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    Georgia Tech to offer Hacking for Defense course in 2019
    Hacking for Defense trainee Colin Ake, left, a principal at Georgia Tech's VentureLab, poses a question to Hacking for Defense Inc. trainers Max Weintraub, center, and Alex Gallo. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

    Hacking for Defense trainee Colin Ake, left, a principal at Georgia Tech's VentureLab, poses a question to Hacking for Defense Inc. trainers Max Weintraub, center, and Alex Gallo. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Georgia Institute of Technology will begin offering a course in 2019 designed to give students opportunities to study — and potentially solve — challenges from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and related intelligence agencies.

     

    The semester-long Hacking for Defense (H4D) course was created and first launched at Stanford University in 2016 by retired U.S. Army Col. Pete Newell, retired Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer Joe Felter; Tom Byers, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures program; and Steve Blank, a retired serial entrepreneur and the creator of the Lean Startup movement.

     

    At the Institute, the course will be taught by Keith McGreggor, director of VentureLab, a program in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute that helps faculty and students create startups based on Tech research. Co-teaching the class with him will be Lawrence Rubin, associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

     

    As designed, students will be given a current real problem intelligence or defense agencies face and work on that challenge for the entire semester to validate the problem and work to solve it, Newell said.

     

    “Technology is continually changing and by creating this mixing bowl in a university, you’re in an ideal place for bringing government problems to the problem-solvers and energizing young people into doing something that’s impactful,” said Newell, who is managing partner of BMNT.

     

    BMNT's nonprofit arm, Hacking for Defense Inc. (H4Di), oversees the H4D program.

     

    H4D addresses four necessary components to help federal agencies be more innovative, said Newell, who is former director of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force.

     

    For the federal sponsors themselves, they get world-class market research to tackle problems at a faster pace than anywhere else and engage with potential employees or future collaborators by creating an innovation network pipeline.

     

    Students get to work on a real challenge and learn by creating a case study of a real problem, he said.

     

    For private industry, it gives them an early look at the problems government agencies are looking to solve — which often mirror some of the same issues business is trying to address.

     

    Finally, universities such as Georgia Tech, are increasingly looking to deliver cutting-edge education to students that gives them experience in building innovative and disruptive solutions beyond basic research.

     

    That matches the entrepreneurship experience that Tech wants all of its students to have, McGreggor said.

     

    “We’re trying to create an armada of entrepreneurial students and we want every student at Georgia Tech to have that entrepreneurial experience before they graduate,” McGreggor said. “Hacking for Defense is going to be different in that participating students won’t be coming up with a startup idea; these defense and intelligence agencies will meet with us with the problems they want us to figure out. It’s an opportunity for our students to think about solving a different kind of problem.”

     

    Keith McGreggor (right foreground), VentureLab director, listens as Michael Hoeschele, trains attendees of the Hacking for Defense forum on Sept. 20. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

    Keith McGreggor (right foreground), VentureLab director, listens as Michael Hoeschele, trains attendees of the Hacking for Defense forum on Sept. 20. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

    As part of the rollout and expansion of the program to Tech and other organizations, H4Di was on campus Sept. 20 and 21 to train about 60 people from across the country who will be teaching H4D courses on the methodology behind it.

     

    “The defense and national security challenges we’re seeing are evolving at a pace we’ve never seen before in our history and to tackle these issues, we have to connect DoD to cultures of innovation and those are largely housed in academia and the venture community,” said Max Weintraub who works to form collaborative relationships between the DoD and universities as the H4D program manager at the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator, the DoD program office that sponsors H4D at Georgia Tech and other leading universities. “We’re excited that Georgia Tech is on the list.”

     

    Tech will join a number of top schools already teaching the class, that, in addition to Stanford, include: Columbia University, the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, the University of Virginia, and the United States Air Force Academy.

     

    What makes Tech an attractive choice is Atlanta’s solid base of entrepreneurial activity, Georgia’s manufacturing and industrial capacity, the number of military installations and government labs in the state and its Southeast neighbors, and the federal research dollars the Institute attracts.

     

    “It’s easy to draw a circle around Georgia Tech right there in the Southeast as being in the epicenter of a great entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Newell said.

     

    Since the original launch, H4D has led to nine startup companies being formed, including Capella Space, a company that makes low-orbit satellites with a synthetic aperture radar technology that takes quality images regardless of clouds, light or other atmospheric conditions.

     

    But while some students may ultimately form their own companies, Newell stressed that is not the core goal.

     

    “We’re giving them the ability to engage with the government to work on a real problem to gain real-world experience,” Newell said. “They get to develop the critical problem-solving skillsets that will be most in demand in the future.”

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    Georgia Tech hosts Argentina IT delegation

    (From left) Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi; Fernanda Yanson of the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency, and Juli Golemi, manager of Georgia Tech's Soft Landings Program. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Institute of Technology's the economic development arm, hosted a delegation of 12 technology companies from Argentina, as part of a multi-city tour to study successful innovation ecosystems.

