Georgia Tech hosts inaugural University Center Roundtable

Lynne Henkiel

Lynne Henkiel, director of Georgia Tech’s EDA University Center, addresses attendees of the inaugural Atlanta Regional Office University Center Roundtable. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s EDA University Center hosted 13 schools from across the Southeast March 13 and 14 for the inaugural Atlanta Regional Office University Center Roundtable.

 

An initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), these university centers marshal the resources found in colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in areas facing chronic and acute economic distress.

 

“This meeting was two-fold, for new EDA funding awardees, this was their opportunity to present their plans and discuss what projects they planned to take on,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of Tech’s EDA University Center. “For re-awardees like us at Tech, we shared our success stories regarding past projects and gave guidance on lessons learned from past award cycles.

 

The conference featured a dozen colleges and universities from the Southeast. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“It was designed to be an exchange of ideas, strategies and best practices.”

 

Among the schools in attendance: Georgia Southern University, Auburn, the University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, Fayetteville State University, Western Carolina University, the University of Florida, University of Tennessee, Tennessee Tech University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of South Carolina.

 

H. Philip Paradice Jr.

H. Philip Paradice Jr., the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Southeast regional director, discusses EDA funding guidelines for projects. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Georgia Tech has been an EDA award recipient since the program’s inception in the 1980s — the only school with that distinction — since the 1980s.

 

In her role, Henkiel leads a wide range of outreach activities designed to promote job creation, development of high-skilled regional talent pools, business expansion in innovation clusters, and to create and nurture regional economic ecosystems in the state of Georgia. In addition, the Center seeks to conduct technology-related economic and policy research that will enhance Georgia’s competitive position.

 

In fiscal year 2017, Tech’s EDA University Center’s work helped save or create 255 jobs and led to private sector investment of $132.9 million in Georgia.

 

The Georgia Tech EDA University Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which is Tech’s economic development and outreach arm.

GTPAC cybersecurity initiative wins ‘Outstanding Project’ Award

GTPAC received the Outstanding Project Award at APTAC’s annual training conference on Mar. 7, 2018.

GTPAC received the Outstanding Project Award at APTAC’s annual training conference on Mar. 7, 2018.

A Georgia Tech-produced free instructional video that provides step-by-step guidance to government contractors seeking compliance with Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity requirements received the Outstanding Project Award from the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC).

 

The award, given annually, recognizes an accomplishment that stands out from the day-to-day activities that all PTACs organize and undertake.

 

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC), which produced the 20-minute video and related template for contractors’ use, accepted the award on March 7, 2018 at APTAC’s spring conference in Jacksonville, Fla. APTAC represents 98 procurement technical assistance centers across the United States and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

 

GTPAC is an economic development program of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2). It helps Georgia enterprises identify, compete for, and win government contracts. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense, GTPAC’s services are available at no cost to any Georgia businesses that have an interest and potential to perform work — as a prime contractor or a subcontractor — for federal, state, or local government agencies.

 

The video is accessible at this link: gtpac.org/cybersecurity-training-video. Its accompanying resources include a cybersecurity template for contractors’ use.

 

The video and template were funded through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency, and created with the support of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The content of the video presentation does not necessarily reflect the official views of, or imply endorsement by, the DoD, the Defense Logistics Agency, or Georgia Tech.

 

Members of the GTPAC team proudly show off the national award.

Members of the GTPAC team proudly show off the national award.

Both PTACs, which counsel businesses, and businesses themselves have heralded the video and template as valuable one-stop resources for existing contractors and aspiring DoD contractors alike.  Since the 2017 launch of these training tools, 1,284 persons have viewed the video and downloaded the template 1,508 times.

 

Specifically, the video explains Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clause 252.204-7012, including its key definitions and cyber obligations, including its primary requirement that defense contractors which process, store or transmit “covered defense information” must address 110 individual cybersecurity controls outlined in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171.

 

The 20-minute-video not only provides information on these requirements, but also provides specific guidance on how government contractors can achieve compliance with the DFARS clause and the NIST standards.  The video guides government contractors on how they can perform a “self-assessment” of their information system using NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Handbook.

 

One of the most creative and innovative aspects of the project is the 127-page cybersecurity template GTPAC created in conjunction with the video. The template provides step-by-step instructions on how government contractors can create a “Systems Security Plan” and “Plan of Action” — documentation necessary to achieve compliance.

 

“The resources we created come just as the DoD’s recent warning that it plans to request and evaluate cybersecurity plans from businesses as a part of the contract award decision-making process,” said GTPAC program manager Joe Beaulieu. “By providing the video and cybersecurity template, GTPAC’s objective is to make the process of achieving compliance much easier, especially for small defense contractors who may not have the resources necessary to develop such plans from scratch.”

