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Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to Boost Economic and Business Development in Georgia

04-30 Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to Boost Economic and Business Development in GeorgiaGeorgia Southern University welcomed Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to campus to sign Georgia Senate Bill 396 into law transferring management of the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to Georgia Southern University. The new legislation, which will align the University and Herty to create the Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, is designed to enhance economic and business development in the state of Georgia.

The alignment, which will become effective July 1, 2012, will combine the strengths of both Herty and Georgia Southern University with the goal of expanding its capabilities as a global leader in traditional and advanced materials innovation. Herty’s clients, which include global corporations as well as numerous Fortune 500 companies, are currently focused in the transportation, forest and paper related products, building materials, energy and the environment and bio-products industries.

“This strategic realignment will expand economic development opportunities for Georgia,” said Governor Deal. “It has the real potential to make Savannah and this larger coastal area an even more attractive market for manufacturing as well as research and development.”

“As a research university with a broad base of engineering expertise, the addition of Herty’s global leadership in advanced materials innovation combined with its global reputation and network of clients will provide an outstanding opportunity for us to work together to accelerate economic development efforts in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel, Ph.D. “We are excited to be working with the team at Herty on this exciting opportunity. The center will combine the capabilities of our two outstanding organizations and represents the next step in serving the region’s growing industrial and manufacturing needs while advancing the university’s ability to partner with industries.”

By transitioning the center to Georgia Southern University, and leveraging some of the existing infrastructures for industry engagement and government relations, both Georgia Southern and Herty will benefit from improved visibility, providing it with the opportunity to build additional industry partnerships by being directly tied to a major research university. In addition, Herty and the Center’s clients will benefit from access to Georgia Southern’s more than 100 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Ph.D. faculty, allowing access to the combined research and development prowess of an advanced materials research and manufacturing center and a major research university.

“Herty has been strategically focused on industries that are important to Georgia including transportation, forest products and paper, energy and environment and building materials,” said Charles Patterson, Ph.D., vice president for research and economic development at Georgia Southern University. “Our goal is to expand the center’s existing capabilities to help make this area an even more attractive market for research and development in the areas of pulp and paper, materials science, polymer science and composites, with an emerging interest in bio-derived materials and biofuels.”

A recent manufacturing survey noted that fewer than 10 percent of manufactures in Georgia set innovation as a priority. Patterson says that is where the new Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center comes in.

”Ultimately, the goal is to enable companies to achieve both their research and development and financial goals while working with the region and the state to create an environment that cultivates opportunity for businesses to relocate or stay within Georgia,” says Patterson. “This will mean more jobs for Georgia and we appreciate the Governor’s confidence in Georgia Southern University and in our expanding role as an economic development engine for the state.”

The center, which is located near the Port of Savannah, is named for the noted chemist, businessman and academic, Charles Herty (1837-1938) who revolutionized the nation’s naval store industry through innovations in turpentine and paper making in the early 1900s. In addition, Herty devised the first system for manufacturing newsprint from southern pines giving the South a tremendously successful cash crop. Today’s announcement represents a homecoming of sorts. Herty’s first experiments on southern pines were conducted in a forest located on Georgia Southern’s campus. The University erected a plaque in 1935 noting the site.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 117 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University is one of the Top 10 most popular universities in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report, and is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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