     

    The 2018 Argentina IT Commercial Mission to Atlanta's Sept. 18 visit, sponsored by the Consulate General of Argentina and the Argentine American Chamber of Commerce, is designed to give insight into the Atlanta economy and as part of the 12 companies' longer-term goal of establishing U.S. operations, said Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi.

     

    "They're looking for places to come and explore the possibilities of doing business," Lopez Menardi said. "We thought the best place for them to come especially regarding an IT  mission would be to come to Georgia Tech. The prestige of the university, the talent and the innovation they are promoting from here, we decided the best place to hold the mission would be here."

     

    While on campus, the group met with Juli Golemi, manager of the Soft Landings Program at EI2.

     

    Juli Golemi, Georgia Tech's Soft Landings Program manager, addresses some of the issues foreign companies wanting to do business in the United States face. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    Soft Landings, launched in 2018, is a Georgia Tech offering — through its Economic Development Lab (EDL) — that helps foreign companies that want to establish or increase their business operations in Georgia or better understand the U.S. economy. EDL helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.

     

    Soft Landings, Lopez Menardi said, offers what the visiting companies need as they explore doing business in Atlanta and the United States. The group, which includes companies in financial technology, virtual reality, cybersecurity, and gaming, wants to "get to know the environment, how to do business here, and how companies procure here," Lopez Menardi said, adding they will use what they learn on this fact-finding trip to better prepare them for possible U.S. expansion and connections with American companies.

     

    "They will want to build top from that and come up again with a specific plan of business to offer different companies," he said, adding the group, which will visit Tech's incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), will also visit Chicago to learn about its innovation ecosystem.

     

    In a panel discussion that included Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of international trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Fernanda Yanson, a foreign trade consultant with the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency; Lopez Menardi, and Golemi, attendees learned about the different components of Georgia's successful ecosystem.

     

    Among those components: strong public and private partnerships between state government and industry, a friendly business climate, inter-state agency collaboration, unique assets such as Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and economic diversification, Waters said.

     

    Georgia Department of Economic Development Deputy Commissioner Mary Waters explains why Georgia's focus on innovation is factors into the state being consistently ranked as one of the best places in which to do business. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    "Georgia's economy is very diverse. We're strong in agribusiness, we're strong in aerospace, logistics, medical technologies, ICT, and automotive," she said.

     

    Underscoring that success model is technology, Waters said, noting the construction boom in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood and how Georgia Tech plays a critical role in that innovation-driven growth and expansion.

     

    "Home Depot, Anthem, Delta Air Lines, Mercedes-Benz — they’re all creating innovation certners here in Atlanta and here in Georgia to take advantage of the Georgia Tech talent that we have. Those are companies and expansions that were not on our radar 10 years ago that now underpin the heart and soul of the Atlanta economy and Georgia's economy," Waters said.

     

    "Whether you're talking about automation technology in the manufacturing space or whether you're talking about tech in agriculture and agribusiness, or innovation in the development of new technologies that will change the world, Georgia is very much in the heart of that and it gets to the heart of what you're going to hear from Juli and the rest of Georgia Tech and from the private companies you will meet."

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    Georgia Tech's ATDC hosts federal health technology summit, mental health panel discussion
    Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at Georgia Tech's ATDC, welcomes a HealthTech entrepreneurs to the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at Georgia Tech's ATDC, welcomes a HealthTech entrepreneurs to the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    A core tenet of the Georgia Institute of Technology's Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) mission is the use of innovation and ideation not only to drive economic development in Georgia and beyond, but to improve and advance the human condition.

     

    On Sept. 13, 2018, EI2's ATDC incubator — led by its health technology catalyst, Kirk L. Barnes, hosted two important events, the first with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to connect federal health agencies with HealthTech startups' solutions and technologies.

     

    HHS, which runs the largest balance sheet of any time of organization in the world at nearly $1.3 trillion a year, wants to better connect with HealthTech entrepreneurs and the solutions they have for the healthcare sector and related fields.  The ATDC Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit was co-hosted by NASCO, a leading provider of information technology products and services designed help U.S. healthcare payers, and sponsor of the ATDC HealthTech Program.

     

    "The main goal of what we're doing here today is total a very inward facing organization and turn it outward, and give everybody an opportunity to interact with us," said Ed Simcox, HHS' chief technology officer.

     

    The second event was ATDC's Silence The Shame for mental health awareness, which was sponsored by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises and coincided with September being designated as National Suicide Awareness Prevention Month. That effort, which was an interactive panel discussion with hip-hop music industry executive Shanti Das and other leading experts in mental health and wellness, sought to highlight the role technology can play in mental health and in reducing the stigma of discussing depression and suicide as part of Das' Silence The Shame initiative.

