Georgia Tech Delegation Advancing Partnerships with India

David Bridges, Bernard Kippelen, Devesh Ranjan, and Shreyes Melkote visiting Raj Ghat in India.

The Georgia Institute of Technology sent a small delegation to India April 8-12 for the purpose of strengthening existing and building new collaborative opportunities in the fields of research, education, and economic development.

The team was comprised of Bernard Kippelen, vice provost for International Initiatives and Steven A. Denning Chair for Global Engagement; Devesh Ranjan, Eugene C. Gwaltney, Jr. School Chair in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering; Shreyes Melkote, Morris M. Bryan Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering and executive director of the Novelis Innovation Hub at Georgia Tech; and David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute.

Over the course of the week, they met with representatives of the Indian government, leadership at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai and New Delhi, and an array of private-sector companies ranging from startups to corporations, including the Aditya Birla Group, which is associated with the Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani and Hyderabad and is the parent company of Novelis Inc., which is headquartered in Atlanta.

A number of factors make the country a promising candidate for future collaborative projects with Georgia Tech. Among them are an increase in onshore manufacturing, government education and research strategies that support further development of talent and innovation, a large potential for creation of workforce training programs, and an openness to alliances between business and public interests.

In addition to observing a growth mindset among those they encountered in government, university, and corporate contexts, the Georgia Tech group also noticed an overall receptivity to engagement with top-tier U.S. universities, especially engineering and medical schools.

“Looking at the number of undergraduates coming from India to study in the U.S., I believe it’s the right time to invest in our relationship with India,” said Ranjan. “The growth in the country in the last 10 years is unlike anything I’ve seen before. When the economy goes up, so does the desire for higher education.”

Indeed, higher education was central to the group’s itinerary. For Kippelen, one trip highlight was an “inspiring” visit to New Delhi, where he and fellow Georgia Tech delegates “had a productive time and stimulating discussions” with representatives from India’s Department of Higher Education, the University Grants Commission, and the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India.

Ranjan acknowledged the strong value India places on education and tied that ethos, in part, to the historical influence of Gandhi. “A memorable moment of our trip to India was visiting Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. My colleagues were able to learn more about him and how he pushed kids toward an educated society,” Ranjan said, adding, “Anyone who goes to India usually begins their visit by paying homage to the Father of the Nation.”

Across a range of institutions, the visiting cohort took opportunities to engage with Georgia Tech graduates, who were enthusiastic about strengthening ties to their alma mater and more than willing to facilitate fruitful connections to further the cohort’s discovery mission.

“I was most impressed by the Georgia Tech alumni,” said Bridges, citing “how supportive they were of us coming to India and how committed they were to being part of a successful collaboration. The alumni network there was just phenomenal.”

Melkote especially appreciated the warm welcome extended to the team by government officials and IIT faculty and leadership at the New Delhi and Mumbai campuses, as well as the overall eagerness to establish and further strengthen relationships with Georgia Tech.

He recalled the Georgia Tech cohort’s meetings with the Aditya Birla Group — a $65 billion global conglomerate with a wide range of holdings worldwide — and the leadership of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani and Hyderabad, characterizing these encounters as “very enlightening.”

Said Melkote, “It is clear to me that we have a number of opportunities for expanding Georgia Tech’s impact in India through academic, research, and economic development initiatives.”

Eric Morrissette Visits Georgia MBDA Business Center at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute

The Georgia MBDA Business Center (Georgia MBC) recently hosted Eric Morrissette, acting under secretary of commerce for minority business development, U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), for a site visit to the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) on April 22, 2024. Morrissette was there to demonstrate MBDA’s commitment to EI2 and Georgia MBC, which, as a federal funding agency, delivers value and support to Georgia MBC clients.

Morrissette was welcomed by David Bridges, vice president of EI2, the country’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. After Morrissette briefly introduced himself and his work, Bridges detailed the organization’s intent.

“Everyone who works at EI2 came here for a reason: to help people lift themselves up,” he said. “We are capacity builders; we want to be here to transfer knowledge to you. We are about economic opportunity for all,” he added, before launching a presentation that detailed the various components of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, as well as the Georgia MBC’s place within it. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Georgia MBC helps businesses access capital, increase profitability, and scale their businesses.

Donna Ennis, EI2’s director of community engagement and program development and the Center’s operator representative, spoke further on the Georgia MBC, while acknowledging the Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub, stakeholders and strategic alliances, including program sponsors Ebco, Georgia Power Foundation, and Trane Technologies.

