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More than 100 Merrimack Valley leaders in education, local government, civic engagement and university-industry collaboration are expected to gather in the Wannalancit conference room on Friday, Jan. 25 from 7:45 to 11:30 a.m. to explore “Today’s Knowledge Economy: Renewing the Connection in Merrimack Valley Cities.”
Among those speaking are UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, Northern Essex Community College President David Hartleb, Secretary of Labor Suzanne Bump, and the John Adams Innovation Institutes Patrick Larkin. The forum will offer an overview of the region’s economy and models for improving government and citizenship, preparing students to be college ready and fostering public/private economic development partnerships. The forum is free. If UMass Lowell is closed, the event will be canceled.
MassINC, which has organized sessions across the state on this topic, is co-sponsoring the forum with UMass Lowell, the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, Merrimack Valley Mayors Coalition, and the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation. The forum was set up in response to a 2007 report produced by MassINC and a Washington, D.C. think tank, the Brookings Institution.
The forum also features presentations and panel discussions from:
* UML Prof. Robert Forrant, who will discuss and analyze the economic challenges and opportunities facing the Merrimack Valley region.
* UML Prof. Stephen McCarthy, who will present the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) -- a model for public/private collaboration to expand the innovation economy by assisting potential new medical device companies
* Amesbury’s Mayor Thatcher Kezer, who will present a management system known as AmesStat, which is helping to transform how the city does business.
* Pedro Arce, president of Veritas Bank in Lawrence, and Hartleb and Bump are among those on a reaction panel looking at barriers to and opportunities for economic development in the Merrimack Valley.