 

The template makes the process of drafting the required documentation easier, as contractors merely have to fill in the blanks and answer specific questions, rather than work from a blank slate. While it is ultimately up to the contractor to meet the requirements and to fill in the blanks, GTPAC’s video and template provide contractors with an excellent starting point for assessing, achieving and documenting compliance.

 

In honoring GTPAC with the Outstanding Project Award, APTAC encouraged other PTACs to make use of the video, template, and resource materials. NIST recently provided similar encouragement to its nationwide MEP network — including the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) — in their work with U.S. manufacturers.

 

GTPAC coordinated the creation of the cybersecurity materials with GaMEP, which is a sister economic development program offered through Tech’s EI2.

 

Gov. Deal announces launch of Georgia Defense Exchange

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the launch of the Georgia Defense Exchange (GDX), an interactive business development platform designed to assist Georgia businesses in finding new opportunities in Department of Defense (DOD) contracting.

 

“From the Bell Bomber Plant during WWII to the NSA and U.S. Army Cyber Command in Augusta today, Georgia enterprises enjoy a storied history of fulfilling contracts for national defense,” Deal said. “Last year alone, defense contracts executed in Georgia were valued at $6.4 billion. These contracts provide significant opportunities for Georgia businesses and drive new development in local communities across the state. The GDX platform will allow us to equip companies with the tools they need to be competitive in acquiring DOD contracts while ensuring that this long-standing tradition continues in Georgia.”

 

GDX offers Georgia’s defense contracting community a one-stop data research and collaboration platform. The platform was designed to support and engage businesses across a wide variety of industry sectors with its rich data visualizations, interactive dashboards, real-time DOD data and business-to-business communication tools. GDX will open new opportunities for both traditionally defense-related businesses and service-oriented companies with no experience in defense contracting.

 

Lockheed Martin, Meggitt, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman account for some of the largest defense contracts in Georgia. Additionally, more than $3 billion of Georgia’s defense contracts are related to services for facility maintenance, science and engineering, equipment and construction.

 

To develop GDX, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) collaborated with The Simple VUE, an Atlanta-based full-service information technology and data analytics consulting firm, and the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC), a federally funded program that helps Georgia businesses identify, compete for, and win government contracts in order to sustain and grow their businesses.

 

GDEcD and GTPAC began collaborating on the project in September of 2016. A unit of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm, GTPAC provided its research data and advised on the creation of an economic development model for the aerospace and defense industries, said Chuck Schadl, EI2‘s group manager of government contracting services, which includes GTPAC and the Contracting Academy at Georgia Tech.

 

GTPAC staff also arranged for several Georgia defense contractors to provide focus group feedback on the GDX tool, make suggestions, and comment on its utility.

 

“We pride ourselves on maintaining the best business environment in the nation, and providing top-notch resources for our citizens,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “GDX levels the playing field, giving small businesses in Georgia the chance to know about and respond to the many defense contracting opportunities that are available. I am confident that all Georgia companies will benefit tremendously from GDX, and that our state will increase its competitive advantage in this sector.”

Georgia Tech launches $1 million retail technology initiative at ATDC

Georgia Tech  Tech TowerThe Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, is launching a new initiative for entrepreneurs focused on retail-related technology.

The new program — which comes as the retailing sector faces a torrent of change in consumer behavior — is being funded by a $1 million gift from the Mookerji Foundation to the Georgia Tech Foundation. The new initiative was announced at the 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase.

The Georgia Tech Foundation, in turn, has earmarked the new funds for the formation of the ATDC Retail Program. Founded in 1980, ATDC is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief economic development arm. ATDC is one of the longest running university-affiliated incubators in the United States.

“We chose Georgia Tech because of its commitment to economic development in Georgia and beyond, its focus on incorporating innovation in economic development, and its legacy of success,” the Mookerji Foundation said in a statement. “ATDC is a world-class technology incubator and is at the forefront of helping entrepreneurs not only build companies, but gives them the tools for long term success.”

The Atlanta-based Mookerji Foundation is dedicated to nurturing and enabling entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta.

The gift will fully fund the retail technology startup initiative for the next five years and support a retail technology expert who will serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor the startups and offer expertise relating to the field of entrepreneurship.

