Suffolk#039;s brain gain

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

Most of the press coverage associated with the incipient modeling and simulation industry that's springing up in Suffolk n It is in "Suffolk," by the way, not "Hampton Roads," as everyone seems to insist on referring to it n has been the economic impact.

And that's not unjustifiable, because it's huge n Lockheed alone is about a $50 million investment.

And last Thursday at the Suffolk Rotary Club meeting, Dave Lovato, manager of the Center for Innovation (Lockheed), said his company's investment is just the beginning.

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"It's going to dray in a lot more high-tech concerns interested in exploiting the work already taking place here."

But it was something else Lovato said that got me thinking about another, more intangible asset, that the developments in north Suffolk mean for our community.

Lovato noted that worldwide, Lockheed employs some 137,000 people, and about 98,000 of those are engineers n that's more than 70 percent. And with the sophistication of the new Suffolk facility, that number here is probably closer to 100 percent.

What I'm getting at here is that there has been n and will continue to be n an influx of brain power for our community. The challenge for us to put to try to harness some of it and put it to work for betterment of all of Suffolk.

Charities, civic clubs, and the city should be actively recruiting the folks who work at these facilities n and not just because it's the neighborly thing to do, which it is n but to put their intellect work for us.

A good place to start would be on city boards and commissions. The next time vacancies appear, let's not just rely on cronies and the same old good-old-boy network, but reach out to some of these newcomers. If we want to continue to move our city forward, we need to reach out for new people and new ideas to contribute.