Albuquerque, NM – November 4, 2013
STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila was featured in the November 2, 2013 edition of Sage, one of the Albuquerque Journal‘s monthly magazines. The November issue’s main article focuses on three women in New Mexico who are having a major impact on key issues in the state. Entitled “Game Changers,” the article examines how Kuuttila is influencing the state’s economic growth. The article on Lisa Kuuttila (also featuring STC staff member Lindsay Stanich), “Idea Matchmaker,” by Donna Olmstead, is reprinted below.
Lisa Kuuttila markets UNM researchers’ work, creating jobs and revenue
New Mexico traditionally has been known for its green chile, fiery sunsets and atomic research.
Now Lisa Kuuttila wants it to become know for its wealth of other technological research as well — ranging from developing skateboard safety to disease detection with nanoparticles.
Kuuttila, CEO and chief economic development officer for University of New Mexico Science and Technology Corp. (STC), brings the inventions of university researchers to market.
Along the way, she’s helping revive the economy.
In the past year, markers of success for her enterprise exceeded expectations, even though STC has been subject to the same weak recovery from the economic downturn as the rest of the state.
“It’s substantial. It’s millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. These are jobs in the $60,000 to $80,000 range that employ knowledge-based workers. Another advantage, beyond the economic benefit, is we retain these kinds of people and their talent in our state,” she says.
The slogan for her program is “UNM research — where a wealth of new ideas is bringing sustained wealth to New Mexico’s economy.”
She backs it up with hard facts.
In fiscal year 2013, the program earned $2.18 million, compared to about $300,000 when Kuuttila started with the program in 2003. Along with brain power, New Mexico has attracted successful entrepreneurs who have transformed inventions and ideas into successful businesses, Kuuttila says.
Nine new companies were started in the past fiscal year, and STC has applied for patents for innovative technologies like the remote braking system for longboards and a nanoparticle that could help diagnose Alzheimer’s in its early stages.
The program, begun in 1995 when it had $62,884 in revenue, protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace. Kuuttila and her crew connect inventors and their ideas with investors in the larger community.
Kuuttila, married with two daughters, started her career in electrical engineering in Silicon Valley, but soon acquired a master’s in public administration, because she missed interacting with the people. She’s developed technology transfers at other universities including Purdue Research Foundation, University of Georgia and Iowa State University.
Her ideas and success have recently earned her additional responsibilities as economic development officer for UNM.
One new project she is helping develop, Innovate ABQ, which would establish research districts intended to bring researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs together, is based on a business environmental ecology described in “The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley,” by Victor W. Hwang and Greg Horowitt.
The philosophy describes an overlapping of ideas and people to nurture innovation, she says.
The project is a collaborative effort among public and private partners, including UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
Hwang, CEO and managing director of T2 Venture Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm created to address the gap between private innovators and public resources, says he is impressed with Kuuttila because she can disconnect pieces of the business environment around her and reassemble them for better results: “She helps make one plus one greater than two. Lisa is the kind of leader who takes ideas and makes them real. That is the hardest thing in the world to do, and she is one of the best. She is willing to roll up her sleeves, engage in real work, and cause things to happen. Lisa’s work has a profound economic impact. By facilitating the growth of new startups and technologies, she helps nurture products and solutions that raise standards of living everywhere.”
Source: Albuquerque Journal
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