Mayor Jeff Genung and town CAO Mike Derricott are en route to Vegas today with the primary goal of talking to startup tech companies at the massive Consumer Technology Association Conference (CES), which gets underway tomorrow.

Mayor Genung is picking up where he left off four years ago at the conference, which was deflated during the peak of the pandemic. He anticipates over 100,000 people will be attending.

While Genung plans to attend several workshops, the major aim is to connect with representatives of startup companies.

"My focus there is to look at what those companies are looking for in a place to start, and continue some of the research I started in 2018 to see what we can do as a community to attract some of those companies here," says Genung.

He says about 800 startups attended the 2018 show.

Four years ago, the idea of an incubator in Cochrane for such companies was only on paper. At the time, the town was aggressively pursuing major federal Smart Cities funding but was unsuccessful.  

Since then, the vision of establishing a space for startups has been realized with the opening of The Station on Railway St.

Cochrane town council received a proposal on how to manage the space in a report from Mike Korman, interim director of Development Services, at a Nov. 7 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Genung says the town hasn't quite landed on how it's going to roll out. He anticipates it will be discussed by council early in the year, but doesn't want it to be a rush job.

"We only have one chance at a first impression here, and I think rather than get to it and have it done quickly, I'd like to take our time and do it well and be deliberate and specific on what we're trying to target, then go after it." 

At least one Cochrane-based company--Garmin--will be at the Vegas conference, and Genung says there may be more. Several Cochrane companies were represented in 2018.

The conference offers insight into technological innovations that affect everything from industry to households to municipalities.

"There are a lot of workshops on smart cities and innovation, and it's all through a community lens."

The show wraps up on Sunday.