WMU News

TIER Summit convenes at Fetzer Center

Aug. 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Experts from across the nation will speak about collaborative economic development to an audience of business, education and community leaders from a nine-county area of Southwest Michigan when Western Michigan University serves as host for the TIER Summit Wednesday, Aug 28.

TIER is an acronym for Technology, Innovation, Education and Research coined by Dr. Elson S. Floyd, WMU president, in a November 2001 address to business leaders from Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties. It encompasses the four pillars for economic development, which Floyd says are found in abundance in Southwest Michigan when viewed on a collective regional basis.

A significant part of Floyd's "TIER Initiative" is creation of a common Web-based "asset inventory" for the nine-county area, including information on businesses and industries, workforce demographics, education and training, technology and research infrastructure, government and business development agencies and more.

The TIER Asset Inventory Web site, developed by Granite Solutions Inc., will be introduced and launched at the summit in a presentation by Matthew Mace, president of Granite Solutions. The Kalamazoo-based technology firm specializes in designing and developing business critical information systems.

Other highlights of the summit will include opening remarks by President Floyd on his vision for collaborative regional development and the TIER Initiative. During his many years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as executive vice chancellor before coming to WMU, Floyd saw first hand how public-private partnerships made the Research Triangle into a household name and one of the nation's biggest economic success stories.

Dr. Richard Florida, Heinz Professor of Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon University and nationally noted authority on economic development, will address "Competing in the Age of Uncertainty." Florida's most recent book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," published in June, has received acclaim from major publications, including the New York Times.

The president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, Bob Marcusse, will address "Best Practices in Regional Collaboration." The organization Marcusse leads serves a metropolitan area spanning two states.

Rep. Fred Upton, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, whose congressional district encompasses most of the nine TIER counties, will deliver "A View from Washington" during the summit luncheon.

The nine Michigan counties included in TIER are Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

Attendance at the TIER Summit is by invitation only. The Aug. 28 summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fetzer Center on the WMU campus.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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