Creating An Innovation Based Economy In Southside Virginia


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This is a presentation I made at the International Economic Development Conference in Oct 2008

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Creating An Innovation Based Economy In Southside Virginia

  1. 1. Jack Freeman Institute For Advanced Learning & Research Danville, VA Creating An Innovation-Based Economy In Southside Virginia
  2. 2. <ul><li>A once thriving and important Virginia </li></ul><ul><li>Economic center has fallen on hard times in </li></ul><ul><li>the last quarter century. </li></ul>Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Southside Virginia
  3. 3. Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Southside Virginia <ul><li>Economic base: Tobacco, textiles, furniture, manufacturing </li></ul><ul><li>August 2001: 7% unemployment in Danville; 7.5% Pittsylvania County </li></ul><ul><li>Rapidly increasing gap between region earnings and other statewide earnings. </li></ul><ul><li>12% of white residents and 5% of black residents have Bachelor’s or Graduate degree </li></ul><ul><li>20% of adults have less than a 9th grade education </li></ul>
  4. 4. Southside Challenges <ul><li>Aging Population </li></ul><ul><li>Out migration of talented, young people </li></ul><ul><li>Workers lack high tech skills </li></ul><ul><li>Slow technology adoption by public </li></ul><ul><li>Local mindset that doesn’t value education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low level of College Degree attainment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High level of High School dropouts </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Danville, circa 1950s
  6. 6. China Today
  7. 7. <ul><li>Problem in Southside Virginia : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Market conditions work against self-correction (What is of value to 21 st Century Economy in Southside?): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research universities are located in other places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical infrastructure is developed in other places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talent migrates to other places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High tech jobs are created in other places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth happens in other places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wealth is created in other places </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Most Important Factors in Economic Growth <ul><li>Universities </li></ul><ul><li>Skilled Labor Pool </li></ul><ul><li>Airports </li></ul><ul><li>A Nice Place to Live </li></ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurial Hot Spots: The Best Places in the Country to Start & Grow a Company </li></ul><ul><li>Birch, Haggerty & Parsons, 2000 </li></ul>
  9. 9. What would you request? <ul><li>If you were the Southside community leadership, what would you ask of a university to spark economic transformation? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Local Leadership <ul><li>Future of the Piedmont Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: To reverse regional economic decline </li></ul><ul><li>Seven prominent local businessmen </li></ul><ul><li>Considerable energies: Political and financial support, city and county cooperation, recruiting major Research educational partner </li></ul><ul><li>Future of the Piedmont: Catalyst in establishing VT partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Seed money: Tobacco Commission, local trust fund </li></ul><ul><li>Retained consultant to recommend economic progress strategies </li></ul>
  11. 11. Strategic Plan for Region <ul><li>Learning, Working, Winning </li></ul><ul><li>Key Recommendations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create Institute for Advanced Learning and Research as partnership between Virginia Tech, Averett University, Danville Community College </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Human Resource Base for New Economy through Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Close Digital Divide through Low-Wealth Youth and Adult Technology Training Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop K-12 Teacher Information Technology Literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthen Core Academic Competencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Install a State-of-the-Art Technology Infrastructure as a Catalyst for Economic Diversification Towards the New Economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target Research Related to Strategic Economic Development </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Regional Assets <ul><li>Strong agricultural history; abundance of suitable fields and greenhouses </li></ul><ul><li>Regional polymers cluster, though commodity-focused </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of significant road course race track and motorsports industry concentration </li></ul><ul><li>Natural resources – Dan River, Piedmont </li></ul><ul><li>Architectural assets preserved </li></ul><ul><li>Creative, action-oriented local government leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Significant population centers to the north & south </li></ul><ul><li>2-3 hour proximity to 6 major Research institutions </li></ul>
  13. 13. MISSION <ul><li>Strategic Research and Technology Transfer </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach Programs </li></ul><ul><li>IALR Conference Center Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Infrastructure Development </li></ul>The Institute will develop and attract technology and talent critical to Southside Virginia’s economic transformation through:
  14. 14. Strategic Research <ul><li>Four Research Centers, led by VA Tech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building on existing regional assets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anchoring innovation activity in Southside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating the region’s new economic engine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Robotics </li></ul>Advanced Polymers High Value Horticulture & Forestry Motorsports Engineering
