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Hi-tech presentation scheduled next month

Sponsors of a presentation on technology benchmarks next month see itas a way to put Southern Oregon on Oregon's high-tech landscape.

A Silicon Orchard Evening, set for Oct. 9 at the Rogue Valley CountryClub, will feature comments by John Moon, president of Protocol Systems,and Les Fahey of KPMG Peat Marwick.

We're included on the state `dog and pony show' for the first time,said Charles McHenry, program chairman of the local chapter of the SoftwareAssociation of Oregon, one of the event's sponsors. This first-everconvocation of local technology executives, electronics and software professionalsand end users provides an opportunity to create a regional organization.

The Regional Technology and Telecommunications Task Force was envisionedby the Rogue Valley Civic League's Sustainable Communities Project.

The time for visioning is over, McHenry said. It'stime to bring the industry and the providers and the users together to startimplementation.

He is encouraging members of the business, education, government andmedia communities to attend. Tickets, at $50, are available by calling McHenryat 772-2382 or Susan Huntley at 826-8008. The event is also sponsored byAmerican Electronics Association and Southern Oregon Regional Economic DevelopmentInc. (SO-REDI).

McHenry, a communications consultant, will also speak on the high-techsector in the Rogue Valley. At last count, it includes 65 software companiesamong 211 high-tech businesses. The total doesn't include traditional industriesthat are creating high-tech processes and equipment, he said.

After the speeches, participants will join in small-group discussionintended to lay the foundation for creating a working council of technologystakeholders and executives.

This presentation is among a series of events -- Oregon's TechnologyBenchmarks '97 -- that have been held in Portland and elsewhere around thestate. The goals for the electronics and software industries were set byrepresentatives of 157 companies, including Litton Industries in GrantsPass.

Oregon industry representatives concluded the high-tech industry willdouble in the next three years, to $18 billion in revenue. Employment, nowat 64,400 statewide, will grow by 28,000 jobs.

More temporary positions will become permanent, companies predict. Theaverage high-tech salary in Oregon rose 9.5 percent this year, to $47,831a year.

High-tech managers reported they are increasingly challenged by shrinkingprofits and operating margins. They are also concerned by the dwindlingpool of qualified workers in the Portland area and the lagging investmentclimate.

McHenry said Southern Oregon is slowly gaining a presence within theindustry.

They actually mentioned `Silicon Orchard' in the presentation inPortland, he said.

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