Gov. Baker at Bentley Speaks on Technology and Economic Progress
It’s the sharp minds and strong work ethic of Massachusetts residents that make the state a high tech haven, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.
“People are really all about the work, there’s not a lot of braggadocio,” he said. “There’s not a lot of flag-waving and bugle blowing, it’s just a heck of a lot of work and a constant sense about what the next act is and how we do a better job of moving the science and moving the technology.”
Baker was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts High Technology Council annual meeting at Bentley University Wednesday afternoon. The meeting focused on Massachusetts’ strength in the technology sector and what can be done to increase the state’s competitiveness both nationally and globally.
Baker spoke about accomplishments made during his administration, the challenges going forward and what makes the Commonwealth a special place for high tech businesses to the roughly 100 businesspeople and high education officials at the LaCava Center at Bentley.
According to Baker, one of the reasons Massachusetts has stayed competitive in the fast-paced world of technology is the collaboration and partnership between the upstarts and the established tech businesses in the state.
“That collaboration over time I think is going to be incredibly powerful,” he said.
Of course, Baker briefly spoke about General Electric, one of the biggest companies in the world, with $117 billion in revenue in 2015, which recently moved its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston’s Seaport District.
“GE loves the cluster, they love the ecosystem, they love the fact that in a very small circle there’s just a gigantic collection of brains,” Baker said.
While the collection of minds in the greater Boston area are a major selling point to companies like General Electric, Baker said he wanted to work on expanding that culture outside of the Route 128 area and into to other parts of the state.
“We have, in Massachusetts, one of the most vibrant startup, accelerator, incubator communities you’re going to find almost anywhere in this country,” Baker said.
He mentioned Worcester Polytechnic Institute and UMass Lowell as two universities that could benefit from new partnerships.
“I would like to see us find a way to spread some of the genius that sits within 10 miles of this place out into some of the other parts of Massachusetts where there are some spectacularly talented and powerful educational institutions that with an expansion of their existing relationships could probably do some more,” Baker said.
Baker also spent time talking about the people and infrastructure that serves as the foundation and supports the growth of business in the state.
“Stephanie Pollack, who is our secretary of transportation, former deputy director of the Conservation Law Foundation, sued me, like, a million times when I worked for Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci. Really, she was like an arch enemy almost,” Baker said, to laughs from the crowd.
But Baker praised her aptitude and attitude in her highly scrutinized position.
“She’s digging us out of a gigantic hole. I believe we’re doing exactly the kinds of things that we need to do to give the people of this Commonwealth the kind of modern, reliable, dependable, affordable transportation system that we’re going to need to continue to support and grow our economy,” Baker said.
“That’s not necessarily something that we think about when we think about why GE put Boston on the map,” he said. “But there’s no question that some of the big investments and commitments that we made with respect to infrastructure and transportation… made a big difference.”