THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
April 8, 2005
Mr. Bruce Johnson, Director
Ohio Department of Development
77 South High Street, 29th Floor
P.O. Box 1001
Columbus, OH 43216-0101
Dear Mr. Johnson:
This letter report is the second of two reports on the work of the Committee for the Review of Physical Sciences Proposals to the State of Ohio’s Wright Centers of Innovation Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Award Program. It follows an earlier report of the committee, dated January 11, 2005. The activity is supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sciences and the state of Ohio, Department of Development. Details of the committee’s charge, the review process, the evaluation criteria used by the committee, and the committee’s expertise were contained in the January 11, 2005, report.
This report was prepared by a committee subgroup1 that met with proposal management teams in Columbus, Ohio, on February 9–10, 2005, to conduct a management review of the proposals under consideration. The management teams attending the review had been invited by the staff of the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) and were identified by the ODOD as the top five of the original nine contenders for the Wright Centers awards on the basis of their proposals.
The management presentations were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of three teams competing for awards of both capital and operating funds. Each team was provided in advance with presentation guidelines developed by the committee specifically for proposals requesting both capital and operating funds. The second group consisted of two teams that had been awarded capital funds in earlier Wright Center competitions and that were competing for additional awards of operating funds only. These teams were provided with guidelines appropriate to this category of award. At the request of the state of Ohio, the two categories of proposals were ranked separately.
During each management review, the subgroup ensured that the management team addressed the concerns described by the committee in its January 11 report. The proposal management teams had an opportunity to elaborate on their proposed efforts and to respond to questions generated by the full committee and provided to them in advance by the Ohio Department of Development. The subgroup engaged in active discussions with management team members about technical, programmatic, and commercialization issues involved in the
The subgroup consisted of a technical specialist in each of the fields represented in the proposals as well as members with broad experience in R&D, management, and commercialization. The members of the subgroup were committee members Akins, Bikson, Hudson, Johnson, McWhorter, Miller, and Palmatier. Short biographies of the full committee are included in the Attachment.
Following the presentations, the subgroup met in closed session to deliberate on the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal, after which the subgroup provided its assessments and recommendations to the full committee. The full committee reviewed and concurred with the conclusions and recommendations presented in this report. This report conveys the committee’s assessment of the merits of these top five proposals in keeping with the committee’s charge to assist the state of Ohio in making the Wright Centers program awards.
Of the three proposals seeking both capital and operating funds, the subgroup determined that the proposal for the Wright Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND) (WCI 05-01) clearly best met the objectives of the Ohio Department of Development. The other two proposals in this category were judged to be acceptable but of lesser merit. Of these, the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (WCI 05-10) proposal was judged to have marginally greater merit than the Ohio ICE Center for Advanced Controls and Measurement Systems (WCI 05-04). If another competition is organized in future years, the committee believes that these latter two proposals would be strong contenders provided the noted improvements were made to each.
Concerning the two proposals seeking operating funds only, the subgroup concluded that both had considerable merit and recommends that both be funded as a means of leveraging the important capital funds that were awarded to each in earlier competitions. These proposals are for the Wright Center of Innovation for Advanced Data Management and Analysis (WCI 05-12) and the Wright Fuel Cell Group (WCI 05-03).
The committee offers the following evaluations of the three proposals that competed for both capital and operating funds.
WCI 05-01 Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND)
The proposal effectively establishes that the polymer industry is large and important to Ohio, that it is under pressure because current products are sometimes low on the value scale, that there are significant market opportunities in innovative polymer materials, and that participating Ohio universities have nationally recognized programs in materials, polymers, and nanotechnology. The authors suggest that formation and funding of the CMPND, a consortium of six universities, fifty companies, and several trade associations and national laboratories, would create an industry-driven entity that would tap both current and potential technology capabilities of the represented universities in the realization of products and jobs with high economic impact in the state of Ohio. To carry out its mission, the center requested $20 million in capital funds and $3 million in operating funds.
The center utilizes a combined technology-push and market-pull approach that would pursue both near- and longer-term opportunities (the latter with potentially higher pay-offs). Specifically, the center’s work will focus on the areas of nanocomposites, polymer-based biomedical devices, and polymer photonics. The nanocomposite area demonstrated both industry drive and potential near-term impact.
The management team effectively addressed concerns originally raised by the review panel about the polymer-based biomedical device area. An additional position was added to the
management team to bring biomedical expertise to the center’s management, and steps were taken to establish relationships with existing organizations with greater expertise in this arena.
