Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reorganizing CTED for Tech

The Technology Alliance, composed of tech associations in Washington State, is proactive in the new reorganization of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Their submitted comments, along with the supportive tech associates, is presented below.

In the Company of Bloggers (Again)

This weekend, I'm travelling north to Chicago for the 2009 National Main Street Conference, where I'll be part of a group presentation entitled: "Blogging, Multi-media & Bunnies: Three Things You Need Not Fear" (by the way, I didn't choose that title).

My co-presenters are Rob Voigt, author of Civic Blogger, and Cac Kamak, a planner with the City of Oak Harbor--as you can see, we all have roots in Western Washington even though Rob now lives in Ontario and I'm here in Illinois. The National Main Street Center is making a big push this year to demonstrate the value of social media as marketing and communications venues for revitalization efforts in smaller communities. As the practitioner in the group (although our Main Street program is only Introductory as yet), I'll relate my experience with blogging in Tacoma (a relatively large urban community) and, subsequently, deploying three blogs here in Columbia.

This is not my first experience covering this ground at a national conference. In 2007, Tacoma blogger Derek Young and I presented at the annual conference for the International Downtown Association (IDA). That group is where the larger metropolitan districts get together to compare notes, while the current conference is the national gathering for smaller cities, towns and villages.

One very cool element of this conference is the live conference blog that Rob and Cac have set up. Look for me there next week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TA dah! It's all about Education

Metro East Hopes to Add Cyber Command to Scott Portfolio

Since my move to St. Louis' Metro East area, I've been involved with the Leadership Council Southwest Illinois, the economic development organization for Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties. Its mission is to attract and retain jobs, stimulate capital investment, and promote the economic development of Southwestern Illinois by building effective partnerships with leaders in business, industry, government, education and labor.

The Leadership Council was instrumental during the last round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to efforts to retain Scott Air Force Base. Today, the Leadership Council is hoping to add a new eagle to Scott's aerie: the Cyber Command. Cyber Command would be responsible for all service cyberspace operations; its main mission would be to prevent the breakdown of systems used to make military and combat decisions. The 24th Air Force Cyber Command falls under the Air Force's Space Command and is expected to have a $1 billion budget with a payroll of up to $45 million.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello from Belleville joined U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin from Springfield in urging Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley to put Scott at the top of his list of potential sites. That list currently also includes: Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado; Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana; Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; Langley Air Force Base in Virginia; and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

In a letter to Secretary Donley, Rep. Costello emphasized several reasons why Scott AFB should be the premier location under consideration:
  • Scott's commitment to the "Future Total Force" concept, pulling together all the various services on the base;
  • The base's central location in the country;
  • The presence of a technologically savvy workforce in the local area;
  • Great community support from groups like the Leadership Council Southwest Illinois; and
  • The high quality of school districts in the area.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Greetings from Metro East!

The editors of Tacoma Tech Connect have graciously allowed me continued access to this blog, which I helped start a couple years ago when I was in Tacoma. When we moved here last year, I told most people that we were moving to St. Louis, and I quickly learned that the Missouri city's metro area spreads across two states.

The Illinois part of the area is known locally as the Metro East, and it has some distinct characteristics beyond being under the legal jurisdiction of the State of Illinois. Metro East encompasses five Illinois counties in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2000, there were 599,845 people living in this designated area, scattered across a variety of cities and small towns, typically called "villages" here. The area's largest city is Belleville, but other large population centers include Edwardsville, Collinsville, Alton and Columbia.

A fast-growing urban/suburban area with a population under 1 million in a separate jurisdiction from the area's largest population center but still under that area's shadow. Sound familiar? The parallel to Tacoma continues...

The area's largest employer is military: Scott Air Force Base. Nearly 6,500 military and 3,500 civilian employees work at this complex, which occupies almost 4,000 acres with 900 buildings just north and east of Belleville. Scott is home to the U.S. Transportation Command, as well as the Air Force Command, Control, Communications and Computer Agency and the Air Weather Service. Long-time Tacomans may be interested to learn that the current Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command is Gen. Duncan McNabb, who led the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB in 1996-97.

What's all this got to do with technology? You'll find out in my next post.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TAN Presents Another Winner

The TacomaAngel Network produced another winner with its follow on course for Due Diligence* after last November's Deal Making seminar. Again with the assistance of the Kauffman Foundation and serial entrepreneur Bill Payne, a full house at the UWT's William Philip Hall worked at making themselves better angel investors.

The all-day seminar sandwiched TAN's regular general membership forum where two companies were featured to the qualified investors. Seminar participants had the immediate opportunities to practice the classroom coursework. After hearing the 15-minute tall-building elevator speeches of each company's spokesperson, 5-minute Q&A sessions delved into the heart of investment opportunities.
Then, the entrepreneurs retreated to display areas where the potential investors could follow up with earlier unasked questions, and finger the merchandise on display.
Angel groups in the western Washington area are beginning to do more things in collaboration. Larry Kopp, Co-Chair of TAN welcomed all registered attendees, and noted that half the seminar enrollees were from other angel organizations.
This example of a sharing of entrepreneurial training on a regional basis matches the database sharing among these same angel groups via their websites but as they also assist one another by opening sharing protocols.
* The Power of Angel Investing is a program of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and is presented by the Angel Capital Education Foundation

Friday, February 6, 2009

Congressman Redistributes Staff Duties

Roel van der Lugt, Senior Field Representative, has taken over outreach responsibilities to the technology sector here in Washington State for Congressman Adam Smith. Roel may be reached by e-mail or by telephone at (253) 896-3783.

It has been our pleasure working with Linda Danforth, District Representative for Cong. Smith who had handled this issue area over the months and years. Linda will remain on Congressman Smith’s district office staff, and taking on new responsibilities.

Having worked with Roel on many issues, I encourage you to contact him whenever you have suggestions, questions or feedback for the Congressman.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Research Funding Available from Washington Technology Center

Are you working on innovative technology applications with near-term commercial potential? Consider applying for a Washington Technology Center grant to offset the costs of your R&D.

Washington Technology Center awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to Washington-based research teams in an effort to help transition great ideas out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

If you are a Washington technology business looking to partner with an academic or non-profit researcher on a collaborative research endeavor, you may be eligible for a funding award through Washington Technology Center's Research & Technology Development (RTD) grants program. These awards help Washington companies grow faster, create jobs and attract investors by providing the critical funding needed to advance scientific research and product development.

RTD awards pay up to 80% of the cost of research projects -- allowing you to channel your capital to other business growth needs or continue working on breakthrough scientific discoveries. Project teams are eligible to receive up to $100,000 for initial proof-of-concept projects and up to $300,000 total for multi-phase projects.

Washington Technology Center allocates $1 million annually for these grants, which are awarded on a competitive basis to collaborative research teams working on innovative technology projects with strong commercial potential. Washington Technology Center is now accepting proposals for its next round of grants which will be awarded in June. Projects begin July 1. But hurry, application deadlines are drawing near.

Notice of Intent deadline is

March 19 and

applications are due April 23.

Free informational meetings are held throughout Washington state each year.

For more information about the RTD Grants Program, visit here. Here you will find everything from Eligibility Criteria to Downloadable Proposal Materials. Or, for additional information, please contact Russell Paez, 206.616.3102.

More than 300 companies have benefited from the RTD grant program. You could be next.