With morning breakout sessions behind them, attendees of today’s Job Summit had a lot to think about headed into the lunch hour. Eight different sessions inspired spirited and meaningful conversations about various topics that will play an important role in shaping Minnesota’s future.
In one breakout session, Commissioner Lucinda Jenson of the Minnesota Department of Human Services led a discussion on better healthcare at lower costs, where panelists and attendees both shared their thoughts on the impact of the changes coming to Minnesota as part of the Federal Affordable Care Act, such as statewide healthcare exchanges, and what other efforts will be needed to make healthcare more affordable for businesses, and more accessible for individuals.
Following the Governor’s opening remarks this morning, the Job Summit started in earnest. An executive panel of leaders from Minnesota companies big and small kicked off the event with a discussion about job creation in today’s global economy.
Panel members included Bill George, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Company, Neil Crocker, president of Schaefer Ventilation Equipment, and Susan Rani, principal at Rani Engineering.
The panel was moderated by Kathy Tunheim, Governor Dayton’s senior adviser for job creation.
After a series of regional economic development summits held all over the state, the Governor’s statewide Job Summit kicked off this morning.
Over 700 leaders from Minnesota’s business, nonprofit, government and academic sectors are all gathered at the St. Paul Crowne Plaza to share their ideas on positioning Minnesota’s economy for present and future success.
For patients suffering from atherosclerosis, a condition where arteries become blocked due to plaque buildup on artery walls, treatment options can be limited to drugs or an invasive angioplasty procedure. A new technology coming out of the University of Minnesota is hoping to give patients a new noninvasive treatment option.
The University’s Ultrasound Imaging and Signal Processing Lab (UISPL) recently developed a new high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology that performs noninvasive, real-time ultrasonic imaging and localized treatment. The University team was lead by Emad Ebinni, a professor at the University’s College of Science and Engineering, and was licensed to International Cardio Corporation (ICC), a Minnesota startup, in March.
The Electric vehicle revolution is being pioneered right here in Minnesota. ReGo is a Minnesota-based company that is dedicated to making advances in plug-in conversion technology for existing hybrid vehicles. The company has a triple bottom-line business model that balances people, planet and profits.
To address the plug-in skeptics, ReGo has focused much of its initial efforts on increasing battery efficiency during Minnesota’s extra cold winters, as reported by WCCO. Garrett Ferderber of ReGo explains in this piece that his company has found a way to convert some of the energy gained while a car is plugged in to keep the battery cells warm even in the coldest temperatures. A converted Prius can be taken from 45 MPG to 75 MPG with ReGo’s state of the art lithium-ion battery.
Rushford Hypersonic is transforming academic research into commercial applications for the world of tomorrow. Founded in 2007, Rushford Hypersonic is a cutting edge nanotechnology company that produces a commercial coating used in high tooling, friction and corrosion areas. Without this technology, new frontiers of mining and manufacturing would not be possible.
The Rushford-based company uses hypersonic plasma particle deposition (HPPD) coatings “to protect objects by improving hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. The coating is the hardest on the market.” The company also hopes to use their coatings in medical devices such as prosthetic implants, according to the University of Minnesota. “They hope it will result in implants that will last a lifetime, eliminating the pain of replacement surgeries.
Mcgyan Biodiesel created a new way to produce biodiesel that is changing how the industry produces this renewable fuel. The key to this new technology is a “highly efficient, heterogeneous metal oxide-based catalyst reactor that efficiently and economically converts feedstock plant oils and animal fats to biodiesel.”
There are several benefits to this revolutionary biodiesel process, including the reaction time and effectiveness. The Mcgyan process takes only seconds while other biodiesel processes take hours. More importantly, current waste products such as grease / used cooking oil, animal tallow, and a variety of plant oils can all be used whereas other processes are limited in their materials.
Duluth-based GeaCom has developed a device it hopes will give caregivers throughout the world the power to treat anyone, anywhere and reduce suffering and save lives. It is known as the Phrazer medical communication system, an award winning and revolutionary handheld device that collects patient information, medical history, and patient symptoms and complaints. The device monitors vital signs and stores electronic medical records, helping cut down on doctor-patient communication time and makes doctor visits more efficient and allows accurate digital recordings of patient medical history.
The Phrazer currently has 300 units working in the field and GeaCom expects that number to skyrocket to over 10,000 by the end of the year. The company also projects 40,000 units to be sold in the year 2012. GeaCom said most of its customers are military hospitals, but some insurance companies are now purchasing the device and donating it to hospitals to reduce costs and greatly improve efficiency.
Dianne Goodwin founded Blue Sky Designs in Minneapolis in 1997, with the goal of designing innovative products to help people with disabilities. For the average Minnesotan, it is easy to take for granted some of the simplest joys of life, such as going camping, taking a fishing trip, or even using a computer. For those with disabilities, these activities pose many challenges. The products designed by Dianne and the team at Blue Sky Designs address these challenges and enable individuals with disabilities to lead rich lives.
With a background in rehabilitative engineering and product design prior to founding Blue Sky Designs, Dianne possessed a strong sense of ergonomics and universal design, or more simply put, “how to develop products that help people do what they want to do.” Blue Sky Designs first focused on developing custom designs for disabled individuals. These products were specially designed to serve one person’s very specific needs. In 2002, Blue Sky Designs transitioned into broader product development, shifting their focus to building commercially-available products with commonly sought benefits.
Twin Star Medical is a Minnesota medical technology company pioneering the use of microporous catheters to aspirate and to infuse fluids as a local therapeutic intervention for a number of unmet medical needs. The first product to be introduced by Twin Star Medical has obtained FDA clearance and is being launched in the U.S. to treat complications from fractures.
The Department of Defense is funding clinical studies for additional FDA indications along with other product modifications for use in theater. A second product resulting from Twin Star’s research is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) catheter, for which pivotal animal studies have been completed. It is poised for human studies next year. Localized drug delivery is the next focus for the Twin Star Medical technology, with the initial clinical indications for direct delivery of cancer drugs to the tumor and surrounding tissue, across a range of tumor locations.