The research and development plan is industry driven and includes activities in materials, fabrication methods, and characterization and modeling. The technical team has an established reputation in the research areas proposed. The strong participation from industry helps ensure that the proposed research is relevant and focused.
The commercialization approach is strong, and emphasizes industry-directed work, with the ultimate authority appearing to be an industrial advisory board made up of high-level representatives from the industry partners. The management team effectively addressed the review panel’s original concerns about the make-up of the management organization by adding a recognized industrial leader to the team. This will help provide an industrial perspective to the day-to-day management of the center.
The strong industrial advisory board is a mechanism that should ensure that proper attention is paid to near-term applications. This effort is helped significantly by the fact that the industrial advisory board is not a hypothetical concept but has members already in place. The advisory board thus appears to be up and running and having a positive impact on the effort. This helps create a sense that the group is serious about an industry-led enterprise.
The committee recognizes that the CMPND team has effectively addressed concerns raised in the initial report. The CMPND effort now encompasses strength and excellence in both technology and business. It is industry driven, with significant and committed commercial partners on board, and presents a compelling market opportunity that is well suited for the state of Ohio. The level of commitment from the commercial partners is a particular strength of this effort.
A concise, well-defined governance structure is in place and will help ensure that the effort can move forward energetically and deal effectively with problems as they arise. The structure will ensure that research remains relevant and industry focused. The overall structure and operational plan are robust and well thought out.
The committee offers one suggestion to further improve the proposed effort. The committee believes that the Lighter than Air Vehicle, while important, does not represent the best possible driver for the polymer photonics application area, as the broad commercial potential of this area cannot be effectively driven by such a highly specialized application. The center is urged to develop a more broad-based and relevant driver for the polymer photonics arena, or to suitably limit resources expended in this area.
WCI 05-10 Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center
The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center proposes to innovate and commercialize products through collaboration among Battelle Corporation, the Ohio State University, and industrial partners. The aim is to create high-value, bio-based products and solutions through the development of novel chemical synthesis, innovative process technologies, and unique germ plasmas that are required to convert vegetable oils, carbohydrates, and proteins to advanced polymeric materials, specialty coatings, adhesives, composites, performance additives, solvents, fuels, and lubricants. The proposal requests $10.2 million for capital improvements and research equipment and $1.9 million for operational funds over a three-year period.
This program exhibits good industrial collaboration by proposing to link the Ohio agricultural producers, agricultural processors, and industrial consumers of the processed materials. Through this “bridge” the center intends to accelerate commercialization of materials in Battelle’s portfolio and in the center’s own developments, thus strengthening Ohio’s competitive position in bio-based chemicals and materials, creating jobs, and adding value to Ohio’s agricultural base. The ambitious longer-term goal of transforming crops into more compatible raw materials for industrial consumption is laudable. The program proposes to draw heavily on the strong bio-based product development portfolio of the Battelle Corporation, a strength that offers strong near-term economic benefits but is also a cause for concern. Success in this area promises a large positive impact on both the Ohio and the U.S. economy by replacing petrochemical-derived raw materials with renewable resources grown in Ohio and the Midwest. It is a concern because of the heavy dependence on Battelle for its near-term technology. The committee appreciates that the center proposes to develop its own technology portfolio using Battelle’s strong bio-based product platform as the springboard.
The committee recognizes the value of this endeavor, and is pleased that the center has the support of PolymerOhio Inc., which represents Ohio’s $50 billion industry in polymers, plastics, rubber, and advanced materials, and the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, which represents senior industry, government, and academic leaders. These groups can provide critical linkages to distribute innovations to commercial entities. The committee also notes that two large agricultural product processors have committed in-kind support and indirect cash support through the Battelle organization and that several large consumers of the materials to be developed have pledged support for the proposed center. Consumer participation is critical to the success of the center, and the committee was disappointed that very few of these stakeholders were present to indicate or discuss their support. In addition, while the Ohio State University is a large and diverse participant, the center’s only direct linkage to other universities is through the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium. Direct links with other Ohio universities should be sought.
Responses to the committee’s questions from the initial review were appreciated. The business plan and economic model were especially helpful to its evaluation. The composition of the Board of Advisors is impressive, with a strong and diverse representation of stakeholders. The prioritization and project oversight are understood to reside with the Business Management Team (BMT), whose specific composition was not disclosed but which is a subgroup of the Board of Advisors. What influence the board had on the preparation of the plan was not clear. The committee agrees that the technical linkage to the federal laboratories is helpful and it is important that they are represented on the Board of Advisors. Given that the federal laboratories are not located in Ohio, however, the committee was concerned that the laboratories’ presence could influence decisions in ways that may not serve the best interests of the state of Ohio.
