Georgia is a prominent technology market and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is leading the charge on connecting, promoting, influencing and educating the technology industry in Georgia. Laying the foundation for innovation and creating a sustainable technology culture is key to growing the state’s competitiveness. As the saying goes “it takes a village,” and TAG embraces collaboration by working together with technology leaders and entrepreneurs to continue the innovation journey and build a thriving entrepreneurial community.
Having a seat on several state, local and national technology boards and organizations allows TAG to have greater reach as well as extended access to resources and opportunities. TAG was recently asked to be on the Board of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, a new public-private partnership created by Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan. This partnership is intended to lead efforts in making Georgia the technology capital of the East Coast. While Georgia has the foundation for success in the technology industry, this partnership will focus on generating venture capital investments and supporting the startup environment. This type of insight and involvement allows TAG access to a valuable platform of innovative ideas and solutions that will impact the technology community.
From a local level, TAG is represented on the Atlanta Chief Information Officer (CIO) Advisory Board, which was created by the Department of Atlanta Information Management (AIM) CIO, Gary Brantley. It is comprised of Atlanta leaders from both the private and public sectors and is designed to keep Atlanta on the cutting-edge of innovation and thought leadership. This level of networking and collaboration ignites insight and initiatives into the city’s technology infrastructure.
On a national level, TAG is on the Board of Directors for the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), which represents approximately 60 IT and technology trade organizations and more than 22,000 technology-related companies across North America. The goal of the organization is to provide a collective voice while fostering collaboration, innovation and an exchange of ideas. This representation benefits our own members by having a firm understanding of state, local and federal tech policies and best practices within the technology industry.
TAG not only represents the technology community, but also gives back to its members through being actively involved in these prominent organizations. This type of advocacy promotes favorable policies and a positive business climate for the Georgia technology sector to grow and prosper and creates a lasting impact long after the collaboration begins.
For example, Venture Atlanta, a collaboration between the Atlanta CIO Council, Metro Atlanta Chamber and TAG, is the region’s largest and longest running venture conference at 13 years. It brings together more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors, leaders and students for a high-caliber, 2-day conference and has led to $3.9 billion in funding raised and $14 billion in successful exits.
The Broadband coalition is another important partnership TAG was involved with that passed important pieces of broadband legislation. The coalition worked on and passed the Georgia Broadband Opportunity Act, which will encourage further private investments from broadband providers to build out their networks in rural, unserved areas and enable policies that promote connecting all Georgians.
There are also new collaborations on the horizon that will positively impact the technology community. The Georgia Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Task Force was developed by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and TAG in partnership with various industry stakeholders to assist the DIB with resiliency. The Task Force’s 2020 goal is to support the DIB developing cyber resiliency with the support of the State of Georgia and other key industry stakeholders. Through this initiative training, collaboration, recruitment and compliance assistance is provided to keep compliant with the Department of Defense.
Additionally, a rural workforce initiative with the Technical College System of Georgia was recently established. This Rural Technical Worker Pilot Program would begin pushing the workforce to rural Georgia by recruiting employers, our members, to commit to hiring individuals trained at rural technical colleges and allow those individuals to work remotely.
Bringing together these networks and relationships helps to accelerate growth opportunities within the state and promotes a connected technology ecosystem. If you are involved in the technology community in Georgia and not a member of TAG, you’re missing out and should consider getting involved! Learn about membership, events and our 26 societies at www.tagonline.org
Larry K. Williams is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and has served in this role since October 2016. As part of Mr. Williams responsibilities, he leads the NTSC (National Technology Security Coalition) and TAG Education Collaborative benefiting youth in STEM and technology development.
A recognized leader in economic development, Williams brings more than 20 years of experience in international trade, finance, public and industrial policy, and marketing. Throughout his career he has guided organizations connecting local and global initiatives and most recently, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Beacon Council Inc. (one of 36 accredited economic development organizations in the nation). Williams’ effort at the Beacon Council led Miami-Dade County to greater competitiveness.
Prior to joining the Beacon Group, Williams shaped the vision for the Atlanta tech industry as Vice President of Technology Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He has held similar roles including serving on Washington State Governor’s Global Competitiveness Council, leading Washington State’s Tourism Commission and Director of Operations of International Trade for the North Carolina Department of Commerce to name a few.
Williams graduated from The Darlington School in Rome, GA and holds degrees from North Carolina State University.