President, three trustees speak at conference in AZ

ANGOLA, Ind. – Trine University's president and three members of its board of trustees recently participated in an innovation forum in Peoria, Ariz.

Accepting invitations to serve as guest speakers Feb. 20 during Peoria's third annual Innovation Conference were Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., and trustees Lynn A. Brooks, president and chief executive officer of Rieke Packaging Systems in Auburn; Rick James, chairman and chief executive officer of Metal Technologies, Inc., Auburn; and Jack A. Shaw, retired president and chief executive officer of Hughes Network Systems, Germantown, Md.

The forum, sponsored by Economic Development Services of Peoria, focused on a renewed understanding of and value for the impact that innovation has on the economy and the lives of Americans.

William Harris, president and chief executive officer of Science Foundation Arizona, was moderator for the forum. Harris has more than 25 years of national and international experience building and leading major government and university institutions, strategically developing research and educational enterprises to benefit society, managing large budgets for maximum results, and hiring entrepreneurial personnel and teacher-scholars.

Trine was asked to participate because of its growing community involvement in Peoria. In October, Trine announced it is partnering with Peoria, a suburb of Phoenix, to bring needed programs to help the region meet employment demands. Trine will also support economic growth and job creation throughout the West Valley with the construction of an Innovation Center in partnership with the city of Peoria.

President Brooks, Lynn Brooks and Shaw were a part of a panel on perspectives on innovation. The discussion examined the next generation's trends as they relate to workforce development, increased efficiencies, and the goal of maintaining or reducing operating expenses.

James served on a panel for advanced manufacturing. Topics for discussion included changes to skill sets of workers and the need for retraining, the effect of job outsourcing and the subsequent re-shoring that many companies are advocating, increased worker productivity and the loss of middle income jobs, and the effect of these issues on the future of American business.

"We are excited to be active members of the Peoria community and are glad to share our expertise, experiences and resources with the community," president Brooks said.