SSTI Digest

Geography: Oklahoma

SSTI 10th Annual Conference Update: Hotel Sold Out! Conference Registrations Still Available

Early registration has ended and the conference hotel is full, but you still have the opportunity to join representatives from more than 40 states, provinces and three continents at the nations premier gathering of the technology-based economic development field. This is one conference you do not want to miss!

Transforming Regional Economies, SSTI's 10th Annual Conference is only three weeks away. The event, built around 22 timely breakout sessions, engaging plenary sessions, and a gala opening reception, will be held in Oklahoma City on Nov. 1-2, 2006. Four intensive pre-conference options, including a hands-on look at the transformation of Oklahoma City, are offered on Oct. 31.

The Renaissance Hotel graciously expanded SSTI's room block several times before the place was sold out. Don't despair! Rooms are available in two nearby hotels. Both had rooms available as of Oct. 11:

Courtyard Oklahoma City Downtown

2 West Reno Avenue

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

Phone: (405) 232-2290

Fax: (405) 232-2202

$189/night on

Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel

One North Broadway Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

Phone: (405) 235-2780

Fax: (405) 232-8752

$179/night on

More information on SSTI's 10th Annual Conference including an online registration form is available at:

OCAST Allocates its $10M Budget Increase

How Should TBED Adjust to the Changing Face of U.S. Industry?

How Should TBED Adjust to the Changing Face of U.S. Industry? Join your peers and colleagues from around the country at SSTI's annual conference to discuss the trends described in "Whither U.S. Industry" (see story above) and other critical issues. More information is available at

Oklahoma City Offers Perfect Fit for SSTI's 10th Annual Conference

If there is ever an example of a city-region that can demonstrate the benefits of working as a team to transform its economy through all aspects of tech-based economic development, it would have to be the Oklahoma City area. And fortunately, the vibrant community is based in a state that both understands what is needed for transforming an economy from being natural resource-based to knowledge-driven and is matching talk with real money.

Whether they realize it or not, several state and regional TBED programs around the country owe their structure and existence to the pioneering TBED work done in Oklahoma since the 1980s. Much of the portfolio of programs offered through OCAST, its private sector partner I2E, the Oklahoma Alliance for Excellence in Manufacturing, and the "Oklahoma model" for increasing equity capital availability has been replicated around the country.

The Sooner State may have developed successful comprehensive TBED strategies sooner than the rest of the country, but its residents aren't afraid to share their successes, their lessons learned and their current challenges with their peers from around the country. We will be drawing on this expertise and this candor throughout the conference.

Oklahoma City fully embodies this year's conference theme Transforming Regional Economies. But don't take our word for it, check out:

Transforming Regional Economies. Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Oklahoma City

SSTI is pleased to give regular Digest readers the first peek at the four intensive pre-conference workshops, which will precede SSTI's 10th annual conference on Nov. 1-2. Registration may be completed online at:


Turning Innovations into Enterprises: A Practitioner's Guide to Technology Commercialization

A name and face familiar to many SSTI members, Dr. Randy Goldsmith, president of the Mississippi Technology Alliance, brings his internationally popular technology commercialization workshop to this years SSTI pre-conference in a half-day format especially designed for TBED professionals. The Goldsmith Technology Commercialization Model has been adopted by NASA and by economic development organizations in the United Kingdom, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and elsewhere.

Through this interactive workshop, Dr. Goldsmith will introduce you to assessment tools, a step-by-step process and financing resources that can help your clients achieve their business objectives. You will identify key milestones, ask critical questions, estimate costs, and determine an entrepreneur's strengths and weaknesses. Based on his extensive technology commercialization experience in the private, public and university sectors, Dr. Goldsmith will share proven strategies and practical tools to help your regions entrepreneurs turn technology innovations into successful enterprises.

Dr. Goldsmith served as assistant vice president for technology transfer and economic development at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and as president and CEO of the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative. He was founding CEO of Oklahoma's technology commercialization center, which he helped design. There, his team was successful in assisting 60 new companies secure more than $280 million of investment capital over a three-year period. Dr. Goldsmith also spent several years as director of the University of Houston Clear Lakes Technology Center, a subcontractor to NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Transforming a Regional Economy: Moving Forward Together

How does a medium-sized city in a small state accomplish big things? How was a down-at-the-heels tract of urban landscape transformed into a 27-acre research park featuring a seven-building complex with 600,000 sq. ft. of Class A wet lab space and a 97 percent occupancy rate? How did the city convince its citizens to support one of the largest capital improvement projects in the country one that has already yielded more than $2.4 billion in public and private investment? This full-day session will provide answers and insights from the key players in the initiatives that have radically transformed the face of the community.

In the morning, participants will travel to the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. The complex's master plan calls for the construction of 10 buildings, raising the total research and office space to more than 1 million sq. ft. Working in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies, the park is a collaborative alliance including businesses, government and higher education. It is strategically located near the Oklahoma Health Center to create a synergism of research science and commercialization. Through interactive sessions with the city and states bioscience leadership, participants will learn the inside story of how vision, leveraging resources, and a spirit of collaboration resulted in one of the most important economic drivers in central Oklahoma.

Following lunch at the Research Park, participants will depart for a tour of Oklahoma City's MAPS projects. Guided by former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphries, the tour will highlight the new and upgraded sports, recreation, entertainment, cultural and convention facilities funded through MAPS. The projects began in 1993, when voters approved the MAPS sales tax, and were completed in 2004. Oklahoma City is the first city in the country to undertake a public facility enhancement project of this size. All projects are now complete and paid off.

