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STRUCTURE - HISTORY
In 2002, Dr. Mark Zupan invited us into the DeanÍs office of the now Eller College of Management to
tell him about our new idea for a sustainable economic development model for southern Arizona. "I'll
support you any way that I can", he said, so we invited Dr. Zupan to become a Board Member.
ITDC had first introduced the concept of a new model to the Extended University Advisory Board in
August of 2002. It represents a model that integrated all the talent, intellectual capital, and
resources together into sustainable systems and products for local and global markets. Dr. Anita
McDonald, Extended University Director, set up appointments starting in 2003 to meet with Deans of
the respective Colleges to introduce this new model.
Meanwhile, we sat down and compared notes with opinion leaders in the economic development
community including Dr. Marshall Vest, Dr. Boris Kozolchyk and Bruce Wright.
In 2003, ITDC incorporate as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of Arizona and took the year to
compare notes about our model with leaders in the public, private, and educational sectors of our
community. First we met the following Deans and Administrators:
Dr. Eugene Sander, College of Agriculture and Life Science
Dr. Tom Peterson, College of Engineering
Dr. Joaquin Ruiz, College of Science
Toni Massaro, College of Law
Dr. Maurice Sevigny, College of Fine Arts
Dr. Chuck Tatum, College of Humanities
Kirk Simmons, Executive Director, International Affairs
Ed Donnerstein, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Dick Powell, V.P. Research and Graduate Students
Pat Jones, Director, Office of Technology Transfer
Then we spoke with people in the public and private sectors about a model that would put interns
behind the steering wheel of a process to whittle out the feasible from the impractical and develop
viable and sustainable systems and products. We talked with Senator Kyl's director, Hank Kenski,
Representative Jim Kolbe, Mayor Bob Walkup, and Jan Lesher, Director of Governor NapalitanoÍs
southern district. We talked with local leaders like Larry Hecker, John Munger, Bob Hagen, Michael
Chihak, Henry Koeffler, Alaina Levine, Mike Hammond, John Carter, Mike Kasser, and we visited
Thunderbird and their Career Services Office to find ways to work together.
In 2004, we had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Director of the Controlled
Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at the University of Arizona. With the convergence of
engineering, plant science, and biotechnology, we felt that CEAC held the promise of a steady stream
of sustainable opportunities. When we found out that there were not commercial applications for
their research and development efforts, ITDC set up its first intern scholarship to team up with CEAC
and write a business plan for its long-term future. We hired our first intern from Thunderbird, since
the Career Services Office matched $5,000 dollar for dollar to pay for our first $10,000 intern
scholarship. The results were fruitful.
The second intern scholarship was co-sponsored by a member of the Eller College of Management
MBA Advisory Board in a dollar for dollar match with ITDC. The second intern scholarship project was
to identify local technologies that might be integrated together in new configurations for new
markets. The results were not fruitful.
Meanwhile, we continued to network in the public, private and educational sectors to identify more
opportunities. We met and shared our vision for a new model in Arizona with Janet NapolitanoÍs
Advisor, Noah Kroloff, Gilbert Jimenez, Director of Arizona Department of Commerce, John Mathis,
Femi Barbarinde, and Glenn Fong from Thunderbird, and local leaders in the private and non-profit
sectors such as Sara Smallhouse, David Cohen, John Byrnes, Steven Fell, David Cohen, and Bob Davis.
In 2005, ITDC hired our third and fourth interns on scholarships matched by Thunderbird. For the
third project, we interviewed 7 people and hired an intern to work with us to evaluate the feasibility
of entering the grafted seedling transplant business. The results have been fruitful. The fourth
project was to identify local technologies that could be integrated into an island resort retrofit to
supply solar energy, water purification, and waste remediation at an affordable cost. The results
have yet to pay off.
Meanwhile, we continued to meet with local people to talk about the prospects for stemming the
brain drain and providing high-skilled jobs with leaders including Karl Eller, Vicki Chandler, Prabhu
Dayal, Joe Yuhas, Dee Riddle Harris, Florencio Zaragosa, Alberto Moore, Stan Abrams, Evan Hersch,
and Robert Salvatore.
In 2006, we hired our fifth intern from the MBA Program at the Eller College of Management that was
sponsored by AmpliMed Corporation. The project was to delineate potential strategic and financial
partners in Japan and Korea. The results proved fruitful, and we took the Chairman to Japan.
Among the people that we met to talk about the promise of putting Arizona ahead of the curve
included leaders including Gabrielle Giffords, Carl Schramm, Joel Kotkin, Gary Cramer, Sharon Megdal,
Ken Goodman, Mike Hein Karen Uhlich, Leslie Tolbert, Jim Click, and Eric Neilsen.
In 2007, we continue to meet with local leaders in the community to explore ways to work together
and integrate the local resources for global commerce. We participated in Town Hall and had the
chance to share our ideas with many local leaders. We also met with leaders including Carl Russell,
Bob Beaudry, Lisa Lovallo, Bob Schwartz, Lena Saradnik, Paul Portney, Jules Harris, Kristin Almquist,
Dwight Ferguson, Priscilla Storm, and Ray Woosely.
In 2008, our first start up venture, Sonora Transplant LLC, was part of a team that produced
successful results from a Science Foundation of Arizona planning grant to ramp up production of
pharmaceuticals using tomato plants as a bioreactor. We have applied for a $2.5 million Strategic
Research Grant to the Science Foundation of Arizona, a $300,000 Value-Added Production Grant to
the US Department of Agriculture, and are in talks with The City of Tucson and Pima County on
proposals for demonstration projects in the areas of waste water treatment, landfill waste to
renewable energy credits and others. We also met with leaders including Bruce Greenberg, Rich
McKinney, Sandra Watson, Bob Hennkens, Greg Gadarian, Don Pitt, Colin Kaltenbach, and John
In 2009, we reached agreement with EuroFresh Farms to commence trials of our transplants in
August. Furthermore, the investors came to agreement in the operating agreement and are awaiting
EuroFresh's decision. We moved forward on a waste-to-energy project and have identified a solar
project and a viable water water recycling process . We established the Arid Lands Sustainable
BioEnergy Institute in conjunction with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University
of Arizona. We helped to raise $500,000 in the first six months, and one Executive Director of the
Institute and one member of the Board of Directors come from ITDC. We continue to meet with
community leaders including Robert Shelton, Richard Elias, Bob Breault, Tim Bee, John Arnold, Gina
Murphy-Darling, Cindy Godwin, Robert Peizer, and Don Watson.