Utah: A Premium Home for the Technology Industry

Pete CodellaBusiness

Allegiance Software  is a South Jordan, Utah-based technology company that develops and sells a feedback system that continually collects and analyzes the voice of customers and employees. An interview with Carine Clark, President and CEO of Allegiance Software and a Utah resident since 1981, shows that Utah’s tech industry is strong and continues to hold great promise for the future.

Tech thriving in the past, present and future

Entrenched in a long history of success, Utah’s tech industry can do nothing but continue to gain momentum, according to Carine Clark, CEO of Allegiance Software. She points out that Utah has always been home to a thriving tech industry. Many premier companies and prominent executives’ beginnings were in Utah.

There was Novell, founded in 1979 in Provo, and then WordPerfect, founded by a BYU student and a professor.

In the past couple years Adobe has set up shop on the curve of I-15 that separates Utah County and Salt Lake County, right in the middle of Utah’s Silicon Slopes.

Many of the executives that came out of Novell and WordPerfect are now at Google and Microsoft. Pixar’s Edwin Catmull and Adobe’s John Warnock both hail from the University of Utah.

“Think about Omniture, which is part of Adobe. Think about HP, Microsoft, and Intel … these companies have all had offices here,” Clark said. “And we’re in the heart of it. Today it’s just the logos that have changed and the industry’s more concentrated.”

Building a future tech-savvy workforce

While Utah’s tech sector continues to gain momentum, Clark notes that Utah’s greatest draw back for the tech industry is developing the future tech workforce. Clark puts particular emphasis on the small percent of the female population receiving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees.

“We’re not doing enough to support young women in STEM. We need to do a better job of taking care of our girls,” Clark said. “They’re not getting it. They don’t have enough role models or examples. We have an imbalance in our workforce.”

For Clark, it’s about communicating to young women that there can be a lot success garnered from obtaining a STEM degree. She does this on a regular basis, speaking to student groups across the state, and while doing it, she tries to appeal to her audience’s sense of capitalism.

“I go at it from a different angle,” Clark remarks. “I say, ‘You can have great things and work in a great environment by choosing a career in technology. Women in technology can make more money than many other industries, and can have an amazing impact within their industry and in their community. It’s just that simple.’

Utah: Accessible, diverse, and breathtaking

In the end, it’s the combination of accessibility, diversity and breathtaking landscapes that explains why Clark feels Utah has always been the place for her.

Oftentimes she enjoys showing clients Utah’s breathtaking vistas. And Clark doesn’t even have to leave her office to enjoy nature’s views, since her office on I-15 has an unimpeded view of the mountains.

“It’s about the accessibility to everything you need, from business, to food, to shopping, to outdoor recreation,” she says. “Everything is less than a 15-minute drive for many people. Allegiance Software’s corporate office is only a block away from a FrontRunner station.”

There’s a reason why Utah is home to Silicon Slopes. Recruiting talent and business to Utah can be as simple as taking candidates and prospects on a short drive to Utah’s slopes: it’s the accessibility to the breathtaking, to the exhilarating outdoor recreation experience.

“I like our State’s tourism slogan, ‘Life Elevated,’” Clark said. “There are so many different meanings to that. On the weekends I can be on a hike in just ten minutes from my house. I can be in Provo Canyon. I can hike that trail. I can be on my bike. That is why I never left Utah, because I love our community and our beautiful setting. Because of these advantages, Utah will continue to grow its tech leadership – we will be a top technology hotspot in the U.S. and in the world.”

 -Kaitlin Felsted, June 30, 2014