For the second year in a row, EWU will be a prime sponsor of the Washington State Technology Summit hosted by the Washington Technology Center. The event will be held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond on April 28.
Hundreds of industry, academic and government leaders are expected to attend the conference to discuss the technological trends that are shaping the state’s economic future. The goal of the summit is to enable new businesses to emerge and existing businesses to grow by taking advantage of current technological trends.
“The caliber of speakers and attendees at the Tech Summit is first rate,” said Michael Brzoska, associate dean of the EWU College of Science, Health and Engineering, as quoted in a press release dated March 15.
“It’s an excellent marriage of academia and industry,” he said. “There is a great deal of innovation happening within our higher education institutions that measurably contributes to the state’s economic growth. The Tech Summit is the chance to share these milestones, and also learn about new technology developments within the business sector.”
Professor John Shovic, from the university’s Computer Science Department, will return to this year’s Technology Summit to offer a presentation on network security. “There was a very good turnout last year for his presentation,” Brzorsk said. “He’s got a lot of experience in network security and it’s a really important topic that Washington Technology Center is quite interested in.”
EWU, according to Brzorsk, has enjoyed a long and mutually advantageous relationship with the Washington Technology Center. The WTC has provided Eastern with funding for various research projects.
Dr. Don Lightfoot of EWU’s Biology department secured funding from the WTC for a collaborative research project between the university and GenPrime, a company that provides microbe detection services for a wide variety of industries in both the private and public sectors. A contribution from the WTC matched by GenPrime bolstered Eastern’s research, which in turn helped to develop a commercially viable product.
“The WTC stimulates companies to invest in research, and it requires them to use university students and expertise. That way, the money that the WTC puts in becomes a catalyst to create new technologies, new intellectual property, new opportunities for students and new ideas to eventually become commercialized,” Lightfoot said.
Not only does EWU’s involvement with the WTC help foster economic growth by advancing technological research, it gains the university some valuable exposure.
“One of the best things is that Eastern gets its image spread across the state,” Brzorsk said. “We are making more and more contacts, and have more and more students coming from the Westside of the state. So this helps us promote our image and relationships over there.
“It helps to make contacts with companies for students to get jobs, internships and so on,” he said. “The WTC, with its research base, is really connected to universities and we need to support it.”
Faculty from several departments will be in attendance.
The keynote speaker for this year’s Technology Summit will be Pamela Passman, Microsoft’s director of corporate global affairs. This conference will target the aerospace, agriculture, software and renewable energy industries.
A total of 38 speakers from prominent positions within these industries, as well as governments and universities, are slated to give presentations.
The Technology Summit will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs $150 to attend. Details are available online at www.watechcenter.org.