Powering Silicon Valley and the world

rbg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reginald Parker, CEO of 510Nano, which has placed a solar farm atop several public buildings here, is among the manufacturing innovators presenting investment opportunities that make communities more sustainable and healthy during Red, Black and Green April 23, 2014 at 9 a.m. at the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez in San Francisco.

Dr. John Commissiong, Chief Scientific Officer of Amarantus BioSciences, located just blocks away from BCOA in the Dogpatch neighborhood of fast-growing biotechnology related companies near the UC-SF Mission Bay campus;  and Michael Hurst, CEO of ChloroFill, manufacturing sorghum-based building panels from a new factory in Missouri; are among selectees to the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology presenting products on the morning after Earth Day.

Venturata, an investment house that develops disruptive technologies that create new paradigms, revitalize communities, lift nations out of poverty and make the planet and all of its inhabitants healthier, hosts the matchmaking session for potential customers and investments in African-American manufacturing companies.  Managing Director  John William Templeton is author of the annual Silicon Ceiling and State of Black Business reports.

To present during the pitch sessions or to attend as a potential investor or customer, call Venturata at 415-272-7209

California falls behind in employing black technologists

SAN FRANCISCO- Despite receiving more federal research and development funding than any other state, the Golden State ranks sixth in the number of African-Americans in computer and mathematics occupations, based on 2012 data cited in Silicon Ceiling 13:Equal Opportunity and High Technology.
Author John William Templeton calls on the U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice and EEOC to step up compliance reviews, particularly of new companies and the state’s universities, because there is no rational explanation for the disparities, which have the effect of heightening income inequality nationally.
California had an estimated 17,307 African-Americans in computer and mathematics occupations, half the total of the leading state, Maryland, which had 35,324, according to detailed occupation data from the Current Population Survey, used in Silicon Ceiling’s annual analysis.
The top five states, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Texas and New York, had an estimated 120,000 workers in those advanced specialties.
Since class action civil rights suits against Apple in 1991 and Microsoft in 2001, African-American employment in the hottest West Coast technology clusters has steadily declined.
The three California counties considered part of Silicon Valley–Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo–home to the most valuable and highest paying global tech firms, rank 40th, 44th and 61st among American counties for African-American computer and mathematics employment.
Yet, those counties have the highest salaries for African American technology workers, which should attract more of them, by conventional economic theory.
The data points to a regional hostile climate to African-Americans, as noted in a Feb. 1 column by San Francisco Chronicle editorial writer Caille Millner, who actively discourages “smart, ambitious” African Americans from moving to the area.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, celebrating its 50th anniversary in June, requires employers with more than 100 workers to file annual reports on the equal opportunity performance. It prohibits individual and systemic discrimination in hiring. Federal contractors are also required by executive order to complete and carry out affirmative action plans.

Silicon Valley comes up short on equal opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO–Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties ranked 40th, 44th and 61st among American counties for the number of African American computer workers, in the latest Silicon Ceiling 13: Equal Opportunity and High Technology.
The area, collectively considered Silicon Valley, includes the headquarters of thousands of high technology companies, drawn by the availability of venture capital.
Author John William Templeton urged the Federal Reserve to reconsider how it implements its quantitative easing program because the flood of cash being distributed through investment houses is funding a pattern of discriminatory hiring practices with implications into neighborhood displacement.
Templeton first began the series in 1998 by filing a Freedom of Information Act request for EEO-1 forms for 1,200 firms. In recent years, the availability of detailed occupational data from the Current Population Study allows comparison across the country, to review the off-stated claim that African–American technology talent is not available.
Nationwide, 20 counties and the independent city of Baltimore had more than 2,000 African-American computer workers in 2012–more than the three Northern California counties combined. Prince Georges,MD; Cook,IL; Harris, TX were the leaders.
Silicon Valley even ranked behind other California counties. Los Angeles ranked fourth nationally, San Diego ranked 20th, Sacramento 24th and Alameda 30th.
In contrast to the low hiring in Silicon Valley, almost one fourth,or 80,000 federal technology workers, are African-American.

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/396/3191695/Federal-Drive-Interviews—-Jan-14-2013

Gamers honor video game pioneer Jerry Lawson

On Friday, March 4th from 12:30 to 1:30 during the 25th Annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Center, the International Game Developers Association (IDGA) – Minority Special Interest Group (SIG) will honor Gerald A. Lawson(aka Jerry), creator of the world’s first cartridge-based video game system, the Fairchild Channel F. Lawson was also the sole black member of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of early computer hobbyists which would produce a number of industrylegends, including Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The special recognition for Mr. Lawson will be held during the 7th  Annual IGDA Minority SIG Social Gathering at the IGDA Booth, Lobby South Hall. “When I learned of Jerry’s existence, his story and his struggles in the early days of the video game industry I cried,” said Joseph Saulter, the Founder and Chairman of Entertainment Arts Research, Inc. and chairman of the IGDA-Diversity Committee, “I said to myself, ‘how could I, how could our African American youth and current leaders in the video game industry not know, cherish and honor this man.”

Lawson is featured in Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge, a documentary about the early black pioneers of the computer industry produced in conjunction with the 2009 class of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.  He was honored along with other interviewees during the 2010 Innovation & Equity Symposium in San Francisco.  They are Roy Clay Sr., chairman of Rod-L Electronics, the late Dr. Frank S. Greene Sr., both members of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, and the late Ron L. Jones, inventor of large format graphics.
Developed in 1976, the Fairchild Channel F was the first cartridge-based video game system and pre-dated Atari. The Channel F system pioneered the cartridge based video game console and involved early attempts at software distribution via cable television. During development of the Channel F in the early-mid 1970s, Lawson was Chief Hardware Engineer and director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild Semiconductor’s video game division. He also founded and ran Videosoft, a video game development company which made software for the Atari 2600 in the early 1980s. Lawson also produced one of the earliest arcade games, Demolition Derby, which debuted in a southern California pizzeria shortly after Pong.
The IGDA Diversity Committee   is an advocacy committee that seeks to foster diversity and inclusion within the video game industry. In 2005, the Committee produced a report detailing the lack of diversity within the industry. Since that time, the IGDA has supported Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to discuss and address minority, gender, LGBT and game accessibility issues within the developer community. Throughout the GDC, many of the SIGs will host Roundtables that focus on various dimensions of diversity within the industry. 

  Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest professionals-only game industry event. The GDC attracts over 18,000 attendees, and is the primary forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and others involved in the development of interactive games gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry.

Joseph Saulter is the visionary behind Entertainment Arts Research Inc., a leader in the Video Game Industry, chairman of the International Game Developers Association’s Diversity Advisory Board and the author of a seriesof Game Design and Development textbooks published by McGraw-Hill.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Clay touts “Made in U.S.A.”

Roy Clay Sr. was the first employee for Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino in 1965 and it moved him when the buildings were sold last year because the jobs had been moved offshore. 

The Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame member has done his part to create jobs in the United States by reaching the 34th year of operation for Rod-L Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic test equipment.
“But there is very little manufacturing left in the United States,” says Clay, featured in the documentary Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge about the earliest black computer pioneers.   He sells his hi pot testers to manufacturers to test electronic equipment for short circuits,as the only Underwriters Laboratory certified supplier.
Clay has insisted on maintaining his manufacturing operation in the United States, because the original intent for starting the company was to create jobs for the emerging community of East Palo Alto.   In the three decades since, he has hired dozens of workers, some without even high school diplomas, by working with community organizations such as OIC-West in the Belle Haven community of Menlo Park.
Even before starting Rod-L, Clay’s exploits were legendary.  In 1951, he was told by McDonnell Aircraft that despite his mathematics degree, “there were no professional jobs for Negroes.”  But by 1956, the aircraft maker hired him to operate its first computer.
By 1958, he was chief programmer for the supercomputer at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore and in 1961 became manager of Cobol and Fortran programming for Control Data in Palo Alto.
Hewlett-Packard recruited him in 1965 to be the first manager for computer research and development, where he led the creation of the HP 2116, the company’s first computer.
In Freedom Riders, Clay recalls that David Packard had a choice between buying Digital Equipment for $25 million or starting his own company
Clay succeeded Tom Perkins as acting general manager of computers, but left when he didn’t get the job permanently.  As a consultant to the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, he was technical advisor for the investments in companies such as Intel, Tandem and Compaq.
Technology was not his only passion, Clay became the first black elected to Palo Alto City Council and ultimately vice mayor.   As a politician, he encourages President Obama to expand his range of advisors, particularly on economic issues such as job creation. He is concerned that communities like East Palo Alto are not being taken into account.
Clay got his sensibility from growing up in an all-black hamlet called Kinloch outside St. Louis.  He learned the math skills for software development counting craps in a shine parlor.

Fourth wave of black innovation set to transform global economy

Dr. Carmella Morton of Rise Academy School of Mathematics and Technology introduces Deputy Secretary Anthony Miller. Photos by Monica Hatley.

WASHINGTON — A fourth major wave of innovation from African-Americans will drive careers and markets in the 21st century, according to participants in the 11th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology symposium at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Anthony W. “Tony” Miller, Deputy Secretary,  U.S. Dept. of Education, laid out the competitive challenge during a keynote speech at INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities.

Miller said the Obama administration had prioritized investments in education and broadband access in order to prepare Americans for a world in which other nations were spending 30 percent of disposable income on education.

A vigorous roundtable discussion between Miller and 50 Most selectees addressed how best to provide science, engineering and mathematics education to African-American students. 

On stage with him were Drs. Carmella Morton,  President of Rise Academy School of Science and Technology in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Dr. Stephany Jean Head, President of OpRisk Associates in Reston, VA and Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson, professor of engineering at the University of Maryland-College Park.  

They urged Miller to address structural barriers in grade school and higher education to increased African-American admission and graduation.  Head related how a faculty member told her that a black woman would never get a Ph.D as long as he was on the faculty.  She proved him wrong.

Dr. Lonnie Johnson, President of Excellatron LLC, urged the administration to encourage students to become inventors and creators instead of just consumers of technology.  “Once a student has the feel of success, it stays with them for a lifetime.”   Johnson invented his first robot while in high school and has since gained 80 patents with applications for 20 more.

Johnson is not an anomaly, pointed out John William Templeton, executive editor of blackmoney.com and founder of the 50  Most Important African-Americans in Technology in an opening presentation on African-Americans in technology drawn from Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity and High Technology.   Templeton said black innovators had transformed the industrial age in the late 19th century with the inventions of Louis Latimer, Elijah McCoy and George Washington Carver; shaped bioengineering and chemistry in the first half of the 20th century with the advances of Dr. Percy Julian and Charles R. Drew; and laid the foundation for high technology through innovators like Roy L. Clay Sr., Dr. Frank Greene and Jerry Lawson.

Currently, 1,000 blacks per year gain patents like Johnson, Espy-Wilson and Head.  To turn those projects into industries takes specialized expertise.   Darrell G. Mottley, President-Elect of the D.C. Bar and a princpal shareholder in the intellectual property law firm of Banner Witcoff, described the life cycle of intellectual property in a speech on Creating Value From Innovation.   Entrepreneurs followed up with questions about how to position their discoveries in order to retain ownership and raise capital.

Daryn Dodson and Jean Luc Park, venture capital consultants to the board of the $15 billion Calvert Investments, told how to attract investment capital. 

They are spearheading an initiative that uses 3 percent of the socially-responsive investment house to seed companies which make a social impact as well as a profit.

Johnson told how he intentionally placed his factory in downtown Atlanta to create jobs in depressed neighborhoods, a model followed for the past 30 years by Rod-L Electronics, founded by Roy Clay Sr.  He told of the different attitudes he is seeing between American venture capitalists, who are retrenching, and foreign investors, who are ready to pounce on his technologies.

The two major advances coming from Excellatron are an engine which converts the sun’s heat into energy and a lithium-air battery which can power a car for 1,000 miles at a charge.  When asked how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg could get $500 million in new investment from Goldman Sachs, but Excellatron was not attracting venture capital from American investors, Johnson replied that he didn’t have a good answer.

His fellow energy panelist, Ralph Cleveland, executive vice president of AGL Resources, said Johnson was addressing two of the emerging energy opportunities.  As immediate past chair of the North American Energy Standards Board, Cleveland is helping define the standards of energy use in buildings, vehicles and appliances.  As first vice chair of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, he is also concerned about justice in resource utilization, particularly from his travels on the African continent.

Cleveland told of a meeting with a South African cabinet minister who said his country was the number one gold miner, diamond miner and chromium producer, but to get a diamond ring for his wife, he had to import it.  Cleveland said the value chain has to be moved closer to the countries that provide the resources, so that they profit more from finished goods and downstream distribution.

Charles Johnson, general manager of mobile advertising at Microsoft, described the opportunities from increased speed from broadband distribution.    His unit places advertising with mobile applications that run on the smart phones carried by 25 percent of the U.S. population, a proportion which will grow geometrically.  He encouraged applications which fulfill the functions once done by phone directories and encyclopedias.  Johnson also said mobile applications and gaming are valuable tools for education because the new generation is accustomed to the devices.

Secretary Miller with selectees (from L-R) Ralph Cleveland, Dr. Danny Harris, B. Keith Fulton, Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson, Joey Hutchins, Dr. Lonnie Johnson, Corey Rosemond, Louis Carr, Carmella Morton and Dr. Stephany Jean Head

Dorian Jones, Illinois Dept. of Public Health CIO, with Secretary Miller

To follow up on the theme of this fourth wave of innovation, Templeton will keynote the Innovation Generation Congressional Digital Civil Rights Forum on Friday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. in the Rayburn Senate Office Building, for the Innovation Generation Congressional Internet Policy Forum as part of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council’s Broadband and Social Justice Summit.

Deputy Secretary Miller keynotes INNOVATION & EQUITY at Lincoln Theatre

The Honorable Tony Miller, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Education, will keynote the 11th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology Symposium — INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities — on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 in the historic Lincoln Theater, 1215 U St. in the nation’s capitol.

