URI ENGINEERING STUDENTS Glenn Bautista, Shawn Fineout, Mike Maher and Tim Pheland display the asphalt compactor they designed for their senior project in 2012 for Richmond-based Vibco. The students developed a device designed to compact asphalt patch more effectively so the patch lasts three times longer than traditional methods. The Business Engagement Center is expected to give business and industry a single point of entry to make these types of business connections happen more efficiently.
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND/MICHAEL SALERNO
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
(Updated, Sept. 6)
KINGSTON – With the opening today of a Business Engagement Center at the University of Rhode Island, connecting businesses, students and faculty is expected to get a whole lot easier.
URI long has been a converging point for companies recruiting workers, faculty seeking support for business-related academic research, and students seeking internships, but a new on-the-ground and virtual portal for such projects is now in place at the center.
The university is formally announcing the center’s launch at a 10 a.m. press conference Thursday at GTECH in Providence.
“The Business Engagement Center is a focal point for faculty and students to interact with industry in meaningful and innovative ways,” said URI President David M. Dooley, in an advance release. “The new center is URI’s front door for business to navigate the talent and knowledge that URI offers. It’s a one-stop shopping model, responding to companies’ needs and operating in real time, at the speed of business.”
Besides Dooley, expected guests at the official launch include Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox and President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed, as well as URI alumni GTECH Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Bob Vincent, ‘75, and President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Laurie White, ‘81. Several Rhode Island businesses were also invited to attend.
“This is another example of the university being forward thinking,” said Chafee, in an advance release. “This type of innovative private-public collaboration will allow businesses to work with URI’s assets and form a strong pool of well-qualified professionals.”
Katharine Hazard Flynn, executive director of the Business Engagement Center, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the center’s “one-stop shopping” will facilitate interaction from start to finish and more efficiently foster work with the business community on everything from technology or intellectual property transfer assistance to licensing information and customized workforce training and skill development.
“At URI, we’ve been working for businesses for a long time,” Flynn said, “but the idea is to create more of a welcome mat for industry to engage at the university, whether it’s hiring our students for internships or doing sponsored research. There are a lot of ways industries can engage here, and what has been a concern is that businesses don’t know where to start or who to call.