Innovation Nodes Fuel Economic Rebirth of Philadelphia



Kelly Kline
Economic Development Director & Chief Innovation Officer

Brotherly love. Cheesesteaks. The 76ers. Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the U.S. and has no shortage of unique and enduring assets.  What has been more fleeting for the birthplace of our independence, is a strong footing for its local economy. Th…

Brotherly love. Cheesesteaks. The 76ers. Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the U.S. and has no shortage of unique and enduring assets.  What has been more fleeting for the birthplace of our independence, is a strong footing for its local economy. That’s changing, however, as Philadelphia ups its innovation game. Our Innovation District series continues with an in-depth look at "Philly" -- and how it's working on multiple fronts to harness the new economy.

The Urban Land Institute descended upon Philadelphia last week for its Spring Conference, providing the chance for urban planners, developers and real estate professionals to use it as a living laboratory. What we witnessed was a vibrant city, not just in its city center, but also its historic Navy Yard, and the west side of town where "Eds and Meds" have combined forces.

Perhaps the most dramatic change is at the thousand-acre Navy Yard, where master developer Liberty Property Trust has been transforming the historic port. While only three miles from downtown, the property’s imposing gates have long separated it from the rest of Philadelphia. But the workplace history is deeply rooted in the city's identity, beginning in 1912 with a Steel Foundry, and its ultimate role in WWII, employing 50,000 people and constructing 60 ships. The naval base closed in 1996 along with many others across the country, and now serves as a leading example of a successful re-use.

Liberty's carefully planned business center has focused on highly appointed, LEED rated tech oriented buildings, beautiful "adult play and leisure spaces" and a hotel. The current 12,000 jobs have surpassed those at the time of the base closure, and 30,000 are planned overall. Rents already exceed the City Center, and marquee tenants like GlaxoSmithKline have established a presence. Liberty has also maintained an industrial base, helping the legendary "Tastykake" bakery establish a new LEED certified facility.

Part of the allure of the Navy Yard is that it still includes shipbuilding, with the Norwegian Aker corporation utilizing the port (and employing 1,300 workers). The ships serve as a beautiful backdrop to a more artsy corporate presence -- the campus for Urban Outfitters. Their private investment of $300M includes the painstaking rehabilitation of a dozen historic shipyard buildings into a millennial worker's dream setting, complete with dogs, restaurants, and plenty of natural light. The Navy Yard also boasts new energy demonstration and training areas thanks to recent federal funding. The Navy Yard can be considered half done, but future plans to introduce multi-family residential may be the most transformational to date.

Meanwhile, Downtown Philly has seen a building Renaissance, thanks in no small part to the central relocation of the convention center which has exponentially increased hotel development. Housing has followed as the urbanized dynamics of the millennial generation have taken root. And like the Navy Yard, historic assets play an important role -- chief among them, the 125-year-old Reading Terminal Market which hosts 80 local merchants. The market is the most visited place in Philadelphia, as proven by the long line to snag an Amish doughnut!  Much of the Downtown development activity has consolidated on historic Market Street, including the almost 1 million square foot Gallery retail renovation project by the Macerich company.

And it's Market Street which makes the connection to Philadelphia's third node -- the so called "University City District", home to University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, and the new Science Center collaborative with over 30 partners in a 15 building/15 acre area. The concentration of university medical uses with a corresponding wellspring of talent, have made it a natural place to incubate research concepts and foster entrepreneurship. And while large corporate anchors have been elusive, the "Eds and Meds" strategy has generated significant development activity and buzz, including private office and residential projects, as well as institutional contributions such as the "Pennovation Works" Center -- an innovation space focused on engineering, robotics, and the Internet of Things. Inclusive growth is also a priority with plans for public K-12 STEM facilities underway.

The big takeaway for Fremont is that big cities need multiple centers of energy to serve different audiences. Approximately 85 percent of Philadelphia's business activity takes place in these three nodes. While Fremont is smaller scale, Warm Springs, Downtown, and Ardenwood serve distinct employment needs.

Lest we collectively be daunted by the scope and importance of these strategic efforts, here's a parting thought from Drexel's SVP of Economic Development, Keith Orris, "Momentum means unlimited potential."

