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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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09/01/2010 - Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen

The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons came upon an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about San Jose, California, describing the burgeoning high technology prosperity of their downtown core. He thought, "that's an idea worth taking," tore the article "Another Firm Feels the Pull" out of the paper and put it into his pocket.

By July 1996, several groups were taking steps to revitalize downtown Spokane, and Sirti was well underway helping high tech companies. Then co-director of the Sirti Software Engineering Lab, Simmons shared his idea with Dr. Terry Novak, director of the then Joint Center for Higher Education, and Lyle Anderson, director of Sirti, and together they became the tri-chairs for the new project.

As a final touch, the name "Terabyte Triangle" was derived. "Terabyte" was chosen to suggest information products rather than electronic products, and "Triangle" was for the large approximately triangular zone available around the downtown core.

The tri-chairs planned for the "Terabyte Triangle" to %u2018become a highly active area of concentrated software and multimedia development around the metro-downtown area, within easy reach of high performance Internet connectivity.'

Initial Project (1997)
The first project carried out by the Terabyte Triangle in 1997 was a series of focus groups designed to identify and enumerate the needs and conditions of high tech companies already operating in downtown Spokane. The focus group topics were:

Common non-technical business concerns;
Adapting from other cities for solution for Spokane; and
Technical issues in planning and executing a Terabyte Triangle cluster building.
The results of the focus groups were compiled into the Terabyte Triangle Briefing Book published by Sirti in May, 1997. Based on the information compiled and published, several downtown real estate developers chose to wire their building developments with high speed, fiber optic cabling for future development.

Early adopters included Tom Power, Ron and Julie Wells, Keith Lotze, Julie Clarke, Rob Brewster, and Joe Olson. Other organizations such as the City of Spokane, Kiemle & Hagood, Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS), Sirti, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, the Peyton Building, and Old City Hall followed.

TT Newsletter (2000)
The Terabyte Triangle Newsletter was first published as an e-mail newsletter in 2000. The purpose of the Newsletter was to deliver news and feature articles about the businesses and people operating high tech businesses within the Terabyte Triangle. It was created to "get the word out", and to help foster economic development.

Today (2010)
Today, sixteen years after the first idea, the technology cluster in downtown Spokane is mature. Continually growing, changing, and developing, the Terabyte Triangle has over 150 technology companies 'some large with over 100 employees and a large premises. Some of the companies are small with new ideas and in the start-up stage. In place to help start-up companies are entities like Sirti, Connect Northwest, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and Spokane Economic Development Council.

The connectivity fabric remains one of the best in the United States. First put in place between 1997 and 1999 by companies with names like Avista Fiber, Inc., Electric Lightwave, Inc., GST Telecommunications, Inc., NEXTLINK Washington, Inc., and US West Communications, Inc., the basic connectivity fabric has morphed and grown. The basic structure made possible the creation of VPnet, the Spokane HotZone, optical fiber connections in most downtown buildings, dark fiber leases, and good connections at nearly every bracket of price and bandwidth from 1 megabit to 20 gigabits per second. The availability of this connectivity fabric was instrumental in enticing the Northwest GigaPop to establish a connection through Spokane.

Today there is a fast growing research and education center in the University District, complete with a state-of-the-art data center, a GigaPop point-of-presence, and many university research centers. These universities 'EWU, Gonzaga, WSU, Whitworth, along with the Community Colleges of Spokane, have educational programs that grant everything from certificates to doctoral degrees.

The Terabyte Triangle's initial initiatives where were:

To develop a technology enhancement strategy to foster high-speed, broadband connectivity in the Terabyte Triangle
To develop a facilitation strategy to engage, educate and encourage support of the Terabyte Triangle
To develop and execute a marketing strategy to recruit businesses into the Terabyte Triangle
The Terabyte Triangle Board of Directors believes that the TT has now fulfilled its initial mission and is shifting into "steady state operation." The Terabyte Triangle Web Site will remain in place with its inventory of newsletters, information, and buildings support.

Especially to be thanked for all of their help and guidance are Steve Simmons, Tom Power, Steve Trabun, and Steve Salvatori. Thanks also must be extended to Kim Pearman-Gillman, Spencer Stromberg, Allyson Shoshana, Robin Toth, Barb Chamberlain, Mike Edwards, Nigel Davey, Marla Nunberg, Norm Letha and Karen Valvano. Many others have helped along the way.

Thanks to our longtime sponsors: Alt29 Design, Avista, Courtyard Office Building, Tom Power, Interlink Advantage, J-D Strong Consulting, Inc., Sirti, Spokane Entrepreneurial Center, Steam Plant Square, and Coffman Engineers.

Billie Moreland
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