Look at the future with an open mind and be ready for that next opportunity, growth option or career move.
That’s advice from Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, addressing more than 150 people at the State Capitol on March 23 answering, “Why Should Young Professionals Stay in Idaho?”
“Focus on what you do have, instead of dwelling on what you don’t have,” Otter said, adding that one should always make the best of what is available at the present moment.
The program started off with a show of hands from those attending who were born in Idaho, grew up in Idaho, left and returned, and those who had moved to the Boise area because they’d heard it was a great work environment.
“Idaho continues to shine,” Otter said, “not because of Micron, but because we have some very high-tech companies here and in eastern Idaho that have led the way.”
Companies like Micron started as a simple idea, he said, noting that he first met with Micron founders in a small room in Meridian where its founders said they would take silicon sand and make it into something.
“You need to look and ask, ‘Am I in the right environment to take this little idea … to make a difference,'” he said.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a young boy growing up on a potato farm in Rigby, saw the individual and larger pictures of the fields in which he worked. He recognized the importance of the individual plant, and its part in making up the bigger picture in the field.
He began to think of what he had at his immediate disposal, not what he wished he had.
Farnsworth excelled in chemistry at Rigby High School, and produced sketched prototypes of electron tubes that would eventually be patented and used by Radio Corporation of America (RCA).
“He created a whole new industry and a whole new world of communications, from the electronic tubes he dreamed of – from a picture tube,” Otter said.
As a young man growing up in Caldwell, Otter related how he played for the football team on defense, but the team did not have a quarterback who could move out of the pocket, and so the coach worked with what he had. He put the young Otter in the backfield, not to handle the ball, but to stop anyone who was after the quarterback.
“My coach taught me to set priorities for limited resources,” he said. “He taught me to work with what we had.”
Otter said young Idaho people need to look to make a difference in the situations presented to them today.
The state has plenty of resources at its disposal, he said. Natural and intangible resources abound in the state. Natural resources have always been a strength of the state. The intangibles, its residents and education opportunities, are abundant.
Otter recalled a time in Idaho history – 1985-’86 – when nearly 5,000 people left the state looking for work. Now, 20-plus-years later, people are returning to the state.
“What we did back then, and are doing now, is looking at what we did have and not sitting around worrying about what we didn’t have,” he said.
Otter told the audience to come forward with ideas, work ethics, concepts, career options so they could be the “next world shakers.”