October DVTI review
This month I had more phone calls and started to hone in more specifically on what DVTI should be known for. I think it's important that DVTI be branded as something, so people can say, "Oh, DVTI, they're the people who do X." The problem is we don't yet know what X is.
The conversations I had in October were meant to get closer to choosing a direction that we need to head in order to set about being known for a specific program.
Olivia Herriford is a Regional Director at the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC). I learned that California is divided into seven community college regions and that our region has 28 colleges in it. Diablo Valley College is one of those. Each region receives some state funding to facilitate cooperation and joint ventures between the colleges and between regions. Olivia works specifically on ICT, or information and communications technology. This sector and the role that community colleges can play in re-skilling and supporting the workforce in the Bay Area is of great interest to DVTI.
Xantha Bruso is the Manager of Autonomous Vehicle Strategy at GoMentum Station, the largest dedicated testing station for autonomous vehicles in the country. We're lucky to have them in Concord. We talked about opportunities to collaborate with the local colleges and cities.
Stephen Baiter is Executive Director of East Bay Economic Development Alliance. We discussed DVTI and he acknowledged the importance of focusing on this particular region. The Berkeley / Oakland area and Tri-valley region gets all the economic development attention, leaving our region underserved. DVTI can fill this void. We also had an interesting discussion about setting out on a new direction versus having local industry dictate strategy.
Finally, I spoke with Michael Quinn at DVC and David Wahl at LMC (Los Medanos College) about the drone programs at DVC and LMC. This was very eye-opening. As suspected, drone tech is poised to be a huge market and we're fortunate to have two community colleges already teaching courses related to it. We also have two county-owned airports (Buchanan Field and Byron) that can play a role supporting the local drone tech market.
I spent the back half of October writing up a plan to create an "Autonomous Valley" here that would take advantage of our workforce and county assets. It was a helpful exercise. If you know any drone tech companies in Contra Costa or the Bay Area and would like to help with this program, please reach out.