He will address Education for Global Competitiveness at 9:30 a.m. after being introduced by 50 Most selectee Dr. Carmella Morton, founder of the two Rise Academy Schools of Science and Technology in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.   Dr. Danny Harris, CIO of the Dept. of Education and an adjunct faculty member at Howard University, is another selectee.

Anthony Wilder Miller was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 18, 2009 and confirmed by the Senate on July 24, 2009.   As deputy secretary, he serves as chief operating officer of the department.

Creating value from innovation

Darrell G. Mottley

WASHINGTON — Darrell G. Mottley, a principal shareholder for Banner Witcoff, will give a major address on Creating Value from Innovation during INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities, the 11th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology symposium on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 in the historic Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. in the nation’s capitol.

Mottley is President-Elect of the District of Columbia Bar of Washington, D.C. for the 2010-2011 term.  He is an intellectual property lawyer focusing on patent and trademark cases, including opinions, licensing and litigation.  Prior to joining Banner & Witcoff, he was an engineer in private practice and in the Federal Government, where he earned a Silver Medal for exceptional performance.

Mottley was a commissioned Officer in the U.S. Air Force where he earned a commendation medal for meritorious service.

 

His intellectual property practice includes complex technologies in a variety of fields such as telecommunications, internet-related technology, computer-gaming, medical devices, semiconductors, mechanical technologies, and electro-mechanical technologies.

 

He has advised clients on intellectual property matters in multi-million dollar venture capital transactions. He has successfully represented clients and obtained utility and design patents, and his team enforced the patents to protect core businesses of clients. Mr. Mottley has advised global companies on patent clearance and prosecution in cooperation with local country counsel in countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Europe, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Peru, and South Africa.

 

Mottley is a contributing author of the Annual Review of Intellectual Property Law Developments: 2006-2008; 2008-2009 and the Public Contract Law Journal, both publications of the American Bar Association. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

 

He earned his law degree, with honors, from The George Washington University in 2000; his Masters of Business Administration in 1994, and his B.S. Engineering in 1987 from Virginia Tech, where he was Phi Kappa Phi.  He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and courts in the District of Columbia, Virginia, New Jersey, and the Federal and Fourth Circuits.

 

The Capital Court at INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities is designed to connect innovators with angel investors, venture capitalists, underwriters and lending officers for larger scale deals which can create jobs.

Other areas of focus are the Patent Pavilion, where intellectual property professionals address how to protect innovation and the SBIR/STTR Showcase, accessing early stage contracts to develop cutting edge products.

In next week’s Innovation & Equity, there will be a comprehensive story on diversity in the field of patent and intellectual property law.  Mottley is one of a number of cross-disciplinary professionals who are at the heart of the modern innovation economy, particularly in the national capitol region.

To register for INNOVATION & EQUITY, visit http://www.souloftechnology.com

 

 

 

 

D.C. area shows the economic benefits of cutting edge fields

WASHINGTON – The data clearly pointed to where INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities should take place, notes John William Templeton, author of Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity and High Technology.

The 11th annual symposium of 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology occurs at the historic Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 in the midst of the largest concentration of African-Americans in cutting edge industries and the educational pathways to enter those fields.

“The 79,000 African-Americans working in cutting edge fields or in graduate studies in the District, Maryland and Virginia demonstrate what can be done around the nation to reduce unemployment,” says Templeton, who created the 50 Most list in 1999 to raise the profile of the 600,000 blacks in technology jobs.

The former editor of the San Jose Business Journal and also the Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN has had the unique vantage point of being immersed in the global hub of innovation and also one of the most successful black historic business districts.  He co-founded National Black Business Month in 2004 to explore how to bring economic development back to those neighborhoods.

Templeton sees a direct link between the concentration of many of the 4,000 black technology companies in the capitol region and the affluence of African-American households in the area.

Accordingly, the focus of INNOVATION & EQUITY is to bring together the factors of production, including talent, experience, new products, financing and markets, to promote more such firms and clusters around the country.

Darrell G. Mottley, a principal shareholder of Banner Witcoff and president-elect of the D.C. Bar, will discuss Creating Value from Innovation during the day-long symposium.  A Capital Court, SBIR/STTR Showcase and Patent to Public Parlor will match companies seeking investment and contracts with key decisionmakers.

“African-Americans gain an average of 1,000 patents per year, all over the country,” says Templeton.  “It is an overlooked way for communities to promote economic development.”

A common goal of the 50 Most selectees, drawn from public policy, research, manufacturing, executives, entrepreneurs and education is to encourage a new generation to follow in their footsteps.

Out of last year’s symposium in San Francisco, a pilot for a biotechnology academy was creating, using the case studies of successful black technologists to encourage high school students from a low-income neighborhood to pursue advanced sciences.

Since last year, a dozen outreach events have occurred around the nation to promote science careers and encourage new innovators.

Promoting the success of current standouts has the additional value of encouraging more young people to enter the fields, says Templeton.

Leading edge inventors

WASHINGTON — From voice texting to cardiac stents to radio frequency chips to boosting the volume on cell phones and hearing aids, African-American inventors are on the leading edge of technology for the next century.

On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we’ll see how their long-held dreams have become tangible products and companies at INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities, the 11th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology Symposium.

Since 1999, the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology has dispelled the stereotype that African-Americans are not involved in cutting edge industries.  The annual report Silicon Ceiling documents 600,000 blacks working in those fields and 1,000 annually receiving patents.

INNOVATION & EQUITY takes place in the historic Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. in Washington, D.C.  on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 beginning at 8 a.m.  with a meditation at the adjacent Black Civil War Memorial.   For registration, visit http://www.souloftechnology.com

Patent roundtable on Dec. 3

On Friday, December 3, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a roundtable discussion in the Madison Auditorium (Alexandria, Virginia campus) from 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m.  The event is free, open to the public, and requires no advance registration.  The event will also be webcast (see instructions for accessing the webcast, below).  At a later point, a taped version of the roundtable will be posted here, for those who can neither attend in person nor view the real-time webcast.

The impetus for the program is to further the discussion within the trademark community concerning the Trademark Operation’s goal of decreasing the use of paper.  The USPTO believes that paperless processing is faster, more cost effective, environmentally friendly, and less prone to human error.  To this end, the Office seeks to assemble “best practices” for trademark prosecution in the current electronic environment and to obtain feedback on the state of electronic communications with the Trademark Operation.

Biotech Brunch promotes cutting edge careers

The prospect of jobs in the fast-growing biotechnology sector is the opportunity available to residents of southeast San Francisco through the Biotech Brunch Saturday, Oct. 16 at the southeast campus of City College of San Francisco at 11 a.m. in room 413, 1800 Oakdale.

Carol Massey, chief administrative officer of emergency medicine for S.F. General/UCSF, is the featured speaker for the brunch, a joint effort of Bridge 2 Biotech at City College southeast campus and Potrero Progress, a biotechnology initiative geared to high school students through the Potrero Family Resource Center of the Economic Opportunity Council of San Francisco.

