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RGP, Marc Lautenbach, March 6th

IBM's involvement with a local economic development organization continues. First, IBM did a consulting engagement with the Regional Growth Partnership (see my previous blog postings from August 2006 and January 2007).

Next week, RGP is hosting an event on March 6th where IBM Americas General Manager Marc Lautenbach will be talking. The information about the entire morning:

Innovation capturing global opportunity and building regional growth
Thursday, March 6, 2008
9:00 a.m. to Noon
The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle (Arrowhead Park), Maumee

Featuring: Marc Lautenbach, General Manager IBM Americas
"Globalization & competitiveness"

Panel discussion: Business, academia & government working together toward a knowledge-based economy
Including: Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, President, University of Toledo
Mark Wagoner, Ohio Senate (2nd district)

Every few years, an important IBMer comes to town. Bob Sutor came to talk in 2005, for example. I am looking forward to meeting Marc: I am not part of his organization, but I work with several IBM Americas people on a regular basis on ibm.com matters.

The panel is also very interesting to me. The role of information technology is becoming an important element in the local discussions about regional economic development. For example, recent meta-plan meetings have started the face-to-face sharing of information among the various groups, but now people are asking how to use Internet technologies, social networking, Web 2.0 and the like to continue the collaboration. If I get a chance to ask questions of the panel, I suspect it will be something like this:

If we want our region to be a key player in the knowledge-based economy, then I think the first step would be to have the local economic development leaders use the tools of the knowledge-based economy. How are business, academia and government leveraging the latest web technologies to help them achieve their collaboration goals? What obstacles are in the way of utilizing technology to help us succeed in our regional economic development?

I also found it interesting that Mark Wagoner will be speaking on the panel two days after the Republican primary, where he is running against Mark Hollenbaugh. (Disclaimer: Mark Hollenbaugh is a friend of mine and I have donated to his campaign.)

Should be a fun and informative morning!

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A link to this post will be in the March 5, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line March 6 at http://regional-communities.blogspot.com/. Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom

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