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Posted on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

CEO Podcasts: Conversations on Economic Opportunity, Stephen Forrest

By Paul Krutko, SPARK


Stephen Forrest, Vice President for Research, University of Michigan

Since joining Ann Arbor SPARK as President and CEO in early 2011, I've met with over one hundred key economic leaders in the region, including private sector CEOs, elected and appointed public sector leaders, and the executive leadership of key non-profit and academic institutions.

Throughout these meetings, I noticed a few common themes - driving the Ann Arbor economy forward through innovative, high technology businesses, growing local businesses, attracting national and international business to Ann Arbor, and keeping the excellent talent bred throughout the Ann Arbor region here.

These podcasts, called Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Podcasts: Conversations on Economic Opportunity, capture the flavor of these one-on-one conversations through rich, insightful talks. The podcast series is designed to not only highlight that expertise, but also make it available to others who could benefit from the wisdom those business leaders can share.

The University of Michigan is one of the primary economic drivers of the Ann Arbor region. It invests over a billion dollars every year into research, spins out business start-ups through organizations like Tech Transfer and TechArb, and, probably most importantly, attracts leadership that seeks to drive the region forward in both the national and global economies. In 2010 alone, the University of Michigan invested $1.18 billion into research and development, leading all public universities in that category.

Leading that charge at the University of Michigan is Stephen R. Forrest, Vice President for Research, and Ann Arbor SPARK's board chair. Forrest, who has been with the University of Michigan since 2006, has a track record of innovation, having co-founded a handful of scientific companies. He also previously worked for Princeton and USC.

In our conversation, Forrest discusses the importance of innovation and technology in education, as well as business growth indicators and what is working for the Ann Arbor region, including his vision for the future of Ann Arbor SPARK. Our conversation illuminates the role of the University of Michigan in the broader Ann Arbor region's economy, and how it helps continually push the region's economy forward.



Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Still waiting for SPARK to release its audits (all of them) and to have their job creation numbers confirmed by an independent audit. It will never happen. Crony capitalism in action.