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Otter names IGEM Council members

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has named the dozen members of the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission Council. The membership, as required by state law, includes state officials, university officials, lawmakers and private sector representatives.

The IGEM Council replaces the Idaho Innovation Council, a similar organization that reported to the governor. CIIC Chairman Doug Sayer, the head of Premier Technology in Blackfoot, is also chairman of the new group. The new council is expected to start meeting in the early summer to hammer out rules and eligibility for the nearly $1 million in grant funding state lawmakers authorized for startup companies that will combine university research with private-sector guidance and talent.

“The idea is to get the universities and the private sector engaged in the notion that research should contribute to economic development in the state,” said Richard Jacobsen, executive director for research and technology transfer at Idaho State University. “This kind of thing will eventually – if we do it well and support it – will make a big difference in the state and the economy of the state.”

“One of the benefits of the IGEM council is that there will be members of the private sector,” said Mark Rudin, vice president for research and economic development at Boise State University. “Their input will be invaluable as we continue to look to monetize intellectual property being developed at the universities.”

Rudin said he and his counterparts at technology transfer offices at the University of Idaho and Idaho State University have been working together on issues of fostering new companies, which the IGEM program should help.

The other private-sector members of the panel are William Gilbert, Jr., founder of The Caprock Group; Von Hansen, a vice president with Hewlett-Packard Co.; and Rick Stott, executive vice president with Agri Beef Co.

“We tried to tap into a non-high-tech, more traditional industry, but obviously one that utilizes technology,” Megan Ronk, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Commerce, said of Stott’s appointment.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer, brother of Doug Sayer, and Idaho State Board of Education President Ken Edmunds are also on the council, as are Republican lawmakers Sen. John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene and Rep. Gayle Batt of Wilder.

David Hill, deputy laboratory director of science and technology at the Idaho National Laboratory, and Jack McIver, vice president for research at the University of Idaho, will also serve on the council.

About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.

One comment

  1. All well and good….but won’t be the least bit effective until Idaho does the following:

    1. give the towns, cities, and counties full constitutional home-rule powers so they can go make their own deals, based upon local needs and conditions. Do not ‘backstop’ their creditworthiness with state funds

    2. radically reorganize Idaho’s 8th or 9th \ America’s most onerous (income) tax code\ for individuals & businesses, including a dramatic reduction of the country’s #1 dependency exemption–a direct subsidy to the LDS Church

    3. repeal the 1994 \any willing provider\ act banning HMOs, so Idaho’s working people, and small businesses can have full, healthcare competition, helping to retain & attract key talent

    4. raise the agricultural property tax exemption threshold from 5 acres to 30-50 acres, and forbid its use by speculators and so-called \urban farmers\ inside incorporated municipal city limits

    Do these 4 things, none of which requires a tax increase–they’re all tax neutral, and you might escape the economic depression that’s surely coming for Idaho, if you don’t.