How upstate New York can thrive in a global economy will be the focus of a CEO-studded event at the University at Buffalo in October.
The Industry-University Day, organized by UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, will showcase talks by Polaroid CEO Gary T. DiCamillo and by John Yochelson, president of the Council on Competitiveness in Washington, D.C.
The council, a gathering of corporate, scientific and labor leaders, made news in March with its "Innovation Index" looking at factors that contribute to a vibrant economy and rising living standards.
"What's on our plate is, what will it take for this region to get the kind of economic momentum that other parts of the country have," said Yochelson, who grew up in Buffalo and attended the Nichols School.
Other regions have overcome economic shocks to become growth powerhouses, he said. For example, competition from Japanese computer chip makers forced industry in Silicon Valley industry to climb the value chain and develop new, higher-cost computer products, he said.
The council study focuses on regional innovation "clusters," or areas where the infrastructure is in place for forming ideas and making them into new products.
"It's clear that location means a lot -- its what separates Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, and Seattle from the rest of the country," Yochelson said. "Nobody said it (innovation) had to happen in those areas."
Despite a healthy economy, U.S. investment in research and education is slowing, a factor that will limit long-term prosperity, the council's innovation study said.
"Anyone can manufacture cheaper than the U.S., so we have to stay ahead . . . we need the productivity edge," said Mark Karwan, dean of the Engineering School. Karwan served on an advisory committee that had input into the Innovation Index study, headed by researchers at Harvard and MIT.
Erich Bloch, a Distinguished Fellow of the Council on Competitiveness and UB alumnus, will present a look at where New York stands on competitive factors like capital, education and the research base.
Karwan said he expects about 350 people to attend the event Oct. 28 at the University's North Campus. The program will highlight research at UB with tours of its earthquake research center and supercomputer center.
This will be the third Industry-University Day at UB. The two previous events showcased talks by Lockheed Martin Corp. Chairman Norman Augustine and by Paul A. Allaire, CEO of Xerox.
Individual tickets for the lunch and presentation are $50 and corporate sponsorships are available. For corporate sponsorship, contact James M. Seng, the engineering school's director of development, at 645-2133 Ext. 1122. For individual tickets, contact Robert Barnes, associate dean, 645-2768.