After nearly 40 years, the Minnesota High Technology Association, formed by computer companies, today changes its name to Minnesota Technology Association, or “MnTech” for short.
The change is designed to reflect the broad adoption of computer and networking technology across industries, as well as a heightened focus on public policy, talent development and collaborations among its 250-plus members and other partners.
It’s the first identity change since 1998, when the Minnesota High Technology Council merged with the state software association to become the MHTA.
Jeff Tollefson, chief executive of the association, said MnTech will continue to be the unifying voice for “technology-fueled companies.”
It also wants to be known for its increasing priorities of advocating for policies that promote innovation, developing a skilled workforce, and initiatives that build strong companies and communities.
MnTech has dropped its fall venture-capital conference and is working with Beta.MN, a group of startup companies, on the Twin Cities Startup Week series of events in October.
MnTech in February held its second Tech Talent conference that brought together several hundred leaders from a variety of Minnesota industries, government and training organizations that studied the talent shortage and collaborative solutions to it. Indeed, there has been some progress in replacing technology-trade baby boomers, disproportionately retiring white males, with women and people of color.
Tollefson, 58, a former venture capitalist, started and for a decade led the Twin Cities office of Genesys Works, a job-training nonprofit. It provides about 300 disadvantaged Twin Cities high schoolers a year with training and internships with industry partners that pay up to $14,000 and serves as gateway to postsecondary education and careers.
“While the coronavirus continues to impact lives and disrupt our economy in ways we wouldn’t have imagined just a short month ago, it is also highlighting the important role technology plays in addressing this global crisis, and we are proud to see so many MnTech member companies leading the way,” Tollefson said.
He said Minnesota companies are sharing ventilator technology and production, providing systems that accelerate government funds to health care providers and helping out with critical supply chains and logistics.