The strong vision of the program is consistent with the goals stated in the Request for Proposals, and its potential contribution to the economic well-being of the state of Ohio (and of the United States) is significant. The organizational structure is consistent with the goals of the research and development phase of the program, but greater marketing influence/control will be needed in the future if commercialization goals are to be met.
If the state of Ohio chooses to fund this proposal, the committee recommends that it address the following key issues with the management team during award negotiations:
A more explicit governance plan should be developed with assurance that the center will be operated so as to serve the best interests of the state of Ohio.
A Business Board should be appointed to objectively prioritize a research and business development agenda.
More detailed financial information, in the form of income estimates, balance sheets, and capital and operating budget, should be generated and maintained.
A more detailed market analysis should be prepared showing hurdles and timing of market entry.
The relationship between the center and the federal laboratories needs to be elucidated to ensure that the center serves the best interests of the state of Ohio.
WCI 05-04 Ohio ICE Center for Advanced Controls and Measurement Systems
The proposal for the Ohio ICE Center for Advanced Controls and Measurement Systems, which is a collaboration of Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, the University of Dayton, Kent State University, and Case Western Reserve University, requests $10.8 million for capital improvements and $2.56 million for operations. The funds would be used to create a center for research and commercialization of technology primarily for the advancement of automated and high-productivity manufacturing systems with application to systems such as autonomous and robotic vehicles and space exploration mechanisms. The committee recognizes the substantial commercial activity in this field in the state of Ohio and its potentially positive influence on manufacturing competitiveness for many employers located there.
The proposal presented a good mix of large and small companies with strong Ohio ties and the opportunity to positively influence economic growth in the state. The presented material showed end-market participation from companies in existing markets as well as emerging opportunities. There appeared to be a lack of enabling plans in terms of the partners’ direct involvement in the proposed R&D activities. This was reflected in a lower than expected cost share from the major industrial partners. It was also noted that while the proposal included some geographic distribution of the partners, there was little evidence of actual participation outside Ohio’s northeast corridor.
For the most part, the R&D activities were found to be more near term and based on existing product programs and technology thrusts than expected in a proposal of this type. This approach contributes to the appearance of less technical content in the program but provides an opportunity for a more rapid return on the investment. This was viewed as a potential positive feature by the committee, but also as a potential weakness for the long-term continuity and economic viability of the center. The use of the Third Frontier Network as a linking mechanism to prove components and modeling was considered a good method of exploring system interactions and proof of new technology; however, the committee was not able to evaluate the R&D content or quality of technical work based on the material provided. The involvement of small companies in the program and the facilitation of interchanges between the companies in the field were seen as an emerging strength of the effort but it was not clear how these emerging relationships are to be mapped into the R&D plan. It is suggested that the use of success metrics be more clearly defined in terms that correlate the R&D goals and objectives to the stated market objectives. The committee was impressed with the stated level of R&D investment as a
percentage of sales for this industry and thinks that this should be an indicator of future industry participation in the center in terms of cost sharing.
The committee was pleased to see the array of projects that the center is proposing and their relationship to the established business community in Ohio. There was not a strong case made for the relationship between the proposed research projects and leveraging of that technology into business activities other than the representation of the overall job creation numbers. The actual role of the center in the commercialization process was not defined in detail. It appeared to the committee that commercialization activities were primarily the responsibility of the companies, and while this may be adequate for the major entities there may be a need for more center involvement at the start-up level. The ICE organization’s efforts to facilitate visibility, interactions, and relationships with Ohio companies active in the field of advanced controls and measurement were viewed by the committee as a validation of the importance of both the center’s proposed activities and the concept of fostering R&D programs in this area in the geographic location where many of the state’s players reside.
The committee struggled to understand the relationship of the existing ICE organization and the proposed Wright Center; while this relationship was clarified during the presentations there remained a feeling that the overall configuration of the center within the structure of ICE was a complication that distracted from the center’s mission. The committee suggests that a simplification of this structure might enhance the proposal. The process of selecting and prioritizing programs for center R&D was not well defined and explained so that clear responsibility and support within the partnership could be assessed. There was also some concern that while the proposal noted the involvement of academic institutions beyond northeastern Ohio there was little evidence that their expertise would be brought to bear on technical issues and projects, nor were they directly involved in the management and direction of the center. The degree of explanation of the handling of the intellectual property (IP) process caused the committee to question whether this area has been sufficiently reviewed and put into a relatively simple and straightforward form.
