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  • Writer's pictureRyan Buckley

Meeting Minutes - 10/7/21

Minutes from the general meeting held on 7th October 2021

DVTI Meeting

October 7, 2021

Present: Matt Alfano, Ed Del Beccaro, Ryan Buckley, Nichol Carranza, Robert Carrera, Amalia Cunningham, Sam Driggers, Jeanette Green, Joellen Heaney, Bashir Khan, Jags Krishnamurthy, John Matthesen, Tamer Osman, Charlie Shi


Ryan opened the meeting at 3:03 pm.

  • Approval of September 2, 2021, Meeting Minutes:Motion: Ed; 2nd: Jeanette; Unanimous

  • Public Comments: None

  • Standing Items:

    • Ryan reviewed the Member Survey results.

      • Most attend DVTI meetings to a) learn about emerging industry sectors; b) network with colleagues; c) support the local business community.

      • Most DVTI members represent local residents and business community members.

      • Most thought DVTI should focus on: a) supporting workforce development initiatives in the Diablo Valley; b) recruiting tech businesses to the Diablo Valley; c) engaging with city and county staff about tech issues; d) advocating for the local drone and autonomous vehicle industries

      • Most think DVTI should do more.

        • Promoting local businesses would have an immediate impact. If we can help businesses grow and succeed, we will attract other businesses to seek support.

        • We can work to educate cities and counties on how to attract tech companies. Suburban office space is being hurt by remote work. Need to attract tech and life science, tenants.

      • Some were unsure about the goals of DVTI and the tangible outcomes of the monthly meetings.

    • Endorsement Letter Procedure (Ryan)

      • We have opportunities to promote ideas in letters signed as “Members of the Diablo Valley Tech Initiative” if support is unanimous. If not, we will sign individually on the same letter. Our purpose is to support those who are supporting our mission.

    • Economic Development (Sam)

      • Build Back Better Letter

        • Letter of support for Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative grant proposal that Contra Costa County is submitting.

        • The letter demonstrates broad support; will make its way to DC as part of a funding package to support waterfront initiatives.

        • The federal government has opened up a floodgate of funding for a variety of economic recovery opportunities. The “Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant” was one of six measures announced. Was initiated by Supervisors Glover and Burgis to address industries and areas that were left behind in the waterfront district.

        • COVID delayed implementing some activities. Emerging from the pandemic, the focus is on bioscience, advanced manufacturing, and advanced technologies. Seeking DVTI support to accelerate some of the projects with federal funding. The county’s first foray into economic development will have a spillover effect with a lot of overlap.

        • Sam will provide more detail at the next meeting, but October 19th is the deadline to submit the letter. Objection to DVTI group signature on to the letter? Abstentions: Robert Carerra, City of Concord. Ryan will obtain signatures and return the letter to Sam. Sam will forward the strategy document to Ryan.

      • Reuse Project Letter: Carlyn will review it at the next meeting

    • Workforce Development (Ryan)

      • Tech Sales Course Update

        • Introduction to Technology Sales class was approved to offer in spring 2022. Ryan and John will coteach. We are counting on DVTI to get the word out. The class’ success and our ability to continue are heavily contingent on enrollment. We would love to get new students into DVC as a result of offering this course. The purpose is to help non-engineering students get access to the tech economy.

  • AirMatrix (Bashir Khan .

    • Currently based in Toronto, Canada with plans to enter into the US ecosystem.

    • Use proprietary technology to help companies who are experiencing regulatory issues by remapping cities for autonomous drones.

    • Liaise with regulatory authorities to build skyways and manage traffic systems.

    • Example Use Cases:

      • Healthcare Delivery (medication, organs, test kits/samples, medical supplies)

      • First Responders (fire, paramedics, police)

      • Inspection & Monitoring (crowd management, infrastructure inspection)

      • Cargo/Package Delivery (food, consumer products, essential goods)

    • Benefits to Cities:

      • Reinforces cities’ reputation as the preeminent drone capital

      • Promotes fair and equal access to airspace

      • Accelerates infrastructure development with regulatory support

      • Provides new revenue stream from possible toll skyways

      • Demonstrates leadership in fostering innovative image

      • Takes control of the “grid” as a city asset and manages future air traffic vs. leaving it to end-user “giants”

      • Draws interest and investments from large enterprises to test usage of drone business models

  • Q&A:

  • Q: Do you work with telecom vendors directly? Who sets up the infrastructure? A: We work with mobile carriers.

  • Q: Have you thought about a portal for consumers so they can see how it works? A: We work closely with the communications side of municipalities so they can put a portal on their website.

  • Q: What’s your ideal scenario? A: We are looking to expand into the American market. We want to work with whatever cities will be the biggest champion in terms of adopting our model and helping us with other states. We then invest in that area with office space, staff, etc. Currently have 15 full-time employees; want to get to by 30 by next year. We are currently angel-backed; will be venture-backed soon.

  • Q: What are the biggest objections you hear and how are you going to market? Cities and communities would want to implement this in the most mindful and effective way. Who is your ideal customer?

A: Ideal customers are cities that have seen growth and want to get ahead of the game. Generally, city-level leads, etc. The biggest objections are they don’t think they have the budget or infrastructure yet. Some are just getting off the ground with smart city thinking and want to take their time. We push health care and telecommunications. We say no to surveillance.

  • Q: Where is the greatest adoption?

A: From pharma, telecom, and construction companies.

  • Q: The police chief of the city of Concord is working on a drone program. Have you started the initial conversations so you know what’s already in the works?

A: Not yet; we will be happy to chat with them.

  • Q: Are you concerned that Amazon, Walmart, etc. will do what they want with one solution from the airports? FAA may restrict drones by allowing air rights deliveries on highways, adding thousands of trucks per day.

A. We are exploring integrated roadways. Regarding Amazon, etc., city bylaws will ultimately go into effect. Our focus is on the cities, but we will work with anyone on integration with FAA.

  • Sam: Airport systems have been operating a forward-leaning expansion program in the drone industry in Contra Costa county. They have done well leveraging federal government resources and are looking at expanding the infrastructure at Byron. Jags will provide Bashir with airport connections. Bay area testing sites (BATS) will be working with the GoMentum station hoping to bring them under the umbrella.

Adjourned: 4:00 pm

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