     

     

    Ed Simcox, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses attendees of the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    Ed Simcox, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses attendees of the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

     

    From left, Dr. Richard Wild, chief medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Atlanta Region, Chaouki T. Abdallah, Georgia Tech's executive vice president for research, and Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at ATDC. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    From left: Dr. Richard Wild, chief medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Atlanta Region; Chaouki T. Abdallah, Georgia Tech's executive vice president for research, and Kirk Barnes, ATDC's health technology startup catalyst at the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

     

    Panelists address issues related to mental health and how to move away from the stigma of discussing mental health, depression and warning signs of suicide at the ATDC and Cox Enterprises-sponsored Silence The Shame Panel Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Ben Andrews)

    Panelists address issues related to mental health and how to move away from the stigma of discussing mental health, depression and warning signs of suicide at the ATDC and Cox Enterprises-sponsored Silence The Shame Panel Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Ben Andrews)

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    Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center receives $1.2 million in federal funds
    SETAAC serves eight southeastern states and helps manufacturers affected by foreign import trade better compete.

    SETAAC serves eight southeastern states and helps manufacturers affected by foreign import trade better compete.

    The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded $13 million in federal funds to support 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs), including the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC) at Georgia Tech, which received $1.2 million.

     

    TAACs support a wide range of technical, planning, and business recovery projects to assist companies and the communities that depend on them adapt to international competition and diversify their economies.

     

    “President Trump is engaged in a daily fight to ensure the latest success of American manufacturers and businesses turns into a permanent trend,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement. “This program is just one element of a vast, government-wide effort to restore jobs, strengthen domestic manufacturing, and ensure free, fair, and reciprocal trade.”

     

    The announced grants are for the third year of a funding cycle that runs from 2016 to 2021.

     

    SETAAC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), was established in 1974. In addition to serving Georgia, SETAAC works with companies in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

     

    SETAAC provides up to $75,000 of matching funds for third-party consultants to help guide a client’s economic recovery. Eligible manufacturing firms contribute a matching share to create and implement their respective recovery plan.

     

    In Fiscal Year 2018, SETAAC worked with 65 clients and helped those firms generate more than $178 million in sales and to save or create 284 jobs.

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    Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech awarded grant for food safety modernization program

    U.S. Department of Commerce award will support targeted 

    focus on small food and beverage manufacturers in four states.

     

    GaMEP Associate Director Timothy D. Israel.

    GaMEP Associate Director Timothy D. Israel.

    The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech was awarded a $986,805 grant to create a food safety program that will serve small food and beverage manufacturers in Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, and Oregon.

     

    This four-state MEP effort, led by the GaMEP, is aimed at helping these small manufacturers comply with the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements. The law, enacted in 2011, seeks to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply by shifting regulators’ attention to contamination prevention to reduce outbreaks.

     

    The grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)will support the effort over a three-year period. The award was part of $7 million in total grants NIST gave to MEP centers in seven states and the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico.

     

    The GaMEP is designing an affordable FSMA compliance and food safety management system implementation program with its partners for small and very small food and beverage manufacturers within each state.

     

    “Agriculture and industries related to food are critical to the economies of Georgia and to the states that we’re partnering with, both in direct financial impact, and jobs,” said GaMEP Associate Director Timothy D. Israel.

     

    “But as large as the sector is, it’s chiefly comprised of small companies or very small family-run businesses or partnerships that don’t always have the resources or expertise to meet all the requirements for safety compliance.”

     

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2017 it monitored between 18 and 37 potential food poisoning cases and clusters each week and almost 200 weekly cases of outbreaks affecting multiple states.

     

    Protecting the nation’s food supply chain is critical, but even more so for small and very small food processors that are responding to consumer taste trends, are often processing high risk foods that include fresh produce, dry ingredients, and dairy, he said.

     

    “All of those types of foods have experienced outbreaks in the last few years and most of the small food processing businesses in Georgia and those of our partner states simply can’t afford the financial toll of a recall or disruption,” Israel said. “This is one of the reasons this critical need has to be addressed.”

     

    The program services will first target FSMA compliance in the development of food safety management systems for human consumption, Israel said. It would then potentially be expanded to support manufacturers of pet food, as well as food safety management system certification, third-party certification audits, food defense compliance, and technology insertion for hazard controls.

     

    “Agriculture contributes $73 billion to Georgia’s economy each year, and food processing manufacturing adds another $11 billion to $12 billion each year to it,” he said. “That’s why it’s imperative we focus our efforts on ensuring these small companies and very small companies have the tools, resources, and training to be in compliance.”

     

    About Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP)

    GaMEP exists to serve manufacturers and advance Georgia manufacturing. GaMEP is a program within Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). With offices in 10 regions across the state, GaMEP has served Georgia manufacturers since 1960. Through coaching and training, GaMEP offers solutions-based approaches designed to increase top-line growth and reduce bottom-line cost. For more information, visit: gamep.org.

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