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TAD Talks to Explore Retaining Young Professionals in Downtown Eugene

How can Eugene retain the talented young professionals graduating from the University of Oregon instead of losing them to Seattle or San Francisco? That’s the question of the night at an upcoming TAD Talk in August, where speakers have five minutes to sell their idea.  

TAD Talks, short for Technology and the Arts Downtown, offer an occasion to discuss downtown Eugene and the various ways technology and art can help stimulate economic growth. The Aug. 11 talk will feature ways to level the playing field and lay the groundwork for retaining local young talent. 

Speakers will also explore integration of technology and arts into the 4J curriculum to prep local students for pursuing higher education in these fields, says presenter and Eugene Film Society Executive Director Joshua Purvis.

TAD Talks was born when Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) Director Matt Sayre attended a TAO event that utilized Ignite-style presentations, in which presenters pitch their ideas in five minutes. “I knew that it was something that Eugene needed and began searching for a partner to do something like that here,” Sayre writes. 

In a “serendipitous” turn of events, Purvis reached out to Sayre, and “a partnership was born over coffee at The Barn Light,” Sayre writes.

Sayre will be presenting an idea that envisions bringing “world-class internet” to Eugene on a broader scale. “To put things in perspective, Eugene currently ranks 22nd in Oregon for average internet speeds,” Sayre says.

He admits that even if they “expose students to some off-campus culture, ideas and downtown tech companies, it may not be enough to keep them here after graduation.” But, he adds, “maybe like salmon, they will eventually return.”

Collette Ramirez from the City of Eugene Cultural Services, Ted Brown of Indie Game Con and Mike Hergenreter of Hi-Fi Music Hall will also speak.

TAD Talks: Millennials and Technology is 5:30 to 7:30 pm Tuesday Aug. 11, at Hi-Fi Music Hall, 44 E. 7th Ave.; $4 for TAO members and $5 for non-TAO members. Go to eugenefilmsociety.com/tad-talks to register. — Mike Bivins