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Ken Morelly, President, LIFT Held at LaQuinta

June 20, 2008 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Ken Morelly, President of LIFT, Long Island Forum for Technology, was  our speaker this morning, and as promised, gave us some insights. LIFT is engaged in research, education and the coordination of efforts among various groups. Morelly stated that the great driver of technology is manufacturing. Using resources to leverage the manufacturing process is among the efforts that LIFT is engaged in. By concentrating on the manufacturing all the disciplines are spurred to perform. He emphasized the transformational nature of the way we educate our skilled engineers and others that are involved in manufacture. According to Morelly there must be the ability to move quickly into a new way of doing things and that open minds must be recognized, not as a lack of focus but a requirement in a fast moving world.

Ken said something that surprised me. He said that Long Island is a product development community rather than a research community. Many of us think of Brookhaven National Labs and Cold Spring Harbor as centers of research, and while that is true, according to Morelly it is a much smaller component of our economy. On the other hand some companies concentrate on research and do very little manufacturing. He gave the example of Corning in upstate NY.

We must study the requirements of industry and gear education toward those needs. He then went into the subject of material development. That discussion began with aviation technology, which, early on, was principally based on wood frames and canvas skins. With the advent of aluminum, aviation was greatly advanced. Presently, new composites comprise more and more of the aviation parts. These components are stronger and lighter. The first use of new composites were only 2% of the plane, today we are approaching 50% in the latest aviation technology.

Material research is on a roll.  Advanced Material Research under the direction of LIFT  will be linked to 16 educational units in New York. We spoke about the prospect of using materials that are used in automobile manufacture that are ten times stronger than steel, and 1/3 the weight. The implications of this technology are enormous. Using these new materials would mean needing much smaller engines that use less fuel. Combining these lightweight cars with hybrid technology would make the fuel consumption even less. I think we could speculate that a mid sized car could conceivably get 80 miles to the gallon.

We finished by discussing Homeland Security. $25 million has been set aside for advanced homeland security systems. The many companies that will be participating will be housed at the center. The expectation is that the cross pollenation of ideas in this unit will create new systems that will eventually be deployed.

Pictured: Mitchell Pinckney, US Chamber of Commerce, Ken Morelly President of LIFT and Ernie Fazio, LIMBA Chairman