Suzy Price: High tech won’t come to Eagle
As a resident of Eagle, I wanted to comment on an article written recently (Aug 20, 2008) stating that the author would much rather see a high tech company build in Eagle instead of the proposed Eagle River Station.
High tech won’t be coming to Eagle anytime soon.
I am employed by an international Fortune 100 High Tech company and have been in this industry for decades. Having watched high tech companies move into and out of cities, I thought I might be knowledgeable to comment on what a high tech company would be looking for in order to re-locate.
1) Massive tax concessions ” like millions every year for 20-plus years.
2) Easy access to an airport that is a major airlines hub for ease of travel by their customers, employees and executives. Much to our dismay, the Vail/Eagle County Regional Airport does not fall into this category, along with the fact that the airport just announced it is closing to commercial flights next summer so they can pave their one runway. The first time I tried to fly out of airport for business, I was going to Montreal, Canada. Upon arriving at the airport, I was told they would not be flying to Denver that day because there was fog in Denver. I did not have enough time to drive to Denver and catch my connecting flight. There goes that business trip. I guess I’ll just tell my customer and my boss that I won’t be able to make it because of fog. That was the one and only time I booked a business trip flight out of our airport. Thank goodness for Colorado Mountain Express. They can get through if the pass is not closed.
3) A very large pool of employable workers that already have the education and experience to immediately be productive. We are not talking about unskilled workers or employee training programs. These companies look for employees that have graduate degrees and have impressive resumes ensuring they have an extensive background in their chosen field.
4) A large empty building that suits their needs that they can lease at a reasonable (translated: bargain) price. High tech companies want to minimize their “plant” and typically do not purchase buildings, and certainly do not build them from the ground up. This way they can be more flexible, based on economic conditions.
5) AcClimate that provides the most days possible of weather conducive to showing up at work. Vail Pass being closed 19 times would not fall into that category. You cannot have a high tech business that only has one major route into and out of the valley.
6) “Affordable housing?” Get a grip. I have never worked for a company, and I have worked for large Fortune 100 companies all my career, that gave a hoot about how I was housed. As long as I did not shower in their bathrooms they didn’t care if I even was housed. Show up for work and do your job, that’s what they care about. They would not build a house nor help an employee purchase a house. It’s not in their budget and in these times they have more applicants than jobs. Maybe the CEO, CIO or chairman of the board would get a sweet deal, but not the worker bee.
7) I believe the phrase used by the author was “sustainable employment.” High tech and sustainable employment are oil and water. High tech companies hire when they need the employees and in that first dip of revenues, there are massive layoffs. I have experienced being laid off twice when I was a top performer in my job, it doesn’t matter. Wall Street runs the numbers and if your revenue and expenses are not in line, the analysts will give you a thumbs down and there goes your company. The easiest way to bring your revenue and expenses in line is to quickly reduce your expenses (and employees are expenses therefore, layoffs) to fall in line with your revenue. If you have read the paper or listened to the news lately you may notice that Hewlett-Packard just announced 24,000-plus employees would be laid off now that they have bought Electronic Data Systems. Ask those folks if they have “sustainable employment.”
8) Those laid-off high tech employees there must find other companies for employment. I do not think this applies to Eagle at this time.
The previous author made the statement to me and others that she did not want Eagle River Station development, not because it might impact her business, but solely because her property overlooks the land and she doesn’t want to look at it. I’m not sure how a high tech building and parking lots would be any more attractive than the proposed Eagle River Station with its attractive architecture and landscaping. I guess you would have to ask her.
Suzy Price is an Eagle resident. E-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.
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