Green River is the home for the latest Smart Site in Utah: Tekubate, Inc. is Green River's non-profit technology incubation center. A grand opening was held on July 31 to introduce the community to the site and spotlight some of the new services available. Mindy Cassingham is the site director and has been working on the project for more than a year. Cassingham said, "We kind of stumbled on the Smart Site program by accident. I was doing a presentation at a city council meeting and Olive Anderson was there and told me about the Smart Site program which is functioning on the western end of the county. So we checked into it and I was introduced to Les Prall who is the director of the Utah Smart Sites Program. He has helped us get needed equipment to begin the site. We formed a board and located a building to house the site. We are located in the old city maintenance shop for the airport. The office has undergone major renovations. My husband Rob has done most of the work and the city donated the building which hasn't been used for 15 years and $5,000 for improvements.
"Mr. Prall explained to us that we needed a sponsor so Green River City is sponsoring our site. We have tried to create a nice, high energy work environment. We have a few businesses in here right now and are working to attract more. We have Wayout Websites, Virtours, which will be DVD guides to the area with a GPS coordinate. I have operated the GreenRiver/Utah.com website and will continue to do that
from this office. Connie Copenhaver will be operating a local newspaper and we have received a grant for the purchase of a large format color printer. The Smart Site program has also helped us obtain a video camera. We will be able to do short runs of business cards, print business brochures for local businesses, motel directories and many other services to let people know what's available in our area. We will also offer network gaming. Emery Telcom is our network provider and they have been a breath of fresh air to work with.
"We have some people involved in getting their training to do medical coding and they will have the option of working out of our office, or working from home. We also plan on having some training classes here at the facility which will be for building skills and they will be held two nights a week," said Cassingham.
Copenhaver said, "We have four enrolled for the medical coding who have already finished their prerequisites and will graduate on Sept. 8. We have three working on their prerequisites now who will start the medical coding training in the fall. We can take a course once we graduate to gain experience called, "Chaos by Design." This is a type of boot camp for medical coders. This program is used to get the experience needed so they can be hired. It is a hands on program, where you actually do the work and then it will tell you if it is right or wrong."
Copenhaver said the flexibility of working as a medical coder was very attractive to her and she has plans to take a laptop computer and go on the road and travel and still be able to work at her convenience.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held and Cassingham and the Green River Mayor Glen Dale Johnson did the honors of cutting the ribbon to officially open the new site. Mayor Johnson said he is excited about this new chapter in economic development in Green River and wanted to thank Mindy and her associates for their hard work.
Prall was on hand for the opening of the new Smart Site and explained that the governor is really interested in creating high tech jobs in rural Utah. He also explained a program where the LDS church donates used computers to the state and the Smart Site program uses them for job training and job creation. "So far, 144 computers have been donated and distributed to rural communities as well as into the homes of low income families throughout the state. Our goal is job creation and employment by the private sector. We offer incentives and assistance plus a little bit of money. The entrepreneurs will work to get contracts. We also work with them to match skills with possible employers and we work to bring people together. The Smart Site program has created 700 jobs since 2001 and the governor's goal is 1,000 jobs created by the end of 2004. The key is finding places where this will work, a lot of communities have adequate band width and good employment skills, but they lack someone to put it all together as has been done here in Green River. You need someone like Mindy Cassingham to bring it all together and to make it happen," said Prall.