  15. 15. Technology Transfer <ul><li>Strengthening existing companies with new innovations </li></ul><ul><li>Contract research for small and medium-sized companies </li></ul><ul><li>Attracting companies to locate near Institute researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Birthing new enterprises from the laboratory innovations </li></ul>
  16. 16. Commercial Ventures <ul><li>VIPER Services </li></ul><ul><li>w/ODU and VT: testing vehicle dynamics with 8-post rig, driving simulator, chassis dynamometer and LaRC wind tunnel </li></ul><ul><li>JOUSTER Enterprises </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Defense and associated contractors – development, evaluation and test of unmanned vehicle systems </li></ul><ul><li>ISRR Start-ups </li></ul><ul><li>Tissue Culture Production Facility </li></ul><ul><li>AAPPI Services </li></ul><ul><li>Rheology Testing, Analytic Characterization, and Product </li></ul><ul><li>Development Services </li></ul>
  17. 17. Advanced Learning Attract and develop a highly skilled, well-educated workforce, by enhancing the quality, scope, and availability of higher education academic programs in the region. Other Educational Institutions
  18. 18. Promote Southside Virginia as a Destination Location <ul><li>Institute Conference Center (ICC) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Southside Virginia as a destination location </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attract new and larger groups to region </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expose outsiders, business leaders to our region and its assets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spillover of conference attendees and their families to regional attractions </li></ul></ul>Promote Southside Virginia as a Destination Location
  19. 19. Advanced Networking & Technology <ul><li>Seed the development of low cost, high speed telecommunications capability </li></ul><ul><li>Linking researchers, schools, businesses, governments, hospitals and citizens in Southside to the world </li></ul><ul><li>Fiber optic cable, gigabit speeds </li></ul>Regional Backbone Initiative eDan
  20. 20. Academic Programs <ul><li>Creating a workforce aligned with IALR research initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Seamless educational pathways in strategic sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid-Delivered Degree Completion Programs </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Motorsports/Performance Engineering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unmanned Systems/Robotics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Polymers Engineering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High Value Horticulture & Forestry </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Outreach Programs <ul><li>Math, Science, Technology, and Capacity Building Programs for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>K-12 children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Southside college students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>K-16 teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small businesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-profits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adults </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Institute for Advanced Learning and Research: Brief History <ul><li>Concept formulated </li></ul><ul><li>Initial staff hired through VT </li></ul><ul><li>IALR established as subdivision of the Commonwealth </li></ul><ul><li>IALR building inaugurated </li></ul><ul><li>State funding appropriated </li></ul><ul><li>Research wing opened </li></ul><ul><li>State funding for 20+ faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Research building occupied </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Energy Research Building funded </li></ul><ul><li>2000 </li></ul><ul><li>2001 </li></ul><ul><li>2002 </li></ul><ul><li>2004 </li></ul><ul><li>2004 </li></ul><ul><li>2005 </li></ul><ul><li>2006 </li></ul><ul><li>2008 </li></ul><ul><li>2008 </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Staff (IALR total = 70) </li></ul><ul><li>41 permanent R&D faculty and staff </li></ul><ul><li>11 PhDs who hold 68 US and international patents </li></ul><ul><li>18 IALR-based graduate students in 2008-09 </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure (IALR total = 160,000+) </li></ul><ul><li>IALR, VIR, and DRBDC space completed (49,000 sq ft) </li></ul><ul><li>Research Addition (36,000 sq ft) opening Aug 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Greenhouse in planning stages </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Energy Center entering construction phase </li></ul><ul><li>Financial (IALR 2000-2008 Commitments=$80M) </li></ul><ul><li>State Support (IALR total=$6.3M; R&D=$3.2M </li></ul><ul><li>Research: $7.3M expenditures, $16.1M grants in force </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Development/Industry Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>R&D/Testing partnerships with major local industries </li></ul><ul><li>3 new locations in part attributable to IALR (700+ jobs total with base of PhD scientist and engineering jobs) </li></ul><ul><li>Since 2004, City of Danville and Pittsylvania County leaders have announced 5500 new jobs </li></ul><ul><li>High tech additions include AVRC and NexGen </li></ul>Early Results
  24. 24. Early Results (Cont’d) <ul><li>43 IALR-based Ph.D scientists, post-docs, technicians, engineers, and grad students </li></ul><ul><li>9 New Degree Completion programs </li></ul><ul><li>5620 K-12 Students in IALR STEM Programs </li></ul><ul><li>885 K-16 Educators in teacher enrichment programs </li></ul><ul><li>2310 Adults in IALR Outreach Programs (STEM-based) </li></ul>