Catapulting to the Future: the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, an exhibition of African-American cutting edge achievers, will also be displayed during the Biotech Brunch.

Bridge 2 Biotech prepares students for jobs as lab technicians in two semesters and offers a gateway to further academic study in biotechnology.

Potrero Progress held the first Biotech Brunch on July 31 with Dr. Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and CIRM fellow Lydia Tekie. as part of an eight-week intensive session for 15 teenagers.

The Biotech Brunch is a satellite event of the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which began Oct. 10 and will culminate with two days on the National Mall.

 

Spio to speak at B.I.G. Summit

Orlando, Inc., has confirmed a rocket scientist, a digital media expert, and the founder of an online dating service to appear on November 18, 2010, at The B.I.G.* Summit – Mary Spio, Mary Spio and, yes, Mary Spio!  A noted entrepreneur, digital media expert and inventor, Mary Spio is the President of Next Galaxy Media – a technology and marketing company that helps businesses reach their customers using the power of video and the web, and Founder of Vidaroo Corporation.

At Next Galaxy Media, “We believe imagination is the audacity to take an unknown path and the courage to redefine convention by deriving expressions that linger in the minds of others.” Understanding a new idea, Einstein once said “is not like erecting a skyscraper in the place of an old barn, but like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections and perspectives. We must go up into the high country of the mind and breathe the thinner air.”

A former deep space scientist (literally), Spio began her career designing, launching and operating communications satellites for The Boeing Company. As challenging as that sounds for a then 29-year old young woman, her talent and ingenuity in the field of electronic engineering and computer science led her to invent and win several patents for Customer Engagement and Demographic Targeting technology, resulting in Boeing forming a new division: Boeing Digital Cinema. Spio’s disruptive digital innovation has been used to redefine how major motion pictures are distributed to movie theatres worldwide by way of satellite transmissions. High grossing pictures such as George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Ocean’s 11; Planet of the Apes; Spy Kids and Monsters, Inc. and Bounce are among numerous that have been digitally delivered to big screens everywhere using her technology.

This success fueled Mary’s passion for digital technology and her head-first dive into entrepreneurialism. Her profoundly ‘right on instincts for building brand affinity, combined with her proven technical and engineering prowess, led her to form her own media company that blended traditional media with the power of digital video and the Internet. Through this and other entrepreneurial ventures, she has provided technical and marketing leadership and brand building guidance to many of the world’s largest media, entertainment, gaming, music and retail companies and brands, including ABC, Microsoft Xbox, The Tribune News Company, Wal-Mart, Clear Channel and over 200 radio station groups, Sam Goody, Media Play, Suncoast Motion Pictures, Trans World Entertainment (FYE Stores), National CineMedia, AOL, Coca-Cola, Toyota and many, many more household names.

Click here to view Mary Spio’s presentation – The Age of “Me”dia: Inside the Little Red Box – at a recent TEDx Greenville Event. 

Spio is a recipient of the prestigious Yueh-Ying Hu Memorial National Award for Innovation and Boeing Outstanding Achievement in Electrical Engineering Award. She holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Global Innovation Management from Georgia Institute of Technology and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University. Mary is also a sought-after speaker and has been quoted or featured in numerous national publications, books and broadcasts, including The Oprah Winfrey Show – The Courage to Follow a Dream; USA Today; MSNBC; the New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul; and Georgia Tech Alum Magazine, among many others.

When not traveling the country educating major brands, partners, customers, agencies and prospects, Mary splits her time between homes in New York City and Orlando, Florida; and, on rare occasion, tries to sneak in some time to inline skate and (when no one is looking) learn a few Hip Hop moves. She is an ardent music lover and is engaged in authoring a new book on the digital revolution. Not surprisingly, Mary Spio is also fluent in five different languages.

Ms. Spio was recently named one of the 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology, one of Essence Magazine’s featured “Top 15 Women of Power” in 2007, and sits on the USA Today panel of CEOs, Presidents, Founders, and Chairmen where she advises on leadership trends a few times a year.

EPA, White House tackle environmental justice

Today, for the first time in more than a decade, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair, Nancy Sutley, reconvened the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) in a meeting held at the White House. The meeting, attended by five cabinet members, demonstrates the Obama administration’s dedication to ensuring all Americans have strong federal protection from environmental and health hazards. Pollution like dirty air and contaminated water can have significant economic impacts on overburdened and low-income communities, driving away investment in new development and new jobs and exposing residents to potentially costly health threats. This historic gathering marks a recommitment to advancing the mandate of Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, which states that each agency, with the law as its guide, should make environmental justice part of its mission.

The role of the EJ IWG is to guide, support and enhance federal environmental justice and community-based activities. By coordinating the expertise and resources of federal government agencies, the EJ IWG will work to identify projects where federal collaboration can support the development of healthy and sustainable communities. The EJ IWG will also seek opportunities to provide green jobs training in communities in need and promote a clean energy economy.

Attendees at the meeting included Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Justice; Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of Interior; Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of Transportation; Administrator Martha Johnson, General Services Administration; Carol Browner, senior advisor to the president on energy and climate change; John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Melody Barnes, director of the White House Office of Domestic Policy; and representatives from the following federal agencies: Labor, Health and Human Services, Energy, Education, Homeland Security, Commerce, Army, Agriculture and Defense, among others.

“Environmental challenges in low-income and minority communities are barriers to opportunity. Dirty air, polluted water and contaminated lands degrade health and the environment while discouraging investments and economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We believe that the burdens these communities face are best approached with collaborative efforts, built on the strengths brought by a team of different federal agencies. Revitalizing this workgroup creates an important chance to work together on environmental justice issues that have held back the prosperity of overburdened communities for far too long.”

“This country was built on the promise of equal opportunity for all of us, yet low-income families and minority communities shoulder a disproportionate amount of pollution and environmental degradation. We cannot and will not ignore these disparities,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. ”As the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, I am committed to ensuring that environmental justice isn’t just an afterthought – it’s an integral part of our mission.”

“In too many areas of our country, the burden of environmental degradation falls disproportionately on low-income and minority communities – and most often, on the children who live in those communities,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Our environmental laws and protections must extend to all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status which is why the Department of Justice is committed to addressing environmental justice concerns through aggressive enforcement of federal environmental laws in every community.”

“At the Department of Transportation, one of our top priorities has been promoting livable communities in collaboration with HUD and EPA,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Through coordinated investments that improve access to affordable and sustainable housing and transportation opportunities, together we can improve the quality of life for communities across America.”

“As stewards of our natural resources and history, the Department of Interior has a special obligation to protect and promote our nation’s resources for all communities and all persons,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Every American deserves a healthy environment in which they can live, learn and play.”

“HUD joins with our colleagues in the Obama administration to make an unprecedented commitment to combating environmental justice discrimination that all too often affect disadvantaged communities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “At HUD we are committed to providing equal access to housing, mitigating risks to communities in disaster-prone areas, ensuring homes are free of health hazards, and working to create sustainable and inclusive communities across America so that a family’s success is not determined by the zip code they live in.”

