Cache Valley is considered the "Silicon Valley of Instrumentation," thanks to its high concentration of remote sensing companies. The proximity to Utah State University may be what draws these companies into the area.
“We think we have the highest concentration of environmental scientists and sensor companies in the world, per capita here. You probably didn't even know you're living in the Silicon Valley of environmental instrumentation, but you are,” said Chris Madsen, the marketing director for Apogee Instruments.
Apogee is one of Cache Valley’s sensor companies. They make equipment for measuring how much light plants can use. The company has deep roots in Cache Valley. Its founder, Bruce Bugbee, is a professor at Utah State University, and USU serves as an important source of employees for the company.
“We have a very deep talent pool here with engineers and scientists and business people. There's also a real deep talent pool of people who've had experience in technical manufacturing,” Madsen said.
These ties to USU came up again and again in conversations with different sensor companies in the valley.
“If you were to get sick with a certain disease, your body's going to produce antibodies to kind of fight that disease off. And so, the tests that we develop measure the level of antibodies in the body,” said Adam Brown, the CEO of Quansys Biosciences.
Like Apogee, Quansys’s founder Rex Spendlove was also a professor at Utah State.
“He stayed in the valley, so there was no reason to take it out," Brown said. "It's beneficial for us to be by Utah State University. We also have a good relationship with the biological engineering program where we can collaborate on ideas and see technology move forward.”
Even companies whose founders were not professors at USU emphasized the importance of the university’s premier research in the location of their company.
“Ophir-Spiricon provides laser measurement equipment, and so that would be able to just read the power and the energy of a laser or profiling a laser beam,” said Mike Jenson, the general manager of Ophir-Spiricon.
Ophir-Spiricon is headquartered in Israel, but the U.S. branch is in Logan.
“I believe that the reason we're in Cache Valley is because of the people that are here. We're close to a university. So, you have the opportunity to hire educated people. But we also like the work ethic, the honest hard-working culture that we have here in the Logan Cache Valley area.”