Ennis is also co-director of the Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM), which works to drive adoption of AI in U.S. manufacturing, and she noted the ways in which that program dovetails with MBDA’s mission. Due to funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), Georgia AIM is reaching Georgia residents who are historically underrepresented in manufacturing. In addition, Ennis said, “We are always looking for gaps in the technological ecosystem and how we can fill [them].”

Jennifer Pasley, Georgia MBDA Business Center project director opened the floor for testimonials from clients, before Ennis initiated a general discussion where participants shared questions, concerns, and insights with Morrissette. Representatives from Southern Company, Atlanta Business League, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia Supplier Development Council discussed the challenges facing businesses owned by socially and/or economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDIs). Georgia MBDA Center clients DoverStaffing/DoverSolutions, eSpin Technologies, Freeing Returns, IBEX, RYSE Creative Village, and The Royster Group shared their companies’ journeys to success with the Center’s assistance and the challenges they faced along the way including access to capital and opportunities.

Said Morrissette of his office’s mission, “I have the best job, because it is to create wealth in communities around this country. It’s allowing people to penetrate markets that haven’t been penetrated before, allowing them to realize their dreams and hopes in business. No part of my mandate [is] to just give out things. It’s allowing people who want something to better seize it … and my job is to show them how, through our networks.”

Jenny Houlroyd Earns Doctor of Public Health Degree

 

Jenny Houlroyd, CIH, MSPH, DrPH

Jenny Houlroyd, an occupational health group manager for the Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) Program, successfully defended her dissertation in March 2024 to complete a doctorate in public health (DrPH) from the University of Georgia. Her degree is from the College of Public Health in public health policy and management. Graduation is scheduled for May 10. The SHES program is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

Prior to joining Georgia Tech in 2005, Houlroyd earned a dual master of science in public health (MSPH) from Emory University, focusing on epidemiology and environmental and occupational health. As a certified industrial hygienist with the OSHA 21(d) Consultation Program, she helps small Georgia businesses ensure that workplaces are hazard-free and workers are protected from potential health threats.

She also serves as faculty for the OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTIEC) at Georgia Tech and for the professional master’s in Occupational Safety and Health program for the School of Building Construction within the College of Design.

“My dissertation was on respiratory protection,” said Houlroyd. “In health and safety, we follow a hierarchy of controls, and the last layer of defense is personal protective equipment (PPE).”

Respiratory safety ranks consistently among the top ten concerns of OSHA, and Houlroyd conducted a qualitative study focusing on the manufacturing sector. Through the process of exploring elements that might contribute to a worker’s reluctance to wear PPE, she developed what she calls the FACT model, which tracks fit, acceptance of risk, comfort, and type of respirator.

Houlroyd views her doctor of public health degree as an achievement that not only enhances her own skill set but also benefits colleagues and contributes to the greater good. “I’m really hoping that it helps my entire team open doors, to apply for more competitive grants and make connections with other research groups,” she said. “I really see it as essential for our team to have this kind of expertise in-house.”

Those doors are already opening. On May 16, Houlroyd is attending the conference Preventing Silicosis – An Ancient Disease in Modern Times: Silicosis Caused by Artificial Stone in the U.S., hosted by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at University of California, Los Angeles, where she has been invited to speak on exposure and control technologies. “My doctoral program includes leadership training, and it gave me the confidence to speak up about issues that are important to me,” she said.

“At the Enterprise Innovation Institute, we are committed to making workplaces healthier and safer,” Houlroyd added. “We want people to go home from work to their families in the same or better shape than when they left. My dad got sick with brain cancer from exposure on the job; he died two years ago. I really do see it as a personal mission. We are saving lives.”

Savannah Congressman Tours Georgia Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility

Visit includes overview of Georgia AIM project

When U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter from Georgia’s 1st District visited Atlanta recently, one of his top priorities was meeting with the experts at Georgia Tech’s 20,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF).

Carter was recently named the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s chair of the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee, a group that concerns itself primarily with contamination of soil, air, noise, and water, as well as emergency environmental response, whether physical or cybersecurity.

Because AMPF’s focus dovetails with subcommittee interests, the facility was a fitting stop for Carter, who was welcomed for an afternoon tour and series of live demonstrations. Programs within Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute — specifically the Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM) and Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) — were well represented.

