Revelstoke Tech Summit to highlight future of work

Last year Kamloops-based Hummingbird Drones showed up to the first Revelstoke Tech Summit bleary eyed and tired, but excited about discussing the evolving job market with local students. Members of the organization had been up the previous evening helping orchestrate what Kamloops Search and Rescue called “historic.” It was the first documented search and rescue operation in British Columbia that used drones and heat sensing technology to locate missing persons.

Related: Sun Peaks rescue first time in B.C. drones used to find missing people

While the knowledge that the SAR operation had taken place far from brought a smile to the faces of the organizers, it did bring home a critical point to the students: some of the jobs you might have one day either don’t yet exist, or are in fields that are just starting to develop.

“We’re telling them all the time that some of the jobs they might have don’t exist yet,” said Mike Hooker, superintendent of School District 19, which will be co-hosting this year’s Revelstoke Tech Summit in partnership with the City of Revelstoke and the B.C. Rural Dividend Project.

Hooker said that this year’s summit, entitled — Hack into Tech: the Future of Work — is about improving youth access to technology, and creating opportunities for students to stay in Revelstoke. It’s all part of the City’s two-year high-tech strategy.

Tech strategy coordinator Hayley Johnson, who is one of the principle organizers of the Tech Summit, said she is grateful for the incredible level of involvement they’ve seen from the local community, which has helped the event grow in size and impact.

“We’ve been blown away by the heaps of locals who have volunteered their time,” said Johnson.

The Tech Summit will take place on Feb. 22 at the Performing Arts Centre and at Revelstoke Secondary School. It will give local students the opportunity to engage personally with industry professionals who have built careers in the burgeoning technology landscape.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by David Ascher, who will share his thoughts on how the workplace is changing and the kinds of opportunities that are increasingly available for students to work remotely. Ascher started programming when he was just 11, and today he is the VP of buddybuild, a Vancouver-based tech firm that builds software for app developers.

Following Ascher’s keynote address and a panel discussion moderated by Simon Wex of Adobe at PAC, there will a tech career trade show at RSS. During the trade show Hummingbird Drones will offer a presentation of their technology in the high school’s gymnasium.

The event will conclude at 6 p.m. with a celebration of the launch of Startup Revelstoke at Begbie Brewing.

Hooker said the Tech Summit is about much more than just learning about programming or coding.

“The aim is to get a full range of careers that involve tech. It’s not just software development,” said Hooker. “We’ve got Telus, BC Hydro, digital music production. We want to give the kids a broad view of what’s out there and what involves tech. What it does is connect students with opportunities. If you’re a creative thinker, then the potential is endless.”

The following week at RSS there will be a number of interactive workshops that students in Grade 10 to 12 will be able to participate in.

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