San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 12th, 2010
Research and commercialization center receives federal grant

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The Texas State campus at night. Texas State image.

STAFF REPORT

Texas State announced Wednesday that a partnership between the university and the City of San Marcos has received a $1.85 million award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support a state-of-the-art research and commercialization center.

The grant funds the construction the university’s new Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) building through the Office of Commercialization and Industrial Relations (OCIR).

“We are thrilled that an important technology partnership between the City of San Marcos and Texas State University will take a major step forward with the award of a significant federal grant,” San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said. “This project will help us attract corporate research on alternative energy projects and establish San Marcos as a place for university graduates to find high tech careers.”

The new facility will serve as a technology accelerator for start-up and early-stage businesses, while providing university and STAR tenants access to secure wet labs, clean rooms and office space. Green and bio-technology companies will be a major focus. Backers hope that San Marcos’ convenient location between Austin and San Antonio will work to attract corporate research interest from those cities’ technology communities.

“This building will house ‘spin-offs’ from research conducted and intellectual property generated by university faculty, and ‘spin-ins’ from companies outside the state that want to come in and strategically work with the university,” said Terry Golding, executive director of the OCIR. “Our mission is education with relevance, and this is expanding our university’s research profile, and adding depth and breadth to our educational and research programs.

“It will have clean room facilities for materials development, and there is a dire need of wet labs for small business start-ups in this region,” Golding said. “We see convergent technologies — the merging of semiconductor nanotechnology with biotechnology as a major opportunity for economic development in the state. Our location along the I-35 corridor is ideal for linking the large biotech/medical activities in San Antonio and the semiconductor community of Austin.”

Interdisciplinary partnership will be a major selling point of the STAR facilities, incorporating expertise from the McCoy College of Business Administration and the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization program at Texas State.

“The STAR project is a success story of collaboration among federal and local government, higher education, economic development and the private sector,” Mayor Narvaiz said. “These mutual investments will mean educational opportunity, environmental and technological advances, and 21st century jobs for the future.”

Of the project’s overall $6 million cost, Texas State already has committed $5 million. The university’s share of the grant will go directly towards construction of wet lab and clean room facilities. The city’s share will finance infrastructure improvements to the 40-acre site at Hunter Road and McCarty Lane.

“This is a very meaningful relationship between the university and the city for economic development in this region,” said Golding. “We had great support from the San Marcos Partners for Progress and also people such as Pike Powers in Austin.”

The EDA awarded the grant through the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, which is intended to foster the green economy by promoting economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality.

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0 thoughts on “Research and commercialization center receives federal grant

  1. Sounds interesting.

    “The city’s share will finance infrastructure improvements to the 40-acre site at Hunter Road and McCarty Lane.”
    Well this could lower local incentive $$$ offered to offset Paso Robles’s infrastructure costs ???

  2. It has been mentioned in NS before, but never got legs: Does anybody still living recall that the City acquired and rehabbed its own Corridor Business Incubator, on Guadalupe Street, with the precise same goals in mind–that the existing property and policy infrastructure have existed for years, and may yet exist, to contribute to this really fine and much-needed Partnership?

    There was a point at which a couple of folks visited with the Incubator King, Dr. George Kozmetsky, in Austin. Our own CBI Executive Director (who subsequently dropped of a sudden heart attack) was Johan Gervais. Johan was Dr. K;s mentor and academic advisor. At the time of the aforementioned visit, Dr. K. expressed real interest in an affiliation–us being a kind of satellite “adoptee” of the mammoth UT Incubator and its children, IC2, Sematech, et al.

    Dr. Roger Scow, now also gone away, was the University’s partner, confidant, and advisor in the CBI partnership. Maybe, but not likely, his tracks are still visible in the College of Bidness.

    Could there be a way to use what was done years ago to add “turbocharge” to the current effort? Dr. Larry Petterson, of TXSTATE, might have an idea–or his then Dean, Chairs, or faculty colleagues. Doing a “jobs factory” here was a good idea back then, in my opinion, and remains one today. have no idea why the City or TXSTATE may have dropped the ball–maybe more immediate preoccupations.

  3. It sounds very interesting. This has the potential to be a game-changer for San Marcos, if done right and if the stars align.

    This is the sort of program which spawned Google at Stanford. How successful will it be here? Time will tell. I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed, that this will be a significant contributor to our local economy and to the prestige of our university.

  4. Whoops! Typo alert: the word should have been not “mentor,” but “mentee,” of course. And I forgot to mention that for some time the City had a membership in NBIA, the National Business Incubator Association, whose President at the time was Ray _______ (cue Rolodex in head). He was also an associate of Kozmetzky, and the Director of at least one of the UT/Austin projects. Wrote the book on technology propagation, incubator operation, and related subjects. Also very helpful with our local setup. I suppose there is always Wikipedia or something, but that is not what I do. Gave all this stuff up several Lents ago. Local guy Bucky Couch might know the thread, as the last identifiable Chair of the SMCBI Board.

  5. Just occurred: if there are any history geeks out there in electro-land, or if the information might be usefull as the new Center goes along is search of further funds or support, there are individuals who were involved via hard work, skill and dedication. One was Saint Kelly Franks, San Marcos Main Street Director and mother hen of the Downtown. Another was past SMCofC President Phil Neighbors, since gone on to better things.

    The Main Mover was Ms. Vicki Fruit, then of SMCofC, wife of local “high tech” entrepreneur Jerry Fruit, the man who started Mensor; they now live peacefully in Martindale. Another key player was Mr. H.Y. Price (again), who hated to see Historic Things destroyed, and helped secure the Feltner Building across from his other Memorial Gift to the City, which is now the Price Center. And I seem to recall that HaysCo’s active man was the “King of All Grant Writers, Richard Salmon, who now works quietly at the City’s Community Resources/Parks and Recreation office, still in his capacity of money-locator for vital local community projects that cannot be internally funded..

  6. Once more, for the historian, when any potential CREDIT is given for our (1998?) daring venture into business incubation, the lion’s share belongs to Ms. Fruit (and Mr. Salmon?) and Saint Kelly Franks, who managed to get the ONLY economic incentive grant ever issued by the State of Texas, under a non-political, non-partisan statute, which was subsequently revoked by the Lege–not being overly useful for the purpose of the individuals in that august body.

    None of these folks ever made a very good “show horses,” but they were, and are, great examples of San Marcos’ wealth of “pulling horses.”

    I don’t even WANT to think of the potential for using Google or Wikipedia to search the public record of the Texas Legislature, and am glad I don’t know how. Just for the record.

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