Greater Sudbury may not know it, but the tech sector is alive and growing right here in our hometown. Code_Op, an organization established to bring coders and software developers together with local enterprise, launched Thursday night at The Taphouse. And based on the number of people who turned out, it may already be a bigger sector than anyone expected.
Code_Op board left to right: Aaron Langille, Kyle McCall, Renée Higgins, Liam McGill, Wendy Watson, Josey Frescura, Jeff MacIntyre, Mike Daoust and Kirk Petroski.
Code_Op co-chairs Mike Daoust and Kirk Petroski were pleasantly surprised by the turnout.
“We had discussed that if we got 30-40 people out, we would consider it a good starting point, but when we saw close to 150 people show up, we knew we were really onto something,” Daoust said. Petroski added, “Those of us in the industry have seen some really great projects coming out of Sudbury, so we always knew there was something there, we just didn’t realise it was so close to the surface. And connecting employers with employees means jobs get filled, people get work, and the community, everyone, benefits.”
A packed house for Code_Op’s launch event
Mayor Brian Bigger was in attendance and commented that this is a “next step” for Sudbury. “We’ve had this great base in Sudbury of Mining and Mining Supply, and while coders are doing a lot to make that sector globally competitive, an event like this shows it’s becoming much more. There are people here working on everything from stand-alone apps to games to robotics. We are well positioned to become the Coding Capital of Northern Ontario and develop an entirely new industry here.”
Code_Op hopes to see this industry not only grow, but become a real economic driver for the City of Greater Sudbury.
“This industry is really a building block. We have companies like Time Hero making great products and providing good jobs, Minalytics and Symboticware developing products that turn our existing local industries into global players–and coders are key to making that happen”, said Wendy Watson, Chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation.
“Code_Op facilitating a community of developers is the next step in moving Sudbury forward,” said Sarah Paajanen, Co-Founder & CTO of TimeHero. “This community will create more opportunities to attract and retain computer science graduates, connect talent with local companies, and help Sudbury become the software development capital of the north. We look forward to working with Code_Op to foster collaboration and build the future of Sudbury’s developer community.”
Next steps for Code_Op include creating strategic partnerships in the community, hosting coding events and creating a local presence for the community. As Code_Op member Kyle McCall of Norcat’s Innovation Mill put it, “California has Silicon Valley, but Sudbury could be Silicon Crater. “ And that hashtag has now been claimed. #SiliconCrater