The committee concluded that the proposed center has merit and could be an important contributor to economic growth in the state. Consideration should be given to future proposals in this area that focus more specifically on the criteria of the Wright Centers of Innovation in areas such as geographic mix of participants, significant company cost sharing, and the quality of the technical content.
Next, the committee offers evaluations of the proposals that competed for operating funds only.
WCI 05-12 The Wright Center of Innovation for Advanced Data Management and Analysis
Funded by the state of Ohio at a level of $11.1 million in October 2003, the Wright Center of Innovation for Advanced Data Management and Analysis (WCI-ADMA) aims to carry out R&D that will produce advanced tools and techniques in four domains: data acquisition, management, analysis, and delivery. It constitutes a collaboration of leading Ohio information technology (IT) companies, small and medium-sized technology companies, large user
corporations, government laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and five Ohio universities. The lead university, Wright State University (WSU), was awarded an OBR-endowed Eminent Scholar in partnership with LexisNexis. WSU also recently hired a new chair (endowed) for its Computer Science and Engineering Department, and this individual heads the search committee for the to-be-named Eminent Scholar. Ohio State University (OSU) is also the recipient of an OBR Eminent Scholar in Computer Science.
In this proposal, WCI-ADMA is requesting operating funds of $3 million over three years:
To fill the center’s three senior positions on a paid basis rather than using loaned executives or externally generated funding;
To hire additional full-time staff in portfolio management, contracts management, and market-sector research; and
To accelerate start-up, build center “brand recognition,” and support travel by the board, committee members, and staff.
The committee considers the continued strong involvement of private- and public-sector business partners an outstanding asset of WCI-ADMA. Another major asset is its board of trustees, which—now almost completely appointed (with 10 of an anticipated 11 members selected)—comprises top management representatives of the three types of collaborating institutions. Further, the board’s commitment to the center is demonstrated by its quarterly meetings and by its review of WCI-ADMA’s success metrics; these are updated in scorecard fashion in advance of each meeting.
The committee appreciates the challenges presented by the very fast cycle time in the R&D domains the center targets and by the changing market emphases it faces (as reflected, for instance, in the slowed pace of demand for product-level RFID). From this perspective, the committee commends WCI-ADMA’s “early wins” approach, initiating three sponsored projects even before construction of its new research facility had begun. The committee also urges that WCI-ADMA move rapidly to establish regular collegial research engagement with its partner universities and other center members using available Internet connectivity even before specialized collaboration tools and techniques have been implemented. Up to now, the involvement of academic partners seems to have been quite limited in comparison with the involvement of other collaborators. Such steps, along with choosing an Eminent Scholar to fill the open position, will significantly enhance the center's ability to accomplish its R&D objectives.
The market-driven and results-oriented nature of WCI-ADMA’s R&D approach should enable it to achieve commercialization successes. Toward that end, the center has articulated an intellectual property (IP) plan that makes it the exclusive IP channel for center innovations. Vetted by industry and by independent lawyers, the plan is designed to enable speed to market while yielding fair benefits to all involved: researchers are able to publish their work, and they and their universities have a share in the resulting funds along with the center. The IP plan, a formal part of the WCI-ADMA membership agreement, has been signed by WSU and by all industry and public partners. The committee urges the center to give high priority now to completing the IP agreement with its academic partners.
The committee finds that WCI-ADMA has an effective business model and a strong business team. It understands the need for operating funds to compensate full-time dedicated
professionals in its senior management positions. However, the committee did not find adequately detailed justification for the specific amounts and categories of operating funds requested. Based on the available information, the committee believes that the WCI-ADMA could carry out its stated objectives with operating funds totaling approximately $1.5 million or at least in the range of $1 million to $2 million.
If the state of Ohio chooses to fund this proposal, the committee recommends that it address the following key issues with the proposal team during award negotiations:
There should be a careful assessment and justification of the specific types and levels of effort for which funds are being requested.
There should be a clear short-term plan to reach out to and create closer linkages with the academic partners; in particular, it is critical to integrate OSU—the state’s flagship university—into the center’s R&D activity.
WCI-05-03 Wright Fuel Cell Group
The Wright Fuel Cell Group requests $1,665,044 in operating funds to complement the previously awarded $20 million in capital funds. Originally named the Power Partnership for Ohio, the Wright Fuel Cell Group was established in 2003 as a Wright Center of Innovation after receiving a capital funding award. Led by Case Western Reserve University, this center is a collaboration of five Ohio academic institutions, a broad coalition of industrial companies, and other nonprofit organizations. The goal of the center is to establish Ohio as an international leader in fuel cell research and innovation, creating a competitive advantage for Ohio companies leading to job creation and spin-off businesses.
