for improvement to create innovation centers. The state was rated 6.67 on a 10-point scale when asked to rate innovation within the Georgia tech sector when compared to other states.

According to Williams, the most important factors for being an innovation center include access to capital, skilled labor and thought leaders or experts, plus tax incentives for research and development.

“It is a good thing for people to know that Georgia continues to enter areas of innovation that are at the forefront of change and where the economy is going,” he said. “(The association) is also helping to continue a workforce that is keeping up with technological advancements.”

This is important because technological advancement is how business is done today, with how we communicate with one another, how we interact with one another and how we access everything, he said.

Club member Ed Ukaonu said Williams’ speech was quite informative.

“Mr. Williams dissected very well the impact that (the association) is having on the technology industry in the Atlanta metro area,” Ukaonu said.

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