The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 36
"I predict that Virginia Tech will be doing
close to a billion dollars a year in research,
making it one of the largest research centers in
the world; that the Corporate Research Center
will have near 10,000 jobs and 1,000 commercial businesses spawned by intellectual property coming out of Virginia Tech research."
One of the clear imperatives of that change is the
need to continue and intensify the cooperation
and collaboration of business interests in
Montgomery County and the Roanoke Valley...
will be more
Ken Ferris: "Cars will drive
INDUSTRY: FIVE POINTS
KEN FERRIS, PRESIDENT BROADWOOD
Ferris is responsible for at least three successful startups in the region (and a couple that
weren't so hot) and is in the business of projecting. He talks about the graduating generation "being about 62 in 40 years, so they are
the ones who will determine what will happen.
This set of kids is really advanced; they know
more than I knew when I was 15 years older
[than they are now]."
He believes the combinations of social media, STEM training, LEGOs [hey, that's what
he said], robotics and video Mindcraft will
have a huge effect. "The Entrepreneur Club
at Tech is a driving force," he says. "They're
producing business people ... and defining
what will happen."
Here are five categories Ferris believes will
"be dominant in 40 years."
"Automated vehicles 'and things.' Cars will
drive themselves, among other things and it
will create a lot of side industries. We're looking at drones and robots. The problem will be
36 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014
managing air space.
"The Internet of Things where everything
is connected. If you want a particular recipe
for supper, the stove automatically warms up;
the house will be there to command. Everything will be interconnected." Hardware and
software industries will spring up.
"There will be a lot of software applications
we can't even imagine right now," so he doesn't
try, but he knows they'll need to be invented,
created and marketed.
"Sooner or later fuel cells will be practical
and solar panel costs will come into line and
the industry will be created.
"Health care, especially, in this area, will
continue to be significant. Companies like
GE will evolve into specific areas and it's hard
to say what companies like Exelis (formerly
ITT) will be doing, but you know it will evolve.
Meridium, I think, will continue evolving and
creating in necessary areas." Bioinformatics, he
says, could emerge as a huge regional driver.
TECHNOLOGY AT THE CENTER
DR. ROBERT H. SANDEL,
Bobby Sandel has been a significant innovator
in his few years at the wheel of VWCC and he
has made its AA degree much more valuable
than it was in the past by forging significant
alliances with four-year institutions and the
"We must consider how technological
changes will impact the ways in which we
serve students. Some of these changes are imminent while others are impossible to predict.
"Community colleges will place greater
emphasis on Learner-Centered Education,
allowing students to customize their educational experiences and even their degrees
based upon their needs. Colleges will use new
technology to change how they offer courses
and to accommodate differences in students'
preparation, learning styles and timing of