In the committee’s view, the center has made good progress in implementing its vision. It has been successful in hiring a full-time director and a director of academic research, attracting world-class research talent, and garnering new sources of federal funding. The major strength of the center is that it brings together a world-class research team. It has a well-defined and focused research plan with strong industry input and guidance. The institutions on the proposal team have demonstrated good capability in obtaining federal research dollars, and the proposed enhancements with the requested operating funds would allow them to seek and obtain additional research funds from the increasing level of federal investment in this technology. This success in obtaining grants and contracts contributes substantially to the sustainability of the center.
Although the Wright Fuel Cell Group has established an organizational structure and hired a full-time director and academic research director, in the committee’s view the center would operate more effectively if the governance responsibilities and organizational structure were more clearly defined. Separating research and administrative duties and defining the matrix of responsibilities among the various universities could allow for better leveraging of the center’s efforts.
The proposal clearly defines how the requested additional funds would be used to accelerate and extend the center by hiring new talent and enhancing linkages between the universities and industry.
If the state of Ohio chooses to fund this proposal, the committee recommends that it address the following key governance and management issues with the proposal team during award negotiations:
The center should seek external professional assistance (from either the business schools of the participating universities or from center participant McKinsey & Company) to strengthen its governance and organizational structure. If additional funding is needed to obtain this assistance or to fund the recommendations, the committee would support such a request.
The center should move to fill the remaining two key leadership positions (Director of Operations and Director of Applied Research) as soon as possible.
The roles and responsibilities of the board of directors, as well as the frequency of meetings, should be strengthened to provide better overall governance. Such an enhancement would also bring greater cohesiveness to the center.
This concludes the committee’s analysis of the five proposals that remained for consideration following the first round of proposal reviews reported on January 11, 2005.
Some of the committee members have had the opportunity to serve this activity since its inception and have developed a good understanding of the Wright Centers program. As such they feel obliged and competent to go beyond the committee’s strict purview and provide three suggestions for potentially increasing the impact of the state of Ohio’s investment in Wright Centers of Innovation.
One of the three proposals requesting only operating funds that was examined in the first round and reported in the January 11, 2005, letter was the Ohio Center for Advanced Propulsion (WCI 05-08). It was not considered as strong as the two other proposals in this category, both of which are recommended for support in the current report. On further reflection and noting the leverage on the initial capital funds already approved for these projects that will be provided by the requested operating funds, the committee recommends that the state of Ohio allow the proposers of WCI 05-08 to make their case again for operating funds. Having the benefit of the committee’s comments on the strengths and weaknesses of their original proposal, the proposers may be able to present a more convincing case and provide an opportunity for the state of Ohio to significantly leverage the existing capital funds. It is the committee’s view that operating funds are critical to fully leveraging capital investment during the start-up phase.
As multiple industry and academic institutions combine their resources to generate and implement a Wright Center, the committee has observed that many of these teams face similar barriers. For example, resolving intellectual property
rights among industry participants and multiple universities has been a time-consuming and delaying factor for most if not all existing centers. The committee’s review of the existing centers’ requests for operating funds provided insight into the commonality of both problems and solutions to many of these recurring issues. The committee believes that a biennial forum for past and future Wright Center teams (i.e., principal investigators, executive directors, industry board members) would be very valuable. These meetings would provide an opportunity for the staff and participants of existing Wright Centers to discuss and benchmark best practices, and for future proposal teams to integrate these best practices into their plans. For some of the most difficult issues, cross-center working groups could be formed to develop a Wright Center “template,” thus institutionalizing a solution across all centers (e.g., a Wright Center intellectual property framework that both industry and Ohio’s universities find acceptable). The agenda for the Wright Centers Best Practices Forum should include input from the major stakeholders of the centers as well as the following topics recommended by the committee:
Intellectual Property (IP): Presentations on the perspectives of industry, universities, and the Wright Centers as well as on the existing centers’ IP process could set the stage for a small working group to make recommendations for a standardized framework.
Governance: The existing centers range from an extension of an academic department to a separate business run with limited faculty involvement. Governance is an especially difficult issue as multiple academic institutions are typically involved and many of the participants have only part-time roles in the centers. While different structures are probably required across the various centers, comparisons among Wright Center participants on solutions to common governance issues may be worthwhile.
Industry Linkage: A key aspect of each center is the linkage between industry participants and academic researchers working toward a common goal. Benchmarking how the different Wright Centers facilitate this important function may give existing and future centers ideas on how to strengthen this critical linkage.