“Innovation is extremely important,” Carter said during his April 1 visit. “In order to handle some of our problems, we’ve got to have adaptation, mitigation, and innovation. I’ve always said that the greatest innovators, the greatest scientists in the world, are right here in the United States. I’m so proud of Georgia Tech and what they do for our state and for our nation.”

Three people in a room
Michael Barker (right), GaMEP project manager for cybersecurity, strategy, and leadership development, speaks as U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (left) and Andrew Krejci (center), another GaMEP project manager, listen. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

Carter’s AMPF visit began with an introduction by Tom Kurfess, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute; Steven Ferguson, principal research scientist and managing director at Georgia AIM; research engineer Kyle Saleeby; and Donna Ennis, the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s director of community engagement and program development, and co-director of Georgia AIM.

Ennis provided an overview of Georgia AIM, while Ferguson spoke on the Manufacturing 4.0 Consortium and Kurfess detailed the AMPF origin story, before introducing four live demonstrations.

The first of these featured Chuck Easley, Professor of the Practice in the Scheller College of Business, who elaborated on supply chain issues. Afterward Alan Burl of EPICS: Enhanced Preparation for Intelligent Cybermanufacturing Systems and mechanical engineer Melissa Foley led a brief information session on hybrid turbine blade repair.

Finally, GaMEP project manager Michael Barker expounded on GaMEP’s cybersecurity services, and Deryk Stoops of Central Georgia Technical College detailed the Georgia AIM-sponsored AI robotics training program at the Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource (VECTR) Center, which offers training and assistance to those making the transition from military to civilian life.

The topic of artificial intelligence, in all its subtlety and nuance, was of particular interest to Carter.

“AI is the buzz in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “Whether it be healthcare, energy [or] science, we on the Energy and Commerce Committee look at it from a sense [that there’s] a very delicate balance, and we understand the responsibility. But we want to try to benefit from this as much as we can.”

He continued: “I heard something today I haven’t heard before, and that is instead of calling it artificial intelligence, we refer to it as ‘augmented intelligence.’ I think that’s a great term, and certainly something I’m going to take back to Washington with me.”

Said Ennis, “It was a pleasure to host Rep. Carter for a firsthand look at AMPF, which is uniquely positioned to offer businesses the opportunity to collaborate with Georgia Tech researchers and students and to hear about Georgia AIM.”

She added, “At Georgia AIM, we’re committed to making the state a leader in artificial intelligence-assisted manufacturing, and we’re grateful for Congressman Carter’s interest and support of our efforts.”

EI2 Global Wraps up Soft Landing Spring 2024 Cohort

Expanding a foreign business into the U.S. isn’t always a straightforward process. Companies are tasked not only with navigating national regulations and standard practices but also with grasping the nuances of American culture.

That’s where the Enterprise Innovation Institute comes in. The organization is authorized by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) to provide instruction on those topics and others through the seven-week, hybrid  Soft Landing program, administered by EI2 Global.

The most recent cohort began February 14 and wrapped up April 17. During that period, participants were exposed to more than 40 hours of workshops, as well as one-on-one meetings and intensive training.

According to program director Alberto Ponce, Soft Landing “is the best investment companies can make to prepare for internationalization. It accelerates their work and provides them with networks, guidance, and hard research to enter the market. It’s an invaluable resource to make their goals a reality.”

People at a conference table speaking.
Juli Golemi (left), director of EI2 Global, listens as Juan Cuellar, senior international trade manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development addresses Soft Landing Immersion Week attendees. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

Since its launch in 2018, the Georgia Tech Soft Landing program has worked with 22 companies in five countries from two continents that were interested in expanding into the U.S. market. Of those participants, 15 of them have expanded into the U.S.

The first of Soft Landing’s three components is instructional. Conducted virtually and extending throughout the length of the course, it assists businesses in building their internal capacity for expansion.

“We advocate for Georgia in this part of the program,” said Ponce. “This is the fastest growing region in the United States, and the Atlanta metropolitan area has a great quality of life. But we are fortunate that, as a university-based endeavor, the Soft Landing program is not tied to any particular service-providers or government-based programs. So, there’s no expectation or requirement that businesses relocate here. They have their own networks; they’re not tied to this area.”

People talking at a conference table
Bayron Quinteros, CEO of IData, a 2023 Soft Landing participant, explains how the program helped him in his decision to establish his U.S. presence in Atlanta. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

Soft Landing’s other two components are designed to connect participants face to face with experts who can help put theory into practice, offering guidance on everything from relocating company managers to navigating aspects of hiring, immigration, and accounting.

