Regional Commission Hears Pluses of Broadband Project

Northwest Georgia is in line to get one of the most advanced, broadband Internet systems in the Southeast, said Greg Laudeman, with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Laudeman, speaking Thursday at the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission meeting in Calhoun, said the system will attract international attention… In a presentation to the NGRC board, Laudeman said lines for the high-speed Internet service could start going in by this spring.

Read the full article here: http://romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/11080041/article-Regional-commission-hears-pluses-of-broadband-project?instance=home_news

Cairo High Students Win Georgia Tech Buzz Cup Challenge in Grady County

Three Cairo High School students — Catherine Wilson, David Miller and Austin Collins — placed first through third in the 2010 Georgia Tech Buzz Cup Challenge held Dec. 7 at Cairo High School. The competition is a series of rigorous science and technology activities designed to assist communities in their efforts to improve the workforce by supporting and encouraging students, teachers, parents and lifelong learners in their understanding and appreciation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, students were challenged to conduct extensive research projects on STEM careers, use information technology tools to design products, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. In addition to the Buzz Cup Performance award, students were vying for top technology tools as prizes such as netbook computers, digital cameras and MP3 players.

The Buzz Cup Challenge began as an initiative of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) to encourage high school students and teachers in their understanding and appreciation of STEM and related fields. The regional competition drew students from Dougherty and Grady counties, and focused on the theme “The Importance of STEM and STEM Career Choices.” Each student researched a STEM career, identifying its educational requirements, employment outlook, future job opportunity and median wages, and designed a t-shirt to promote STEM careers.

“Georgia’s future depends on young people developing skills in science, technology, engineering and math to keep our economy strong,” said EI2’s Hortense Jackson, who served a project director for the initiative. “The ongoing development of knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics is crucial for competing in the global economy and requires collaboration among educators, employers and economic developers.”

The United States is lagging behind other nations in developing its future workforce of scientists, engineers and technology experts. Only 18 percent of U.S. high school seniors are proficient in science according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP 2005), and a mere 5 percent of current college graduates earn science, engineering or technology degrees compared to 66 percent in Japan and 59 percent in China. Couple these statistics with the fact that current scientists and engineers are retiring in record numbers, and it becomes clear that America faces a challenge in keeping up with increasing demand for these professionals.

The top three students in the Buzz Cup Challenge are all involved in Cairo High School’s Career Technical Agricultural and Education (CTAE) program. Wilson, a high school senior, placed first in the competition by developing an innovative career pathway model for the physician assistant profession.

“Participation in the Georgia Tech Buzz Cup Challenge was a simple decision for me because of my desire to pursue a future career in the science field,” Wilson said. “Through this project, I enjoyed the chance to explore my prospective career and enhance my knowledge of programs that benefit it.”

Miller, a high school junior who placed second in the competition, was inspired by his parents, David and Gina Miller, to participate in the competition. His desire to pursue an engineering career and explore Georgia Tech’s engineering programs motivated him to design a career pathways model for aerospace engineering.

Third place winner Collins, son of Kevin and Sara Collins, conducted an interview with a mechanical engineer to learn life lessons from a professional engineer. The sophomore noted that participation in the challenge gave him a deepened understanding of the skills required to excel in the mechanical engineering field.

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics play a very important role in the career pathway program because they are aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), help students in completing their chosen pathway and help to prepare them for a rewarding post-secondary career,” said Horace Williams, CTAE director. “I hope my students will participate in the 2011 Buzz Cup Challenge.”

In partnership with Albany Technical College and the Southwest Georgia Agribusiness Consortium, Georgia Tech has been supporting the future workforce development needs of biotechnology and agribusiness companies through Georgia’s CTAE program and economic development-sponsored programs through the Georgia Work Ready Regional program. Grady County has been striving to earn “Georgia Work Ready” Community status. To be designated a Certified Work Ready Community, the county must drive current workers of the available workforce to earn Work Ready Certificates, demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates and build community commitment for meeting these goals.