Economic Development Groups: The committee was very impressed with some of the centers’ progress, but is unsure if each center is positioned to leverage its potential contributions outside the state. If each center presented some of its key accomplishments at this biennial meeting, other state organizations might be better able to leverage these resources outside the state.
The final suggestion of the committee concerns ongoing reviews and potential redirection of existing Wright Center activities. While each Wright Center has a board of directors (advisors) consisting mainly of industry constituents with some oversight responsibilities, it is not clear that this oversight is sufficient. The state of Ohio might be well served to form a Wright Center Review Board with a cross
section of both in-state and out-of-state business, government, and academic constituents to review each center on a recurring basis (ideally annually). Each center might make a presentation to the review board, address corrective actions from past reviews, and outline key accomplishments. The state of Ohio might wish to make any future funding contingent on the review board’s recommendations.
On behalf of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to help you identify the most qualified candidates for the Wright Centers Award. The committee hopes that you will find its assessment and comments useful in this effort.
Robert W. Palmatier,
Committee for the Review of Physical Science
Proposals to the State of Ohio’s Wright Centers of Innovation Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Award Program
Review of Physical Science Proposals to the State of Ohio’s Wright Centers of Innovation Award Program
ATTACHMENT: COMMITTEE BIOSKETCHES
Robert W. Palmatier is a visiting professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, having recently received the Ph.D. degree in marketing from the University of Missouri. He retired in 2000 as the president and chief operating officer of C&K Components, Inc., in Watertown, Massachusetts. The company develops, manufactures, and markets electromechanical switches in three countries and is the second largest manufacturer of electronic switches in the United States. Prior to C&K, Dr. Palmatier worked for Raychem Corporation where he served as general manager of the European PolySwitch Division, director of European commercial sales, director of worldwide marketing, director of worldwide strategic planning, and North American sales & marketing manager, among other positions. He has also served as a lieutenant on board nuclear submarines in the United States Navy and is a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer. Dr. Palmatier holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State University. He served on the 2003 Wright Centers of Innovation NRC panel.
Daniel Akins has been a professor of chemistry at the City College of New York since 1981, and director of the CUNY Center for Analysis of Structures and Interfaces, which conducts research focused on nanomaterials and their uses, since 1988. He holds a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, received in June of 1968. From 1968 to 1969, Dr. Akins was a postdoctoral associate at the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at the Florida State University (FSU). From 1969 to 1970 he served as a visiting assistant professor in the chemistry department at FSU. In 1970, Dr. Akins joined the faculty of the chemistry department of the University of South Florida, in Tampa, where he rose through the ranks from assistant to associate professor of physical chemistry. In 1977, he took the reins as visiting program director of the physical chemistry subsection of the Dynamics Program at the National Science Foundation. In 1979 he assumed a position as a senior scientist at the Polaroid Corporation, until 1981. Dr. Akins has been published in numerous professional journals and has extensively lectured at conferences and universities, both national and international. Dr. Akins is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. His principal research focus involves quantum properties of molecular nanostructures and the exploitation of such properties for formulating new nanomaterials with uses in molecular photonic devices (MPDs) and/or chemical sensors.
Tora K. Bikson, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation since 1976, is recognized for her research on the introduction of advanced communication and information technologies and their effects in varied contexts of use. She has recently completed a project to define organizational needs and identify best practices for creating, managing and distributing digital documents among United Nations organizations. In previous projects for clients including the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, the OECD, the Markle Foundation, and others,
she has addressed such issues as the factors that affect the successful transfer and implementation of new technologies in ongoing communities of practice, how innovations influence intra- and inter-organizational structures and processes, their impact on task performance and social outcomes, and their policy implications. Dr. Bikson has co-authored four recent books addressing issues of data management and communication. She holds Ph.D. degrees in philosophy (University of Missouri) and psychology (UCLA). She has chaired RAND’s Institutional Review Board since 1986. Dr. Bikson has also served on special task forces, panels and committees concerned with digital information and communication media for the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Public Administration, and the Social Science Research Council.
S. Michael Hudson recently retired as vice chairman of Rolls-Royce North America. After Allison Engine Company was acquired by Rolls-Royce, Mr. Hudson served as president, chief executive officer, chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors of Allison Engine Company, Inc. Previously, during his tenure at Allison, he served as executive vice president for engineering, chief engineer for advanced technology engines, chief engineer for small production engines, supervisor of the design for Model 250 engines, chief of preliminary design and chief project engineer in vehicular gas turbines. Mr. Hudson brings insight into propulsion engineering issues, related business issues, and the European perspective on aviation issues. He has served on a number of NRC committees including the Vehicle Systems Panel of the NRC review of NASA’s Revolutionize Aviation Program.
