The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

91° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Innovation Day honors, helps UA community”

    Amanda Purciello / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Myles Lewis, left, shows Raphael Gruener, director of Technol Initiatives, right, the modular portable crop growth system developed by Verdant Earth Technology, yesterday afternoon as part of Innovation Day held in the Student Union Memorial Center.
    Amanda Purciello / Arizona Daily Wildcat Myles Lewis, left, shows Raphael Gruener, director of Technol Initiatives, right, the modular portable crop growth system developed by Verdant Earth Technology, yesterday afternoon as part of Innovation Day held in the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Dressed in slacks and white polo shirts embroidered with their company name and slogan, Gabriel Hazlewood and three fellow students show off the company they’ve been working on for the last eight months.

    Hazlewood, a management information systems and business administration senior, and his business partners presented Jumpistics, their logistics company created through the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at Innovation Day in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center Tuesday.

    Innovation Day, which gave business people the opportunity to see what UA students are working on, also gave Jumpistics and other student-made companies a valuable networking opportunity, Hazlewood said.

    “”There’s a lot of important people here that can really help us launch this company,”” he said. “”I probably have 20 business cards in my pocket of people who are willing to help.””

    After the showcase, six teams of students were selected to present their companies to venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, said Bruce Wright, UA associate vice president of economic development.

    “”It’s a really great exercise for them to have a real-life experience in presenting their company ideas to the outside world,”” Wright said.

    Hazlewood and his team weren’t one of the six selected teams, but they don’t just think of Jumpistics as a school project, they want to translate their idea into the real world, he said.

    Commercialization of ideas and companies is a big part of the sixth annual Innovation Day, Wright said.

    “”Part of the goal of the day is to recognize those who have been especially successful in being faculty or student entrepreneurs and translating their research into commercial development,”” Wright said.

    Innovation Day, which celebrated UA research and success in technology development, also names one faculty member Innovator of the Year.

    This year’s winner Victor Hruby, chemistry regents professor emeritus, won for his work on intercellular communication as it relates to degenerative diseases. His work, in part, deals with how human behavior relates to diseases and how cells react to that behavior.

    Hruby said he thinks he won in part because he works with many different scientists; he is a chemist who works with biologists, medical doctors and others.

    He successfully created a company and sold it to a large pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-aventis.

    The ideas generated by UA professors and students can be transferred into actual companies, Wright said.

    “”This is also starting to create an industry that may result in many job opportunities for many of the graduates of the university,”” he said.

    “”Students … don’t realize what tremendous opportunities they have here at the University of Arizona to learn things that are just remarkable,”” Hruby said. “”All they have to do is have two things to do that: they have to be motivated and they have to be willing to work.””

    Hruby said because the UA is a top university it gets many more grants, which allows for more innovation and room to grow ideas.

    Also, students don’t have to wait to be graduate students or professors to work on groundbreaking research at UA, Hruby said.

    “”They can start working on things that are state of the art almost immediately because we have graduate students, post-doctorate professors who can teach them,”” he said. “”They don’t have to wait until they go to graduate school … to learn completely new technologies.””

    Pouria Valley, an optical sciences graduate student, won the student award for his collaboration with the McGuire Center on new technologies for camera lenses, Wright said.

    Professor Michael Cusanovich won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his active role in, “”trying to help link the university and the bio industry together, and to build a viable bio industry sector in southern Arizona,”” Wright said.

    Wright said all the winners had a common thread, “”Not only have they pursued their traditional academic role, as a student or a faculty member … but they’ve taken that additional step to translate their ideas out into a company.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search