As a result of MAPS, downtown Oklahoma City has seen more than $2.5 billion in new public and private development. The initial investment has spurred millions of dollars in additional development, filling in voids and redeveloping underutilized land as housing, mixed use offices, and arts and entertainment facilities. MAPS was the catalyst for dramatically changing public perception and improving quality of life in downtown, which has developed into a vibrant 24/7 community with places to live, work and play.

TBED Program Evaluation: An Introduction

One of the hallmarks of effective TBED programs is that they evaluate what they do. But to do evaluation properly, you must consider why you are evaluating, what you are evaluating, and how best to do it. What tools and methods will generate the most appropriate and reliable metrics? What metrics are viable indicators of positive performance, and how should they be presented in order to have the most meaning for key stakeholders? 

In this half-day session, we'll examine those basic but critical questions and consider approaches that some of the leading programs have used to evaluate their effectiveness and impact. Cathy Renault, program manager of technology-based economic development with RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., will lead participants in this discussion of performance metrics fundamentals a good course for those new to TBED and a good refresher for anyone on how to successfully deal with a perennial challenge of TBED program management.

Introduction to Tech-based Economic Development

Gaining a good understanding of tech-based economic development (TBED) the approaches, vital elements, effective strategies, successful programs, proven policies, and important lessons learned from failures will make your efforts in the field more rewarding.

This full-day interactive workshop is tailored to those professionals new to tech-based economic development. Attendance is always limited to a small group to ensure each participant benefits from the personalized session walking away with a firm foundation for SSTI's full conference and for their TBED responsibilities back home.

In a format that is engaging, educational and enjoyable, you will discover proven programs and policies for creating technology companies, financing high-tech firms, commercializing technology, and developing productive university-industry partnerships. Attend the session to find out what your peers and colleagues in successful communities and states are doing to build tech-based economies.

One reason the workshop sells out year after year is that it is led by two of the top names in our field: SSTI President and CEO Dan Berglund and Marsha Schachtel, senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University. If you're new to the field, there is no better way to prepare for the caliber of discussion and content at SSTI's 10th Annual Conference than to attend this full-day, highly interactive workshop examining the fundamental elements of successful tech-based economic development.

Oklahoma Legislative Session Ends Kindly for TBED

Nearly $300 Million Tagged for TBED It took moving into a special session and negotiating a late deal between lawmakers and Gov. Brad Henry last week for the Oklahoma legislature to pass several bills related to the state's budget for fiscal year 2007, which begins this weekend. The final product includes several of the governor's top priorities for the state's portfolio of technology-based economic development initiatives, including $150 million for the new EDGE Research Endowment to support research, $95 million for research infrastructure improvements at the state's universities, and a 75 percent increase for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). The budget also cuts the state's top marginal income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.25 percent by 2010.

Three years in the making, EDGE (which stands for Economic Development Generating Excellence) was originally proposed as a $1 billion endowment to support strategically targeted research projects across the state. Legislation passed creates two oversight boards for EDGE. One that will oversee investment decisions is comprised solely of appointees of the governor, state auditor, speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the Senate. The other board will consist of seven appointees of the governor and will be responsible for developing the program's structure.

As the lead state agency for TBED, OCAST will receive an additional $10 million, bringing its FY 2007 budget to nearly $23 million. The additional funds will expand several of OCAST's current initiatives and allow the agency to launch efforts to increase seed capital availability in the state and to support nanotechnology applications.

In other action, House Bill 1619, the Oklahoma Quality Investment Act, allows the state to offer a total of $10 million in incentives to support the retention of manufacturing companies across the state. Manufacturers "at risk" of moving out of state or closing may receive payments for five years to offset up to 10 percent of the cost of capital expenditures to modernize their equipment and facilities.

House Bill 2690 authorizes the establishment of regional economic development authorities located within the boundaries of cities, towns or counties. These regional development authorities have the same powers of current transportation authorities in the planning, financing and constructing of regional economic development projects.

The other large economic development priority in Gov. Henry's 2006 State of the State Address also passed. House Bill 1169 creates and funds a $100 million Economic Opportunity Fund to help "close deals" for business retention, expansion and recruitment.

SSTI Accepting Bids for 2007 Annual Conference

With preparations for SSTI's 10th Annual Conference in Oklahoma City on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 well underway, we have received many questions from local, regional and state organizations wanting to host the premier event for the tech-based economic development (TBED) profession in 2007. Because of the increased interest, SSTI has bumped up its schedule for selecting the 2007 site. We are accepting nominations of host organizations and locations for SSTI's 11th Annual Conference until July 30, 2006.

Foundation Endows TBED-related Faculty Positions in Tulsa

One of the latest examples of the important role a foundation can play in tech-based economic development strategies comes from a recent $15 million donation to Tulsa University. The Chapman Trust, established after the deaths of Oklahoma oilman James Chapman and his wife Leta Chapman, made the donation to perpetually endow nine new junior faculty positions at the university.

Save the Date: SSTI's 10th Annual Conference Set for Oct. 31-Nov. 2

It only seems natural that SSTI celebrate a decade of convening the premiere professional development event for the nation's tech-based economic development community in a state that, for nearly 20 years, has been a pioneer for innovative approaches to transform regional economies — Oklahoma. SSTI's 10th annual conference and pre-conference intensive workshops will be held at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

Tech Talkin' Govs 2006, Part Four

The first three installments of SSTI's four-part look at how TBED will play in the 2006 legislative priorities of the governors can be found in the Digest archives at:

Oklahoma Supreme Court Approves $50M in Bonds for Endowed Chairs

Upon ruling in favor of a $50 million bonds issue last month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court cleared the way for an endowed chairs program at colleges and universities throughout the state .


Steve Biggers has been promoted to Deputy Director for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology.