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Technology Report - Articles
Technology Report - Issue 16

MMA Technology Report

Online Permitting Tool Part of New Water Withdrawal Laws

The Legislature passed and Governor Granholm is expected to sign 12 bills to ratify the Great Lakes Compact, which is designed to protect the waters from diversion, and to implement water withdrawal regulations.

One of the most exciting aspects of the bills’ passage is that the online water withdrawal assessment tool, which MMA had lobbied hard for, will be implemented.

“The science-based computer model is revolutionary and provides certainty in the system,” said Mike Johnston, MMA director of regulatory affairs. “Instead of waiting months for permit approval based on unclear, narrative guidelines, water users will be able to log on, indicate the location of their proposed well and their withdrawal level and immediately know whether their permit application will be approved based on clear, quantifiable data.

“The system, which will reduce costs and speed permits, represents real forward-thinking on the part of government and is the future of resource management and regulation.”


Energy Reform Passes the Senate

The Senate passed energy reform legislation late 6/27/08 as the body wrapped up session before a summer break. The MMA has been pushing for reforms that will encourage the development of more power plants to keep electric rate increases down and the electric supply reliable.

The Senate package calls for a 7 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2015 (as opposed to the House’s call for a 10-percent RPS) and aims to deskew rates — so that the manufacturing and commercial sectors no longer subsidize residential rates — over a five-year period with a 10-year timeframe to implement rate increases on residents.

More action is expected when the House and Senate reconvene in the fall.


Tool & Die Meeting to Cover Web Site Development

The MMA has opened its next Tool & Die Advisory Committee meeting, on 7/24 from 10:00 a.m.-noon, to all tool, die and mold-making companies in Michigan. The meeting will take place at MMA headquarters in Lansing.

Attendees will hear from ThomasNet representatives who will discuss Web site development targeted specifically toward the tool and die industry. The presentation will cover what buyers expect from a Web site, how to drive traffic to your site and how to turn online sales into repeat customers.

There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is required. Contact LeAnn Hicks, MMA seminar and event coordinator, at 517-487-8557 for more information and to register.


Survey: Solutions Don’t Yet Match Problems in IT Security

Business IT professionals report that there is a disparity between the most common IT security problems and businesses’ deployment of solutions, according to the CDW Corporation’s recent “User-Proof IT Security Report.”

The number one security concern identified in the survey was inappropriate Internet use on the company network but only 56 percent of companies had implemented Internet content blocking or filtering systems.

Further, 77 percent of IT executives polled say their IT security systems are easy to use but only 18 percent give their network users an “A” for either understanding or complying with security policies.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents say their organization does not have a distinct policy regarding security for remote or mobile access, another area of concern. Of those surveyed, 45 percent say their companies don’t provide secure remote access and 75 percent of companies don’t use any form of hard-drive encryption.

See the CDW Web site for more findings.


IT Departments Now Leading Targets of Lawsuits

Chief information officers (CIOs) attending the Midwest Technology Leaders Conference in Detroit were told 6/5/08 that they and their departments have become the No. 1 target of plaintiff attorneys in lawsuits, reported Crain’s Detroit Business.

Deposition requests generally come first to the CIO today due to the proliferation of electronic data and communications, whereas CIOs used to be “transparent,” explained attorneys.

Conference speakers indicated that many companies have been slow to respond to federal guidelines on the gathering of electronic evidence by attorneys, which can get them into hot water.

See the article for more.


Michigan’s Tech, Science Assets in the Middle of the Pack

Michigan’s ranking in a study of the 50 states’ technology and science assets and the ability to leverage those assets for economic growth has been falling. In 2008, Michigan is ranked No. 26, falling from 25 in 2004 and 24 in 2002 in the Milken Institute State Technology and Science Index.

The index uses 77 indicators in five categories to measure how well a state will perform in a knowledge-based economy. The five composite categories are: research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure,human capital investment, technology and science workforce and technology concentration and dynamism.

