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Innovation Ecosystem Flourishes at UNH Manchester Ink Link Biz

 


Universities can become hubs for innovative ideas, products, and even spin-out businesses. The University of New Hampshire is no exception, the tech of the future he has really created an ecosystem for accelerating leaders, businesses and socially responsible nonprofits.

This latest episode of Get Tech Smart features three guests from UNH.

Marc Eichenberger Chief Business Development and Innovation Officer, UNH Innovation Jeffrey Lapak, Director, UNH InterOperability Lab and COVID Lab Operations Dot Sheehan, Founder, President and CEO, OPERATION HAT TRICK.

Watch and read on for the latest episode to learn about UNHInnovation and its vision to create a thriving innovation ecosystem with the University of New Hampshire as a thought leader and the center of a vibrant and diverse economy.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length

Flo Nicholas:

Welcome to another episode of Get Tech Smart. I’m Flo Nicholas, your host, attorney and tech founder, talking about all the tech going on here in New Hampshire, and today we have his three guests from UNH. To do. Mark Eichenberger, Associate Vice President and Chief Business Development and Innovation Officer at UNHInnovation, advocates and manages the dissemination of UNH-derived ideas to the public to maximize their social and economic impact. . Also there is Jeff Lapak, director of the UNH InterOperability Lab, who tests network and data communications products. He is the founder, president and CEO of Operation Hat Trick, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and support the recovery of wounded military and veterans through the sale of OHT-branded merchandise and products. is Dot Sheehan. Welcome everyone. Let’s start with you, Mark. Tell me more about the UNH Innovation Center.

Mark Eichenberger:

The UNH Innovation Center does a lot to support innovation statewide, both in large corporations and in the startup community. Most related to technology is that UNH is his R1 university. In short, we are one of the best research universities in the country. The Innovation Center helps connect businesses with a wide range of shared devices. You usually have access to multi-million dollar equipment, and you can access it by the hour. We provide access to mentoring and government grants for small businesses. We have access to small business innovation grants from the government. We also assist universities in patent acquisition and technology transfer. This is one of the things I always say. Ask questions and let us know your needs. And we promote it.

Flo Nicholas:

Jeff, can you elaborate on what you are doing at the UNH InterOperability Lab?

Jeff Stoll:

We operate like a small business within a university. We work with around 200 global partners. For us, data communication is where bits (of information) come and go. So it could be software, it could be a database, it could be an electrical or optical test. Our name, interoperability, comes from the companies we work with. If your business is interested or is developing something in a space where data goes back and forth between things, we can help you. A very large student employer. About 120 undergraduate or graduate students work with us, doing engineering for companies. Therefore, you will have 3 to 4 years of work experience before you graduate. We work with every tech company you can think of, from big names like Apple, Microsoft, and Dell. Additionally, players from the traditional networking space such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Network Solutions are included.

Flo Nicholas:

This is great because children can gain hands-on experience in these companies, which can lead to full-time employment.

Jeff Stoll:

that’s right. It has a placement rate of 99.99%. Most of our students get a job in the second half of their junior or senior year and have a great opportunity to finish their studies and jump into something exciting.

Flo Nicholas:

I am seeing more colleges and colleges starting to become more hands-on. Universities are going out into the community and working with businesses and other organizations to get more students into hands-on training. Why is there such great pressure to be able to participate?

Mark Eichenberger:

The economy is in high demand for students who can transition quickly into the world of work. Therefore, more and more companies want to develop a closer relationship with their students, train, research, and work with these students so that they can join the company quickly.

Jeff Stoll:

My take on this is very similar. The difference between a four-year program and a trade (school) program is recognized. Trade people are ready to rush in. In academia, you are learning this vast body of knowledge, but you don’t necessarily have the work experience. is focused on. And there will be big changes for those who leave.

Flo Nicholas:

So, Mark, I have the honor to introduce Dot Sheehan to the audience. That way we can get a better idea of ​​how she fits into the UNH Innovation Center.

Mark Eichenberger:

Universities produce two kinds of startups, and that applies to UNH as much as it does to other universities. One is intellectual property, and faculty members are typically part of it. Then there are a lot of entrepreneurship students who build companies. Dot’s startup, Operation Hat Trick, is really halfway between the two. A startup with social impact. And let Dot explain.

