Notes from the President

2014 Summer Tour: 500 miles, 24 events, 7 cities

Earlier this month we completed our sixth annual summer tour.  Over a four-day period we traveled 500 miles through 26 counties, with 24 events in seven cities. We met with businesses, lawmakers, editorial boards, alumni, members of the Board of Regents and others.  I am told that in the five years I’ve been at Georgia Tech, our state tours have covered more than 4,000 miles.  While the pace is demanding, we always look forward to the opportunity to visit with friends and leaders throughout the state to listen, learn, and share the exciting things happening at Georgia Tech, both on the campus in Atlanta, and things we’re doing to help communities throughout the state.

Many were surprised to learn that EI2, Tech’s primary business outreach organization, has worked with more than 2,500 organizations throughout the state to provide training, education and connections to Georgia Tech resources and partner organizations. Through ATDC, our technology business incubator, we supported more than 400 technology startup companies that generated capital activity of $162 million.

This year’s tour focused on middle Georgia, with stops in Augusta, Sandersville, Dublin, Hawkinsville, Warner Robins, Perry, and Griffin, Georgia.

Over the past year, Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MEP, helped 35 manufacturing companies in Middle Georgia reduce operating cost by $4 million and increase sales by more than $38 million, creating or saving 664 jobs.

In Augusta we got a first-hand look at some of our work through EI2 when we toured the Georgia Regents University (GRU) Emergency Room.  We were invited by Dr. Matt Lyon, a Georgia Tech alumnus who is vice chairman for Academic Affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine at GRU. Georgia Regents University Hospital recently partnered with Georgia Tech business outreach professionals to provide training in its Patient Access and Pediatric Ambulatory Clinic. Additionally, hospital staff trained with our Health Performance Team to obtain a Lean Healthcare Certificate.  And in another connection, Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering has partnered with Georgia Regents University’s College of Dental Medicine to fund three research projects pairing faculty and researchers from both institutions.

In Hawkinsville, we visited Hollingsworth and Vose, manufacturers of paper materials for oil and air filters as well as specialty paper products.  The one hundred year-old company has worked with what is now the Georgia Tech Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) and with our business outreach professionals in EI2 for more than 20 years.  The summer tour provided an opportunity to talk about the $43.6 million transformational grant from the Institute of Paper Chemistry Foundation and RBI's research and development capabilities to help industry meet changing needs and position the Institute as a leading force in the future of the forest byproducts and paper industry.

In Warner Robins we visited the GTRI Warner Robins Field Office, where 30 GTRI employees work in support of Robins Air Force Base.  GTRI supports research and design as well as providing engineering support of development, sustainment and modernization of Air Force Systems, including both hardware and software.  We also collaborate through GTRI’s OSHA Training Institute.

Joining us at the alumni event in Perry was Mercedes Shannon from Gray, Georgia, one of our G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise scholars.  Mercedes is a Business Administration major with a concentration in Information Technology.  She interned at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, and is very engaged in leadership activities on campus.  We’re proud that through the generosity of friends, we’re able to provide students like Mercedes with the opportunity to earn a Georgia Tech degree debt free.

Our time in Griffin included a tour of the University of Georgia – Griffin campus.  Our two research institutions collaborate in dozens of areas.  We toured the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center, or FoodPIC, and the Center for Food Safety.  The State of Georgia is fortunate to have its outstanding research universities serving the state and helping to educate the people of our state and nation.

Summer Tour