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The Chairman's 1997 Report
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Speeches and Letters
Presented by Mario Morino at the 1997 Chairman's Dinner
November 25, 1997

What the Future Holds for the Region
and the Potomac KnowledgeWay

As the convergence continues and innovation flourishes, this is one of the few places in the world where you will find the people, expertise and critical mass in all three sectors – but with a distinct edge in the book ends of communications and content. It is in this convergence that we will witness the greatest innovation and new opportunities.

Consider for a moment the hot investment sectors central to this region's future:

  • Communications and telecommunications – telephony through bandwidth
  • Internet products and services, and
  • Important niche sectors in e-commerce, health information, GPS/spatial services, security and new-mode "net" integrators, to name several.
And, longer-term, we will see enormous growth and opportunity with the other book end – content – or Digital Information Products and Services – with:
  • The mining of the information banks of the Federal Government
  • Bio-informatics
  • Publications, media, and entertainment, and
  • Education products from the 40+ major colleges and universities, the dozens of federal laboratories, and education vendors
Greater Washington is becoming a region of choice as our strengths become better known. There is a growing movement of companies moving here, especially in communications, companies such as Nextel and Teligent. We are becoming a job mecca, attracting communications, Internet, new media, and computer workers who know that their opportunities, choices – and safety net — are almost unlimited.

The strategic programs April presented earlier are the results of what we've learned over the last two years and what we gained from the involvement of our Board, investors, and partners. These programs go after the core challenges that will dictate how well we capitalize on the unique opportunity before us and how well we will sustain our growth well into the 21st Century. Each of the strategic programs is critical and it is in the Project's leadership, delivered through these programs, that the Potomac KnowledgeWay will have its greatest impact and value.

A global leadership position is ours for the taking – but it will only be through solid execution, leadership and collaboration that we will see it come to pass.

  • We have to rise above our legacy to function as a region, where it makes sense and where new opportunities for such collaboration are made possible by the convergence.

  • We have to "blow our horn" less and make sure we deliver on what we all say we will do, while emphasizing our region's strengths and stop comparing ourselves to Silicon Valley, Route 128 and Austin.

  • We have to come together to craft a single story about the Greater Washington Region – the Board of Trade, GWI, the Technology Councils, the Federal City Council, the Potomac Conference, the regional EDA's, MAVA, the World Congress and others must work together on this important matter.

  • We should establish our own definition of Hi-Tech. I suggest that this definition should be defined by our particular strengths: telecommunications; the Internet; information products and services; biotech; and systems integration. These are our core competencies and we already have leadership positions in each.
As one CEO recently put it – "we are at the right time in history, the right time for our markets, and in the right place to make it happen." We can make this happen and the Potomac KnowledgeWay should be a catalyst to affect leadership in the region; to focus the region's effort on systemic change; to be the neutral broker to encourage collaboration and bring sectors together; and continue to be the primary arbiter of the region's social fabric as it relates to the convergence.

next.... How the Potomac KnowledgeWay Is Building on Its Leadership Role

Download the entire speech in PDF format.

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