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This year's Tech Summit will highlight 'origins' of technology rooted in Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. - The technology industry isn't normally associated with Eastern Washington, but local tech industry movers are hoping to change that.

On Thursday, industry leaders and entrepreneurs will gather in Richland on Thursday for the second annual Tri-Cities Tech Summit. The goal of the event, hosted by Teknologize and the Tri-Cities Research District, is to bring together local innovators and organizations to reflect on what's already being done as well as share new technologies and discuss how it is changing business and creating opportunities in the Tri-Cities specifically.

"Hanford gets a lot of publicity and oftentimes it overshadows really neat things that are happening in the Tri-Cities," said Byron Martin, CEO of Teknologize and one of the event organizers. "There are a lot of small or mid-size businesses here that have a lot of innovation and ingenuity."

This year's theme is "Origins" - a chance to highlight the stories of companies or technology that has its roots in Tri-Cities through lectures and networking opportunities. The theme also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Manhattan Project, and the summit will also highlight the technology that came about because of the project and its greater impact on the Tri-Cities.

"It's just a great opportunity to bring all these business leaders together to learn a lot more about this network of entrepreneurs," said Diahann Howard, director of economic development and government at the Tri-Cities Research District and one of the organizers of the event. "Quite honestly, it's a great view or lens into all the fabulous companies that actually have their origins right here in Tri-Cities in tech."

Keynote speaker Paul Jarrett is the founder and CEO of Bulu Box, which creates private label subscription box solutions for multibillion-dollar brands like Disney, Crayola, and Buzzfeed. Jarrett left Silicon Valley to launch his company in the "Silicon Prairie" - Lincoln, Nebraska. At the summit, Jarrett will use his experience to speak about the presence of tech in smaller regions similar to the Tri-Cities.

The event goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Uptown Theatre in Richland. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Registering ahead of time is recommended and can be done online.

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