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DATE: Nov. 4, 2005

UM-Dearborn launches economic forum to engage leaders in developing
solutions for challenges facing manufacturing

DEARBORN---UM-Dearborn is playing a role in "stimulating innovative problem-solving for the challenges facing manufacturing today" through a series of meetings and seminars for business leaders in the region coordinated by Chancellor Daniel Little and alumnus Anthony Viscogliosi.

The first meeting on Nov. 16 will feature a talk by historian Philip Scranton, a nationally known authority on the history of technology. In addition to the invitation-only event on Nov. 16, Scranton will give a public presentation on campus at noon Nov. 17 in Room 1030, CASL Building.

Scranton, professor of history at Rutgers, is an internationally recognized expert on the history of technology and innovation. His 1997 book, Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925, has recently been issued in paperback. He will discuss technology, science and American innovation with the business leaders on Nov. 16. His public lecture on Nov. 17 is titled "Fabricating the Mercury Capsules: Technology and Innovation at NASA, 1958-63."

The meetings with business leaders have been planned to provide a forum to discuss serious challenges facing the region, according to Little. The series will be called the Viscogliosi Economic Leadership Seminar in recognition of Anthony Viscogliosi's support for the program. Viscogliosi, who graduated from UM-Dearborn with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1984, is principal of a merchant banking and venture capital firm based in New York City.

"Our plan is to bring imaginative thinking from the history of technology and business into discussions of today's business challenges," Little said. "Each event is expected to generate discussion around new, fresh ideas about business organization, strategy, and innovation and establish a dialogue among local thought leaders to address issues unique to our area."

Another goal of the series is to build a cohort of business leaders and executives who share ongoing ideas and insights through the continuing series. "We are asking members of the business community to actively participate in discussions as we seek to develop a collective understanding of the problems and possible solutions for this region," Little said.

In the second meeting planned in the series, next March 14, historian Thomas Misa will discuss "Industrial Structure and Urban Strategies: Lessons from History in a Global Age." Misa is a noted expert on the steel industry, and on technology and culture and their historical relations. His books include Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present.

"Most broadly, Scranton's and Misa's expertise is on the history of business and technology," Little said. "Their presentations and contributions to the discussion will help participants connect the past in a very practical way with the challenges of manufacturing and innovation today."

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