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Scott Forster, Ph.D.
Head of Essai Global Solutions, Sales, Marketing & Business Development

Continuing in our quest to highlight Fremont-based manufacturing and technology companies that support Silicon Valley’s innovation economy, we recently caught up with Essai, a global player that provides engineering solutions and rapid prototyping to the …

Continuing in our quest to highlight Fremont-based manufacturing and technology companies that support Silicon Valley’s innovation economy, we recently caught up with Essai, a global player that provides engineering solutions and rapid prototyping to the who’s who of advanced industries.

City of Fremont: Briefly describe Essai and the primary markets you serve.

Scott Forster: Essai is an innovation support company. We provide custom solutions for companies seeking to get products to market at accelerated performance, increased profitability, and faster timescales. We work across most electro and electro-mechanical markets including fast-moving consumer electronics, aerospace, life sciences, automotive, manufacturing, and test automation, as well as defense.

Fremont: Essai has been ranked by Inc. 5000 as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and yet, you don’t see the name Essai on products. Can you explain this?

SF: Believe it or not, Essai has been included in America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for three years in a row! I guess it’s because we make the technology inside the technology, or the technology that makes the technology work. While you might never see the Essai brand, I can almost guarantee everyone reading this has held or used a technology that we have supported. When innovative companies hit a road block, we’re the resource they turn to for a solution. Whether it’s a new device with breakthrough performance or a design that contains a manufacturing challenge, we find a way to make it happen.

Fremont: Aside from your headquarter operations in Fremont, why is it important to have a manufacturing presence in Silicon Valley?

SF: We’re a Silicon Valley company with a global reach. I’m not sure there are many places in the area that operate 24/7 supporting design and manufacturing. We have materials testing, design, and engineering in close proximity to real manufacturing and assembly. This proximity, combined with some unique business processes, leads to uniquely reactive innovation capability.

Fremont: Can you talk about Essai’s strong commitment to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact?

SF: Essai is continuously seeking to reduce its impact on the world around us. We take pride in our green working initiative. It’s about continuously assessing our work and the work we undertake to ensure that the negative environmental impacts are reduced.

Fremont: What do you see as Essai’s biggest growth opportunities?

SF: In the last year, we’ve seen a huge diversification in Silicon Valley, with classical computing power migrating into automation, transportation and even medical sciences. With self-driving vehicles, drone/UAVs, and the connected world of “Internet of Things” starting to trickle out into the market through real-life applications, we’re always looking to support the next wave of innovation that’s waiting around the corner. We pride ourselves in maintaining client confidentiality, but it’s really a special feeling to be right at the cutting edge of technology development and implementation, making the world a smarter and more efficient place to be. Collecting, managing, and utilizing data is clearly a trend that will continue to grow, and wherever there’s a technical challenge, we’ll be there to help. 

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Fred Diaz
City Manager

Every few years, we take an extensive look at how our residents feel about the quality of life in Fremont, the development, and local government. In February and March of this year, the City contracted with research firm FM3 to conduct random telephone o…

Every few years, we take an extensive look at how our residents feel about the quality of life in Fremont, the development, and local government.

In February and March of this year, the City contracted with research firm FM3 to conduct random telephone outreach for our annual community survey of Fremont residents. The firm reached out to more than 600 registered voters and randomly-selected residents to hear what they had to say about the City of Fremont.

While there are always going to be areas for improvement, it’s safe to say that we saw some pretty outstanding results overall. To start, four out of five Fremont residents rate the quality of life in the City as “good” or “excellent.” Not only that, but most would say that our community is an excellent spot to call home, whether you’re raising a family or getting ready for retirement.

Here are just a few additional takeaways that I’d like to share:

  • Residents feel completely safe when strolling the streets of Fremont, and general concerns about crime have decreased since the last survey
  • In general, residents feel positive about the overall development taking place in Fremont, with more than three-fourths in support of the City’s move toward transit-oriented development– but, some would like to see more nightlife and entertainment options
  • Residents are particularly satisfied with parks and city cleanliness, as well as road repair, but street maintenance is an area of improvement
  • Many feel Fremont is part of Silicon Valley and closely associate the City with cleantech and manufacturing
  • The biggest local concerns are traffic, growth, and the cost of housing – which is consistent with other Bay Area cities (these concerns are higher among Oakland and San Francisco residents)
  • Services such as public safety are seen as most crucial, and are also the services that residents are most satisfied with

The City of Fremont as a whole finds great value in these surveys, and the community’s feedback helps ensure that we are taking Fremont in the direction that its residents envision. If you would like to take a closer look at the 2016 community survey, please visit www.fremont.gov/communitysurvey.

