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94 BUILDING THE OHIO INNOVATION ECONOMY DAY 2 Welcome and Introduction David Morgenthaler Morgenthaler Ventures Mr. Morgenthaler welcomed participants to the second day of the symposium. He said that in addition to his own work as a venture capitalist, he is a member of President’s Circle of the National Academies, which advises the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, and a member of the Academies’ STEP Board, where he has served for many years. “My own interest,” he said, “is that what happened to the Rust Belt cities of the U.S. should not happen to the U.S. I’m trying to make sure that does not happen, and this conference is part of that effort.” Mr. Morgenthaler reminded the audience that the National Academies study on state and regional innovation policy is taking place in various locations around the country. “We’re reviewing the state, regional, and Federal efforts to once again develop a manufacturing base in the Rust Belt cities and address critical national needs, such as those of renewable energy.” The study is also identifying best practices among state and regional innovation programs to develop and reinforce high-tech clusters. “We’ve all realized that once we’ve gotten all the food we need to eat, we eagerly go out and buy the new iPads and iPods and other innovations of the world. This is driving our economy, and we want to make sure our regions are in the lead as innovators.” Mr. Morgenthaler offered a brief review of his own productive career, in which he began as a mechanical engineer at MIT and evolved through numerous entrepreneurial activities to founding the Cleveland venture capital firm he still leads, Morgenthaler Ventures. “In 1950,” he recalled, “Cleveland was king of world. It had world-class manufacturing facilities. In 1957, when I was involved with a company headquartered in Birmingham, England, Cleveland was treated by these people
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PROCEEDINGS 95 with great respect and as an equal. We had 50 of the Fortune 500 headquarters, and were one of the leading manufacturing centers of the world.” MISSING TWO INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONS Cleveland was so strong during the 1940s and 1950s, he suggested, that it was slow to respond when change came. The area had a powerful economic driver in the automobile, from 1900 to 1960, “and unfortunately the region rode it for another 40 years without recognizing that we had missed two new industrial revolutions, the electronics revolution and the biotech revolution. We are trying belatedly but very sensibly to make up for that now. We’re making investments to maintain the level of economic activity that we’ve become accustomed to, and to adapt to the changing global economy. I’m pleased with the commitment shown in this meeting to develop the strategies and policies to restore Ohio as an economic engine and a leader in innovation.” Mr. Morgenthaler thanked the sponsors of the meeting, including the Department of Energy, the Economic Development Administration, the Technology Innovation Program of NIST, and especially the Cleveland Foundation, the lead sponsor. “We in this region can give profound thanks to our foundations who have stepped up as our corporations have gradually slid away. The foundations have done far more than could have been expected from them, and the Cleveland Foundation has been the leader.” They had been joined by the George Gund Foundation, he said, “and a great many additional supporting sponsors and organizers.”