News & Content: ITA Take Aways

IoT Summit: Tech & the Future of Illinois

Monday, October 23, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ​Gary Hotze, Marketing Manager, ITA |
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Our IoT Summit was last week, and one of the highlight’s for content was a back-to-back interview session with the two top polling candidates in the Democratic race for Governor of Illinois.

Both interviews were gracefully moderated by ITA CEO, Julia Kanouse, and brought the candidates views on “Tech & the Future of Illinois” to light. During a summit so focused on IoT and the technology that enables the nascent tech, it was a welcome broader take on the future of the city and state.

Even if you missed the summit or the session, we have distilled the conversation down to some high-level takeaways and quotes that will provide you with a greater understanding of these candidates views on the prospects for innovation in the region.


Chris Kennedy

On the state of the local Chicago-tech scene:

“I remain bullish on tech and the benefits it can bring to the regional economy. There have been incredible changes in the Chicago as technological and innovative processes have been implemented into existing industries. Additionally, strong economic growth has been driven by the startup and innovation sector.”

The opportunity in the tech sector as a primary driver of the regional and city’s economy:

“When I think of the great economies of the United States, my thoughts revolve around Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Austin. These are historically tech-focused metropolitan areas. It’s clear, the economy of the future is invested in innovation. And for Chicago tech, I see opportunity in agriculture, bio-science, battery technology and the groundbreaking research at FERMI Lab & Argonne Labs.”

With these institutions, Illinois has a great foundation but must work towards cooperation:

“The secret that these economic powerhouses have is a high degree of investment in higher education, and while the state of Illinois is poised to succeed with its wealth of public universities, we need to reinstate a culture of cooperation. The dysfunctional political climate must be fixed. The lack of cooperation in Springfield and across the state is hindering our investments in these institutions.”

Regarding Amazon’s HQ2 announcement:

“It’s a once in a generation opportunity that could transform an economy, but we are moving at a breakneck pace regarding the proposal and would exercise caution with deals of this magnitude.”

Where do we need to invest:

“We have great transportation and are an incredible intermodal hub. We must continue to maintain these assets and build upon these advantages.”

What do we need to fix:

“We need to fix a system where 87% of CPS students graduate with an ACT score of 14 or less. We need to ensure that this system isn’t failing the vast majority of our students. We need a system that serves more than just the top-tier of graduates.”





JB Pritzker

On the state of the local Chicago-tech scene:

“20, 15, and even ten years ago, Chicago wasn’t on anyone’s map for tech. Over time so many of the right economic elements have come into place to raise the status of Chicago as a driver of innovation. It’s been great to see Chicago land on many top ten tech city lists these last few years.”

He’s no stranger to the tech scene:

“As a huge contributor to Chicago’s first seed organization, Chicago Seed now Chicago Ventures, I have first-hand experience in the venture space. Additionally, I was instrumental in the creation of 1871 as Chicago’s first tech incubator.”

What kind of leader we need in Springfield:

“I recognize the efforts of our current governor, but the implementations he has instituted are haphazard. We need an administration that understands how to retrofit a regional economy. We need people who understand how to build a tech ecosystem and to modernize our infrastructure and government. We need someone who believes in Chicago as a future top-three location for tech jobs.”

Regarding Amazon’s HQ2 announcement:

“We need all the competition we can get so that salaries increase and the consequent competitive market it creates would force us to invest more into talent. The Amazon windfall should then be invested into communities that are often forgotten by these industries and reinvested downstate in the manufacturing and agricultural communities that are hurting.”

Where do we need to implement change:

“First off, the government should have open data policies. And, we need to upgrade our governmental institutions, infrastructure and data collection so that we can have a better functioning government that can increase confidence in the political process and governance.”

On Chicago’s future within the national tech economy:


“The opportunity exists today to declare that every business is a technology company. The melding of technology with old style industries is what Chicago is good at doing. As we infuse technology into old-line Chicago businesses and the rust belt services economy, we need to recognize that we are diverse tech economy. We aren’t going to be the focal point of VR, battery or Augmented Reality, etc.; we are going to be the pioneer of the new line of tech services and integration.”

Also be sure to take a look at our Flickr album from the summit or click thru the slideshow below.

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