Seeking Tech-Based Economic Development

Article excerpt

Sheri Stickley worked for 25 years seeking economic development opportunities for Oklahoma.

Until earlier this summer, she had been with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology since it was formed in 1987 and served as interim executive director for her last year with the state agency. Before that Stickley worked with the state agencies that became the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Although still based in Oklahoma, Stickley has expanded her technology-based economic development efforts to a national level as a vice president of the State Science and Technology Institute, based in Westerville, Ohio.

The State Science and Technology Institute, known as SSTI, is a national, private nonprofit organization serving agencies involved with technology-based economic development.

SSTI acts as sort of a trade organization for tech-based economic development organizations across the country, she said.

OCAST is a sponsor of SSTI and i2E is an affiliate member.

Stickley would like to see more Oklahoma involvement in SSTI.

I would hope to see more affiliate membership by Oklahoma organizations, she said. There is a tremendous asset here for Oklahoma organizations, including universities that are getting more into economic development.

Technology-based economic development has substantial potential for Oklahoma, she said.

It is that portion of economic development that is interested in growing the technology sector of the economy, Stickley said.

That is different and has more benefits than general economic development.

Regular economic development tends to be more focused on recruitment, she said. Tech-based economic development is more focused on in growing your own.

Recruitment is a zero-sum game, Stickley said. Your state gains but another state loses. Tech-based economic development raises all boats.

Tech-based economic development is not as competitive as recruitment efforts.

They are willing to talk across state lines about what works and what does not work, she said.

SSTI has developed a strong base of technology-based economic groups across the country. It is a source of information and networking opportunities for members. SSTI also is an intermediary between state-based economic development groups and federal agencies.

They are able to look at different efforts and see what works and does not work and transmit that information to members, she said. …