"I think Ohio can be the next Silicon Valley"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 08:20.

"I think Ohio can be the next Silicon Valley", said Cleveland Foundation President and "former head of North American research and development for Panasonic" Ronn Richard, for a November 2007 Cleveland Plain Dealer article titled "German solar company plans HQ in Cleveland". The PD then reported: "For months, the Cleveland Foundation has sent teams to Europe in an effort to sell Ohio to solar and wind turbine companies as the right place to manufacture."

Today, less than two years later, the PD reports "IBC Solar to leave Cleveland for San Francisco." "The company has maintained its one-person U.S. headquarters here since February 2008." "Cleveland Foundation President Richard hadn't given up Thursday evening. He was to meet with Buntain today to talk about the company's decision -- and what it will take to keep a presence in Ohio."

Some further details, from the PD:

Two years ago, IBC was prepared to put its headquarters in California -- before meeting Ronn Richard, head of the Cleveland Foundation.

Richard invited a delegation from IBC Solar AG to visit the city and meet with Mayor Frank Jackson, Case Western Reserve University researchers and others.

They liked the city, its geographic location and its highway, rail and maritime infrastructure because it fit its German business model as a retail solar distributor.

But it turns out that such a model won't work here, said Vaughn Buntain, IBC's vice president of international marketing.

I find it odd the PD described Richard as "former head of North American research and development for Panasonic", as Ronn Richard had more significant and relevant jobs since leaving Panasonic... most notably working for President George W. Bush, during his 9/11 days, as COO of a division of the Central Intelligence Agency.

REALNEO readers also know Richard as a member of the Board of Directors of post-9/11 Anthrax industry leader Emergent BioSolutions, and the man who leveraged his position as head of America's oldest and arguably most powerful "Community Foundation" to become "Infrastructure Czar" for the State of Ohio, as well.

Having moved the Cleveland's Foundation's role in the region from one of community service to one of undeniable superpower, Richard is largely responsible for Northeast Ohio's near-exclusive focus on developing a fresh water off shore wind industry here, as part of a highly propagandized big-industry mission to maintain our status quo of environmental falure here, beget as "Sustainable Cleveland 2019".

Ronn and his troops have criss-crossed the globe trying to force his agenda on the world, apparently without success.

During the Richard's era in North EAST Ohio, North WEST Ohio has taken a different approach to new economy development and become a world leader in the solar industry... in the same time Ronn has had us chasing off-shore windmills.

The Toledo Free Press reported, on Earth Day 2009, in "Hot potential: Toledo’s solar industry promise": "Already, 6,000 people in the Toledo area are employed at firms contributing to solar cell development and manufacturing, according to the Regional Growth Partnership, a nonprofit economic development group."

The State of Ohio now brags, as proof of success of the Third Frontier program: "The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and investors around the world recognize Toledo as a hotspot for research, development, and commercialization of advanced solar technologies."

Richard "created" one Solar job in North EAST Ohio, that has now left for California.

Richard is starting a new "Co-Op" to put solar panels on buildings at Case Western Reserve University. Probably, solar panels developed at University of Toledo, and manufactured in North WEST Ohio.

In over 6 years, since June, 2003, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and Ohio have not made good progress, under Richard's leadership.

Real NEO needs real change.

As we reflect upon the unimpressive scope of Richard's achievements, in all capacities we know of, we must ask, how do we elect a new CEO of our community foundation, or force the Foundation to remove itself from the "Economic Development" leadership of our region?

Think about that problem, as you decide how to vote on Issue 6.

And, think about the fact that IBC "liked the city, its geographic location and its highway, rail and maritime infrastructure", but, "it turns out that such a model won't work here", meaning real global industry is not deciding where to base operations based on the Word of Ronn, or the way leadership in Northeast Ohio expects.

Read again the words of the German company soon to "be leavin' Cleveland" regarding Cleveland's "geographic location and its highway, rail and maritime infrastructure": "it turns out that such a model won't work here".

Indicating the planning for our Port relocation is as poorly conceived as was our region's misguided pursuit of a German company that established one employee here, for about a year, and relocated because our regional infrastructure model does not work for the new economy.