Donald L. Johnson (NAE) retired as vice president for product and process technology at the Grain Processing Corporation in July 2000. GPC is a major corn refiner producing grain alcohol, food and industrial starch products and conversion syrups. He was responsible for finding, analyzing, developing, and implementing new carbohydrate products and process technologies. Dr. Johnson has 35 years of broad-based business, management, and research experience in the commercial application of carbohydrate chemistry, biotechnology, food science, water-soluble polymers, adhesives, and surface active materials. Prior to joining GPC in 1987, he directed research departments at the A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company, where his responsibilities included developing products and designing and implementing strategies to support a major new chemicals-from-carbohydrate business. Dr. Johnson has authored or co-authored thirteen patents as well as numerous technical publications and presentations regarding production of foods and chemicals from renewable resources. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993 and has served on numerous NAS boards and committees. He received the doctor of science degree in chemical engineering from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1966.
Thomas Kurfess is a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, where he started in 1994. He previously served at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Kurfess specializes in system dynamics and control of precision grinding systems that involve the development and implementation of adaptive controllers for precision grinding operations. The results of his work are used in a number of industrial environments. He has received numerous awards including the Georgia Tech Outstanding Faculty Leadership award for the Development of Graduate Research Assistants in 2002 and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award in 2001. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania and is associate editor, Journal of Dynamic Systems,
Measurement, and Control and Journal of Manufacturing Systems. Dr. Kurfess received his four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, culminating with a PhD in 1989.
David M. Mann directs the activities of the Army Research Office’s Mechanical and Environmental Sciences Division. During 1991, he served as the acting director of the Engineering Sciences Directorate. In that capacity, he was responsible for oversight of the Army Research Office’s $28 million basic research programs in mathematics and computer sciences, electronics, and mechanics and environmental sciences. Dr. Mann currently directs the ARO basic research program in combustion and propulsion sciences. The program focuses on three major areas: combustion processes in engines (primarily diesels and gas turbines); combustion of solid and liquid gun and rocket propellants, and the internal ballistics of gun and rocket systems; and energetic materials hazards (the processes leading to the inadvertent ignition of propellants and explosives). He manages major, DoD-funded programs in diesel and gas turbine research and research programs for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. Dr. Mann has served on the staffs of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition, with responsibilities for coordinating basic research programs within the Department of Defense and Department of the Army.
Paul McMahon is an international consultant advising clients in Asia, Europe, and North America on a wide variety of strategic and business issues. During a long career as a partner with Ernst & Young, he led several efforts to transform the firm and the profession, including the development of a “directional plan” that resulted in the continental European firm growing from 1,000 professionals to over 4,000 in less than five years, recruited 50 individuals to lead major technology consulting projects for U.S. based clients, and initiated a multimillion dollar project utilizing technology to perform better and more efficient audits. The result, implemented in over 120 countries, provided a competitive advantage and served as a lever for fully integrating the two cultures resulting from the merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young. More recently, as chief operating officer of Amrop, the largest international federation of executive search firms, he developed and implemented a strategic plan focusing on providing professional management to start-up companies and independent directors for privately held businesses. Mr. McMahon is a graduate of Syracuse University and is a licensed CPA in New York and Oregon.
Paul McWhorter is the founder and chief technology officer of MEMX, a spin-off from Sandia National Laboratories in 2000. In the role of MEMX CTO, Mr. McWhorter has built a world-class technical team, has secured $28 million in financial backing from the nation’s top venture capitalists, including Sequoia Capital, and has recruited world-class professional management into the company. He has established strategic partnerships between MEMX and four Fortune 500 companies for the development of a variety of high-value microsystems products. MEMX’s microsystems products span biomedical, telecommunications, wireless, and national security applications. Prior to creating MEMX, Mr. McWhorter was the deputy director of Sandia’s largest center, the Microsystems Science, Technology and Components Center, from 1997 to 2000. The center is responsible for two microelectronics fabrication facilities and includes major activities in radiation-hardened microelectronics, optoelectronics/rf, integrated sensors, microelectromechanical systems and discrete weapon components. Activities span basic research, exploratory technology development, and delivery of qualified components to national
security applications. Mr. McWhorter has electrical engineering degrees from the University of Texas and Stanford University.