And for those of you that participated in the survey, thank you! We greatly appreciated your feedback.

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Category: Fremont General

Creating Pathways to Engineering Technology for Student Veterans



Kelsey Wat
Student Support Specialist, Silicon Valley Engineering Technology Pathways

As the name implies, Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) careers require a certain level of mathematics as a pre-requisite. This means that over 70 percent of California Community College students are required to take two to three years of math ins…

As the name implies, Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) careers require a certain level of mathematics as a pre-requisite. This means that over 70 percent of California Community College students are required to take two to three years of math instruction before they can begin a four-year degree sequence. The result is that students who cannot devote this much time are effectively prevented from entering high-growth, high-wage careers. This can be especially true for military veterans looking to enter the civilian workforce. The Engineering Technology Pathways program at Las Positas College, in Livermore, CA seeks to address that need.

Designed in conjunction with Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Growth Sector, and Las Positas College, Engineering Technology Pathways assists U.S. Military Veterans pursuing careers in Engineering Technology by equipping them with the tools necessary for a four-year degree pathway to be effective, successful technicians and technologists prepared for middle-level, high-wage careers.

Engineering Technology Pathways has three core components.  First, students participate in an accelerated, contextualized, and supported mathematics gateway which takes them from intermediate algebra to pre-calculus in one year. Second, students participate in cohort-based and contextualized engineering and welding courses designed to teach students both engineering design and graphics, as well as fabrication and manufacturing. Third, students participate in a ten-week summer internship with a local industry leader to receive hands-on experience and mentorship. Throughout the duration of the program, students participate in career development and employment related workshops in order to assist them in developing a professional resume, building a professional wardrobe, and gaining invaluable interviewing techniques to assist them with obtaining and keeping employment post-graduation.

This two-year degree program results in an Associate of Sciences in Engineering Technology from Las Positas College. The first cohort of student veterans will graduate from the program this May, and with workforce cited as a top priority by manufacturing companies, you can be sure their future looks bright.

To learn more about the program visit: http://www.laspositascollege.edu/engineering/engr-technology.php

 

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Jessica von Borck
Assistant City Manager

City Age has been convening thought leaders in the “Smart City” sphere for several years now in major metro areas across the world from LA to Hong Kong to Kansas City to Toronto. Their first foray in San Francisco had its own special flavor, emphasizing c…

City Age has been convening thought leaders in the “Smart City” sphere for several years now in major metro areas across the world from LA to Hong Kong to Kansas City to Toronto. Their first foray in San Francisco had its own special flavor, emphasizing climate resiliency, transportation, and new development models.

Of particular interest was a panel on City Building which featured the Warm Springs story, and how the City of Fremont has leveraged its real estate portfolio to drive more beneficial partnerships for public infrastructure ranging from complete streets to school facilities. Fremont’s Chief Innovation Officer Kelly Kline shared Fremont’s impressive stats related to affordable housing goals and its unique approach to creating an innovation ecosystem based on Advanced Industries. Other panelists from the City of San Francisco, SPUR, and mixed-use developer Grosvenor emphasized the importance of creative approaches to drive density near transit hubs.

Throughout the conference there were a number of projections and analytics that will certainly shape Fremont’s approach to city building. Here are some interesting takeaways.

Demographic trends will change our city partners and priorities. Emerging global markets are increasingly important, and will comprise 45 percent of the Fortune Global 500 by 2025. Meanwhile, the global population is aging, especially the 60+ age group.

1. Demographic trends will change our city partners and priorities. Emerging global markets are increasingly important, and will comprise 45 percent of the Fortune Global 500 by 2025. Meanwhile, the global population is aging, especially the 60+ age group.

2. Regionalism is an imperative. In the nine-county Bay Area region, there are over 100 cities, and many of the problems — such as transportation and affordable housing — can’t be solved at the local level alone.

