Leveraging innovation

May 4, 2006

Product innovation to create a thriving economy is the theme May 9 when experts will be in Grand Rapids to conduct business at an event co-hosted by Kettering and Grand Rapids Community College

Strength in numbers. That's the "why" behind the strategic partnership between Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University on Tuesday, May 9, when officials will examine and help facilitate how West Michigan can embrace product innovation and economic growth.

Experts including the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and leading innovators will consult with participants and provide practical information to West Michigan manufacturers during the "hands-on" half-day symposium. Ultimately, the goal is to unite the best of West Michigan resources to creatively take advantage of global trends.

"Leveraging Innovation for Competitive Manufacturing in West Michigan" is set for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, in the Grand Rapids Community College Applied Technology Center. The $95 seminar will assist leaders of the West Michigan manufacturing, business, education and advanced technology communities.

Click on this link to register or for more information.

When: Tuesday, May 9, 2006; 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Where: Grand Rapids Community College Technology Building
Who: Leaders of the Grand Rapids manufacturing, business, education and advanced technology communities.
7:30 a.m.: Registration, continental breakfast
8 a.m.: Welcome by GRCC President Juan Olivarez
8:10 a.m.: Stanley Liberty, President, Kettering University: "The Power of Collaboration for Regional Economic Development"
8:25 a.m. - Keynote speakers (20 minutes each)

Robert Sobie, VP of Marketing for Cardinal Health
"Strategy for Innovation in Advanced Product Development & Manufacturing for Profit." Learn from a Grand Rapids native and GRCC alumnus how Cardinal Health is using "continuous innovation" to select, develop, manufacture and distribute products profitably in the face of global competition.

Major Horton '84, CFO, Rackspace Managed Hosting
"Manufacturing Strategies for the New Economy." Major Horton, a 1984 graduate of Kettering University, is dedicated to discovering the leading manufacturing innovations and best practices.

Dwight D. Carlson '67, CEO Coherix
"Financing and Managing Innovation for Manufacture." Also a prominent alumnus and a 1967 graduate of Kettering, Dwight Carlson will show how a company or industry identifies capital resources for advanced technology for manufacturing.

James Epolito, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
"Facilitating Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing in West Michigan." Learn about the State of Michigan's commitment to helping business, how local, state and federal aid is being focused, and how your company can participate.

10:05 a.m.: General question and answer session

10:30 a.m.: Networking and refreshment break, view displays

11 a.m.: Breakout Sessions - Sessions dedicated to allowing time for speakers to conduct business with participants and answer specific questions. This is the "how to" portion of the symposium.

Facilitator: Dr. Tony Hain, Kettering University vice president for Graduate Studies
Strategies for Advanced Product Development/Mfg.
Robert Sobie, Cardinal Health
Matt Dugener, West Michigan Science & Technology Institute
Charles Royce, RoyceRolls

Facilitator: John Murphy
Lean and Beyond
Major Horton, Rackspace Managed Hosting

Facilitator: GRCC Faculty Facilitator
Venture Capital/Financing
Dwight Carlson, Coherix
Todd Brandstadt, A.G. Edwards Grand Rapids
Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels
Bob Mitchell, Kettering University

Facilitator: Ray De Winkle, Right Place
Government Support & Services
James Epolito, MEDC
X-Rite representative
Kellogg representative

12:30 p.m.: Symposium adjourns

"This event is crucial for organizations that realize the need to 'reinvent' and 'innovate' as our West Michigan economy faces unprecedented global challenges," said Dr. Juan Olivarez, president of GRCC. "Grand Rapids alone was recently identified as having the highest job loss of any major metropolitan area in the country, second only to Detroit."

Stan Liberty, president of Kettering University, said collaboration among education, government and business is essential to strengthening any regional economy. "Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global knowledge economy. Many existing manufacturing companies, particularly small companies, need to draw on external assets, and assistance programs to develop innovation as a core of their business practice," he said. "This is the most effective if such assets and assistance programs are elements of a regional strategic collaboration," he added.

About Grand Rapids Community College:
Grand Rapids Community College is a vibrant institution of higher education dedicated to enriching people's lives and contributing to the vitality of the community. It is the mission of Grand Rapids Community College to provide the community with learning opportunities that enable people to achieve their goals. Grand Rapids Junior College (GRJC) was founded in 1914 by the Grand Rapids Board of Education after a resolution was passed by the University of Michigan's faculty which encouraged the establishment of junior colleges in Michigan. Throughout its 90-year history of academic excellence, GRCC has maintained a solid reputation as a premier transfer institution and is nationally recognized for both its liberal arts and occupational programs. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in more than 1,600 liberal arts and occupational courses. The diverse student body represents students from Kent and surrounding counties as well as students from across the U.S. and 22 other nations. Another 10,000 learners are served by non-credit instructional opportunities.

About Kettering University:
Kettering University, formerly called General Motors Institute, is located in Flint, Michigan, and is one of the country's premier co-op institutions. It provides 2,500 undergraduate students with career-based education in engineering, applied sciences, mathematics, and business management. Students receive instruction from faculty who are active in research and committed to excellent teaching in the classroom. Founded in 1919, the University also offers graduate programs in engineering and manufacturing management. Kettering has been continuously ranked among the nation's finest specialty schools by "U.S. News and World Report."

Contact: Pat Mroczek
(810) 762-9533