Meaning, the port relocation plan is certainly as poorly developed as the Cleveland Foundation solar industry development plan.

Meaining, we need new leadership of Cleveland and our Cleveland Foundation.

Held for approval

I posted a link to your editorial at the recent Plain Dealer article by John Funk. It is awaiting approval. Thank you for articulating the crisis so well.

I like Toledo more and more

I like Toledo more and more every day!

Could the federal stimulus have affected this? IBC' market switched from distribution to research and development and sales.

I can see the lack of vision in all this, they will use Cali as a location for R&D the actual production will happen in Asia, the manufacturing will occur in in Asia. The R&D here (US) and distribution, marketing and sales here, but nothings going to be bought from the Europeans they are to expensive.

Cleveland as a distributor would work if products were coming from Europe, it won’t it will be developed here in the US and then produced in Asia and then distributed into and from the largest markets.

Not smart…many of Toledo’s ventures will fail as the markets capitalize on Asia as they will continue to do. That’s wise because doing that will eventually bring Asia to parity with other markets, when there is no less expensive alternatives….there will be no inexpensive alternatives.

So what is or would be the cat seat? Having the ability to be and have bidirectional functionality. Capitalizing on the low cost production until it no longer exists. But when it is gone then being able to change directions is a matter of adaptability and the only real measure of intelligence.

We do not need Issue six we need something much bigger and more comprehensive. Using federal dollars to attain it and also low cost production abroad to attain it, is it that difficult to see? If the goal is sustainability then take every advantage there is to get to it.

It is not the auto factory shutting down that had the largest employement losses, it was the dealerships.

If you open a family dollar store…then make sure you have the import agents and warehousing and distribution locally or you’re a lamb.

Better quality and more refined distribution channels add value, they add costs they are jobs. As the supplier compete they have to do more to win the favor of consumers. Their cost increase and with that parity is forth coming be prepared markets do shift.

The Asians also see the market and will invest here to insure there own stability in the market. Look at the Japanese and Europeans they are heavily invested in the US. Its about being competitive and hard working. The best for less…not the most expensive or the cheapest.

We are missing accountancy at many levels, and with that real feed back loops, sustainability is the longest life cycle if it is anything. Built in obsolescence is not wise it must be replaced with high quality. The Asians will not attain that without us being more discerning and thats a distribution feed back loop.

We use branding to do that and we really need to reduce marketing in its contrived value. Products need to be detailed and tracked from beginning to end. Consumer satisfaction is more than a state of mind, real value is less subjective its about how long it lasted and how well it maintained doing its purpose.

Oh my….we better get serious about it.

Every product needs a disclosure a bar code that tells everything in per units, as its production location, its total amount of input and it relative competitiveness. High costs are inflationary and the root of it is profit and greed, however if the metrics are best and the profit is highest it is a function of efficiency and the reward is profitability. In other words do not let them lie about it anymore, if you are the best then proves it!

 

We lost what one lonely german that was here for how long...and could only find people on the west coast that under stood them?  

 

next?

Ohio as the next silly-con-artist valley girls!!!

If you remember computer chips were the collaboration of the techie culture, tinkerer, hobbiest, students, researchers and software coders. This stuff was pushed from ivory tower labs to garages and basements. Because the technology was accessible and being handled on so many levels, many products came out including the personal computer.

So far this is not the case wiith energy production devices. This technology has not filtered down into the culture to the same degree as computer chips. If you ask, is there a market for solar in Ohio, you limit the idea to buying and selling a product you can acquire from anywhere. Buying and installing solar products does not create a green economy.

At present the tree is top heavy with no supporting "grass-roots" to create an economic environment. You have to create a base of folk who are geeky, nerdy, techie who handle this technology in their garage. This way when people come here with their energy wares, they will have droves of people to talk to who know the technology, not just interested in the idea of getting green here.

If you want to get serious about green energy, take a city block and transform it into a green sustainable place. Solar on a prominent building is meaningless to me on the street. Put solar on my home and all my neighbors, families and friends will see and know about it. At CWRU, put the solar on the dorms to stir up students not institutional buildings. This will stimulate many many green avenues.

When the people base is green, you will have no problem moving or doing anything green here. Don't overlook the people.