Kansas City has been “punching above its weight” since the days of covered wagons, said Ryan Weber, noting the tech industry specifically has an impact of almost $11 billion a year on KC’s local economy.
“Nationally, our profile has risen so much,” said Weber, president of the KC Tech Council which works to support the region’s tech industry. “There’s so much noise on the coasts but because we’re here in the middle of the country, we’re really dominating and being recognized as a tech hub here in middle America. [It’s a] great opportunity for us to really own that space.”
Kansas City’s greatest asset is its central location, he said, citing the sentiment as the basis for the KC Tech Council’s upcoming, inaugural ‘No Coast’ event which will celebrate the metro’s considerable tech talent annually.
Click here to learn more about the KC Tech Council.
“[Kansas City is] not put into a bucket of identity based on what coasts we’re on — we can play both sides, and that’s a huge advantage,” he added. “Our economy has become way more tech-focused and [No Coast] is going to be a great opportunity to celebrate an industry that’s quickly becoming the most impactful and important in our region.”
The awards are expected to include: a Tech Champion of the Year specifically relating to policy, Outstanding Contributor to Tech for a company developing a product that advanced the tech industry in some way, and a Tech Educator of the Year for a dedicated educator that trains the future tech workforce, said Weber.
“I’m surprised that we haven’t had anything like this before, so we’re excited to finally deliver and grow an event that can truly be a once a year celebration of technology in this city,” he said.
No Coast — hosted at the Abbott Event Space — is expected to be entirely family-friendly with a casual feel, he added, noting the KC Tech Council consulted a focus group to ensure the structure of the event is different from other KC events, he added.
“We hope to make our attendees feel comfortable to bring kids, nieces, nephews, you name it, because there’s going to be a great opportunity for them to experience the tech that’s created in Kansas City and be inspired,” said Weber.
No Coast’s keynote speaker is expected to be announced in the following week, he said.
Click here to read about the KC Tech Council’s support of a STEM education bill.