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Hawai`i STEM Conference

Posted on Jul 3, 2017 in Main

Remarks of Governor David Ige

May 1, 2017 at the Hawai`i Convention Center


Aloha! Thank you, Leslie and Jamie, for inviting me to be a part of this evening’s activities. Thank you, Lynn, for such a fascinating presentation.

I should know better.  Last time I was here, I followed the drone guy and the guy was driving the drone all over the creation. And then I follow this technical evangelist, who talks about these fascinating disruptive technologies.  And when I follow these people, it’s always a challenge.

I like to tell people that I am an engineer by profession. I’m also a public school graduate from Pearl City High School.

Lynn talked about disruptors and why she wants you to be a disrupter. Well, let me tell you as Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, I want you all to be disruptors because we do know that the jobs of the future are going to be created by businesses that don’t exist anymore.  I guarantee that.

One of the things that Lynn talked about and will be talking a little bit about later is Microsoft on Cloud. One of things that she didn’t say is that technology today allows us to do anything anywhere. The big disruption that is available to you as the student is that you really can create a business, you can create an invention, and you can do it from anywhere because of things like cloud services, which puts a super computer in each and everyone one of your hands.

As Lynn was talking about all of this, I remember a couple of years ago when I was a high school student that we actually had a class called “mechanical drawing” and we would spend the whole semester learning how to sharpen pencils, learn how to write very clearly and legibly, be able to use a scale ruler so that we could create a drawing of something that we would want to build, engineer, and design.

Now that might date me, but can you imagine that?  Spending a whole semester trying to figure out how to draw? You now have AutoCAD, that does that for you instantaneously and you have access to the greatest technology that is ever created.  So you have the opportunity that I didn’t.  I think most importantly, every single thing that you can think of, can be done right here in Hawai‘i.

I love Lynn’s title because when I was a high school student and went on to college, we were looking at being engineers. That was kind of the big thing. To be a technology evangelist, now that’s a pretty cool title that never existed when I was a student. The things that will become available to you because you get proficient at STEM skills is unimaginable because we do know that jobs in the future are not created today. Each and every new job will come from something, a new business, a disruptive technology, that truly changes our community for the better.

I’m just telling you that it can be done right here in Hawai‘i if you choose to be committed to it. That’s what technology allows us to do.

I get to talk about the future of Hawai‘i a lot, and as your Governor working with Lynn and Mark here, try to determine what the future direction should be. There was tremendous support for science,  technology, engineering and math education because we know that those are where the jobs of the future are. And we do know that anything can happen anywhere with cloud technology and what becomes available as part of that.

I like to talk about doubling food production as Representative DeCoite here knows.  She is a farmer on Molokai producing a lot of sweet potatoes.  We know that we would like to produce more of the food we eat. It is a terrific goal, it helps our economy, it allows us to stop importing products here.  More importantly, it creates jobs here instead of shipping them out of state.  I can tell you that farming today is very different than it was 20 years ago because of the technology that is being applied, different methods of growing, different methods of watering, different methods of harvesting–the whole nine yards.  Think about what will be the next disruptive technology that allows farmers to be more productive because our world is demanding that we need to be more efficient and effective with all of the resources that we have.

I talk a lot about 100% renewable energy for electricity generation. Five years ago, that was a crazy idea using all of your energy from renewable sources. Five or ten years ago, we were more than 90% dependent on fossil fuel and the technology to get us anywhere was really beyond any reach. Today we’re at 26% and gaining fast and we do know that 100% renewable is absolutely attainable. There is no doubt in my mind that, and in fact, we will become the first state to do it. For the first time, we are seeing photovoltaic energy production be cost competitive and even below the cost to produce energy from fossil fuels. We do know that we are on the right track five years ago when we initiated this.  Now technology has proven that we are much more brilliant than anyone would ever decide we were when we first set this goal.

There is a lot of different things that we will be talking about, like cyber security and coding. I’m an electrical engineer and I taught myself to code machine language in my junior year in high school because there weren’t any classes about coding back when I was a student. But you have the opportunity to be exposed to, and have the opportunity to learn about software development, to learn about cybersecurity, which is a big issue and challenge for all of us.

We like to talk about the internet of things and you guys probably know that everything you can think of will be connected to the internet. What a security nightmare, when you think about that.  Every single device is somehow connected to the internet is where the technology is taking us.

We do know that we have so much opportunities that are ahead of us. And I know that, it’s really you disruptors who are really going to determine the future direction of our economy.

I am here because I support science, technology, engineering and math because I do know that it’s directly tied to our future. I do know that we need to give you young people the opportunity to explore all of these technologies because in today’s world.  Anything can be done anywhere and it really is about who is brave enough to take it on and solve the challenge.

I just wanted to congratulate each and every one of you for choosing to be here. I wanted to thank the teachers most of all, as I did the last time.  Technology is changing so quickly now that students are way ahead of the teachers in most of these applications and most of these technologies. It really takes a lot of courage for a teacher to be able to teach a subject knowing that the students probably know more than they do. I do want to thank all of the teachers here for your commitment to being able to take a risk and teach something that your students will probably know more about than you do. At least we have more time to figure it out.

Finally, I just wanted to thank the sponsors and the mentors who are here because that is so important. A sponsorship allows us to have these programs that are so important to giving our students access to the latest and greatest curriculum technology devices and everything that gives our students the ability to learn, explore, fail because that happens always, but most importantly, to be disruptive. Thank you all for being here tonight.

I am also here to announce a new partnership that will mean a lot of different things for you going forward. When I was young, it really was about big bad Microsoft because everybody thought that they were the villain. But I do know that Microsoft has done so much in our community. They are committed to ensuring that many of you will have access to a lot of the great technology that is really defining the future for all of us.

The Maui Economic Development Board, State of Hawai‘i and Microsoft, have formed a digital alliance partnership and I was really glad to join and learn with other governors because we understand that software development and access to the latest and greatest software tools are so important to your future as disruptors.  Because without access to the tools, you’ll never have the opportunity to explore and learn, and do things now as a student.

With that said, I wanted to thank all of you for your interest. I want to thank you for choosing AutoCAD. And I wanted to thank Microsoft for being here and being a partner.

Mahalo! Aloha!