Tomorrow's Tech Towns

Great Lakes 1.0 was about exploring waterways, trapping fur, chopping lumber, raising forts, planting crops, and settling a new American frontier.

Great Lakes 2.0 was about pioneering an incredible era of industrialization, building powerhouse cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit, establishing civic institutions and contracts, and defending the nation.

Now the region is slowly upgrading its purpose and priorities with a new operating system of economic, environmental, and social platforms to meet the challenges and opportunities of a global community.

Call it Great Lakes 3.0. And innovation remains a constant, driving force.

Philip Auerswold, the public policy professor at George Mason University, provides some useful evidence of the transition. He recently surveyed technology trends and generated a list of innovation hot spots in the United States.

The goal of the study, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was to identify tech potential in places beyond usual metro suspects like Boston and San Fran.

His findings, based largely on the increase in the number of science-based patents in a given city, reveal industry and commerce in the greater Great Lakes region continues to evolve for the Digital Age.

Here's his Top Ten up-and-coming tech hubs:

  1. Columbus, OH
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Palm Beach County, FL
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
  6. Pittsburgh, PA
  7. Boise City, ID
  8. Iowa City, IA
  9. Lake Charles, LA
  10. Yuma, AZ

"Some places believe that manufacturing is dead or dying. We don't," Jim Paetsch, director of corporate relocation, expansion, and attraction at Milwaukee 7, an economic development organization, told Forbes about the study.

"Manufacturing is certainly different today than it was even 10 years ago. Our strategy is to become the leading global center for the technology-intensive manufacturing enterprises of the future."