HARTFORD, December 21—Given the tumultuous year the technology sector has experienced, this might seem like a strange time to be investing millions of dollars to attract high-tech companies, but the governor of Connecticut is planning a major campaign to promote the state as a high-tech “hot spot” worthy of the same attention traditionally given to places such as California’s Silicon Valley and Boston’s Route 128, and has retained Noonan/Russo Communications to handle public relations.
Noonan/Russo, acquired earlier this year by Havas, is best known for its work in the life sciences arena, and the new initiative will target biotech companies heavily. This account, worth an estimated $1 million, will be the firm’s first foray into the economic development arena, and will be headed by VP Rene Connelly.
“This is a first of its kind for us,” says agency president Tony Russo. “There are other areas that promote themselves as tech centers, like Research Triangle Park, but this is unusual because it is a statewide initiative.”
The campaign will highlight the bioscience and information technology strengths of Connecticut and utilize a broad-based strategy incorporating public relations, advertising and special events. It will focus on attracting information technology and bioscience companies.
“As the firms that are already here will tell you, Connecticut is a remarkable location for bioscience and information technology companies,” says Governor John Rowland. “We have educated and innovative workers, venture capital, a business-friendly government and a strategic location centered between Boston and New York. It’s time to get the word out to the rest of the companies in these industries that we are competing on a global level and that they should look very closely at Connecticut for their next relocation or expansion.”
Rowland also announced the establishment of a new Office of BioScience, one of the country’s first state offices devoted exclusively to providing business-development assistance to bioscience firms. The office will be led by Harry Penner, Jr., former president and CEO of Branford-based Neurogen Corporation.