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Wed September 3, 2014
NMSU's Arrowhead Center Builds Partnerships With Private Industry
Connecting key regional private-sector industries to the diverse resources New Mexico State University has to offer is a complex task, but that’s the mission of Jorge A. Ramos, the director of corporate development at Arrowhead Center, the university’s hub of technology commercialization and business incubation.
Ramos took on the newly created role in January, and since then he’s been laying the groundwork to make everything that the university has to offer more accessible to companies in the region.
Information from NMSU
The university is seeking to create and expand collaborations with industry that correspond to the private sector’s research and development needs, whether it be basic research, applied research, technology improvement or specialized testing.
Arrowhead Center is focused on doing just that.
“We are raising market awareness of the specialized knowledge, facilities and equipment NMSU has available to meet their needs,” Ramos said.
Startups, young firms and well-established companies around the state and region that are currently looking to East and West Coast laboratories can look closer to home, Ramos said, and Arrowhead can connect them to the resources at NMSU.
“We work with university assets – its people and programs – to assess or demonstrate whether a scientific theory, conceived engineering solution, or other creative idea to meet market need is commercially viable,” he said.
Research is the foundation of invention, from which innovation proceeds to market – inherent to Arrowhead’s mission.
“Work done in the laboratory, whether on campus or off, needs to move to market, and NMSU students and faculty work on both pieces,” Ramos said.
Existing businesses, large or small, are one thing, Ramos said. Innovators and entrepreneurs are another. Their ideas and ventures need to be nurtured. That’s why Arrowhead has an on-campus incubator program and facility, but offers its incubator services across the state, he added.
“We are a land-grant institution, and our mandate includes economic development,” he said. “NMSU has a role to play in supporting the efforts of entrepreneurs and startup companies in our state.”
Ramos has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector and in economic development, having served as president and CEO of startup companies in both the industrial supplies and the construction materials sectors. He’s also served as the director for the state of Chihuahua Economic Development Council, a public-private partnership incorporating technology and innovation initiatives, and as director of commerce for the state, where his responsibilities included establishing the export supply development program and a new markets and commercialization program.
Arrowhead Center Director Kathy Hansen said she is excited about the capabilities and connections Ramos brings to the team.
“The opportunity to build and expand relationships with the private sector is of critical importance to our economic development role,” she said.
“We want to be very practical in the way we present the information to prospective customers,” Ramos said. “We’re working with the faculty, gathering information about their research capacities, laboratories at hand, and experience they bring to meet customer needs.”
With more than 1,100 faculty members and an average of $150 million in research per year over the past decade, it is not surprising that tallying the university’s inventory of research capabilities is a tall order, Ramos said.
“I’ve been getting good information from the faculty, and with their input, we can distill their knowledge and experience into a single page, providing potential customers a starting point when shopping NMSU,” he said.
Getting the information and resources in place now will help streamline the formalization of these partnerships as they develop, he said.
Ramos said he wants to talk to faculty members across campus in every discipline as he continues to build up the inventory of expert resources.
“We will continue to reach out to the faculty of NMSU,” he said. “We want to learn more about what they’re doing and find how, together, we can present this to industry.”