“The retail landscape has undergone a tumultuous shift in the last few years and retailers — from the national chains and department stores to the mom and pop shops on Main Street — are all looking for innovative technologies that help them remain competitive, stay engaged with their customers, and improve the bottom line,” said Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s general manager. “This new focus on retail complements some of our other related focus areas, such as financial technology (FinTech).”

The U.S. retail sector, which is comprised of more than 3.7 million establishments, supports some 42 million jobs with a $2.6 trillion impact on the economy, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry’s chief trade group.

In Georgia, the retail industry supports 1.2 million jobs, includes more than 120,000 establishments, and adds $75.6 billion a year to the Peach State’s economy, NRF data show.

“This is a very important segment of the Georgia and national economies and an exciting opportunity for Georgia Tech to make an impact and keep to its economic development mission,” said Maryam Alavi, dean and Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Chair of Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.

Alavi and other Scheller officials, as well as representatives of Tech’s Office of Development, collaborated on the effort that led to the Mookerji Foundation’s gift.

The initiative is the second of its kind for ATDC. In March 2015, Worldpay US, a global payments technology and services company, made a $1 million gift to Georgia Tech, which used the funds to launch a FinTech program at ATDC. Since its launch, that effort has reached more than 350 entrepreneurs across the state of Georgia, including 17 FinTech startups in the ATDC Signature and ATDC Accelerate portfolios. To date, those companies in both Signature and Accelerate have raised more than $34 million in outside funding.

About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 23,000 students within its six colleges. For additional information, visit gatech.edu.

About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising nearly $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. For more information, visit atdc.org.

U.S. Commerce Department awards 5-year grant to MBDA Business Center-Atlanta

Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson, left, and Donna Ennis, director of the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center-Atlanta.

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, left, and Donna Ennis, director of the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center-Atlanta.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) named Georgia Tech Research Corp. as a grant recipient to continue to operate an MBDA Business Center in Atlanta.

The federal funding will be distributed during a five-year period that ends in 2021. The funding amount per year is $298,255 for a total of $1.49 million.

The grant program is designed to help minority-owned firms across the nation create jobs, develop their business, and compete in the global economy.

“We are extremely pleased and honored the U.S. Department of Commerce has renewed our funding for another five-year term,” said Donna Ennis, director of the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta. “Our team has been busy working with businesses across Georgia and the Southeast helping to build not only the strength of minority-owned businesses, but the state’s and region’s economy as a whole.”

A key component of MBDA’s Business Center Network is providing minority firms with access to technical expertise and resources to grow their businesses.

In the five-year period ending in 2015, MBDA Business Center-Atlanta helped 462 minority-owned businesses:

  • secure more than $577 million in contracts and procurement
  • access $177 million in capital
  • create or save 4,987 jobs

Ennis leads the MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Working Group, which is building a nationwide community of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) manufacturers through its national network of 44 MBDA Business Centers. As part of that initiative, she launched the Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP) focused on providing contracting opportunities; assistance with launching new technologies, and building a nationwide ecosystem of MBE manufacturers. That led to the National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016 at Georgia Tech this past March 24.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, minority-owned firms in the United States increased to 8 million in 2012 from 5.8 million in 2007. Those 8 million businesses employed 7.2 million Americans.

In Georgia, there are 371,588 minority-owned firms that contribute more than $38.4 billion annually in economic output. These firms employ more than 202,000 Georgians.

Since 2009, MBDA Business Centers have assisted minority firms with gaining access to more than $31 billion in capital and contracts, while creating and retaining nearly 142,000 jobs.

About the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta

Established in 2004 and part of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta is a member of the national network of the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency. The MBDA Business Center-Atlanta provides business and technical assistance to help emerging and existing minority business enterprises achieve significant growth and sustainability and create long-term economic impact through increased jobs and revenue.

Advanced Technology Development Center unveils redesigned space

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center on March 23. From left: House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar'shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, acting general manager, ATDC.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon March 23, 2016, following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. From left: Georgia House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar’shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s acting general manager. (PHOTOS by Shane Matthews)

By Péralte C. Paul

 

Following a year of planning, brainstorming, design reviews, and construction, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) unveiled its redesigned space March 23 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator's importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator’s importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state at a March 23, 2016 ribbon cutting ceremony of the incubator’s redesigned space.

ATDC is Georgia Tech’s statewide incubator and works with entrepreneurs in the technology space who want to build successful startups in the Peach State. Launched in 1980, ATDC is one of the longest-running and largest university-based startup incubators in the country. Though headquartered at the Century Building in Midtown Atlanta’s Technology Square, ATDC operates programs across the state, including in Savannah, Augusta, and Athens.

 

“We had a lot of discussions at ATDC about how best to meet our startups’ needs and make this floor more conducive to the innovation and collaboration atmosphere we have here in the Tech Square community,” said Christopher Downing, interim vice president of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Tech unit that includes its core economic development initiatives, including ATDC.

 

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia.

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia at the incubator’s post-redesign ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 23, 2016.

“The changes you see around you are a result of those discussions and are designed not only to enhance what we do every day, but also to keep to our mission of working with entrepreneurs to help them build and launch successful technology companies right here in Georgia.”

 

Several members of the Georgia House of Representatives’ Small Business Development Committee, including Reps. Dar’shun Kendrick and Doreen Carter, attended the ceremony, as well as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said ATDC is a key part of the city’s efforts to let those in the technology space know that Atlanta is a city of innovation and the place to launch transformative companies.

 

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016 and details the renovations made to ATDC's floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016, and details the renovations made to ATDC’s floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

“I’m here to congratulate you and let you know that you have a partner in the city,” Reed said.

 

The renovations — which were done through a refinancing of bonds and at no cost to taxpayers — address growing demands for ATDC’S services from its companies and the greater entrepreneurial community. Key highlights include a new lobby, additional seed space and meeting offices, and a new classroom for ATDC classes that also is open and available for free in the evenings to technology entrepreneurs and organizations related to tech startups. Additional changes include a reconfigured library for entrepreneurs’ use as a communal space in which to collaborate and brainstorm.

 

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator's role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator’s role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

“Since its opening in 2003, Tech Square has become the hub of innovation and new ideas in metro Atlanta and in the greater Southeast. With that being the case, there is no more fitting home for ATDC’s home base than right here in Tech Square,” said Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research. “ATDC’s presence here and its ongoing impact for entrepreneurs across the state are critical success factors for the innovation ecosystem as a whole and to Georgia Tech as an institution.”

Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership names new South Georgia region manager

http://gamep.org/region-manager-team-members/

Hank Hobbs is the new manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s South Georgia region.

By Katie Takacs

 

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), an outreach program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, named Henry B. “Hank” Hobbs as the new South Georgia region manager.

 

In this role, Hobbs will serve manufacturers in 32 counties across South Georgia, with his office based in the South Georgia region. He and his team of project managers will work closely with local manufacturers to help them develop top-line growth and reduce bottom-line costs through process improvement efforts, ISO management systems, energy and sustainability initiatives, innovation growth strategies, and connections to Georgia Tech. These valuable services contribute to Georgia’s economic growth because it supports Georgia’s strong manufacturing sector and brings new jobs to both urban and rural areas across South Georgia.

 

Hobbs will be taking over the role from Art Ford, who retired after more than 30 years with Georgia Tech. Before his appointment as region manager, Hobbs previously served as a GaMEP project manager and prior was with the Technical College System of Georgia, serving business and industry across the southern part of the state. With more than 10 years of experience working within manufacturing companies as an industrial and manufacturing engineer, plant engineer, and a safety, health and environmental manager, Hobbs brings expertise in traditional industrial engineering disciplines, quality systems, process improvement, welding, automation, stamping and metals manufacturing, supervisory and leadership development, and regulatory compliance.

 

“Hank has been an integral part of the GaMEP team since joining the organization almost two years ago. We are excited about his transition from a project manager to a region manager,” said Karen Fite, GaMEP director. ”With extensive experience working within manufacturing plants, he brings a great skill set to the job.”

 

In this position, Hobbs will work closely with the local chambers and economic development groups, as well as connect local manufacturers back to the variety of programs that Georgia Tech offers to manufacturers across the state.

 

“I look forward to connecting with more manufacturers in the region in which I not only work but live, listening to their needs, providing a solutions-based approach to help them grow competitively, and establishing long-term relationships,” said Hobbs.

 

For more information, contact Katie Takacs at ude.hcetag.etavonninull@scakat.eitak.

Delta Air Lines to open collaborative research center at Georgia Tech

TechSquare_AfterDelta Air Lines plans to open a collaborative research center at the Georgia Institute of Technology that will focus on operations and customer experience enhancements.

 

The Atlanta-based airline, which is funding the initiative through a $2 million grant, is leasing 6,500 square feet in the Centergy building at Technology Square. It is expected to open in early 2016.

 

“At Delta we are continuously seeking to improve and elevate our operations and the customer experience,” said Gil West, Delta’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This facility is the first of its kind for the domestic aviation industry. Tapping into the bright minds at Georgia Tech is an opportunity to gain new perspectives and approaches across Delta for changes that will advance our business now and for years to come.”