Vice president for Research to start work for tech organization

Callie Fruit

Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies John West will be joining NorTech, a regional economic-development organization in Northeast Ohio, beginning July 1, with the goal of establishing Northeast Ohio as a global leader in flexible technology.

West is the first Senior Fellow of the NorTech Fellows Program, a program that enables professionals in the technology field to collaborate with others in the industry to build a stronger technology economy.

His previous experience in the technology field, including “his considerable expertise in liquid crystal technology, building collaborative industry arrangements and helping liquid crystal start-up companies,” made him a logical candidate, said Dorothy Baunach, president and CEO of NorTech.

“NorTech focuses on developing programs and initiatives that foster and improve economic growth in six distinctive technology sectors,” she said.

She said West will be focusing his efforts on liquid crystals and working with the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network organization.

MAGNET is one example of the innovation that the university’s connection with NorTech will bring to the industry.

“This type of outside manufacturing process has not been attempted before and will set a new milestone and direction for liquid crystal technology commercialization in the region,” Baunach said.

“Overall, Dr. West will help bridge the gap between the academic and industry community to form stronger connections and collaborations to create a more robust technology economy in Northeast Ohio.”

West said he sees this fellowship as a window of opportunity to bring all these groups together to improve the region’s economy.

For students, this collaboration means more job opportunities in a growing field.

“There’s a change of culture with this innovative technology,” West said.

With the growth of technology-related businesses, Baunach said this will mean more job opportunities for college graduates in the fields of electrical and chemical engineering and other related areas.

In addition to West, NorTech is currently considering a second Fellow candidate who would focus on different technology areas, Baunach said.

Although he will be leaving his current position at Kent State for a year, West will continue working with the university through research at LCI.

His successor has not been announced.

Contact science reporter Callie Fruit at [email protected].