3. City infrastructure is in terrible shape, and public private partnerships are critical to addressing overwhelming needs. The Internet of Things (IoT) also offers the ability for city infrastructure to be smarter through sensor technology.

4. Transit solutions are more complicated than ever given how much the environment has changed. Technology can help, but it still requires grafting onto existing aging systems.

5. City resiliency, with water and energy storage and distribution as a focus, is a new frontier for regional partnerships.  

Best of all, the conference gave us the opportunity to collect best practices and inspirational stories from cities near and far. We learned about Hong Kong's thriving startup scene, the Toronto/Waterloo innovation corridor, San Francisco’s Entrepreneur in Residence program, and San Jose’s Office of External Partnerships and default position of open data. Jeff Morales, CEO of California High Speed Rail, gave a progress report and shared the economic benefits of the project, particularly for small businesses. Bay Area transportation leaders, including car-sharing company LYFT, discussed the projected impacts of autonomous vehicles on our broader transit system.

Underlying all of these topics and discussions was an implicit buy-in to the paradigm expressed by author James Surowiecki in his 2004 book, “Wisdom of Crowds.” The answers to the significant challenges and opportunities ahead lie in cross sector partnerships and embracing new service delivery models. 

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Christina Briggs
Deputy Economic Development Director/Assistant to the City Manager

In Fremont, we talk about manufacturing — a lot. And lately, we are not the only ones. Whether it’s the buzz around the maker movement or the tremendous response to Tesla’s Model 3 launch last week, the ways in which manufacturing is impacting our economy…

In Fremont, we talk about manufacturing — a lot. And lately, we are not the only ones. Whether it’s the buzz around the maker movement or the tremendous response to Tesla’s Model 3 launch last week, the ways in which manufacturing is impacting our economy, and our lives are becoming more and more apparent. But don’t just take my word for it — let the experts tell you.

At last week’s Silicon Valley Manufacturing Roundtable meeting, the Bay Area Economic Institute (BAEI) released its new report, “Reinventing Manufacturing.” The report is a sweeping analysis of California’s manufacturing landscape and provides some unique insight into why the State is on the leading edge of a major transformation in global manufacturing.

There are two fundamental reasons why this report is important: 1) BAEI now joins other prestigious think tanks that are working to move manufacturing higher up on public policy agendas and 2) it goes beyond reporting raw data, which can sometimes be misleading. Instead, it digs deeper and carefully interprets metrics like employment and wages to show that something very powerful is happening around advanced industries.

Sometimes a picture (or a chart) really is worth a thousand words. We’re highlighting a few from the report, but a glance at the full document is well worth it.

(All graphics from BAEI “Reinventing Manufacturing” report, with original source cited.) 

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IoT ripples through advanced industries.

 

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Note the uptick in jobs overall since 2010. And in our top five sectors, including biomedical, we have been steadily adding jobs since 1990.


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Between 1990 and 2014, average annual incomes in manufacturing increased at a faster rate than the economy as a whole, where incomes rose by 24 percent. 

 

Industrial Land Use in California

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The Bay Area’s inventory of manufacturing space is the largest in the state, based on the sum of the 3 sub-regions shown (North Bay, East Bay, South Bay). 

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Fremont Startup Grind Digest: Aaron Carpenter and Donna Novitsky



Shilpi Sharma
Director of Fremont Startup Grind

As an entrepreneur, how often do you ask yourself, “How big are we in comparison to our competition?” At our last fireside chat in March, we sat down with Aaron Carpenter, Chief Customer Officer at HubNami, a social media management startup. Hubnami creat…

As an entrepreneur, how often do you ask yourself, “How big are we in comparison to our competition?” At our last fireside chat in March, we sat down with Aaron Carpenter, Chief Customer Officer at HubNami, a social media management startup. Hubnami creates software to answer these types of questions. 

Whether you are trying to appeal to a business or a consumer, Carpenter says that your marketing strategies must be exemplary. It is extremely difficult to sell products from business to business, and even with a plan in place, it may still be complicated to execute. Consumers are just as hard to convince. Brand loyalty is something that consumers are extremely conscious of – they either love or hate a brand. How would you sell your product in ten seconds? What makes you stand out from your competition?