Michigan ranked relatively well, No. 14, in the research and development inputs composite but was in the middle of the pack for three other indexes. Within the technology concentration and dynamism index, our state ranked only No. 43.

Overall, Massachusetts ranked first in the study, followed by Maryland, Colorado, California and Washington.

View the report on the Milken Institute Web site for more information.


CAR Seminars to Cover Gas Cost Impacts on Technology

The Center for Automotive Research’s (CAR’s) Management Briefing Seminars, to be held 8/11-15/08 in Traverse City, will include special sessions on how the high price of gasoline is impacting technology in the automotive industry.

The implications of fuel-cost increases reach far beyond sales trends, according to CAR, and technology, manufacturing and policy professionals will all need to understand this new dynamic and its effect on future planning.

The “Manufacturing for Fuel Economy” session will provide insight into the near-term evolution of fuel economy technologies and their implications for manufacturers of both body and powertrain components and systems.

The “Energy, Efficiency and Climate: What Role for Auto?” seminar will present a public dialogue between invited representatives of automotive, environmental, government and other experts on ideas aimed at improving the sustainability of the automobile, while growing the economy, achieving energy independence and providing jobs.

The “Advanced Powertrain Forum” session will convene a panel of experts from automotive, energy and alternative fuel organizations to address the challenges of future powertrains and fuels, and the necessary partnerships for success.

See the CAR Web site for more information.


MI Universities Invest in Technology

The University of Michigan’s (U of M’s) Life Sciences Institute (LSI) announced in mid-June that it is launching a $10 million fund to foster biomedical technology transfer to get discoveries into production sooner.

Called the Innovation Partnership, the program will use philanthropic gifts to bridge the critical funding gap — known to biomedical researchers and venture capitalists as the Valley of Death — between laboratory discovery and commercialization. The Valley of Death arises after federal basic-science support ends and before investors are willing to commit to a promising discovery.

More than $1.6 million has been raised to date for the Innovation Partnership. The goal is to raise $10 million over the next five years to support LSI discoveries related to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Innovation Partnership proposals will be evaluated by a committee comprised of venture capitalists and business executives with experience in managing scientific enterprises. Priority will be given to proposals that address a critical medical need and which appear to have high commercialization potential.

The first Innovation Partnership research awards — in the range of $200,000 to $500,000 apiece — are expected by year’s end. LSI will provide lab space, equipment and scientific support equivalent to a 50 percent or more match on donor-provided funds.

U of M, along with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, also announced in June that the schools will devote grants totaling more than $800,000 to support two research projects in alternative energy, reported Crain’s Detroit Business.

The University Research Corridor, an alliance of the three universities, announced that $523,282 would fund research into developing more efficient low-cost thermoelectric materials over the next three years, and $283,231 over a two-year period would fund research to develop “nano-biocarriers,” that could efficiently convert switch grass and corn stover (the leaves and stalks of a corn crop) into low-cost ethanol fuel.


Nigerian Training Centers in the Works; Michigan Manufacturers Invited to Learn More

Tony Okafor, a Nigerian professor who taught in Michigan, is developing a program to train Nigerians in marketable technological skills. He has gotten his government’s go-ahead to develop vocational training centers much like our state’s Michigan Technical Education Centers (M-TECs).

The planning team and a Nigerian delegation will host an informational meeting on 7/21/08 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. for manufacturers who are interested in learning more about entering the African market and how they can help the training center effort. The meeting will take place at Lansing Community College’s M-TEC.

“Manufacturers already in Nigeria can better sell their products knowing they have trained technicians to service them,” said Mark Henne, a Michigan businessman and chair of the Global Skills Foundation which is working on the project. “And manufacturers wanting to enter the Nigerian marketplace can establish a service network before they arrive, making it easier to introduce their products and shortening the time to achieve profitability.”

Contact Henne at 517-887-1100 or hennem@fitzhenne.com for more information.


Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 (Archive on Monday, January 01, 0001)
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