ARPA-E Expo at Farmingdale State University

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A group of ladies and gentlemen gathered around Steve Israel as he arrived at Farmingdale State University on Tuesday, May 11th. Mr. Israel was the center of attention for more than just being the 2nd District of New York's congressional representative—he is also a member of the House of Representative's Office on Science and Technology... more to the point, he was there looking for people who were looking for money. He came to the right place (and at the right time, too).

Steve Israel at FSU
Dr. Mujamdar looks on as Representative Israel talk about our country's "Sputnik moment"

Israel began the proceedings with a bit of a history lesson: on October 4, 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik into space and Americans are left feeling that they somehow had became technologically behind. Now, Israel contends, we are facing a similar predicament. A "Sputnik moment" as he calls it. Only this time, the threat comes not from Russia, but from China. China is realizing that to be able to fuel their massive economy, they will need to rely on using clean and sustainable energy technologies. Israel then invoked the voice of John F. Kennedy by saying that we need to develop a new energy model, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. From here, it became an introduction of the ARPA-E program.

Despite his motivational speech, the entirety of the day did not actually belong to Israel. The head of ARPA-E, Dr. Arun Majumdar, was on hand to talk about funding new energy start-ups and development of "risky" energy technologies. Dr. Majumdar gave a brief overview of the successes the program has had in the past year, of the companies that have been funded on Long Island, and finally, the plans to increase funding for 2011.

And with that, the panel discussion was on. The panel was comprised of:

  • Leo Guthart, who is manages Long Island's Topspin Partners and is currently a Trustee of the Stony Brook Foundation and of Cold Spring Harbor Labs.
  • Micah Kotch, who heads up New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), an initiative started by the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. The initiative is designed to help create and foster NYC's clean businesses and start-ups.
  • David Norman, the co-owner of Kitchen Public Relations, spoke about the importance of PR and using the internet and social media to raise brand awareness and business results.

There were some very specific questions about garnering funding, securing intellectual property rights, and other technical details. And then, the meeting was over. Poof... it was so quick.

In the meantime, around Roosevelt Hall, exhibits were set up to display some of Long Island's interesting new tech start-ups, which also happened to include LI favorite Brookhaven National Labs.

Here are a few pictures:

A new kind of wind turbine on display at FSU
Some of the interesting new technology exhibited at FSU on Tuesday afternoon—this wind turbine is more compact and less intrusive than traditional models.


Solar panels on display at FSU
Some of the interesting new technology exhibited at FSU on Tuesday afternoon—these solar panels are available for small homes and have become quite affordable in the past year or so.


Steve Israel and Panel at FSU

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