From the expansion of remote work and remote learning, to telemedicine and “green” energy, innovative technology advancements are rapidly changing the way we live, work and play in towns like Prescott Valley, AZ and in the Central Arizona region. As better tech is developed and made available, it is bringing improvements to everyday life that would have seemed like science fiction less than 50 years ago. A better work/ life balance that blends ultra-modern tech with a more laid-back, rural environment is more than just a possibility today. It is a lived reality for many.
Tech sector businesses are already here, they are thriving, and there is plenty of room for more growth. As Henry Ebarb II, co-founder and CEO of Eightfold Technology in Prescott, AZ points out, there are benefits to running a tech business beyond the high pay. Because many tech companies are “open-ended from top to bottom, you can really move your way up in organizations,” said Ebarb. This means that tech business owners can “actually open opportunities up to new individuals.”
I’M REALLY LUCKY THAT I’M DOING EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO IN THE TECH AND COMMUNICATIONS WORLD, BUT I LIVE IN A RURAL, COUNTRYSIDE SETTING, COMPLETE WITH A HOBBY FARM SURROUNDED BY STATE LAND – in Chino Valley, AZ.
While most think of tech jobs as based in urban areas, the expansion of reliable high-speed internet into more rural areas has led many in the city-weary tech industry to look farther afield. As more tech-oriented businesses and individuals choose to relocate to the Central Arizona region, many are discovering that better work/life balance is possible.
Long commutes on congested roads are being traded in for a daily commute from the kitchen to the in-home office. The less than inspiring views out of office windows are being exchanged for brighter, more natural vistas.
Smaller Arizona cities, towns, and communities like Prescott Valley, Prescott, Chino Valley and Dewey-Humboldt are seen as attractive alternatives for tech workers. “It’s all about that quality of life,” said Ebarb.
Guy Roginson, Executive Editor of multimedia company Talking Glass Media, based in Prescott Valley, AZ, agrees. “I’m really lucky that I’m doing exactly what I want to do in the tech and communications world, but I live in a rural, countryside setting, complete with a hobby farm surrounded by state land – in Chino Valley, AZ,” said Roginson. The ability to work and then, at the end of the day, to walk outside and enjoy the quiet, open spaces is a big plus for his quality of life. For tech workers, the ability to stay connected with their clients is an absolute necessity. While in-person collaboration has been the mainstay in many tech companies, web-based technologies have helped free up many tech jobs from office life.
ARIZONA IS SECOND IN THE NATION IN NET TECH JOB GAINS FROM 2018 TO 2019.
According to cyberstates.org, Arizona’s leading tech occupation categories include software and web developers, computer support specialists, network architects, administrators and support, and systems and cybersecurity analysts.
For remote workers in rural areas, perhaps the biggest tech need is access to reliable highspeed internet and Information Technology (IT) support. Both are readily available in the Central and Northern Arizona regions. CONNECTIVITY IS KEY
“I have great Wi-Fi service, and that’s the only requirement these days,” said Roginson. While SignalsAZ.com, the digital good news platform produced by Talking Glass Media, is focused on the Prescott Valley/Quad Cities area, Roginson pointed out that he is “dealing with people all around the state and doing more and more national work.” With digital tech tools and a stable broadband connection, the ability to collaborate and work on a national scale has become an everyday reality.
According to the Cyberstates.org report compiled by Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Arizona is second in the nation in net tech job gains from 2018 to 2019. Several local tech innovators have created the Northern Arizona Technology Alliance (NATA) as a way to attract some of those tech jobs to the region. Ebarb pointed out that the communities lining the I17 corridor, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Cottonwood and the Verde Valley, have the potential to become a holistic region for tech workers.
“As we become a more digitally connected world, Northern Arizona has an opportunity to stake its claim in that space,” Ebarb said. It’s an exciting time to live and work in the Prescott Valley area. With over a quarter million people employed in Arizona’s tech sector and the state’s strong tech job gains, more rural areas are definitely paying attention. It’s a rare win-win scenario, and Central Arizona’s Quad Cities are uniquely positioned to welcome those workers and businesses.
“We’re creating jobs and helping families live a high-quality life right here in the pines of Prescott Valley and surrounding region,” said Roginson. “And that makes me feel great.”
AS WE BECOME A MORE DIGITALLY CONNECTED WORLD, NORTHERN ARIZONA HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO STAKE ITS CLAIM IN THAT SPACE.