Companies entering the social media realm often ask when is the right time to start marketing and sharing their product. Carpenter explained that the golden rule is, “It’s never too early.” One of the most viewed pieces of content for companies on social media are product teasers, or behind-the-scenes footage. Once you begin consistently posting new content, the followers will come.

However, effective marketing strategies don’t have to be costly. One simple suggestion Carpenter has is to write a piece on your Facebook page and boost the post for other businesses and consumers to see. If you want to know exactly what you’re up against, sign up for a free trial with your competitors and see what they’re doing. 

There’s a reason why social media has been called a “black hole”. Even though the space is crowded, the possibilities are endless and each company specializes in its own niche. Carpenter expects that there will be a massive consolidation in the future, and many of these smaller companies will become a tool or subset of larger organizations. 

Our next fireside chat for Fremont’s Startup Grind chapter is on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. At a new location Electronics For Imaging (efi) on 6700 Dumbarton Cr., Fremont, CA. We will be celebrating Female Founders Month and speaking with Donna Novitsky of Yiftee.

Depending on how you count them, Yiftee is Donna’s 3rd or 19th start-up. She is also a former partner of a top tier venture capital firm and teaches marketing to engineers and entrepreneurs at Stanford University. She took a startup from scratch to IPO, and is mother of two teenage kids. Novitsky was named one of the 2014 Top 10 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. Magazine in April 2014, and holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering with Distinction from Stanford University, as well a Harvard MBA. 

Don’t miss out on this event! Get your tickets here.

More spring events will be announced soon.  You can stay informed by following Startup Grind on Twitter @FremontGrind, and on Facebook at Startup Grind Fremont.

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 Attendees at the Fremont Startup Grind event with Aaron Carpentar, Chief Customer Officer of HubNami. 

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Category: Startups

Eye on Education - BASIS Independent Opening in Fremont



Dr. Ashley Leyba
Head of School, Basis Fremont

BASIS Independent Fremont, a new K-5 private school from the nationally-ranked BASIS.ed network, is opening in time for the 2016/2017 school year and currently accepting applications. We spoke with Head of School, Dr. Ashley Leyba, to understand how BASIS…

BASIS Independent Fremont, a new K-5 private school from the nationally-ranked BASIS.ed network, is opening in time for the 2016/2017 school year and currently accepting applications. We spoke with Head of School, Dr. Ashley Leyba, to understand how BASIS complements Fremont’s already robust education community.

City of Fremont: The BASIS.ed network of schools has more than two dozen schools across the nation, plus one in China. How did the network begin?

Ashley Leyba (AL): Founders Dr. Michael and Olga Block, both of whom were economists and educators, were seeking a school for their daughter that had international curricular standards. They couldn’t find one, so they opened their own charter school in Tucson, Arizona in 1998. They were soon asked to replicate BASIS Tucson’s success, and a second school opened in 2003. Both institutions were quickly among the nation’s best, and opening more charters and independent schools was a natural progression. 

Fremont: Why did BASIS Independent decide to establish a school in Fremont?

AL: We were drawn to Fremont as a thriving community for contemporary businesses and families. Also, just as BASIS Independent is an innovator in contemporary education, the people who live in Fremont are innovators, too. They want the best. And BASIS Independent Fremont is that: a small, intimate school for young children that is intellectually and imaginatively open to the world. It’s a perfect fit for BASIS Independent.

Students completing 5th grade at BASIS Independent Fremont will automatically matriculate into BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, which serves middle and high school grades.

Fremont: What makes your academic program unique and how does BASIS prepare the next generation workforce?

AL: What makes us unique is our network of schools, our passionate, expert teachers, and our acclaimed curriculum. In particular, our internationally benchmarked, STEM-focused, liberal arts curriculum has long been lauded as one of the nation's best. While it's accelerated, our focus on direct student support helps students finish years ahead of their same-aged peers from across the U.S. And we know that students learn best by "doing" -- that's backed up by loads of research. Our classrooms are places of active engagement for students of all ages -- much more than the average classroom.

Fremont: What does community engagement look like for BASIS?

