This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As a young and first-time CEO at Omniture, I once received a special visit from one of Utah's leading public servants. Although dressed more conservatively than the hoodie-clad developers outside my office, this visitor was no stranger to the world of tech. He spoke with remarkable fluency about complex issues facing the software industry, demonstrating an energy and expertise that belied his age. Together, we discussed tech policy and the future of innovation in Utah. Near the end of our conversation, he put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes promising to do everything he could to help companies like mine succeed.
Since the day we met, Sen. Orrin Hatch has kept his promise and, despite the demands of Washington, he has continued to make himself extremely accessible to listen to the needs of my business and industry. Many of my Utah colleagues would agree that no one in Washington has been more instrumental to the success of Silicon Slopes.
As chairman of both the Finance Committee and the Republican High-Tech Task Force, Hatch is uniquely positioned to influence legislation on a wide range of issues important to America's tech community. Using these platforms, Hatch has not only fought to bolster our nation's economic competitiveness; he has also championed an innovation agenda that puts the needs of Utah's more than 4,000 tech companies front and center.
Consider what Hatch accomplished in the past year alone to strengthen our state's tech ecosystem:
• He spearheaded passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act a bipartisan bill that has been widely hailed as the most significant intellectual property reform in years. This legislation strengthens legal protections for companies like Domo that depend on trade secrets to develop new products and remain competitive.
• He brought together lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to pass a common-sense proposal that strengthens privacy in the digital age and promotes trust in U.S. technologies abroad. Hatch's legislation is a significant boon to Utah cloud computing companies that depend on the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement for cross-border data flows.
He also introduced a key proposal to reform our nation's outdated immigration laws to ensure that high-skilled foreigners who study at our universities and who want to contribute to our economy can stay here once they graduate. Tech executives across the state and across the country support Hatch's bill because it helps meet the growing demand for professionals who have special training in science, technology, engineering and math.
These are just a few of Hatch's legislative achievements in Congress. Add to this his efforts to combat patent trolls, promote trade legislation and strengthen America's competitive workforce. On these and so many other issues of critical importance to our state's and nation's tech industry, Hatch is again out front.
For over a decade now, he has helped put Utah on the map by bringing technology's most influential CEOs to Utah. Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Hurd of H-P, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, and most recently Tim Cook of Apple, have all found time to join Utah's tech community at annual Utah Tech Council Hall of Fame events in Salt Lake City. Over the years, I've asked each CEO why they came, and without fail, they each said it was because of Hatch.
Fortunately for Utah and the technology industry at large, we have Orrin Hatch representing us in Washington, D.C. His experience, work ethic and tech savvy are unmatched. As we prepare for the inaugural Silicon Slopes Tech Summit (Jan. 19 and 20) in Salt Lake City, his role in helping build a thriving tech community is greatly appreciated. I don't know if he plans to run for another term, but I certainly hope he will consider it. If he does, he'll surely have my vote. We're on a roll after all and we need Senator Hatch's continued leadership.
Josh James is founder and CEO of Domo, a business management software developer in American Fork.