Working on the theory that necessity is the
mother of invention, the Palm Springs-based
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, an
economic powerhouse in its own right, has
launched an information technology firm
that employs more than 40 people charged
with creating the digital capacities and interfaces necessary for an increasingly online
Fusion Resource Solutions produces software for the hospitality industry to manage live events, condensing organizational
spreadsheets and email chains to one simple
interface. It also works in website and application development.
“There’s an inventiveness that happens
when you get a bunch of people with that
[IT] background together,” Wallace says.
“They’ll solve problems you didn’t even
Wallace suggests the Fusion team is has-
tening the region’s “cluster of knowledge.” If
the Silicon Valley boom is any indication, he
says, “It’s a pretty rapid, intense atmosphere.
And that group is critical to putting a stake in
the ground [for] an IT cluster here.”
Local Bumper Crop
As companies expand and move to
Greater Palm Springs, CVEP tills their field
in partnership with the region’s three public school districts and local colleges and
universities. They’re tailoring curricula
to business needs, introducing students to
careers, providing access to scholarships
and financial aid, and developing internships. The career pipeline is designed for
the needs of local business.
“I see more and more companies coming
in,” Moon says. “In Palm Springs, we’re very
focused on water and solar energy, and we see
businesses [in the iHub] that are really mov-
ing ahead. Success breeds success, and we’re
going to do everything we can to help it.”
to Chinese entrepreneur Jeff Cheng, who relocated his firm, SolAqua, to the
Accelerator Campus in April. SolAqua developed a system that uses sunlight
to heat and circulate water through buildings in lieu of a gas-generated system.
“Everybody knows that China is a world of manufacturing,” Cheng says.
“Unfortunately, they use lower-quality [materials] in their products. We want
to create a real American [high-quality] brand.” And there’s no better place to
produce solar energy than the California desert, where the sun shines almost
The Accelerator Campus is situated in a foreign trade zone where international shipments are processed duty-free, a significant benefit for a firm that
plans to import a large-scale robotics manufacturing system.
“It’s not easy [doing business in a foreign country],” Cheng acknowledges.
But he’s built a local team to assist in managing production in the U.S. market.
MADE IN THE
Above: SolAqua General Manager Rick Rothman
(middle, with Hannah Qu, left, and Wendelyn
Walker, right) surveys plans for the new-to-Palm
Springs company that produces solar water collectors, which provide a green alternative to gas
water heaters. Opposite: The Sactec Solar team
installs a solar array.