AL: As a long-time Fremont resident, it’s very important to me that our school becomes a good neighbor and an integral part of the Fremont community. We have already started taking steps to ensure that happen by taking part in established events and building partnerships with local businesses.   As our students get older, and are seeking out volunteer and mentorship opportunities, these connections are critical. The school is proud to be here, and our school community intends to be a vibrant part of the Fremont community.

Fremont: BASIS.ed schools are consistently ranked among the highest nationally -- including U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek. How does BASIS.ed stay at the top?

AL: Actually, it’s fair to say that we are ranked among the nation’s best by any measure: rankings, college admissions, AP testing and scores, or OECD / PISA testing and rankings.

Boiled down, the BASIS.ed formula is simple: we continually improve our exceptional curriculum; we hire bright, passionate teachers who are experts in their subjects and often have real-world experience; and we teach students to find what inspires them, and to ask and answer questions without hesitations or limits.

Our curriculum in 2016 is not identical to 2011, or 2006, or 1998. We use what’s working, share it across the network, and innovate consistently – all while standing by our students, making sure each is fully supported in the way that an individual needs. It’s what we have perfected, and what our teachers are trained to do. 

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Category: Fremont General



Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker
Co-authors of "The Smartest Places on Earth"

New models for innovation sometimes come from unlikely places, as the authors of "The Smartest Places on Earth" chronicle in their thought-provoking book released this week.  Takes From Silicon Valley East brings you this preview. Just a few years ago, t…

New models for innovation sometimes come from unlikely places, as the authors of "The Smartest Places on Earth" chronicle in their thought-provoking book released this week.  Takes From Silicon Valley East brings you this preview.

Just a few years ago, the United States seemed to be losing the competitive race to China, turning proud industrial powerhouses like Akron and Pittsburgh into rustbelt cities. What is often overlooked is that, while millions of workers lost their jobs and thousands of factories closed, many rustbelt universities maintained their world-class research capability and this was leveraged into developing smart new products needed for the 21st century. Washington did not provide a safety net, but the bipartisan Bayh-Dole Act (1980) allowed universities and researchers to profit from federally funded research.  Following the examples of Silicon Valley and Cambridge, universities moved beyond their ivory towers and learned to collaborate closely with startups, legacy companies and local officials in a process we call “sharing brainpower.” That became the secret sauce to reinventing innovation – this time not top-down but bottom-up, not hierarchical but collegial, not proprietary but open, and not siloed but interdisciplinary.

Today, many of these rustbelt cities are experiencing a remarkable comeback. They are becoming tomorrow’s brainbelts. There are now some 35 brainbelts around the country, two-thirds of them former rustbelt cities. How have they done it? Not by bringing back your father’s manufacturing, but by reinventing how we make things. In fact, creating a whole new branch of the economy by integrating advanced production methods, new materials, and new discoveries with wireless information technology and big data analytics. Think of self-driving cars, wearables that monitor health, smart grids, and ever-smarter smartphones.

In these brainbelts, we see the emergence of a whole new paradigm of global competition. For the past 25 years, China has been beating the “old,” Western economies by making things as cheap as possible. Now the United States is developing a more effective response. We believe that, for the next 25 years, the focus will be on making things as smart as possible, playing to our unique (and often overlooked) assets such as world-class research universities, freedom of thinking (indispensable for innovation), and a trusted legal system. “Smart” is replacing “cheap” as the new mantra.

These new brainbelts share common characteristics: (1) a life-threatening situation has forced groups that might not normally collaborate to break out of their silos and work together; (2) there is a pool of talent shared by universities and business, new and old; and (3) there is a broad understanding that an infrastructure is needed that includes incubators, informal meeting spaces, and plentiful, well-priced housing designed to keep attract and keep top talent; (4) they focus their efforts on the complex and expensive challenges of the 21st century that require multidisciplinary expertise—such as chip making, new materials, and bioscience and (5) a connector emerges with the vision to inspire people and motivate them to dream again.

Our book is an antidote to what we hear some of the presidential candidates on the left and the right say. We believe that this new competitive edge will boost our confidence and create new jobs, both for researchers and professionals with post-secondary STEM skills, and also in related and supporting businesses. It will require expansion of technical colleges and new training programs (patterned on the German work-study model). And we will see long-outsourced products such as shoes, shirts, and consumer electronics again with the Made In USA label.