It’s during Immersion Week — undoubtedly the program’s highlight — that these personal connections are facilitated. From March 18 to 22, EI2 Global hosted four companies from Colombia looking to expand their business into the U.S. They were introduced to upwards of 15 people in the Soft Landing network, including service providers, powerhouse networkers, government officials, and Chamber of Commerce members. They also attended networking events that put them in contact with hundreds of Latin American businesses, increasing their chances of finding partners, providers, and clients.

Nicolás Ochoa, director of the Medellín creative agency Studio 1642, saw Immersion Week as a structured way to approach people, saying, “the magic of this program is to really use those connections and those mentors.”

According to participant Andrés Domínguez, whose app Beunik connects users to salons and barbershops, one of the main benefits of the program is the way it fosters “unexpected collisions.”

He added, “You can meet anyone from your industry, and [they] can help you. I’ve heard that creating a startup is a lonely process. It [doesn’t have] to be. Allies like Soft Landing can help you to reduce a lot of uncertainty. When you reduce your uncertainty, you are going to make informed decisions, and this is the perfect program to make informed decisions to enter the U.S. market.”

From Ponce’s point of view, many program outcomes can be considered positive. While some Soft Landing participants determine that Georgia is the optimal location for their business, others may choose a different state — or decide it’s not yet the right time to move into the U.S. market. Regardless of which actions they ultimately take, participants gain a solid understanding of the strategies that will best serve their goals.

For Jorge Gutiérrez, whose business Grupo Y provides elastic polymers to a range of market sectors, the program provided a deeper insight into American culture, which he characterized as “very important, because [it gives] us the opportunity to understand how we can arrive in an [appropriate] way in the U.S.”

Even when Soft Landing concludes, the program is far from over. Participants are given ongoing assistance and follow-up mentorship. Scheduled check-ins at six months and a year are built into the curriculum, but there is plenty of flexibility, too.

“We have an open-door policy,” Ponce explained. “They can reach out to us requesting connections for mentoring or consulting, and we are always open to meeting with them to work through their problems. Expanding into a new country takes a lot of commitment and investment. Most of the companies don’t do it within the year.”

Periodically, participants are asked to reflect on how the Soft Landing program helped them and impacted their decision-making. Because success is subjective and highly variable, tracking it is necessarily an open-ended, long-term endeavor.

Said Juan José Acero, of health supplement company Brightfull, “As soon as you finish [the program], you have a lot of questions, but you know how to answer those questions. You know how to structure the project. You are not going to have a clear idea about the next couple of years, but you will be [able to] understand what you need.”

To set up a video call for more information, contact Soft Landing program director Alberto Ponce: alberto.ponce@innovate.gatech.edu, 404.894.7083.

Georgia Tech’s Top-ranked Basic Economic Development Course Explores Placemaking

The Georgia Institute of Technology is hosting its 57th annual Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), an immersive in-person event that explores the multifaceted theme of placemaking, Aug. 26 – 29, 2024, at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center.

BEDC is presented by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council (course completion can be applied toward certification) and the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

The Enterprise Innovation Institute is the longest running, most diverse university-based development organization in the U.S. Through the application of Georgia Tech’s world-class research in science, technology, and innovation, it helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers, and communities hone their competitive edge.

Since its founding in the 1880s, Georgia Tech has been committed to promoting economic development in the state of Georgia, and BEDC — which was the nation’s first course of its kind when it debuted in 1967 — continues that longstanding tradition.

Led by the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Center for Economic Development Research, and under the guidance of a collaborative team of economists, city planners, and economic development practitioners, BEDC attendees spend four days participating in interactive workshops, networking with industry professionals, and listening to guest speakers whose expertise spans a range of disciplines.

The course delves into different strategies for fostering local economic development, from crafting effective incentives and creating quality communities to promoting economic recovery and resilience — not to mention navigating all the opportunities and challenges that arise in the process.

In short, there’s a lot more to economic development than simply providing jobs.

“Today’s society is more mobile than ever,” said Alan Durham, a program manager and BEDC course director with the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Center for Economic Development Research.

“Because an increasing number of number of workers are no longer tied to a centralized office location, they are embracing the opportunity to move to farther-flung areas. As a result, quality of life is becoming essential for attracting talent and retaining existing companies. This course trains influential local leaders who can assist their communities in doing exactly that.”

