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Tech Yeah conference increases in size, scope

Hundreds of technology sector representatives gathered in Morgantown in late June for the Tech Yeah conference, hosted by Trilogy Innovations.

Attendees discussed crucial industry topics, the landscape in a post-pandemic world and partnership opportunities to promote business growth.

According to Trilogy Innovations, the more than 350 attendees included representatives of start-up companies, big and small businesses, academia and government. The number marked an increase of two-thirds over the inaugural event last year.

Attendees heard speakers and participated in panel discussions on topics ranging from cybersecurity to government connections, and from the organizational impact of COVID-19 to the tech industry’s role in economic diversity.

“Our overall mission for this conference has been constant, and that is to be a valuable resource for critical tech industry topics,” said Brandon Downey, Trilogy president and CEO, “and to be an event where the importance of cooperation and collaboration in West Virginia’s technology sector is emphasized to continue growth, promote partnerships, and invite new opportunities.”

This year’s conference was kicked off by keynote speaker Karen Evans, Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) and a former U.S. Senate-confirmed, Presidential-appointed executive. Evans was the first-ever Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response at the U.S. Department of Energy and served in three Presidential Appointed positions in two Administrations.

“It is important to highlight the capabilities within the state and bring together the public and private sectors to discuss critical issues facing the state, region, and nation,” Evans said. “The Tech Yeah conference, where small and medium businesses are present, is a good platform for CRI and I welcome the opportunity to share the CRI program.”

Panels assembled for topical discussion were populated by private and public sector tech experts, government officials, and subject matter experts.

“You have the opportunity to create partnerships, to create these moments that are so important to your companies and, really, so important to this industry,” Downey said in his conference welcome.

Randy Cottle, Trilogy vice president and COO, said the conference underlined the importance of partnerships, which brings together various knowledge bases, capabilities, and connections.

“Together, we will all succeed,” Cottle said. “This conference brings together people from these different — yet critical — walks of life. Our philosophy is that a high tide raises all boats.”

George White, unit chief for the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division based in Clarksburg, said Tech Yeah’s ability to attract people from various walks of life added tremendous value to conference-goers.

“The number of folks here supporting Tech Yeah have created a synergy that is really high-value,” said White. “Any time you have a conference where you have people coming from various value spaces, you’re doing a good job.”

West Virginia Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw attended the conference for the first time. “I like the conference structure,” he said, “in that it brings potential tech customers for West Virginia business to one place.”