For more information on the Buzz Cup Challenge and how students can get involved, please contact Hortense Jackson at 229-430-4327 or ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noskcaj.esnetroh.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

Survey: County Needs More Health Services

A new survey conducted by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute shows a community need in Cherokee County for transportation to health services and more mental health care.Cherokee was one of four counties studied by Georgia Tech for the Regional Data Mapping Pilot Project. The projects’ goal was to gauge the needs of the county to see how organizations could better serve residents.

In addition to Cherokee, the project studied Butts, Clayton and Rockdale counties. The counties were selected for their range of demographic, cultural and economic characteristics.

Read more: Cherokee Tribune – Survey County needs more health services

Community Nonprofits Assess Needs with EI2 Assistance

CONYERS — Members of local nonprofits gathered Tuesday to find ways to better identify and address community needs through a unique data mapping project conducted by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

Rockdale is one of four counties targeted by the mapping project, which collected data on various layers including information from the latest U.S. Census, labor and housing statistics and interviews with community leaders. The other counties are Cherokee, Clayton and Butts.

The project is a partnership between the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Families First Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

Jason Chernock of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute explained during the meeting that the five foundations sought to find out more about the communities and how the current economic recession has affected nonprofits and needs they attempt to address locally.

To read the full story, click here: http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/home/headlines/Community_nonprofits_assess_needs_111501124.html

Albany Technical College and EI2 Partner for Work Ready Initiative

Albany Technical College and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute are teaming up to offer “Career Pathways for the Future Day” for high school students in Early, Lee, Randolph and Terrell Counties. The event will be held on Monday, November 8, 2010, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Albany Technical College Kirkland Conference Center.

Supported under the Georgia Work Ready Regional initiative, this event is designed to give high school students the opportunity to learn how Georgia’s Work Ready program can help them to prepare for future careers in Georgia.

Through power-packed interactive sessions, students will better understand how Georgia’s Work Ready program guarantees workers have the talent necessary for existing jobs and the skills necessary to master the innovative technologies that tomorrow’s jobs will require in the fields of Food Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Bioscience, and STEM occupations.

In addition to the interactive sessions, students will have a chance to tour Albany Tech’s facilities and take plant tours of agri-business companies.

About Albany Technical College

A public postsecondary institution of the Technical System of Georgia, Albany Technical College provides technical education and training support for the evolving workforce needs of Southwest Georgia through traditional and online classroom settings. For more information about Albany Tech, go to www.AlbanyTech.edu or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AlbanyTech.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Media Relations Contact: Wendy Howell (229-430-3816); E-mail (ude.hcetynablanull@llewohw).

Inland Port Will Benefit South Georgia

The executive director of the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Council told members of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce Thursday how Cordele’s planned inland port will benefit the region economically.  Bruce Drennan told a large crowd of Chamber members that Cordele Intermodal Services, Inc. will begin shipping containers to the Savannah port in October. The first containers will be filled with Union Compress cotton for shipment overseas…  The idea for an inland port in Cordele began seven years ago, Drennan said. Georgia Tech conducted three feasibility studies and discovered an inland port at Cordele was feasible. He said the community wanted to make maximum use of its railroads and an inland port seemed to fit.
Read the full article at: http://tiftongazette.com/local/x1277551569/Inland-port-will-benefit-local-area

Growing Georgia’s Life Sciences Industry

It’s a competition that will help grow the next generation of life science companies in the Southeast, and it’s coming to a crescendo. Southeast BIO recently announced the 10 semifinalists in their annual regional BIO/Plan Competition…  “Despite the funding crunch, the level of scientific innovation at universities and startup companies remains extremely impressive as seen from the BIO/Plan applications,” said Carlos Parajon, managing partner of Harbor Island Equity Partners, LLC. “This quality of research and innovation leads to investment and growth, which in turn creates more innovation and positive economic outcomes for the region.” What’s truly exciting is that five of the 10 semifinalists selected from nearly 40 applications are from Georgia. The technologies emerged from some of the state’s finest research institutions including Georgia Institute of Technology.

