Home Opinion In My Opinion Guest column: Time to accept the future

Guest column: Time to accept the future

I write this letter as a Riverhead resident with many different roles in the town over the years. I have seen this town move – I have seen this town shake – I hope to see this town move forward into the future and create some jobs for our kids to stay here. Smart entrepreneurs are pivoting from the normal business into future advanced technologies – Riverhead Town with the help of the Ghermezians has the potential to be the epicenter of this movement for Suffolk County.

I have some concerns as we vet the Ghermezian proposal – where are the people with the technology background? Who in this town is coding? Building robots? Understanding artificial intelligence? Working with 3D printers? Blockchain? Let’s think without the box. Let’s embrace the Ghermezians’ proposal and create a hub for these people to come here – let’s not chase away our future.

It’s like this – we need to think of our kids in school. They are the future and it looks great. This opportunity is foremost for our kids in school now, this vision is not new but exploding all over this country and every industrial region in the world. Let’s find a way to work to support innovation and create good-paying jobs for our kids here in our town.

Private entrepreneurs are changing the landscape of the future, but they are not knocking down the doors of Riverhead Town. Innovation centers with public-private partnerships are sprouting up all over this country and the world. Now Triple Five comes to the Riverhead Town Board with this exact proposal – what are we going to do? Be part of the future of Riverhead or fall prey to the past? I have spent 20 years in the high-tech field, it is not going away and entrepreneurs that would take the risk that is being offered here are scarce.

With the proximity of Calverton to our state universities (including the Stony Brook Calverton Business Incubator right on site) and Brookhaven National Lab close by, we have great opportunities to accelerate the Brookhaven National Lab technology commercialization efforts. Even better, Triple Five Ventures is proposing a venture capital division to help seed the technology.

I urge the board on the behalf of Riverhead taxpayers to consider seriously this proposal to create the Calverton Aviation Technology park at the former Grumman facility. Town government is not structured to develop this property – this is clear from many attempts over two decades. The property gifted to the town 20 years ago has sat vacant while proposal after proposal has come before the public but has not moved forward.

The current proposal is the most fitting to create the highest and best use of the property and create jobs, to restore tax base and to spur economic development for the region to replace the lost Grumman facility.

Let’s give the Ghermezian proposal a thorough review but let’s also look towards a partnership with a well-funded experienced group that is looking to restore our legacy aviation and tech industries.

I would urge the board to take a tour of Brookhaven Lab where some of the brightest minds in the world are shaping a better more efficient future for all of us. They also host the largest corporations in the world doing high tech research and development for them.

A technology committee can be best suited to work with Triple Five and the town.
Silicon Valley started in garage turned into a garden and now a forrest.
Starting this project is like bees building a hiv— once started all the technology bees will show up and the hive will grow.

This project is only new to Riverhead; keep in mind NYS rates 47th in economic development in the U.S. Time to break that trend. Time to do what is good for Americans !!! The climate in Washington DC is too big to succeed.

Towns and counties with leaders with vision can make the positive changes necessary to insure a positive future.

Below are some places to do some research.

Philicon Valley (also known as “Silicon Valley Forge”) — Area close to Philadelphia,
Silicon Alley — Originally a portion of Manhattan in New York City, specifically Broadway, the Flatiron District, SoHo, and TriBeCa. Now encompasses the general NYC tech sphere.
Silicon Anchor — Norfolk, Va–Virginia Beach metropolitan area
Silicon Bayou — New Orleans, Louisiana
Silicon Beach — Santa Monica, California and the Westside area of the Los Angeles metro, more specifically Culver City, Venice Beach, Westwood, Manhattan Beach, Malibu, Playa del Rey, and Marina del Rey; also used to refer to the San Diego area in the name of the 1980s software developer Silicon Beach Software
Silicon Canal — The area of Seattle, Washington along the Fremont Cut.
Silicon Coast — Orange County, California
Silicon Desert — Chandler, Arizona
Silicon Forest — Portland, Oregon
Silicon Harbor — Charleston, South Carolina; Stamford, Connecticut
Silicon Hill — Washington, DC
Silicon Hills — Austin, Texas
Silicon Hollar — Boone, North Carolina
Silicon Peach – Atlanta, Georgia home to Georgia Institute of Technology as well as VMWare Airwatch, Google ATL, Kabbage, Pindrop, and many venture capital firms
Silicon Prairie
Dallas-Fort Worth Silicon Prairie — Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas
Illinois Silicon Prairie — Chicago and Urbana-Champaign
Midwest Silicon Prairie — Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City
Wyoming Silicon Prairie, also called the “Silicon Range” — Jackson Hole

This type of project will keep Riverhead strong.

Bob Kern is the owner of 2XS, LLC a marketing and branding consultant company. He lives in Riverhead.


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