Dot Sheehan:

I am the founder of Operation Hat Trick. Our mission is to raise awareness and support the recovery of wounded military and veterans through the sale of OHT branded merchandise and products. The proceeds will be donated to selected organizations that carry out OHT. Mission. Background: I worked in college for 20 years. I was in track and field and I don’t think you can expect to spin out of track and field. But one day, I was listening to a radio broadcast on a Boston station asking the trivia question, “What does a soldier with a wounded head want most after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan?” The answer was a baseball cap. Hide scars, cover swelling, treat and bandage. And I didn’t realize how true that was until I went to Walter Reed.

Flo Nicholas:

Tell us more about what you saw at Walter Reed.

Dot Sheehan:

When our group, which included the president of the university and several U.S. Senators, first went to Walter Reed, whom we first met in the exercise room, he was 25 years old. He has a wife of 5 years and is 5 months old. He was a triple amputee. He had shrapnel and burns in his face. I happened to be talking to a 25-year-old man, and when I gave him his hat, he burst into tears and said, And maybe, just maybe, when my five-year-old comes to visit, she won’t be afraid of me. You may have spent most of your day in the hall.

From left to right: Mark Eichenberger, Flo Nicholas, Dot Sheehan, and Jeff Rapak.

Flo Nicholas:

Can you explain how the non-profit model of Operation Hat Trick works?

Dot Sheehan:

If the hat is $12, we wholesale to Dick’s Sporting Goods. 10% if UNH logo is included. If it’s just his OHT on the American flag, that’s 12%. Last year, we gave over $1 million to 65 organizations in her 39 states. We do what many people don’t do (for wounded military and veterans). We have a service dog. I own part of a food truck in San Diego. Here in New Hampshire, we support 4 or 5 entities. I will say; I sleep well at night.

Flo Nicholas:

like you should. This is essentially the business model we created. OHT isn’t technically a “technology”, but I think it’s consistent with what they’re trying to do at the Innovation Center. Innovation does not necessarily have to be technical.

Mark Eichenberger:

UNHInnovation’s business model is an opportunity for innovation. He has two examples of what Dot does and what Jeff does with his interns. It’s not just true technology. What it needs to happen is innovation.

Flo Nicholas:

But how do we keep these well-trained students in New Hampshire?

Mark Eichenberger:

Of course, if you’re 22, it’s exciting to go to New York or Boston. But there are ways to attract people and keep them. I think it makes students aware and shows them that there are great job opportunities in the state. So you can successfully combine life and work here.

Jeff Stoll:

I don’t know if people realize how high-tech and cool things are going on in New Hampshire. The state is home to many small startups focused on next-generation space technology.

Flo Nicholas:

And salary? A lot of people might say, “Oh, we’re going to increase our revenue by 30% in Massachusetts.”

Mark Eichenberger:

You are going to spend it too. Salaries can be hard to match at times, but the quality of life and what you get for your money is much higher.

Flo Nicholas:

What about bringing more tech events to the state?

Jeff Stoll:

There has been a great focus on organizing industry-level events at UNH. Again, there were several focused on the blue economy, the future blue economy, space, aerospace, and more.

Flo Nicholas:

Finally, what is UNH doing with respect to the increase and diversity of women in technology and innovation?

Jeff Stoll:

Diversity has been a focus of the lab for at least a decade. And when it comes to versatility, it goes way beyond weight. Our pool across New Hampshire is somewhat limited and it’s not a very diverse state at the moment. So obviously in addition there are a lot of technology-focused majors that work with us in engineering and physical sciences. However, it also has majors in business, art, and philosophy. And all you need is for them to be interested in technology. And train them with the rest of the methods. Some of the most successful people who have come out of our programs are non-engineering majors because they have the excitement and depth to push things forward.

Mark Eichenberger:

Over the past two years, UNH has hired a Chief Diversity Officer to organize the program and make it more impactful. Also, in my world, I track all these companies and whether they belong to underserved minority communities. Metrics are her one way to make sure we’re making an impact.

Flo Nicholas:

Thank you so much for being here. UNH has a lot going on. I love all the work you do with veterans. thank you. And thank you, fellow viewers, for coming here to watch another episode of Get Tech Smart. Stay tuned for more details.

Flo Nicolas is a technologist, attorney, speaker, mentor, writer, founder/CEO and director of tech startup CheapCheep and creator of Get Tech Smart. She is a dedicated professional with a passion for technology and creative innovation, aiming to help her community become tech-savvy and forward-thinking. Get Tech Smart is shared with members of The Granite State News Collaborative.

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2/ https://biz.manchesterinklink.com/an-innovation-ecosystem-thrives-at-unh/

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