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July 21 IT 2005 Summit at UTPA to promote technology development initiatives
By Office of University Relations
381-2741
Posted: 06/22/2005
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The Computing and Information Technology Center (CITeC) at The University of Texas-Pan American, in conjunction with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, will be hosting its second annual IT (Information Technology) Summit – Summit 2005 titled "Knowledge Extraction” – July 21 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the auditorium in the UTPA Engineering Building.

IT Summit 2005 will provide a regional forum on technology transfer and technology incubation as well as related economic development, education and industry issues designed to ensure high technology employment opportunities are available for computer scientists, electrical and computer engineers, biotechnologists, and computer information and other high technology professionals in South Texas. Participants will include technology professionals, economic development leaders, researchers, students and educators.

"Our long-term goal is to develop the Rio Grande Valley into a nationally competitive high technology corridor to provide employment opportunities for students receiving degrees and training from regional universities and programs” said Dr. Richard Fowler, director of CITeC and professor of computer science at UTPA, who is co-chairing the Summit with Jackie Michel, CITeC director of new business development.

According to Fowler, a key theme identified for further study by the more than 250 attendees of the IT 2004 "Knowledge Leverage” Summit was "capturing and transferring new technologies in order to create new business opportunities.” To address this theme, Fowler said, Dr. Robert J. Calcaterra, president and CEO of the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise, was chosen as the keynote speaker at IT Summit 2005.

Calcaterra will share insights and knowledge from his 20 years of experience in technology transfer, incubation and commercialization. Calcaterra was most recently president, founder and CEO of the Arizona Technology Incubator (ATI), a public/private partnership providing technical and business support services to early-stage, technology-based entrepreneurial companies. Under his leadership, ATI brought more than $50 million and 250 new jobs to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Calcaterra also established the Boulder (Col.) Technology Incubator and has won numerous national awards regarding business incubation initiatives.

Technology incubation has been shown to provide a source of direct economic impact and to help create long-term successful technology-based businesses which will in turn expand the number of jobs, particularly high technology jobs, “If we do not invest in our human capital right here at home, we will lose some of the most talented and brilliant minds to other cities, states, and even countries,” Fowler indicated.

The Summit will feature a panel discussion on "Technology Innovation and Technology Incubation in the Rio Grande Valley” led by Dr. Miguel Gonzalez, interim associate dean and director for the UTPA School of Engineering and Computer Science. The panel will include representatives from local business, economic development, government and research institutions. The agenda will also include Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, associate vice president for research at UTPA, who will discuss the increased research emphasis at the University, which significantly increases both faculty and student research efforts.

"The increase in the level of research should result in an increase in the number of new inventions based on data that has been seen at other institutions of higher education,” Lawrence-Fowler said.

She indicated that understanding how to leverage this new knowledge and the long-term economic and technology-based business infrastructure necessary to extract the new knowledge leading to high technology businesses for the Valley will be the focus of the panel and audience discussions.

Many published reports, Lawrence-Fowler said, have commented on technology and manufacturing positions being lost to offshore workers. But, other reports indicate a second wave of even more high technology manufacturing engineering and information technology professionals will be needed as a result of the new trends.

A December 2003 policy bulletin (PB 03-11) of the Institute for International Economics available at www.iie.com emphasizes "what these (offshore) projections ignore is that the globalization of software and IT services, in conjunction with diffusion of IT to new sectors and businesses, will yield even stronger job demand in the United States for IT-proficient workers.”

CITeC director Fowler said that UTPA, as well as other institutions of higher education in the region, are producing the students who will fill the high technology jobs to retain the human capital that will be required to maintain North American technology-based economic growth.

"We need to work together to create the opportunities for them to perform the high technology jobs here in the Valley,” Fowler said.

For registration and further information on the 2005 IT Summit go to http://www.citec.panam.edu/summit05/

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