I truly have a great job. Not only do I get to do what I love for a living, writing, I also get to interact with an incredibly interesting group of people and organizations, many of whom are making major contributions to RIT, the Rochester region and the world.
For example, I recently met with Brad Paxton, a former employee of the RIT Research Corp. and founder of the Rochester-based Advanced Document Imaging, or ADI, which is a graduate of the RIT business incubator. ADI works with numerous companies and government agencies in the areas of data capture analysis and quality management. It is currently partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to assist the agency in preparing for the 2010 census. Founded in 2002, ADI has tripled in size in the last five years and currently employs 10 RIT alums, while also collaborating regularly with the Printing Industry Center in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.
But while ADI is a good example of the positive impact of the Research Corp. and business incubator as well as an excellent business partner for the university, I was fascinated with another aspect of their story that Paxton shared during our meeting. After retiring from Eastman Kodak in the 1990s, Paxton was actually offered a job in Michigan doing work similar to what he had done at Kodak. However, when an opportunity came to join the Research Corp., and possibly spin off his own business, he decided to stay in the area. In addition, several current ADI employees are also former Kodak and Xerox workers who quite possibly would have left Rochester if good jobs at ADI had not been available.
In my mind, the ability of universities to assist in retaining intellectual capacity in the region, and ultimately to transform that capacity into new businesses, is the best part of the ADI story. We hear so much about the bad business environment in Rochester, I was heartened to see how our world-renowned higher education infrastructure is helping to spur economic growth.
I plan on keeping in touch with ADI as they continue to expand and look forward to reporting more good news on their progress in the future. As I said, I love my job.
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