During the meeting, some immediate next steps for the EJ IWG group were identified; these include:

· Hold monthly EJ IWG meetings, including assigning senior officials from each agency to coordinate EJ activities.
· Organize regional listening sessions in 2011.
· Hold follow-up EJ IWG Principals Meetings in April and September 2011.
· Each agency will be tasked to develop or update their EJ strategy by September 2011.
· Plan a White House forum for EJ leaders and stakeholders on environmental justice.

Administrator Jackson highlighted examples of EPA’s environmental justice efforts:

· Plan EJ 2014—A four-year roadmap to help EPA develop stronger community relationships and increase the agency’s efforts to improve environmental and health conditions in overburdened communities. The plan includes three main sections: Cross-cutting Agency Strategies, Tools Development, and Program Initiatives.
· EJ in Rulemaking Guidance—The “Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action” is a step-by-step guide that helps EPA staff consider environmental justice at key points in the rulemaking process.
· Sustainable Communities Partnership—A collaborative Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, and EPA partnership to improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. The principles of environmental justice uphold the idea that all communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low income and indigenous communities – deserve the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, equal access to the decision-making process and a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. EPA serves as the lead for environmental justice issues in the federal government.

More information on the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice:
http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/interagency/index.html

View photos from the meeting:
http://blog.epa.gov/administrator/2010/09/22/epa-hosts-historic-meeting-on-environmental-justice/

Espy-Wilson venture wins prize

Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson

OmniSpeech LLC, a company developed by Professor Carol Espy-Wilson (ECE/ISR) and Tarun Pruthi, won the grand prize in the Rockville Economic Development Inc. (REDI) StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition. Winners were recognized at a ceremony on July 21 at the Sphinx Club at Franklin Square in Washington, D.C.

OmniSpeech, a start up company in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) VentureAccelerator program, is developing speech extraction technology for cellular and similar communications.

The company was selected from among 52 applicants and nine semifinalists, who made investor presentations before a panel of judges. OmniSpeech’s award includes $10,000 from EagleBank, a $10,000 advertising package from Comcast Spotlight, one year of virtual incubator membership from the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, and nine months of a customized virtual office solution from Intelligent Office.

“We are honored to be selected among so many compelling companies as winners of the StartRight! competition,” said Dr. Espy-Wilson, the founder of OmniSpeech. “We have a disruptive technology that can benefit the entire cellular communications industry and dramatically improve assistive devices. This funding will help us bring our much-needed technology more quickly to market.”

OmniSpeech has developed a method for extracting speech from noise, making communications such as cell phone conversations clear, even in environments such as high wind or large crowds. The technology can be applied to a wide range of audio and voice-oriented commercial devices, including hearing aids.

“The StartRight! judges were impressed by OmniSpeech’s capable and experienced management team and advisory board, as well as their innovative technology that meets a clear market need,” said Lynne Benzion, associate director for REDI, which founded the competition seven years ago. “OmniSpeech stood out based on the uniqueness of the speech extraction approach, which is very different than noise suppression technologies that are already on the market. The judges also valued the fact that the product design fits with existing cell phone architecture, making it easy to adopt.”  

Founded in 2009, OmniSpeech won the high technology category and $25,000, as well as a $15,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award in the 2010 University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. The company’s team also includes Tarun Pruthi, a research associate in the department of electrical and computer engineering.

OmniSpeech joined VentureAccelerator this past spring. VentureAccelerator is a fast-track, early admission program tied to Mtech’s Technology Advancement Program, the first technology company incubator in Maryland. VentureAccelerator helps University of Maryland inventors speed the process of creating ventures from their technologies by systematically guiding and coaching inventors through new business processes such as sound business planning, understanding customers and markets, setting goals and priorities, acquiring skills and recruiting talent, and raising capital. Companies such as Lurn Inc., a 2009 Inc. 500 company, have benefitted from the expertise VentureAccelerator provides.

The way to bring manufacturing back to America

While big technology companies openly boast about moving their factories overseas, the real hope for bringing manufacturing jobs back to America resides among African-American inventors like Lonnie Johnson, Timothy Childs, George White and Roy Clay Sr.

Dr. Johnson has 100 patents to his name, but nothing on the scale of the lithium air battery being developed by his company Excellatron Solid State LLC in a warehouse just off downtown Atlanta. 

This summer, it demonstrated how a model car could be powered by air passing over its battery technology.   As Johnson told CNN, the technology could power full size automobiles with enough resources.  That can give America a competitive edge over all its foreign rivals in the auto industry.

His saga is a familiar one.   For more than a hundred years, we’ve told the story of black inventions with an ending that goes along the lines of the technology was commercially developed by someone else who had access to capital.

Something as familiar as the super soaker water gun can become ubiquitous without knowing that Johnson was the patent holder.

The opportunity to change that capital gap, daunting for all black firms, but even more critical for scientific discoveries, can come about through the unprecedented federal investment in innovation from the Obama administration.

Childs’ TLC Precision Wafer Technology in Minneapolis is one of a handful of African-American technology companies to receive a research and development contract through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Dr. George White also turned his patents in semiconductor design into a company, Jacket Micro Devices, but has turned to other ventures. Even with a track record of success, he finds the search for capital a challenge.

One way to change that equation, particularly for startups, is to begin using angel investment strategies to aggregate small groups of experienced managers who can put critical amounts of small investments to keep innovation going.

The Catapult Innovation Competition, which is an outgrowth of our 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, is spreading this technique through local partners.

For more than 30 years, Roy Clay Sr. has demonstrated that manufacturing can thrive in the United States, through his company Rod-L Electronics, particularly by focusing on employing workers from underrepresented labor markets.

One of the reasons for the uneven economic recovery is that the fortunes of large companies have been disconnected from the middle class labor force in the United States.

But inner city factories like those of Excellaton can change that downward slide and boost the prospects of the American economy.

Federal science support for HBCUs declining

Only Howard University, among historically black colleges and universities, ranks among the top 100 university recipients of fellowships from the federal government at 96 of 100 in 2007, according to Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity and High Technology.

 It received a total of $2.4 million, $1.7 million from the Department of Health and Human Services and $570,000 from the National Science Foundation.  Federal agencies  put $1.1 billion into fellowships, with the top recipient Johns Hopkins University receiving $34 million.

Overall support for HBCUs declined two consecutive years from 2005 through 2007 from a high of $479 million in 2005 to $444 million in 2006 to $406 million in 2007, the same level as 2001.  Total federal support to all universities topped $25 billion.

Black scientists average 1,000 patents yearly

Almost 5,000 academic and industry scientists who are African-American gained patents over a five year period, according to Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity and High Technology, and 68,000 generated scholarly publications.

Five thousand published more than 20 times between 1998 and 2003, including 2,200 on university campuses and 3,000 in private industry.

One of the purposes of the annual report is to raise the visibility of African-American technical accomplishment for policymakers and investment managers.

On campuses, 400 African-American scientists gained at least one patent and in private business, 4,400 gained at least one patent.

