Where Is the Next Silicon Valley? Groton, Connecticut.
6 Jul 2021
Walker Potts, Executive Director of the Naval & Maritime Consortium, is anticipating significant economic growth tied to Groton’s BlueTech industry. “This region has been a major hub of global maritime economic activity dating back to the 17th century, with a long heritage of seafaring, from fisherman and sailors, shipbuilders and ropemakers, naval architects, and maritime manufacturers. Today, that industry is coming back in a very significant and modern way,” said Potts. “The region has secured billions in BlueTech investment over the coming decades, mostly centered around in the defense and energy sectors. That investment, along with innovative technology and workforce talent coming out of our universities and the private sector, is giving us the opportunity to see growth at the magnitude of Silicon Valley in the 1990s.”
As the Executive Director of an organization with over one hundred members in the maritime industry, Potts is actively working to help BlueTech companies benefit from this windfall. “Our organization includes everything from small machine shops with 2 or 3 people all the way up to major suppliers that have been doing extensive work for OEMs for decades. Through mentorship, collaboration, and business networking, we bring companies together and create opportunities for growth.” Some of this growth is coming through Electric Boat, who are effectively tripling their production capacity, and asking more than ever in terms of capacity and capability of the regional industrial base. Likewise, companies like Revolution Wind - a partnership between Eversource and Orsted - are also looking to local industrial suppliers to contribute to offshore wind projects as they approach the end of the permitting phase. With wind projects coming online, opportunities are on the rise for local suppliers to meet their needs. Much of the work in transport and installation, construction and construction support, inspections and maintenance, etc. will be sourced locally. “There are opportunities for so many of our local companies in the growing BlueTech sector. Our role is to help our member companies prepare to seize those opportunities,” said Potts.