Jim Miller is the program director for Argonne National Laboratory’s Electrochemical Technology. He has over 25 years of experience in developing advanced energy conversion and energy storage systems. His past research activities have included work on superconducting materials, the development of advanced batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, and development of fuel cells for automotive and distributed power applications. Much of his current program is directed at supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's FreedomCAR partnership and hydrogen fuel cell initiatives. He holds three degrees in physics, including a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He also has an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Andrew J. Razeghi is the founder and managing director of StrategyLab, Inc., a growth strategy consulting firm that specializes in new business formation. He is a nationally recognized speaker, advisor, and educator on strategy and innovation. In addition, he is adjunct associate professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where he teaches about new product development. Mr. Razeghi has advised clients in industries as diverse as aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, health care, media/entertainment, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, and retail. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, and family-owned businesses. He has an MBA degree from Loyola University in Chicago, a certificate in international marketing from Richmond University, London, and a BA degree in international business from Bradley University.
M. Frank Rose joined Radiance Technologies, Huntsville, AL, as vice-president for research in 2001. In 1999, he was named director of the Science Directorate at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Previously he was professor of electrical engineering and director of the Space Power Institute at Auburn University. He has 40 years of experience in performing and managing basic and applied research in the physical sciences and advanced technologies associated with high-pressure physics, energy conversion, advanced materials, directed energy technology, space environmental effects, and space power technology. He has published 158 papers in the open literature, edited or authored 5 books, and conducted and published the proceedings of 12 specialized workshops. He has broad experience in planning, programming, coordinating, and implementing interdisciplinary R&D programs. He has extensive experience in university-industry-government relationships. Dr. Rose served on the National Research Council's Board on Army Science and Technology (1997-2004) in chairing its study on unmanned ground vehicles and co-chairing the study published as Meeting the Energy Needs of Future Warriors. He was elected a National Associate of the National Academies in 2002. He holds the PhD degree from the Pennsylvania State University in engineering physics.
Neal Shinn is the manager of the Surface and Interface Science Department at Sandia National Laboratories. He received the BS degree in chemistry and mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1978 and the PhD degree in chemical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. Thereafter, he was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where his research involved the elucidation of surface reaction intermediates using vibrational and electronic spectroscopy in
conjunction with thermal and stimulated desorption. In 1985, he joined Sandia National Laboratories as a senior member of the technical staff. He is an adjunct professor in the physics department of Utah State University, a member of the AVS board of directors, and an officer in its international parent organization (IUVSTA). He has published over 80 scientific papers and edited two books. Dr. Shinn is also the user program manager for the DOE Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), a collaborative nanoscience research center jointly operated by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories for the DOE Office of Science. During the construction of the CINT facilities in Albuquerque and Los Alamos, he serves as the special equipment manager with oversight responsibility for major new CINT instrumentation.
William Tolles is the former associate director of research for strategic planning for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Washington, DC. Currently in private consulting practice and an advisor to academic and government research programs, Dr. Tolles is well known for his contribution to “state of the science and technology” assessments in nanostructured materials. He obtained the Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, and the PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University. He joined the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA in 1962. There he served as assistant, associate, and full professor of chemistry (1962-1984). He also served as the dean of research and dean of science and engineering (1977-1984) at the Naval Postgraduate School before being appointed Superintendent of the Chemistry Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. His professional research interests include nanoscience/nanotechnology, MEMS, non-linear optical spectroscopy, microwave properties of materials, molecular spectroscopy, microwave spectroscopy, and electron spin resonance. He has published over 50 scholarly papers.
J.W. (Jim) Wheeler has a diverse background in business consulting, research, strategy and planning, economic analysis, public policy, and technology programs. As director of Electricore’s Midwest operations (2004- ), Dr. Wheeler is charged with developing corporate-university partnerships in advanced technology development. As executive vice president for TechPoint—a merger between Indiana Technology Partnership (ITP) and Indiana Information Technology Association (INITA)—and president of ITP, Dr. Wheeler served as a leader for the statewide technology community’s public policy and economic development initiatives (2002-2004), and also managed special programs for information technology. In January 1997, he joined the Indianapolis office of Arthur Andersen as a senior manager to launch the Indiana strategy, finance and economics consulting practice. Accepted into the partnership in 1999, he took on the newly formed position of central region lead for government services. Prior to joining Arthur Andersen, Dr. Wheeler spent 19 years with the Hudson Institute, ultimately directing both international programs and defense industry research. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri and his master’s and doctoral studies at Rutgers University, all in economics. He has an extensive list of publications, is deeply involved on professional and community boards and committees, and serves as a frequent public speaker on economic, business, and public policy issues.