Kitchener-Waterloo was a Hi-tech Hub Long Before RIM Arrived

Posted by Kevin Stumpf

Hi-tech is risky business. Some understand that more than others, but none better than the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo (KW).

Given the odd state of RIM (founded and based in Waterloo) it’s too easy to project an odd mood over KW, but even though the situation is critical and its effects have so far been devastating, the more you know about KW you’ll appreciate its resilience and see how easy it can be to visualize a healthy post-big-RIM local economy.

Hi-tech has been in the communal fabric of KW since the 1920's. It exploded both figuratively and actually since then and there are many wonderful stories to prove it. These stories are especially poignant now that RIM has transitioned into its current state because KW has weathered many similar transitions that are proportionately equal to the one ongoing at RIM and the people of KW has come through them stronger and smarter each time.

Imagine a workforce with a collective experience of several generations working in hi-tech? Bear in mind too that this workforce isn’t just techies. It includes everyone – clerical, administrators, and investors – all who have been exposed to growing hi-tech business since birth. Companies grow and shrink, come and go, but people remain so there is good news for KW, as well as communities anywhere that have incubated hi-tech companies.

An anecdotal history of the early technological community in KW from 1920 to 1990 is being presented in Waterloo on September 10th. A grassRoots History of the Early Hi-tech Community in KW is a cogent, albeit non-scientific, argument explaining why hi-tech has flourished in KW and why it will continue to flourish. For more information visit: kwarc.org/kwarc-meet.html

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Kevin Stumpf

Kevin Stumpf

I was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in the ‘50s and embraced info tech at an early age. Now after all the punched cards, microprocessors, and bandwidth, I’m still at it and still resisting the fad called social media. A remarkable woman married me in 1977; by 1982 we were blessed with 3 incredible sons, and now we are grandparents. Suffering and death are not strangers to me. I volunteer,... more




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