Chris Shapard

Chris Shapard

As a conversation starter at the Energy Commercialization Center’s Energize 2013 conference, I had the pleasure of visiting Snowbird, Utah (my first time in the Utah mountains) and participating in the first effort to connect and build the Rocky Mountain regional cleantech ecosystem. The Energy Commercialization Center at the University of Utah was one of five 2010 DOE EERE-funded Innovation Ecosystem Development Initiatives that will accomplish such activities as pursuing intellectual property protection for technological innovations; nurturing and mentoring entrepreneurs; engaging the surrounding business and venture capital community; and integrating sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation across university schools and departments.

During the course of the two-day event, research organizations, companies and industry trade groups from Utah, Colorado and Idaho met to share best practices and ideas for policy, access to capital, and tech transfer among other topics. My colleagues from Colorado included Dick Franklin, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Cleantech Open, and Steve Berens, Executive Director of the Cleantech Fellows Institute, who spoke about Rocky Mountain resources for clean technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

My session concerned best practices in cleantech policy and how policy can successfully drive job creation. While the surrounding states are not yet as organized as Colorado, there’s a lot we can do together to facilitate the cooperation to grow our clean technology industries. One of the best parts of the program was meeting new partners like RenewableTech Ventures and Navillum Nanotechnologies that I can plug into Colorado’s clean tech universe. I look forward to future collaboration with Utah’s Energy Commercialization Center and the ongoing energy conversation.