An objective of the Wisconsin Technology Council since the early 2000s, non-stop service connecting the Silicon Valley tech hub to Madison and Wisconsin, will be launched at the Dane County Regional Airport this summer.

A news conference to announce the start of a daily United Airlines flight to-and-from San Francisco was held Monday morning at the airport in Madison.

“The Tech Council has long recognized the importance of direct service to Wisconsin’s major airports and worked through Dane County Regional Airport Director Brad Livingston over time to make the market-based case for such service to the airlines,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

Once the service begins, Madison will be the smallest city east of the Mississippi and the second-smallest east of the Rocky Mountains to have non-stop flights to San Francisco. It stands to be the only non-stop to San Francisco from any Wisconsin airport.

“The growth of the tech sector and the economy in general in Wisconsin means its airports should not be ‘two-stop’ destinations for most business travelers,” Still said. Previous efforts by the airport, supported by the Tech Council, have led to non-stop service to cities such as Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

Still noted that linkages between Wisconsin and the Bay area economies include academic research institutions, federal laboratories, private technology companies in all sectors and emerging interest on the part of venture capitalists and other investors.

In the Bay area, institutions include: Stanford University, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; UC Berkeley; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; UC Davis; NASA Ames Research Center; UC San Francisco; Sandia National Laboratory; UC Santa Cruz and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

In addition to the UW-Madison, Wisconsin’s major research institutions include the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and three federal research centers – the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory, the U.S. Wildlife Health Laboratory, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

High-profile Dane County companies with ties to the West Coast include Epic, Promega, Exact Sciences, Accuray, CDW, Covance, Thermo Fisher Scientific and many more. More than 600 companies in Dane County alone are identified as “high-tech.” Most need convenient, non-stop gateways to the coast and the Pacific Rim.

“We’re thrilled to see the addition of a flight that will strengthen Wisconsin’s ties to the world’s leading tech hub,” Still said.