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The Daily Wildcat


UA will take to Germany in international technology trade show

Nick Smallwood

The Tech Parks Arizona sign on Jan. 24. The park will take to Germany this April to partake in one of the largest international technology trade shows in the world, Hannover Messe 2016.

A delegation from Tech Parks Arizona will head to one of the world’s largest international technology trade shows in Germany at the end of April with hopes to attract new international businesses to the tech park.

The technology trade show known as Hannover Messe is giving center stage to top American universities and technology institutes for the first time in its history this year. Over 20 U.S. institutions, including Arizona State University, will showcase their research, business startups and global partnerships alongside the UA at Hannover Messe 2016.

While the UA team will not be bringing any business startups along due to cost, it will showcase key research as well as exhibit its Global Advantage Program, according to Justin Dutram, the director of business development for Tech Parks Arizona.

Research will be showcased from the six different areas in which the UA has a competitive advantage, according to the Associate Vice President of Tech Parks Arizona, Bruce Wright. The six areas being: defense and security, health and biosciences, intelligent transportation systems, advanced energy, mining, and arid lands agriculture and water.

Wright said the team hopes to target “small to midsize fast-growth technology companies” working in those sectors.

Tech Parks Arizona, conceived in 1994, has attracted over 40 businesses to its sprawling industrial park off Interstate 10, and to another location currently under construction off Kino Parkway. Companies from all over the world including Canada, Korea, Mexico, Israel and Germany currently operate on site.

Wright said Tech Parks Arizona will continue to market to companies in those countries.

“We’re open to companies from wherever they are in the world, it’s just that we can’t be all places and all things to all people, so we are targeting our recruitment to those countries because we have strong partners and ties to those countries,” Wright said.

Aside from the five-day trade fair, the Tech Parks’ delegation will also visit its sister park, Adlershof Science and Technology Park in Berlin, looking to recruit businesses there. Adlershof holds over 1,000 companies and institutions and Wright said he is excited to visit.

“When I say recruit, it’s important to say we’re not trying to steal them away from their park,” he said. “We’re looking for companies that are looking to expand their business operations into North America.”

Tech Parks Arizona offers companies a chance to come and test the waters in Tucson at a limited cost as part of its Global Advantage Program. During this time, companies are provided a mentor who connects them to UA research faculty and students, as well as to partner companies that can help with networking, seminars and workshops.

An important selling point of the Global Advantage Program, according to Wright, is the Tech Parks’ connection to Mexico where companies can find partners to do large-scale manufacturing.

“[If companies] have to ramp up and do large-scale manufacturing, they can be much more competitive if they go into our partners in Mexico,” Wright said. “Mexico’s got state-of-the-art facilities, high-productivity and high-quality manufacturing, so it allows them to produce a product at a very competitive price for the North American market.”

The proximity to Mexico is also important, Wright said, because of a growing middle class that could potentially become a large consumer base for companies at the Tech Parks.

Tech Parks Arizona is also unique in its offering of a large solar testing site.

“We are one—if not the largest—multi-technology solar testing facility in the world that tests solar energy at what’s called the utility or grid-level. The electricity is above 350,000 kilowatts,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of places where you can test an individual panel or an individual system, but this is all at that level—at that higher level—and all the electricity is fed into the Tucson Electric Power grid, so the companies can also see how the technology performs in integrating to an actual operating utility grid which sets us apart from a lot of different places.”

The Tech Parks are currently talking with six to seven companies who are in the process of signing client agreements, according to Wright, and the UA delegation hopes to bring seven to 10 companies back from its visit to Germany.

The new companies that Wright hopes to announce in fall 2016 would then generate revenue for the Tucson community and could turn into possible research opportunities, jobs and internships for UA students.

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