This is Katie Cantrell’s sixth issue as the editor of Go Local magazine. She is the reason our content shines.
I“didn’t have an email address until I was a senior in high school. I got my first cell phone when I was 23. Even better, I clearly remember going to the video store with my dad when I was maybe 6 years old and renting the VCR along with the Strawberry Shortcake movie.
One of the things I love about technology is how distinctly it marks the eras of our lives. Maybe you remember when television was new—I know my parents can each tell the story of when the first TV set arrived in their houses—or maybe you just got a virtual reality headset for your last birthday, and you’ll be telling your grandkids someday about “when almost no one else had their own VR setup.” (And your grandkids will ask what VR is, because we’ll have moved so far past that technology that it will be as familiar to them as VHS tapes are to kids today.)
Though it often seems like the Flathead Valley is known for grizzly bears, huckleberries, and mountain trails, technology is part of life here, too. A web development company that builds sites for some of the biggest names in the outdoor industry began in a tiny office in downtown Kalispell. A local Girl Scout troop has competed in an international robotics tournament. Nomad GCS started by bringing internet and phone service to fire camps and now can build just about anything for mobile communications, including a mobile engineering center to test fighter jets. Code Girls United, which started in the basement of Sykes Restaurant, now has programs in 25 locations across the state, teaching the next generation of Montana women about coding, technology and business skills. Technology is even driving the future of logging, one of Montana’s original industries.
I’m not saying that technology is always good. As a writer, I hear about ChatGPT and feel like John Henry when word first got around about the steam shovel—This might be a problem. But neither is it intrinsically bad. The stories we’ve collected are technology-centered, but the underlying themes are an encouraging mix of innovation, resilience, and creativity, some of the very best traits of humanity. Enjoy!
Katie Cantrell loves camping, non-motorized boats, trail running, and everything about the North Fork. Though nearly every attempt to play outside involves telling her kids to stop complaining and get in the car because this is actually going to be a lot of fun, she still looks forward to every season of adventure. Find more of her stories at katiecantrellwrites.com.
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