Just 2.5 percent of science and engineering doctorates to blacks

African-Americans only received 2.5 percent of science and engineering doctorates in 2006, according to the National Science Foundation data cited in Silicon Ceiling 10, up from 2.3 percent in 1997.   Temporary visa holders from foreign nations received 38.6 percent of all science and engineering doctorates in 2006, an increase from 27.6 percent in 1997.

The increase came at the expense of white and Asian doctoral recipients who were American citizens or permanent residents.  In 1997, 9.3 percent of doctoral recipients were Asian-American citizens or permanent residents and 50.8 percent were white. By 2006, those figures had declined to 5.9 percent and 42.4 percent.

By 2006, only 50.4 percent of males receiving science and engineering doctorates were American citizens of any ethnic backgrounds.  Temporary visa holders began exceeding white males in 2005 with a percentage of 43.4 to 39.9 which widened to 44.1 to 39.2 by 2006.

Policymakers miss opportunity to create jobs with black tech firms

At age 26, Mary Spio was an engineer for Boeing in charge of its satellite communications division.   Like generations of black innovators from Benjamin Banneker to Percy Julian, she saw even more applications for her discoveries.   Spio became co-patent holder for digital cinema, taking the motion picture industry from fragile reel distribution to direct simultaneous display in global locations.

Now she is president of publicly traded Vidaroo in Orlando, FL, which provides online video solutions for businesses and individuals.

Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity in High Technology has the most complete information on African-American entreprenuership in high technology.

George White, Ph.D. formed Jacket Micro Devices to create integrated RF modules for high performance wireless products. By 2007, Jacket had received five patents for Multi-Layer Organic (MLO) packaging technologies.

In August 2010, there were at least 4,000 African-American companies exclusively devoted to technology, 14, 000 in professional and technical services and 71,000 in administrative support, according to the Current Population Survey.  That adds up to 89,000 using technology to some degree.

That compares with 90,000 in construction.

Yet the vast majority of the 1,702 contracts to African-American-owned businesses through July 2010 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were for construction.

We were only able to pinpoint two contracts from NASA for $600,000 each to black businesses for research and development – both to semiconductor manufacturers.  They are: TLC Precision Wafer Technologies of Minneapolis, MN and Epitaxial Techologies llc of Baltimore, MD.

Rare was the $3 million custom computer programming contract to Blue Collar Objects llc of Fairfax, VA

Black computer workers have lower unemployment rate

African-Americans in computer manufacturing are the only group of black manufacturing employees to have single digit unemployment rates.

According to the Silicon Ceiling 10: Equal Opportunity in High Technology, the 94,000 blacks employed in computer and electronic manufacturing faced an 11.9 percent unemployment rate in 2008. That rate skyrocketed to 23.6 percent in 2009.

 By August 2010, the unemployment rate for blacks in the industry had declined to 7.3 percent, compared to an overall manufacturing unemployment rate of 19.3 percent for blacks in manufacturing in general.

In fact, by August, black unemployment in computer manufacturing was below the 8.3 percent unemployment rate for all workers in computer manufacturing.

The data suggests that public policy and personal decisions can focus on preparing workers for a transformed economy, where jobs held for the past few decades no longer exist. African-Americans are bearing the brunt of industrial and service unemployment.

For all experienced workers, there was an 8.7 percent unemployment rate in August 2010. By industry, that broke down to 15.1 percent for construction; 10 percent for manufacturing (11.3 percent for durable goods and 8.5 percent for nondurable goods); 9.1 percent for wholesale and retail trade; 6.6 percent for transportation and utilities; 9.3 percent for information; 6.5 percent in finance; 9.9 percent in professional and business services; 6.5 percent in education and health services; 10.6 percent in leisure and hospitality; 9.0 in other services and 4.9 percent in public administration.

For white workers by industry, the overall unemployment rate for experienced workers was 7.9 percent in August 2010. For construction, it was 14.5 percent; for manufacturing, it was 9.2 percent (9.1 percent in durable goods and 6.5 percent in nondurable goods);wholesale and retail trade 8.0 percent; transportation and utilities 5.9 percent; information 9.2 percent; finance 5.7 percent; professional and business services 9.5 percent; education and health care 5.8 percent; leisure and hospitality 9.4 percent; other services 7.9 percent and public administration 4.4 percent.

For African-Americans, the construction unemployment for experienced workers was 24.6 percent; 19.3 percent for manufacturing (18.4 percent for durable goods and 20.4 percent for non-durable goods); wholesale and retail trade 17.6 percent; transportation and utilities 9.3 percent; information 11.0 percent; finance 13.8 percent; professional and business services 20.1 percent; education and health services 10 percent; leisure and hospitality 21.5 percent; other services 15.2 percent; and public administration 7.5 percent.

These statistics are far more informative than the national unemployment rate to gauge the national mood about the economy. Even for whites, the unemployment figures are historically high, at about the level than black unemployment normally tracks.

Double digit unemployment among experienced blacks begins to destabilize neighborhoods, as has happened on a community level as factories moved out of urban areas. Many blacks compensated by moving where the jobs were.

These statistics indicate that race has returned as the dominant variable in employment due to the economic downturn.

The new coping mechanism must be a sharper focus on choosing careers—having indispensible skills and training which are required by growing industries.

Southeastern San Francisco was a typical urban black community after the closure of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the magnet which brought blacks to the area during World War II. It is now a focus of development due to the rise of the biotechnology industry.

Over the summer, Potrero Progress sought to orient high school students towards biotechnology through a curriculum that infused the accomplishments of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology. The result was several students picked for internships with the prestigious California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

Tenth Silicon Ceiling report describes black technology workforce in detail

WASHINGTON – Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Texas and New York lead the nation in the employment of African-Americans in the computer industry, according to the 10th annual Silicon Ceiling: Equal Opportunity in High Technology report.

Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York and California have the most African-American engineers, according to the study.

Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, New York and New Jersey have the largest numbers of blacks in life and physical sciences, it adds.

Among counties, Prince Georges, MD, Cook, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Fulton and DeKalb, GA have the highest numbers of black computer workers.

The report is an essential tool for understanding the shape of the technology workforce. Since the first study in 1998 reviewed EEO-1 forms from hundreds of Silicon Valley firms, it has been cited in hearings of both U.S. Senate and House committee and by presidential candidates on national television.

Author John William Templeton, who will share the findings with top government officials next week, said the study removes the invisibility of African-Americans in cutting edge fields.  Templeton also selects the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, who will meet in Washington next January 15.

“With an unprecedented national investment in innovation, it is important to identify where our strongest performers are,” says Templeton.  This edition of the study is dedicated to the late Dr. Frank S. Greene, who passed last December. The Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame member and early semiconductor designer for Fairchild in the 1960s is featured in Templeton’s documentary Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge.

“There are more than 350,000 African-Americans following in his footsteps whose role must be appreciated if America is to continue its leadership in innovation,” said Templeton.

