Midstate's future on path of technology

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MTSU Pres. Sidney McPhee addressed the Tennessee Valley Corridor conference Monday about the role the university can play in the state's economic future. TMP/M. Willard
The Defense Sector may be Middle Tennessee’s next area of economic growth, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Chattanooga) said at the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s annual meeting held Monday in Murfreesboro.

“We need to claim every opportunity to grow the economy in the corridor,” Wamp said.

The Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC) is a multi-state regional economic development organization, running roughly from Huntsville, Al. to Oak Ridge, that is dedicated to promoting the area as one of the nation's premier science and technology centers, and to leverage the Valley's research and technology assets and institutions for maximum regional economic development and new job creation.

And Wamp sees the future of the corridor lying directly in the path of Homeland Security and MTSU’s aerospace department.

He said the nation has entered into an era of “persistent conflict” marked by terrorism and geopolitical strife.

Tennessee should use the situation as an opportunity to grow its base in the Defense Sector by taking advantage of its proximity to Arnold Air Force Base and Fort Campbell.

“That’s a good idea,” said IBM’s Mark O’Riley, conference attendee.

“The corridor is developing advances in technology that is critically important to the new economy,” he added.

Other attendees see the future more in the Green revolution and solar power with the relocation of Hemlock Semiconductor to Clarksville and Gov. Phil Bredesen’s Solar Initiative.

But that was the point of the conference organized in conjunction with Mind2Marketplace (M2M), a Middle Tennessee technology consortium focused on new job creation.

The Tennessee Valley Corridor event focused on energy and the environment, workforce development, and innovation and entrepreneurship in an effort to share information, build strategic partnerships and explore new collaborations throughout the region.

The organization builds on regional assets like NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal, the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as several world-class research universities and dozens of corporate leaders in science and technology to spur high-tech research, development, business and investment in the 21st Century.

For more information, visit www.tennvalleycorridor.org.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.
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Bart Gordon, Economy, Tennessee Valley Corridor, Zach Wamp
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