Hundreds of participants have been taking part in the two day High Tech Jobs Summit at the University of Montana hosted by Senator Steve Daines and U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte.

Speaking with Daines  behind the scenes at the University Center, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith passed by in the hallway on the way to his presentation on Technology and Opportunity in Montana.

Presentations are being streamed here. 

Congressman Greg Gianforte, founder of Right Now Technologies, gave the keynote address on Monday morning. He told KGVO News that the thrust of the summit was to display how high tech business and the resulting jobs, are possible in Montana.

"High tech industry is the perfect complement for agriculture, natural resources and our tourism economy, to allow more Montanans to come home, and stay here," said Gianforte. "We had a panel of five up and coming businesses. One makes a device that looks like an Italian espresso maker, except it sells for $100,000, and when you hit the espresso button it gives you one degree Kelvin, almost absolute zero. They sell to physicists all over the world. This company has 40 employees, high wages and it's all here in Montana."

Also speaking at the event was Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer for Microsoft Corporation, who addressed the need for broadband connectivity nationwide.

"Broadband is critical," Smith began. "The country is divided in terms of broadband access. I would argue that broadband has become a necessity of life. It has become the future of business. The reality is there are still 23.4 million Americans who live in rural communities who don't have access to this necessity of life. We've launched a new initiative ion our company that we're calling our rural airband. It uses new technology harnessing the unused spectrum of terrestrial television, the UHF and VHF bands, We've done research  that nationally, this can close the gap for 80 percent of people who live in rural counties, and when deployed in conjunction with more traditional wireless and satellite technology, it can bring the national cost of closing this gap down from over $60 billion to about $12 million."

Attending the event was Helena's Tyrell Suzor-Hoy, who is running for the Public Service Commission.

"I'm a small business owner and I own a small consulting firm," Suzor-Hoy began. "I've learned so much today about renewable energy to communication for rural parts of Montana. I hope to learn what the future of Montana holds, especially for the tech industry."

The Montana High-Tech Jobs Summit will continue through Monday afternoon, with closing remarks by Senator Steve Daines, followed by a High-Tech Careers Networking Social from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the University Center.

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