Gatwick Airport part of London acquisition spree

Adebayo Oguniesi, Chairman, Global Infrastructure Partners

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an independent $5.64 billion investment fund, has completed the agreement with BAA Airports Limited to acquire London Gatwick Airport. GIP  invested through Ivy Bidco Limited (“Bidco”), a limited liability company registered in England, established for the purposes of making the acquisition. Bidco will pay a cash consideration of £1,455 million for the entire share capital of Gatwick Airport Limited on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Bidco has also agreed to make certain additional payments of up to £55 million on a deferred basis, contingent on certain defined targets relating to passenger volume and future capital structure being achieved.

In October 2008, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) acquired the 50% ownership in London City Airport (LCY) that it did not already own. After giving effect to the sale of a portion of this incremental ownership, GIP now owns a 75% interest in LCY.

Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner of GIP commented: “The acquisition of Gatwick is a landmark deal for GIP and adds another quality asset to our portfolio. We see significant scope to apply both our strong operational focus and our knowledge of the airports sector to make Gatwick an airport of choice.”

Global Infrastructure Partners is Joint Venture between Credit Suisse and GE launched in May 2006 to invest in global infrastructure assets. Ogunlesi , see interview on Sky TV, is also a Senior Advisor at Credit Suisse.

Prior to his current role, Ogunlesi was Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of the Investment Banking division of Credit Suisse, and was a member of both the Investment Banking Management Committee and the Management Council of the bank. He also chaired the Chairman’s Board of the Investment Banking division. Prior to that, Mr. Ogunlesi was the Global Head of Investment Banking for Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB).

Over the course of this 23 year career at Credit Suisse, Mr. Ogunlesi has advised clients on strategic transactions and financings in a broad range of industries and has worked on transactions in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Ogunlesi was an attorney in the corporate practice group of the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. From 1980-81 he served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Ogunlesi received his B.A. with the first class honors from Oxford University, his J.D.magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association. He was a lecturer at Harvard Law School and the Yale School of Organization and Management, where he taught a course on transnational investment projects in emerging countries.

Implications of Comcast/NBC merger

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will hold a very important hearing in Los Angeles on Monday, June 7, 2010 at the California Science Center (Exposition Park near the USC campus) to allow individuals in the creative industry as well as business owners in media the opportunity to share their concerns with the current state of affairs within media – as well as any concerns that they may have specifically regarding the Comcast-NBCU merger.

Congressman James Clyburn will chair the event and several local and national officials will be on hand.

Regards,

Stanley E. Washington
President & CEO
NCAAOM

About NCAAOM

The National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM) is focused on creating African American Media ownership as a means of rectifying the continued racial imbalance within the competitive media industry.

Blackbird goes local in Oakland, Los Angeles

San Jose, California – May 19, 2010 – Blackbird, the only browser connecting you with content and news from the African American community, launches a new set of Local area features for Los Angeles and Oakland.
Blackbird is announcing Local Start Pages that highlight Black news, events and multi-cultural content.  Blackbird is the first browser that provides active tools to help users find African-American content, resources and applications.  Access to information is essential to build and sustain online and offline Black business.  Blackbird Local Start Pages are tools anyone can use; and with these tools Black cultural websites, businesses and news is now at user’s fingertips everyday.  Blackbird is the only web browser application that actively promotes Black websites, online events, and businesses.  Blackbird’s online tools are seamlessly integrated into the web browser for an ideal and easy-to-use experience.   Blackbird Local Start Pages can be used with the Blackbird web browser or any other browser as well.  The first two cities supported are Los Angeles and Oakland at the following URLS:
http://www.blackbirdhome.com/LA
http://www.blackbirdhome.com/Oakland

Blackbird is getting the word out that Blackbird is going Local. Please help spread the word, especially to users and potential users in Los Angeles and Oakland (screenshots are provided).
Later this summer, Blackbird will release a new update to the PC version of Blackbird based on Mozilla’s 3.5 base code and subsequently will release an Android mobile version by the end of Q4 2010.

”Now the Black community in LA and the Oakland/Bay Area have a new place to start their PC/Mac browsing experience,” said Ed Young, CEO of 40A, maker of Blackbird. “Blackbird continues to break new ground and it continues to strive to provide the best tools to connect and empower communities with the information tools that are so vital in today’s world.”

Blackbird continues to look for partners to improve and expand on its mission, especially partners to provide productive ways to use twitter to improve people’s lives.  For more information on Blackbird or 40A, contact info@blackbirdhome.com.
Since the browser was introduced to the public, Blackbird has regularly introduced new and enhanced features including the Live News (live.blackbirdhome.com), Black Search, and more. Anyone interested in the Black culture and community is encouraged to experience this new frontier in web productivity and entertainment by downloading the Blackbird Beta browser free at  HYPERLINK “http://www.blackbirdbrowser.com/” http://www.blackbirdbrowser.com. Current Blackbird users can download Blackbird Beta version 0.999 to access Blackbird Grapevine and other software updates.
About Blackbird – Connect. Empower. Entertain.
The Blackbird Browser ( HYPERLINK “http://www.blackbirdbrowser.com/” http://www.blackbirdbrowser.com) is the industry’s first browser designed to connect, empower and entertain people interested in African American culture. Built on the Mozilla Firefox architecture, Blackbird puts Black-related content at your fingertips and allows you to interact with other community members by sharing stories, news, commentary and videos. Launched in December 2008, Blackbird has already been downloaded more than 350,000 times.  40A, Inc., the company behind the Blackbird Browser, is private equity backed and is located in San Jose, California and Newark, New Jersey.
Contact: info@blackbirdhome.com

Vidaroo launches new website

Mary Spio, President Vidaroo

Vidaroo Corporation (OTCBB: VIDA) an innovative video technology company offering an Online Video Platform, video production, and online video advertising, announces the launch of its new website vidaroo.com.

Gen2Media Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: GTWO) an innovative video technology company offering an Online Video Platform, video production, and online video advertising, announces the launch of its new name “Vidaroo”, (OTC Bulletin Board: VIDA) which will be the universal brand for the Company’s video technology platform, content services and network. Gen2 has procured the trademark rights to Vidaroo, and will now market all of its core products and services under that trademark and brand. The new corporate name is Vidaroo Corporation and the stock symbol is VIDA.

Gen2 Co-Founder and President Mary Spio notes, “This is an incredibly exciting milestone for our Company. Vidaroo makes everything video so simple and easy for our clients – from content creation, to our ever-growing online video platform which now has access to over 10 million visitors monthly, to our Online Video Platform which is second to none.  We are truly the best asset anyone could have in publishing video, and Vidaroo now reflects the ‘automagic’ nature of our offerings in one simple word.”