On visits to a dozen of these brainbelts and in talking to hundreds of scientists, startups and business executives for our new book The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation, we have witnessed this trend first-hand and are convinced that it is real. That is the basis for our optimism and strong conviction that the United States is not in decline, but is on the cusp of a new wave of innovation and competitiveness.


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The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation (Public Affairs, March 2016), by Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker

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Antoine van Agtmael is senior adviser at Garten Rothkopf, a public policy advisory firm in Washington, DC, is known for coining the term “emerging markets” and founded Emerging Markets Management LLC in 1987 which became a leading investment advisory firm in his area.

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Alfred Bakker was editor-in-chief of Het Financieele Dagblad, the “Financial Times of Holland,” and helped develop the company from a newspaper publisher to a multimedia company.

They are the co-authors of The Smartest Places on Earth (Public Affairs, March 2016)


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State of the City 2016: From Rural Town to Booming Innovation Hub



Bill Harrison
Mayor of Fremont

It wasn’t that long ago that Fremont was a rural landscape of farms, ranches, and towns, and a stop along the way for commuters headed into the big cities.  Now, Fremont is an impressive hub for advanced manufacturing and other innovative Silicon Valley c…

It wasn’t that long ago that Fremont was a rural landscape of farms, ranches, and towns, and a stop along the way for commuters headed into the big cities.  Now, Fremont is an impressive hub for advanced manufacturing and other innovative Silicon Valley companies.  We had a chance to reflect on that progress last Thursday, March 24, 2016, during the annual State of the City address at the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley, hosted by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

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This year’s event was particularly momentous in the context of Fremont’s 60th anniversary.  Over the last six decades, Fremont has become a strategically urban ecosystem and this event allowed all cross sections of our Fremont community to share experiences from the past, and look forward to the future.

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As we look back on the successes and challenges we experienced in 2015 and anticipate what’s on the horizon for our City, it’s apparent that Fremont is taking these lessons to heart and continuing to make a name for itself in Silicon Valley, California, and across the nation.  Here are a few highlights.

  • The Brookings Institution selected Fremont for its Silicon Valley stop on advanced industries research.
  • Delta Products opened its new 180,000 sq. ft. headquarters, LEED Platinum building—a first of its kind in Fremont—that will serve as an iconic gateway into the Innovation District. 

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  • Overton Moore completed its award-winning 700,000 sq. ft. Class A industrial development, paving the way for Fremont Boulevard’s extension to Dixon Landing Road, a critical Silicon Valley connection.
  • Fremont launched the first East Bay chapter of the global meet-up, Startup Grind.
  • The City’s Warm Springs Community Plan won two awards and was recognized by the Association of Bay Area Governments and by the State for its American Planning Association Award of Excellence in Urban Design.
  • Progress continues to be made on construction of an iconic bridge and plaza that will connect properties such as Tesla and ThermoFisher to the Warm Springs/South Fremont BART station that will open later this year.
  • Downtown Fremont’s first mixed-use private development called State Street will break ground in June and work is underway on development plans for the City’s future Civic Center.
  • It’s been a landmark year for sustainability in Fremont — named America’s 10th Greenest City of 2015, signed onto the Compact of Mayors, installed 1.2 megawatts of solar carport structures, and is one of 50 semifinalist competitors in the $5M Georgetown University Energy Prize.

If you would like to learn more about Fremont’s recent accomplishments and where we see the City heading, you can view the speech at www.Fremont.gov/StateoftheCity.

I would like to thank everyone who made this year’s State of the City another spectacular event to add to the books, and a special thanks to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley, and all of our City employees for continuing to push Fremont to success.

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Category: Fremont General

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Welcome to our blog – Takes from Silicon Valley East!  Our view is slightly different here on the east side of the bay – from the Mission Peak backdrop to the advanced manufacturing companies that dot our boulevards. As we become more urban and strive to interpret the business issues affecting our innovation economy, we want to share with you our observations, insights, photos, arguments, agreements, inspirations and CEO interviews – and here on our blog is exactly where we plan to do this.

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