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By Tim Hunt

Branding our center of innovation

Uploaded: Aug 10, 2017

One of the interesting initiatives that has emerged in the Tri-Valley in the last year is the effort to brand the area as a center of innovation.
Dale Kaye, CEO of Innovation Tri-Valley, told attendees at a San Francisco Business Times event recently that her group has developed branding specific to the Tri-Valley. It’s not proprietary—just the opposite—Dale encouraged everyone to take advantage of it. Before this effort, the only valley-wide branding had been aimed at tourism through the visitors and convention bureau.
The logo with its three triangles communicates the connectivity and collaboration in the area between the exploding number of start-up firms as well as the investors and the long-time national laboratories. As the labs’ missions have broaden, they have created a much stronger effort to push their technological advances into businesses. The addition of the open campus and the robust efforts of the tech transfer teams speak to this.
It’s notable that on the morning of the Business Times’ event, speakers Kaye and John Sensiba as well as others in attendance, had met with a group of Chinese business people interested in learning what made the Tri-Valley tick.
One of those success stories is I-Gate Innovation Hub, the incubator/common work space in downtown Livermore. It has out-grown the 5,500 square feet at its current location and soon will be moving to nearly triple its space. The seven-year-old non-profit is led by Brandon Cardwell, a Livermore native and sponsored by the city as an economic development activity.
It will soon have a more focused collaborator when Bishop Ranch opens its Bishop Ranch Intelligence Innovation Accelerator directed by Les Schmidt. Schmidt said the Tri-Valley is moving into its second generation of companies such as Blackhawk Networks, and GE Digital’s innovation headquarters. That compares to the sixth generation in the Silicon Valley. The first generation here was PeopleSoft, Sybase and Documentum, all of which has been sold or absorbed by other firms, but have alumni living in the valley and doing their own things.
GE Digital is located in San Ramon because its leader, Bill Ruh, said this is “the digital epicenter of the world.” Established in 2008, it already has more than 2,000 employees in Bishop Ranch.
Schmidt also pointed out that the Tri-Valley has more people with advanced degrees than the Silicon Valley. It is notable how much the education level of residents has increased over the years. Back in the 1990s, about one-third of Pleasanton residents held bachelor’s degrees. That number now is nearing 55 percent, while a third of those people hold master’s degrees or higher.
That’s a huge talent pool with between 60 and 70 percent of them still leaving the valley to commute to the South Bay or San Francisco for their jobs.
For Schmidt, who endured that commute for many years, he’s now committed to working here so he does not have to cross anymore bridges or go through tunnels. There are plenty of others who share that view or would like it for their lives and careers.