BEDC welcomes enrollees of all experience levels. Whether they are new to economic development or looking expand their existing knowledge base, participants can expect to complete the course armed with an amplified understanding of essential principles — and the skills to put them into practice.

What: Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC)
When:
August 26 – 29, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT
Where:
Global Learning Center, 84 Fifth Street N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Presented by: The Georgia Institute of Technology in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council and the Georgia Economic Developers Association
Program director: Alan Durham, 404.660.0241, alan.durham@innovate.gatech.edu
Register: gt-bedc.org
For more information, contact: Krystle Richardson, 404.894.7174, krystle.richardson@innovate.gatech.edu

Enterprise 6 Internship Program Applications Open for Summer 2024

Are you a student currently enrolled in the University System of Georgia (USG) who’s excited
to take on new challenges in technology, business development, or ecosystem building?

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is now accepting applications for its competitive 2024 Enterprise 6 (E6) Summer Internship Program, which offers paid opportunities to collaborate on dynamic projects in furtherance of an economic development mission.

The longest running and most diverse university-based economic development organization in the United States, the Enterprise Innovation Institute launched its founding program more than 60 years ago. Since then, the organization has expanded to serve innovative enterprises of all sizes, from pre-company teams and startups to long-running businesses, as well as communities seeking to revitalize their local economies.

Though the Enterprise 6 Internship Program, USG undergraduate and graduate students across a range of disciplines discover how the skills they’ve been cultivating in classrooms and labs can play a role in economic development. The program is made possible via funding from the Georgia Tech Office of the Executive Vice President for Research.

Two georgia tech Enterprise 6 alums
Enterprise 6 alums from the 2023 class (from left) Olajide Olugbade and Hanyu Lu. (PHOTOS: Péralte Paul)

Although the internship doesn’t accrue academic credit, students receive $25 an hour for a 20-hour work week. Each intern is mentored by an Enterprise Innovation Institute research faculty member, and bi-weekly remote meetings offer the chance to share observations about their experience.

“The Enterprise Innovation Institute engages in meaningful work to expand economic opportunity for all, and the E6 program provides students the opportunity to work on real-world challenges supporting the equitable development and deployment of talent and innovation both locally and globally,” said David Bridges, the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s vice president.

“In some cases, E6 interns are so inspired by this experience that they that change the trajectory of their ambitions.”

Take, for example, Eve Pike, who at the time of her 2021 internship was a student at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Working with Enterprise 6 gave her a new set of reference points, and Pike realized she wanted to pursue a career in tech — and possibly even expand into marketing or economics. “It broadened my horizon,” she said.

Hanyu Lu found that her experience as an Enterprise 6 intern in 2023 “significantly enhanced my skills in analysis and development.” After E6, Lu, who is working towards a master’s degree in computational science and engineering at Georgia Tech, went on to complete an internship at Heartland Forward, in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she continued to strengthen the abilities she honed as an E6 intern.

For another member of the 2023 cohort, Olajide Olugbade, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in science and technology policy at Georgia Tech, the Enterprise 6 internship was instrumental in securing his current position as a graduate research assistant. “The knowledge I gained, the skills I demonstrated, and the relationship I built while conducting research for the EI2 Global team all contributed to being the candidate of choice,” he said.

The benefits of the Enterprise 6 program flow in both directions; not only do the interns gain valuable skills from their experiences, they also contribute in a very tangible way to the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s mission.

“E6 students bring fresh and unique perspectives to our work,” said Bridges. “These perspectives allow our programs to deliver leading-edge capacity-building support to people, companies, and communities in Georgia and beyond.”

Enterprise 6 internships run from May 13 to August 9. Seven internships are available, and interested students may apply to a maximum of two.

See the project outlines from the application link.

  • EARN: $25 per hour (up to 20 hours per week).
  • OPPORTUNITY TO: Serve enterprises and communities of all sizes.
  • REQUIREMENTS: Must thrive on challenging projects in technology, business development, or ecosystem building.
  • ELIGIBILITY: Open to all University System of Georgia students.
  • WHEN: May 13, 2024 to August 9, 2024.
  • LOCATION: Hybrid (work remotely and in Technology Square, Atlanta).
  • DEADLINE: Résumés due March 22, 2024.
  • APPLY:  https://innovate.gatech.edu/enterpise-6-application-2024/
  • QUESTIONS?… E-mail: krystle.richardson@innovate.gatech.edu