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Friday, May 26, 2006

Michigan Moving In Right Economic Direction With $2 Billion Jobs Fund

LANSING - Michigan is moving in the right direction with the creation of the 21st Century Jobs Fund, the CEO and chairman of Coherix told a legislative oversight panel on Thursday, but more programs that attract the investor's eye to the state are needed as Michigan looks to rebuild its economy.

Dwight Carlson, who heads the company that used digital holography based on research conducted at the University of Michigan, said the issue of commercializing research conducted in the state is not a new idea but that the formation of a Silicon Valley-like environment in the state needs three components: research, the perception and reality of available capital and entrepreneurs.

One thing the state would highly benefit from would be the addition of entrepreneurial schools at each of the 15 public universities, Carlson said.

At U-M, for example, Carlson said that although the school receives close to $800 million in research funding there has not been a major pull from the innovation sector to move that knowledge into a commercialized product. The state has had the Kelloggs, General Motors and Dows, to name a few, that took care of Michigan for more than 100 years, but leaders now must look at industries that are dying and find the emerging sectors that will compensate for that job loss.

"It's very encouraging," he said, " Because we have major industry dying left and right."

Having entrepreneurial schools, like the one at U-M, along with the avenues for investment in Michigan, are what will help turn the economy around, Carlson said. Leaders cannot "get a big enough club and beat the universities" into commercializing their research, he said, it must come from the outside.

While the auto industry may be booming around the world, Michigan has "a couple sick puppies in our backyard," he said, but with leadership and knowledge, Michigan is the best place for industrial technology companies to be created. Having Toyota, for which Carlson has worked as a supplier since 1971, come to Ann Arbor to build a technology center is proof of that, he said.

"You're doing all the right things," Carlson said.

This story was provided by Gongwer News Service. To subscribe, click on Gongwer.Com

Author: Staff Writer
Source: Gongwer News Service

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