Eastern Idaho is State’s Best Kept Secret
World Class Science, Research and Innovation Corridor
The locals know it, as do community leaders, state legislators and the Idaho congressional delegation. But to the rest of the world, it is a well-kept secret that Eastern Idaho is united by businesses and institutions built around science, research and innovation in an area of national parks and breathtaking wilderness. “We like to think we have earned the label as the I-15 “Scenic- Sci-Way,” an Innovation Corridor home to corporations and institutions with engineering and scientific know-how in their DNA,” said Jan Rogers Executive Director of Regional Economic Development (REDI).
Exploration through Science and Research
Eastern Idaho’s Innovation Corridor originated and is anchored by Idaho National Laboratory. INL put eastern Idaho on the map back in the 1950s by proving the principle of nuclear propulsion and nuclear energy. Today, the lab has evolved into an international center for advanced energy and security research and development, testing and deployment. But more importantly, it has served as the foundational bedrock for a culture that understands and accepts engineering and innovation.
In harmony with the national lab, the Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering (RISE) Complex, located in the Idaho State University Business and Research Park in Pocatello, is a non-profit research facility dedicated to investigating the uses and behaviors of nano-scale materials, semiconductors, and bulk growth of crystals in the areas of nuclear science, engineering materials science, energy and bio-technology.
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) in Idaho Falls is a research and education consortium that includes Boise State University, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, and the University of Wyoming. CAES supports a wide variety of energy research on both technical and policy issues, and is serving as a prime avenue of outreach to industrial partners.
Business Takes Advantage of Science and Research Sector
Many businesses have grown up as service providers to INL but now serve global markets. Other firms have located in eastern Idaho to avail themselves of its numerous research and user facilities. Technically oriented entrepreneurs and established businesses alike find the science, technology and research environment combined with an innovative workforce lend themselves to innovation.
Whether it is Premier Technology with over 200 employees based in Blackfoot that use state-of-the art welding and manufacturing techniques to create products for the mining, food and nuclear energy industry; or the start-up Printspace 3D led by Mark Jaster in Rexburg that bring creativity to additive manufacturing to meet the needs of NASA, these firms are here and intend to stay.
ON Semiconductor, a $3.5 billion global company, owns and operates a major semiconductor manufacturing facility as well as an engineering, research and design center in Pocatello. “Pocatello has been a fantastic location for ON Semiconductor with both a major manufacturing facility and a research and design center,” according to Arlen Wittrock, Consultant for ON Semiconductor and Chairman of the Idaho Economic Advisory Council. “The skilled workforce is outstanding and community leaders have worked very closely with the company providing support and incentives as needed.”
It is also this expertise that led NuScale, a Fluor subsidiary, and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to put eastern Idaho on the short list for a carbon-free small modular reactor (SMR). While this project is still in development, the prospects for related engineering, manufacturing and industrial support are significant. It is not a fluke that eastern Idaho was chosen for this project.
Talent Takes Center Stage
The technology-based industries are aided by higher education institutions north and south and in-between from Idaho State University in Pocatello to Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, graduate and undergraduate education plays an ever growing role in technology innovation and development. Eastern Idaho is home to more than 33,000 post secondary students, many in every field of science and technology research.
With its’ large population of students, Eastern Idaho has the potential to excel. The opportunity in front of us is training and educating our student population in the skills and in the degrees that are in demand of not only our established companies but new companies that may want to relocate.
Quality of Place
Nestled between the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states and two national parks – Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are the 14 counties that make up Eastern Idaho. A wonderful four season climate, incredible mountains and scenery, innumerable recreational opportunities tend to spoil the people who live and work here. This is the secret we’re willing to share. For business or talent looking for a meaningful place to live, work and play – Eastern Idaho has it all.