Monday August 27, 2012 0 comments
By Steve Porter
LOVELAND - The city of Loveland's Technology Transfer Initiative launched earlier this year is moving forward with 23 local companies meeting with a technology consultant and each other to find ways to improve and increase technology transfer and commercialization.
Marcie Erion, the city's business development specialist, said consultant David Lung, DA2 Consulting, has been meeting over the last several months with technology-focused companies that are mostly located in Loveland and a few that are Fort Collins-based.
Lung is a former Air Force officer who spent more than 25 years in the aerospace, defense and energy industries and has made connections with NASA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and other government research and development agencies.
Lung was hired earlier this year when the Loveland City Council allocated $150,000 to fund the TTI. Services offered through the TTI include technology matching, transfer and commercialization between local companies and federal agencies, research labs and universities; grant writing assistance; and facilitation of visits to Loveland companies from federal agencies and research labs to train and assist in product research and development and commercialization.
The TTI also aims to develop and implement a marketing and communication plan to promote awareness of research opportunities in Loveland and to target and recruit tech companies to Loveland.
The TTI is designed to increase Loveland's technology base and bring good-paying jobs to the city.
But Erion said there are a couple of misunderstandings about the program that need to be cleared up.
One is that it is NASA-centric, a misconception that came about from the city's initial involvement with the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) when the former Agilent campus in south Loveland was being considered for an Aerospace and Clean Energy (ACE) initiative site that would have a close, ongoing relationship with NASA.
CAMT is now looking for a different Colorado location for ACE following the purchase of the Agilent site by Kentucky-based Cumberland and Western Resources. C&W is conducting its own recruitment of tenants for the campus.
"The minute that CAMT was involved and NASA came out in every conversation, I think that's when it became confusing in the messaging," Erion said. "Obviously, we are making NASA technology connections, and that shouldn't be undermined. But it's not the main focus of the (TTI) program.
"The value is far beyond the NASA connection," she said.
Erion said the other misconception about TTI is that it is a "feeder" program for the C&W-owned Agilent campus.
"It was never designed to fill that property," she said. "If something serendipitously came along, that's a win-win. But Cumberland and Western is working diligently to do that."
Erion said the TTI program was created to help existing Loveland-area companies. "It's part of our business retention and job-creation effort," she said.
Erion said the city is limiting its TTI program to 23 this year with the possibility of extending it to others in the future. "We do know there are more companies we can help and it's our goal to do that," she said.
Meanwhile, those 23 companies - which include such Loveland firms as Vergent Products, MM Solutions and Cadeka Microcircuits - are receiving ongoing help and assistance from the TTI.
And the business-to-business networking the program provides has proven invaluable, she noted.
"The one thing that every company brought to light was the awareness they've gotten of other companies in the area doing similar things," she said. "We now have two companies that are working together that weren't aware of each other before the program."
A presentation on the TTI program will be part of the Innovation and Technology Showcase set for 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 5 at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, 815 14th St. SW in Loveland.
The showcase is free and open to the public but space is limited. RSVP by Aug. 31 to [email protected] or call 970-962-2604.