EARI enters alliance with Edevent

EARI Chairman Joseph Saulter saluted by NAACP's Monique Morris

Entertainment Arts Research Inc. (EARI) announced that it has entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Edevent, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Knowledge Development Centers, based in Atlanta, GA, wherein each would indirectly and respectively own 49% and 51% interest in the newly formed company, Composite Media Solutions, LLC. Composite Media Solutions will perform the following software development support functions: Quality Assurance, Localizations/Translations, Focus Groups/Testing and Customer Support including, but not limited to, Game Community Management and other social network and online platforms and/or applications. Edevent and Knowledge Development Centers operate a worldwide network of fixed-cost computer lab rental facilities that provide Composite Media Solutions an immediate and unrivaled geographic footprint, complete with the technological and communications infrastructure necessary to successfully deliver Composite Media Solution’s proposed services. At the core of its offerings is the obvious advantage afforded by an on-shore/localized option for quality assurance testing and customer support which delivers low cost, high quality testing and extended media support functions to the game development and business software communities.

Composite Media Solutions will open operations in San Francisco and Atlanta May 1, 2010 with a total of 250 QA stations and call center platforms. This joint venture is expected to produce gross revenues between $6,600 000 per year to $7,900,000 per year. This includes only the revenues that would be generated by Composite Media Solution’s Quality Assurance and customer support services. It is further estimated that the net income for the joint venture will be between $1,320,000 and $1,580,000. Other services generating additional revenue will be added after the current plan for quality assurance is fully operational and functioning at a profit.

Earth Day celebration on National Mall

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold free events for the public on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The events will feature interactive, fun and educational exhibits related to environmental protection. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will be at the EPA Earth Day tent on Saturday between 12 p.m.-.2 p.m. Senior EPA officials will also be in attendance.

The exhibits will include an environmental crime scene forensics demonstration, cutting edge automotive technology, climate change habitat loss exhibits, environmental videos, an interactive kids booth about environmental hazards, backyard composting demonstrations, a Chesapeake Bay water model, and live mascots teaching kids about recycling and protecting nature, and others.

EPA will also be showcasing the creative efforts of more than 40 college teams and their design solutions to sustainability challenges around the world. The participants of the exhibit will compete for a $75,000 prize as part of EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo and P3 (People, Prosperity, and the Planet) competition. The expo highlights designs that address alternative energy technologies; collection, purification and distribution of water; agricultural practices to reduce pesticide run-off; new technologies for green buildings and other innovative approaches to improve society’s sustainability.

In addition to EPA’s events, Earth Day Network will be sponsoring a free concert on Sunday, April 25th with Sting, John Legend, The Roots, Bob Weir, Patrick Stump, Mavis Staples, Passion Pit, Q-Tip, Booker T and more. Also attending will be the Reverend Jesse Jackson, director James Cameron, and author Margaret Atwood. Administrator Jackson will be introducing John Legend at the Earth Day Network concert on Sunday afternoon.

President, Bolden lead space conference at Kennedy

President Obama at Cape Kennedy. NASA Photo

NASA held a conference following President Obama’s remarks about the bold new course the administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human spaceflight on Thursday, April 15, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A diverse group of senior officials, space leaders, academic experts, industry leaders and others who have specific expertise or interests related to the topics of discussion will attend the conference and participate in four concurrent sessions on different aspects of the President’s new direction for NASA.

Following the President’s remarks, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference overview, beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT, with Norm Augustine, chair, Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee and John Holdren, assistant to the President for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The conference overview and the four concurrent conference sessions, beginning at 4:25 p.m., will take place in both the Operations and Checkout Building and in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference wrap-up with the four panel moderators at 5:40 p.m. in the visitor complex’s Astronaut Encounter Theater.

Conference Session Topics:
*     Increasing Access to and Utilization of the International Space Station
*     Jumpstarting the New Technologies to Take Us Beyond
*     Expanding our Reach into the Solar System
*    Harnessing Space to Expand Economic Opportunity

The President’s remarks and all four conference sessions will be streamed live on the agency’s Web site at:

http://www.nasa.gov

Spelbots featured during National Robotics Week

Dr. Andrew Williams and the Spelbots are doing their part to make sure scientific high achievers are as well known as athletes.  They’re on the way to UCLA for National Robotics Week where they’ll show their stuff in front of 500 high school students from 20 Los Angeles high schools.

During National Robotics Week, a weeklong series of events and activities is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.
“We are thrilled as an organization to have a key role in this national effort to demonstrate to the country how robotics has matured into an all-encompassing and enabling technology.”
National Robotics Week is a product of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national roadmap” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the caucus, and other members have submitted a formal resolution asking Congress to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.
“During National Robotics Week, we are asking people to ‘experience the possibilities’ that come from using robotics technology in everyday life,” said Rep. Doyle. “From schools to the workplace to healthcare, robotics will play a huge role in making life easier for everyone and will be a significant area of job growth and development in the decades ahead.”
The current effort is being coordinated by a National Robotics Week Advisory Council, organized by iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization, along with a number of other companies, universities and organizations, including: Adept Technology (NASDAQ: ADEP); the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); AUVSI Foundation; Botball® (KISS Institute for Practical Robotics); Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh; FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology); Georgia Institute of Technology; Infamous Robotics; Innovation First International; Johns Hopkins University; MIT; Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Museum of Science, Boston; Robotic Industries Association (RIA); The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley; Stanford University; University of Massachusetts Lowell; University of Pennsylvania; and University of Southern California.

Morris reflects on legacy since King assassination

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Waterfall in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Garden is one of the largest tributes to the Dreamer

Monique Morris, Vice President of Advocacy and Research of the NAACP, discussed what has changed since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Easter Sunday on CNN’s American Morning.

She said:  “Right now, we are basically celebrating a number of successes that have occurred since 1968 in the assassination of King. There have been tremendous gains in terms of access to opportunity for African-Americans — successes that have benefited all people, regardless of racial or ethnic classification. However, we’re also grappling with several severe problems that impact our ability to move forward in this society, including the issue of mass incarceration and the abject poverty that continues to disproportionately affect communities of color around the country.”

Reconciliation: more funding for HBCUs

The school loan revision being coupled with health care reform contains $85 million extra per year for historically-black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions for the next 10 years, according to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.  One of the objectives of the Innovation and Equity agenda is to increase support for HBCUs, which produce a disproportionate number of African-Americans with degrees in science and mathematics and who go on to obtain doctorates in those fields.

Research funding to HBCUs has been flat at about $422 million, just over one percent of the federal research funding to higher education, although the ten top colleges for producing blacks who pursue doctoral degrees are HBCUs.

Catapulting to the Future

Catapulting to the Future presents the 10th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology

From education and research, to executive leadership and entrepreneurship to public policy, the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology are competing successfully at the highest levels of cutting edge fields.

Dancing Spelbots

One of the highlights of Innovation & Equity was Dr. Andrew Williams’ video demonstrations of dancing robots, programmed by members of his internationally-acclaimed Spelbots robotics team.  The team was honored Feb. 10 at halftime of the Atlanta Hawks game with the Black History Month Trailblazer Award.

Roy Clay Sr., the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame member who was recognized as a Pinnacle winner for his lifetime achievement, noted that he learned in the late 1950s when he was lead programmer at Lawrence Radiation Laboratorary that any motion can be converted into a mathematical formula.   He designed algorithms to simulate nuclear radiation for the earliest supercomputers from 1958 to 1961 at the laboratory.