From Textile to Tech

Living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA I have caught a glimpse of the city's transformation from it's industrial roots of steel and coal to an economy with a finer focus on medicine, university research, and computer technology.   It is a now a city that is home to driverless cars, biotech firms and tech startups incubated out of Carnegie Mellon.  The city has revitalized itself compared to other depressed Rust Belt cities.

Last week's travel brought me to a another part of the country in which I caught a glimpse of a similar revitalization - Manchester, New Hampshire and Fall River, Massachusetts.  Both being traditional New England river towns, they share a common history, their economic base historically was composed of textile manufacturing.  The standing textile mills of these towns are quite impressive but you won't find many actively manufacturing textiles.  What has replaced them?  Many things I suppose, but I was privileged during my trip to participate in two events which certainly showcase the move of these mills from textile to tech.

150 Dow St. is the home of Dyn - the DNS guys, who started it back in 2001 in Manchester in one of these old textile mills on the river, and were later acquired by Oracle in 2016.  Dyn was this year's host of the New Hampshire TechOut competition.  This is a competition open to New Hampshire startups who, if selected, are afforded the opportunity to pitch before a live audience to share their product and vision.  Six finalists were given the opportunity to present and two were awarded a total of $300,000.  As Greg McHale, the founder and CTO of Datanomix states "TechOUT is a phenomenal event that increases awareness of all the great things happening in New Hampshire's startup ecosystem."  I would have to agree - as I sat in an old mill, the home of a successful startup, watching six others lay down their roots.


The next day took me to Fall River, Massachusetts.  Situated about 50 miles south of Boston, I remember this town from my childhood where I boarded the USS Massachusetts as a cub scout.  Fall River provided a similar landscape to the night before as an old textile manufacturing town now meets tech.  Fall River is now the home of New England's largest data center, which is owned and operated by Congruity360 - an IT infrastructure services company that itself is transforming itself into a managed service provider.  I was joined by the Gestalt IT team on a private tour of the facility. It is incredibly impressive.  Once an old cotton mill, the 200,00 sq. ft. facility houses over 70,000 sq. ft. of datacenter space with room to grow.  The entire datacenter tour was recorded and is packed with details and historical gems of this building.

What struck me is that Congruity360 is making a solid investment in a regional datacenter and has aggressive plans to leverage this investment in support of their managed services offering.  This is a big deal for the town of Fall River and has certainly caught the attention of local officials including Jasiel Correia, the mayor of Fall River.  Mayor Correia performed the the ribbon cutting of the new facility and expressed the opening of this data center as "an incredible feat, and a big deal for us'.  You can watch his full comments and interview with Stephen Foskett on the Gestalt IT YouTube channel:

It was a great couple of days in two cities that most probably know very little about.  Two cities with a rich history and strong roots.  Two cities that are embracing and welcoming the technology ecosystem.  Two cities I hope are able to continue to transform and adapt.


Disclaimer:  Gestalt IT covered some of my travel and accommodation costs and I was not compensated for my time.  I am not required to blog on any content; blog posts are not edited or reviewed by the respective companies prior to publication.