Connecting the Corridor

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TECH 44 innovators meet with Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis

TALKING TECH: TechShop COO and vice president of business development Dan Woods (left) talked with Electrical Connection Executive Vice President and TECH 44 board member Jim Curran (center) and Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers Local 36 President and Buisness Manager Dave Zimmermann. The Electrical Connection and SMART were presenting sponsors of the event. – Casey Communications photo
TALKING TECH: TechShop COO and vice president of business development Dan Woods (left) talked with Electrical Connection Executive Vice President and TECH 44 board member Jim Curran (center) and Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers Local 36 President and Buisness Manager Dave Zimmermann. The Electrical Connection and SMART were presenting sponsors of the event.
– Casey Communications photo

St. Louis – The vision of a high TECH corridor along Interstate 44 from St. Louis to Joplin highlighted a recent “Connecting the Corridor” reception involving members of TECH 44 and the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis.

The reception at Cortex introduced TECH 44’s consortium of 40 businesses, education and governmental entities, each of which has a stake in developing an ecosystem of Technology enterprises along the 290-mile-long stretch of I-44.

Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, was elected to the TECH 44 board of directors earlier this year.

Curran coordinated the event and served as emcee.

Presenting sponsors included the Electrical Connection and Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers, Local 36.

Cortex is transforming the aging, 200-acre industrial district in St. Louis’s midtown into a vibrant, innovation hub and technology district integrated into the historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods.

TECH 44 is a nonprofit founded in 2011 to market member companies and position I-44 as a region of advanced materials, manufacturing, design and associated educational institutions to grow the businesses and local, regional and state economy.

“We call I-44 the ‘Ideas Highway’ and want to create an environment that nurtures the growth of ideas,” said TECH 44 Executive Director Lonna Sowers.

“That includes promoting the sustainability of businesses and attracting compatible companies, building a skilled workforce, encouraging the expansion of education and training, encouraging research that supports business growth,” Sowers said.

The event featured TECH 44 board member presentations by Doyle Edwards of Brewer Science and Allen Kunkel of Missouri State University’s Jordan Valley Innovation Center in Springfield.

Featured speakers included Dennis Lower, CEO and president of Cortex and Dan Woods, COO and vice president of business development for TechShop, which provides entrepreneurs with access to professional equipment and software.

Other attendees included representatives from Rolla-based Brewer Science, Inc., Missouri University of Science & Technology, MO SCI Corporation and the Rolla Regional Economic Commission; Springfield-based Missouri State University; Joplin-based Joseph Newman Innovation Center; and St. Louis-based Ameren, Ventures – Boeing Defense, Washington University and the Electrical Connection.

More information on TECH 44 members can be found at www.TECH44.org.

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