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How Technology Enables West Michigan’s Economic Development

How Technology Enables West Michigan’s Economic Development

We sat down with our own Megan Sall to get her unique perspective on the roll of technology in our region. You may remember Megan Sall from September when CQL and The Right Place sat down with Shelley Irwin to discuss women in technology.

At the time, Megan was representing economic development organization The Right Place, where she’d worked for 4 years. Now, we are happy to say she is part of the CQL team. With an understanding of both the economic development imperatives of our region and technology sector, we asked Megan to share her insights and observations.

Technology’s Role in Creating Opportunities

 “I loved my role at The Right Place as it allowed me to fulfill my passion for growing communities,” said Sall. “West Michigan has long been known for its leadership and expertise in making products, from furniture to automotive parts and medical devices. Over the past few decades, it has been exciting to see local companies also become leaders in creating custom technology solutions, thereby leading to more jobs and investment for the region.”

Technology is a game-changer for manufacturing, healthcare, and the other industries we support in west Michigan.  I truly believe it will be the force that moves everything forward. It was this realization that prompted me to narrow my next career move to the technology sector, and ultimately, my current position with CQL.”

After being here at CQL for a couple of months, she shared that one of the things that drew her to CQL was the ability to work across industries, clients, and innovation strategies.

“I’ve watched our team pull off some amazing projects in very little time, and I’m absolutely blown away by my colleagues’ expertise in design and development. We are working on some world changing projects, and this is resulting in tremendous growth for CQL.” 

Technology’s Role in Community Building 

While still wearing her economic development hat, she observed that technology serves as a catalyst for business growth, and the industry serves as a catalyst for individuals in our community who are looking to achieve personal and financial growth. Creating jobs that ensure a living wage is a high priority for many in West Michigan, and the technology industry is well-suited to making that happen thanks to the compensation and benefits that technology roles provide. 

“The average wage for a software developer in our community is well above the average median income in Michigan and several times the poverty level,” said Sall. “Thanks to CQL’s involvement in programs like Girls Who Code, Junior Achievement, Girls Dream Fair, Bitcamp, and CareerQuest, young people and job-seekers are being exposed to training and high-demand positions that will allow them to thrive in West Michigan and build successful careers.”

Family and friends were intrigued to hear about Megan’s decision to pursue a role at CQL. Following more than a decade in extremely rewarding public service and nonprofit roles, they wondered what value proposition she might see in the technology industry. 

“Aside from the obvious perks like casual Friday every day, ping-pong breaks, biweekly massages, and the opportunity to make incredibly innovative products,” explained Sall, “I quickly won them over when I explained the game-changing effect technology is having on healthcare, manufacturing, and every other successful industry in West Michigan – thereby adding more jobs and investment in our community. After adding a word or two about how technology is providing incredible career opportunities for young people and job-seekers, they were easily sold.”

The technology industry in West Michigan is truly changing the way we do business and look at the world.

“Few people are aware that we have so many capabilities and so much expertise here, but it’s true. And it’s growing every day. I was fortunate to discover this a few years ago and I’m thrilled to be a part of it all as a member of CQL’s team.”

And yes, we’re thrilled to have Megan on our team now as well. 

You can look forward to more insights from Megan on the tech industry, economic development, and growth in West Michigan in future posts. 

Photo via Flickr

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