When Samual Byrd saw the daily challenges his mom faced as a recently-diagnosed diabetes patient, he wanted to do something to help her get healthy again. As a bioengineering student and entrepreneurship fellow at Washington State University, he was uniquely suited to actually take on that challenge.
This month we are highlighting the WSU researchers who helped launch and now lead the Washington Stormwater Center, a regional collaboration that provides the knowledge, resources and training needed to decrease the impacts of stormwater on the environment. The Washington State Legislature created the center in 2010 in response to the need to share new research, best practices and technological advances in stormwater management. The center is jointly managed by WSU and University of Washington, and provides exactly the kind of partnership, problem solving and applied research that is the basis of a land-grant like WSU.
Barbara Sorg studied functions of the brain for years before she saw the tiny nets in her microscope that made her heart skip a beat. She had been exploring different aspects of the brain to find connections between memory and addictive behaviors, and those nets were just too intriguing to leave alone. Since the 8th grade Dr. Sorg has lived for these kinds of moments – discovering something new that could increase our understanding of the world.
A recent Seattle Business Magazine article called to attention Washington’s strong composite materials supply chain. The lightweight, stronger-than-steel parts allow airlines and car owners to save on fuel and reduce emissions. While several large and small companies in Washington design and manufacture these carbon fiber parts, one component of the supply chain is missing: what happens to these composite parts when they are no longer useable?
“I couldn’t hire enough people to do what Business Growth MAP has done for me. Hands-down, it’s one of the best things I’ve done since I opened.”
– Bonnie Brasure
Owner, Bleu Door Bakery
Bonnie Brasure represents one of the 145 organizations and entrepreneurs who have received free business consulting services from students in WSU Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor Analysis Program (MAP) over the past four years. Since launching in 2011, participating companies reported $4.6 million of new revenues and 15 full-time jobs that are directly attributable to the program.
One of Bob Stevens’ favorite things about owning a business is helping high school students through their first job interviews.
“They are scared, but rapt with attention,” said Stevens, who owns and founded Northwest Applied Marine in Chewelah, Wash. “You can see that they really want to learn something.”
In 10-years as a resident of Chewelah – population 2600 – Stevens has seen manufacturing companies come and go partially due to a lack of talented local workforce, a trend which is also happening nationwide. When Stevens launched Northwest Applied Marine in 2010, he experienced his own need for a talented workforce, and turned it into an opportunity to offer more vocational training to Chewelah students. Currently, he has five high school interns.
“Pretty much the only job opportunity in town is Subway or Zips fast food,” Stevens said. “The students I work with are intelligent and very capable; they need opportunities outside of home and school to learn.”