Read the full article here: http://www.gwinnettbizjournal.com/content.cfm?action=story&WikiID=8454

$21 Million Grant Funds Fiber Optic Network in Northwest Georgia

The future has arrived in Polk County thanks to a $21 million grant to develop and expand broadband availability to new and expanding industry and business sectors in Northwest Georgia and Eastern Alabama.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s NTIA has announced awarding of the grant to Appalachian Valley Fiber Network, a public/private partnership established to develop and expand broadband in the area.

It will involve projects in Bartow, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk and Walker counties in Northwest Georgia and along the I-20 corridor in Cleburne, Calhoun and Clay counties in Alabama.

This includes construction of 187 miles of new fiber optic, broadband infrastructure and service. The project can provide a launching pad for job creation and business development that is closely tied to the availability of high capacity broadband, based on a recent technology study by the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute.

Read more: The Fish Wrap – 21 million grant funds fiber optic network

Valdosta Manufacturer Races to the Top with Georgia Tech Assistance

Valdosta ManufacturerYou could say that automobiles and great American manufacturing are a part of Dario Orlando’s genetic makeup. His grandfather, Al Valeria, began working for Ford Motor Company in 1910, just seven years after Henry Ford founded the company. Dario’s father, Domenico Orlando, worked in Ford’s Dearborn design studio where his talents appeared in some of Ford’s most iconic vehicles, including the Ford GT40 Mark IV, the 1964 ½ Mustang, the Mercury Polomar Concept and the original Ford Thunderbird.

Dario continued in the family tradition when, at age 19, he obtained his racing competition license and won the South Atlantic Race Championship in a bug-eyed Sprite. He continued racing until he was approached by Ford Motor Company to be a lead test driver for the European/U.S. Merkur XR4TI program, where he worked to develop and refine the vehicle’s suspension elements and engine tuning. Today, he is president of Steeda Autosports, where he combines his greatest passions in life.

Steeda, the largest manufacturer of parts and accessories for Ford in the world today, was founded in 1988 in Pompano Beach, Fla. Despite all of the company’s success, however, the geographic location and economic climate were not competitive for engineering or manufacturing, according to Orlando. Several years ago, he decided to move the company from south Florida to south Georgia.

“Georgia had a lot of good incentives and was a fantastic environment,” Orlando recalled. “I checked a few communities and Valdosta was the place we ultimately decided was the best fit for us.”

Orlando began working with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, which directed him to Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2). EI2 is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation. Tom Sammon, a manufacturing specialist with EI2, assisted the company with a complete plant layout designed to make Steeda more competitive in the marketplace.

The challenge Steeda faced was moving from its four buildings in Florida into one, new building in Valdosta. Prior to construction of the new building, Sammon visited Steeda’s Pompano Beach facility to observe how materials flowed through the plant and determine how to best improve upon that in the company’s new facility.

“The lessons that we learned with the help of Georgia Tech was around the plant layout. Their questions and our concerns merged together to come up with the best project plan for efficiency,” Orlando said.

The plant layout needed to ensure that a high-quality, low-cost product could be delivered quickly within a safe and pleasant work environment. Lean manufacturing environments, which aim to eliminate waste, typically result in a reduction in throughput time or lead time, a decrease in the cost of space, inventory and capital equipment and an increase in capacity utilization.

“An attitude of continuous improvement was already in the DNA of everyone at Steeda, and it is that willingness to change for the common good that made it possible for me to incorporate the best lean practices. So often, an optimal layout is compromised because of legacy systems and infrastructure, but Dario’s vision for the new plant was clear,” Sammon noted. “They took full advantage of the opportunity to re-think the business and decide what products and processes are most important to the long-term strength of the company. They are now flexible enough to take on new products, even outside the automotive industry.”

When Sammon was developing the plant layout for Steeda, he kept several key principles in mind: minimize material handling, distances, strain, clutter and storage and maximize utilization, flexibility, flow, visibility and communication. Achieving a continuous flow throughout the facility ensured just-in-time manufacturing, which makes the correct parts available when they are needed in the quantity in which they are needed.

“The metal comes in, gets welded, gets machined and goes to assembly,” noted Orlando, who also estimated that Steeda manufactures approximately 2,000 different parts. “From assembly, the product goes to inventory and on out the front door. It makes one big loop through the plant, which is nice.”

