High Tech Road Show delegates visit Los Angeles to explore innovation and technology infrastructure
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, January 16 - 2013 at 10:57
- PRESS RELEASE
A senior level delegation of over 25 Arab government and business leaders wrapped up its visit to Los Angeles, California as part of the Sixth Annual High Tech Road Show (HTRS), organized by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC). The four-day visit to the Los Angeles metropolitan area focused on the role of technology and innovation, public-private partnerships, and government technology infrastructure.
This was on display during the High Tech Road Show visit, which was divided into four components: a breakfast roundtable with the President's Office of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena, California, site visits to some of Southern California's leading companies, including Idealab and Esri, a business networking reception at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and infrastructure technology tours to such venues as the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
CalTech Breakfast Roundtable
Amin Salam, Vice President for Business Development at NUSACC, noted, "Over nine Arab nations are participating in this year's High Tech Road Show, representing high-level delegations from the public and private sectors. Every year, the HTRS explores new cities, and we are pleased this year to include Los Angeles as a business destination."
Salam added, "We are here today at CalTech to explore with and learn from a top technology academic institution and collaborate on taking such initiatives to the MENA region, where advanced programmes, training, and innovation are necessary for economic growth and development."
At the 'first-ever meeting of CalTech and delegates from the Middle East and North Africa', Dr. Mory Gharib, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering, welcomed the delegation, emphasizing CalTech's desire to 'have a more global presence'. Dr. Gharib opened the dialogue by outlining the importance of academic research in the development of innovative commercial technology.
Fredrick Farina, Director of CalTech's Office of Technology Transfer, moderated a panel conversation with a number of CalTech's most successful start-ups, emphasizing the importance of public-private partnerships in successfully taking technology to market.
On the panel, Dr. Robert Grubbs Professor of Chemistry at CalTech, inventor of Grubbs Catalyst technology, and 2005 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry -- spoke candidly with delegates about the importance of relationships in building successful startup ventures.
Delegates had the opportunity to explore the U.S. Department of Energy's CalTech JCAP Energy Innovation Hub and Laboratory and the Annenberg Center for Information Science & Technology, where they interacted with live demonstrations of current CalTech research.
Site Visits with Idealab, Esri, and Orange County's IT Director
The delegation visited Idealab, Southern California's most prominent tech incubator, which has fostered over 75 companies and 30 IPOs and acquisitions since 1996. Delegates engaged with executives there, discussing the role of innovation and incubation as a catalyst for job creation in the MENA region.
Delegates also visited Esri, the world's leading Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping software company. Dean Angelides, Director of International Operations, led several demonstrations that illustrated the capabilities of Esri's advanced GIS software, and delegates engaged with Esri executives to understand the wide range of applications that the technology could have with their respective companies and countries.
Tony Lucich, Chief Information Security Officer for Orange County, briefed delegates on the IT requirements for top performance information security. The roundtable meeting led to conversations revolving around emerging technology trends in IT systems.
Networking Reception at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce
Senior representatives of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) Global Initiatives Department, LACC's Emerging Technology Center, the Port of Los Angeles, the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center, and a number of local businesses attended a networking reception for the High Tech Road Show delegation.
Curt Silvers, Executive Vice President of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, and Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the Los Angeles business community to the business networking event.
Silvers acknowledged the presence of senior LA Chamber leaders and thanked the LA Chamber for co-hosting the reception. He also noted the growing strategic partnership between NUSACC and the LA Chamber, including NUSACC's recent decision to co-locate with the LA Chamber.
"This partnership clearly demonstrates the commitment of both Chambers to increase commercial connections between Los Angeles and the Arab world," Toebben said.
Toebben added, "The LA Chamber's Global Initiatives are a high priority, and the Middle East and North Africa is a region of interest." He also noted, "He is very pleased that NUSACC is housed in the LA Chamber and is open to new activities that NUSACC will be planning for the LA area."
Infrastructure Technology Tour
HTRS delegates traveled from the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to meet with a range of U.S. Government agencies involved in administering telecommunications, developing technology infrastructure plans for the region, and promoting trade and investment.
Aboard a private vessel, Lance Kaneshiro, Chief Information Officer at the Port, led the group on a spectacular harbor tour, emphasizing the technology utilized in the development and maintenance of 'America's Port'. The facility occupies 7,500 acres (3,000 hectares) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. Employing over 16,000 people, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States.
At an Infrastructure Technology Roundtable Luncheon at LAX, Dom Nessi, Chief Information Officer for the Los Angeles World Airports, welcomed the delegation. "When I saw that there was a delegation visiting from the Middle East, I was very excited, and it is my pleasure to be here to greet you," he said.
"I hope to one day visit all of your countries. We want to have improved international relations with companies that are interested in new IT applications," he added. Nessi and a team of colleagues provided a special presentation about new technology security being utilized by the Los Angeles International Airport and beyond.
"The only way to stay ahead of the game is through technology," said Jacqueline Yaft, Deputy Executive Director of Operation Management at the Los Angeles World Airports.
She addressed the delegation as they began an exclusive site visit and tour of LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is currently being renovated and refitted with cutting edge technologies. Delegates engaged with executives at the airport to discuss new technology initiatives and execution of development plans.
NUSACC's Amin Salam concluded, "The Los Angeles visit was indeed a very exciting part of the 2013 High Tech Road Show. Thanks to the hospitality of our partners here in LA, the HTRS delegation had an opportunity to explore multiple ICT incubators, companies, and major infrastructure projects, like the port and airport in Los Angeles."
He added, "California is a very promising destination, and we look forward to working closely with the LA Chamber of Commerce to serve our members and to provide them with the best possible service."
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