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Workshop Joins Tech Research with Business Leaders and Venture Capitalists, Oct. 6, 2008

By Thomas Guengerich

SOCORRO, N.M., Oct. 6, 2008 – Seven New Mexico Tech faculty members will present their innovative concepts to a panel of technology specialists, venture capitalists and marketing experts at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Galena Room at Macey Center.

Dr. Peter Anselmo, chairman of the Department of Management at Tech, organized the Technology Workshop to bring Tech professors together with industry leaders.

“We’re getting Tech researchers linked with the venture capital community,” Anselmo said. “We have a campus full of brilliant scientists who are doing ground-breaking research and patent-worthy work. These innovative ideas can’t grow in a vacuum. I want to help grease the tracks to bring some of these concepts to the market.”

The seven presentations represent seven different departments on campus:

  • David Burleigh, Materials Engineering
  • Robert Bowman, Earth and Environmental Sciences, presented by Jaron Andrews
  • Anders Jorgensen, Electrical Engineering
  • Peng Zhang, Chemistry
  • Ashok Ghosh, Mechanical Engineering
  • Peter Anselmo, Management, presented by Delilah Vega-Walsh
  • Snezna Rogelj, Biology

Each professor or graduate student will spend 10 minutes explaining their research, concept or invention to a panel of experts. The panel will then offer suggestions, opinions and feedback about commercializing the research.

The seven presentations represent a wide array of research – from cancer research to water filtration to protective helmets.

Peter Gerity, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Tech, said the workshop gives faculty members an opportunity to learn about licensing, marketing and opens the door to entrepreneurship.

“We have interesting technologies that need to be put in front of a wide audience,” Gerity said. “Technology licensing is a contact sport and we need maximum visibility for new ideas.”

While not all faculty members are willing to enter the competitive fray of marketing intellectual property, Gerity said the university must provide a forum for professors to explore commercial possibilities.

“The typical training we receive as academics does not convert automatically to the commercial world,” he said. “That’s a difficult step.”

New Mexico Tech and faculty members have developed a number of marketable inventions over the years. The most notable – and most profitable – was the nicotine patch, developed by professor Dr. Frank Etscorn in the early 1980s. The patent on nicotine patch technology created a healthy revenue stream for the university for many years.

Now, New Mexico Tech has a variety of mechanisms for bringing intellectual property to market. State law allows the university to enter partnerships with private entities. The university also has land set aside west of the main campus that is dedicated to industry.

The panelists include business leaders with a range of expertise:

  • Kevin Boberg, business professor at New Mexico State
  • John J. Chavez, a business development leader and angel investor
  • Lawrence Chavez of Flywheel Ventures of Albuquerque
  • Bill Hartman of Flywheel Ventures
  • Chris Haase of Shell International’s innovation group, GameChanger
  • Doug Lee of WESST Enterprise Center in Albuquerque
  • Thomas Stevenson of the Verge Fund

Anselmo said he’s assembled an excellent panel of business leaders with decades of experience in technology, investments and start-up companies.

“The panelists are sure to offer great feedback on how to market and commercialize our inventions and ideas,” Anselmo said. “This is the first step in taking our intellectual resources to the next level.”

– NMT –