By moving its manufacturing operations to Valdosta, Steeda Autosports has seen a number of improvements, even in the current economic downturn. The plant layout has allowed the company to cut its cycle times by as much as 50 percent and its changeover times by 30 percent, resulting in 28 percent cost savings. Steeda has invested a total of $8 million in its new facility – which includes a 35-acre campus with a 100,000-square-foot building. A future expansion project will soon incorporate a 1.2-mile all-weather test track, skid pad and brake test area.

In addition to all of the benefits for the company, Steeda’s workforce is reaping the rewards as well. Orlando described one 10-year employee who moved with the company to Valdosta. Because of the high cost of living in Florida, he had always rented a home, but the move to Georgia has enabled him to purchase his own home with a two-car garage.

“We have a 401K and health benefits, and we want to add more benefits,” Orlando said. “We’ve been able to create the American dream for our workers, with the help of Georgia Tech and the state of Georgia.”

Brad Lofton, executive director of the Valdosta-Lowndes Industrial Authority, agrees that Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is critical to successful economic development in the state of Georgia.

“One of the biggest advantages that local economic development agencies have in recruiting advanced manufacturing projects to Georgia is the world-class resources that Georgia Tech provides companies that invest here. The economic development practitioners at Georgia Tech do an amazing job connecting companies in rural Georgia to the best and brightest researchers and consultants in America,” he noted. “Though Valdosta is 250 miles from Georgia Tech’s main campus, you would never know it from the service they consistently offer our industrial base. Georgia Tech is a primary ingredient in our strategic plan to locate vibrant and high-tech companies to the Valdosta area.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Georgia Tech Partners with International Economic Development Council

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute will offer two courses next month approved by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as qualifying for the highly sought-after Level Two recertification credits for Certified Economic Developers (CEcDs). The courses – How to Conduct Business Intelligence to Gain a Competitive Advantage and How to Conduct Performance Tracking to Demonstrate ROI – will be held on July 20 and 21 in Atlanta, Georgia and are part of Georgia Tech’s new “Tools of the Trade” series.

“These courses will contribute to the continued growth of knowledge within the economic development profession,” said Jeffrey A. Finkle, CEcD, president and CEO of the International Economic Development Council. “Providing practitioners with access to information is consistent with our mission.”

 

The July 20 class – How to Conduct Business Intelligence to Gain a Competitive Advantage – will help participants learn how to conduct basic business intelligence research to gather a wide variety of information about companies, their competitors and the total business environment. Market and industry trends, environmental conditions and legal and regulatory issues will be discussed.

In How to Conduct Performance Tracking to Demonstrate ROI on July 21, participants will learn how to manage their economic development programs more effectively and how to maintain public support by demonstrating that their program is results-oriented. Leading-edge economic development organizations measure their progress in meeting strategic goals and objectives, gather and analyze performance data and use that information to translate strategy into action.

The design for these courses was based on findings from a 2009 survey on professional development courses for economic development in which more than 60 percent of the respondents identified these two topic areas as areas of interest.

“For more than 40 years, Georgia Tech has served economic development leaders through professional development offerings,” said Joy Wilkins, CEcD, manager of community innovation services at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. “We are honored to continue this commitment with these new courses. Our goal is to bring in thought leaders for the economic development profession on key strategic matters.”

The CEcD program is the leading industry designation administered by IEDC – the world’s largest membership organization serving the economic development profession – and demonstrates a breadth of knowledge to perform at the top level in the profession. CEcDs must reapply for recertification every three years by participating in professional development events, such as these Georgia Tech courses, and by contributing to the growth of the profession.

To register or to learn about Georgia Tech’s full menu of economic development course offerings, including IEDC courses which count toward the certification and recertification of economic developers, go to http://www.pe.gatech.edu/subjects/economic-development.

For more information, contact course administrator Hortense Jackson (229-430-4327); e-mail: (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noskcaj.esnetroh) or Joy Wilkins, CEcD (404-895-6115); e-mail: (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@snikliw.yoj).

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright