Rochester Commercial Real Estate Development and Investment Summit

screenshot.pngI attended the 2017 Destination Medical Center Real Estate and Investment Summit in Rochester MN.   It was a full day event being hosted at the Mayo Civic Center located on the downtown waterfront of the Zumbro river.   The day would begin with guided walking tours of the new development areas in downtown as well as visit familiar sites around the Mayo buildings and cultural centers of downtown.   This included the Heart of the City,  Discovery Square, Central Station, St. Mary’s Place, and the Downtown Waterfront areas of planned development. The UMR/recreation area was also mentioned on the tour.
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Over twenty speakers would take the stage throughout the day to talk about different aspects of the development activities in Rochester.  The speaker roster included:
Mayor Brede, City of Rochester
Doug Holtan, Mayo Clinic
Rob Miller, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
Jon Buggy, RSP Architects
David Vigliotta, Seventhwave
Joe Weis, Weis Builders
Jamie Sundsbak, Collider
Chris Puchalla, Iron Point Partners
Jeanine Gangeness, Winona State University
Nick Pompeian, Realty Growth Incorporated
Kent Roers, Roers Investments
Tom Leimer, Knutson Construction
Lisa Clarke, Destination Medical Center, Economic Development Agency
Richard Freese, City of Rochester
Patrick Seeb, Destination Medical Center, Economic Development Agency
Mac Hamilton, Hamilton Realty Inc
Bob Lux, Alatus LLC
Rick Fenske, Weis Builder
Nate Stencil, Stencil Group
There where many diverse stories of investment, development, and innovations that spanned industry, community, and transportation.   They investments around infrastructure are very future forward in terms of next generation solutions.  The city is also attracting a fair amount of international investment.
The day concluded with a large networking session and then the final ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new expansion of the Mayo Civic Center.   The amount of energy, interest, investment, and mindshare that the community shares was both visible and felt in all the interactions.   The depth and breadth of the vision into the future also sets a high bar for other city planners.   My steps involve a number of follow-on meetings in Rochester that will explore the best practices around building economic engines around innovation, education, and exchange that can amplify the great progress already underway.
More pictures in the event gallery

 

Canada’s Innovation Budget / Superclusters

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the 2017 budget included an Innovation and Skills Plan.   This is a bold and visionary plan for the development of the country.   It is driven by concerns for the stability of the USA as a long-term trading partner and focuses on building the necessary assets required to be a leading country in tomorrow’s global innovation economy.   The future state plan is multi-faceted targeting major investments in the development of their ecosystem around six superclusters and emerging industries.   It also incorporates the building of new education offerings around lifelong learning for both the current workforce and next generation of students and workers.  While many regions around the world are working on their regional cluster strategies,  this marks a leading trend of county-wide strategies targeting the development and integration of cross-region assets into superclusters.
Here is a quick summary of the budget announcement.
Proposed industry efforts include:
  • $950 million CAD ($709.8 million USD) over five years to develop superclusters in six key national industries:
  1. advanced manufacturing
  2. agri-food
  3. cleantech
  4. digital industries
  5. health/bio-sciences
  6. clean resource
    (+ 7. emerging AI cluster)
  • $50 million CAD ($37.4 million USD) to launch Innovative Solutions Canada.  This is a government procurement program modeled after the United States’ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
  • $400 million CAD ($298.9 million USD) over three years to help drive investment in growth-stage companies. Through the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), the Business Development Bank of Canada would make late stage venture capital deals with the intent of stimulating co-investment from the private sector.  The government hopes to unlock nearly $1.5 billion CAD ($1.1 billion USD) in private sector investments through these efforts.
Proposed education and research efforts include:
  • $3.1 billion CAD ($2.3 billion USD) for research and research training – e.g., scholarships, fellowships, research grants, and support for the overhead costs associated with federally funded research conducted in post-secondary institutions.
  • $741 million CAD ($553.3 billion USD) for investments to accelerate infrastructure projects at universities and colleges and affiliated institutions through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
  • $340 million CAD ($253.9 million USD) in planned support for equipment and facilities for post-secondary institutions, research hospitals, and other not-for-profit institutions.
  • $158 million CAD ($118 million USD) for several of the country’s public-private partnerships such as Mitacs, Genome Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Stem Cell Network, the Institute for Quantum Computing, Brain Canada and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Proposed Workforce efforts include:
  • $454.4 million CAD ($339.3 million USD) over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $46.3 million CAD ($34.6 million USD) per year thereafter, to help Canada’s middle-class workers find and keep good jobs.
  • $225 million CAD ($168 million USD) over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $75 million CAD ($65 million USD) per year thereafter, to establish a new organization to support skills development and measurement in Canada.
  • $221 million CAD ($165 million USD) over five years to fund up to 10,000 work-integrated learning placements for post-secondary students and graduates each year.
  • $186 million CAD ($138.9 million USD) would be provided to support other, unspecified research and development and related scientific activities in the higher education sector.
  • $7.8 million over two years to implement a new visa program that would allow certain skilled workers to obtain a work permit.
  • $50 million CAD ($37.4 million USD) for a new initiative – Coding Kids. The new two-year initiative would help teach Canadian children how to code to help prepare them for future IT-related careers.

 

See images of the announcement in the international gallery

Stay tuned to follow the progress of this initiative and more to come on cluster development and supercluster integration.

 

ACG: Crowdsource Investment Event

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I attended the April ACG event hosted at the Windows over Minnesota dining rooms on the 50th floor of the IDS tower.  The event began with open networking with about ~130 in attendance and then transitioned into a served lunch for a panel discussion.  The event was focused on the investment ecosystem of Minnesota.  A panel of investment bankers, securities attorneys, and entrepreneurs spoke on the many steps Minnesota is taking to improve our investment and startup ecosystem.   I’ve attached the event agenda to this post to highlight the various speakers.    The discussion began with an overview of general investment levels in Minnesota and the initiative to pass new legislation around the rules of accredited investing. Several panelists had co-authored the Minnesota’s intrastate crowdfunding law(MNvest). The goal would be to redefine who can be considered an accredited investor and open the doors for individuals to invest in start-ups.   The crowd source funding movement has began to transform how investment capital can be raised.   Historically,  it has been about 3% of the overall population that has been wealthy enough to be the primary investors in new ventures and of that group only about 10% are heavily involved leaving in excess of 97% of the population out of the process.  New legislation and crowd funding are creating new opportunities for ordinary individuals to invest in entrepreneurial ventures.  This movement began in the Obama administration, with the passing of the 2012 Jobs Act,
which opened the door to restructuring the investment landscape.  Many US states are moving forward with legislation and MN had the benefit to review and incorporate the best ideas that preceded out own legislation.  This is an evolving landscape and it will be interesting to see how other states evolve and respond.  Other panelists included innovators who are creating 3 portals that are state approved sites for investment and connecting to opportunities.
See more images in the events gallery
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2017 ACG Bold Awards

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The annual Alliance of Corporate Growth (ACG) Bold Awards was hosted at the Metropolitan Ballroom on the evening of February 28th.
The formal event was very well attended and kicked off with a large food and networking session.   Teams from the event sponsors attended and enjoyed reserved seating for the awards.   The award ceremony was kicked off by ACG personnel and some key sponsors.  Multiple Bold awards were given across several categories with the following nominees:
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One of the many highlights of the evening is to hear the success stories of these finalists and learn about their approach to growth.   Many are also making an impact on the community as well through their work.   This year a special recognition award was given out to the US Bank team for their work on the new US Bank Stadium.   The evening concluded with issuing of the Bold of the Bold award selected from the winners of all the categories.   For this selection,  each attendee was able to vote, via a cell phone app, for the final award winner.  Here are the category winners:

Non-Profit
Banyon Community

Early Stage
Calyxt

Corporate Small
Medicom Health

Corporate Middle Market
Innovative Office Solutions

Corporate Large
Deluxe

Special Recognition
US Bank Stadium

BOLDEST OF THE BOLD
Innovative Office Solutions

See more event images in the Gallery
Learn more about ACG

Beginning Cluster Development

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I participated in the economic development roundtable webinar focused on Cluster development.   Guest speakers were from Cluster Navigators.  The conversation was exploring how to get cluster development programs underway in your local area.  The speakers have published a 12 step handbook and process image of the journey.  This interactive session allowed a great Q&A dialogue across a wide number of economic development attendees.
Check out Cluster Navigators:  https://www.clusternavigators.com
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Photo Galleries:

Cloud Platform CxO Discussion

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I participated in the CxO roundtable webinar focused on Cloud Platforms.   The executive group was sharing their experiences around the selection, implementation, and maintenance of various cloud platforms for their enterprises.  While nearly all the group had assets already deployed in the cloud, everyone is still learning and watching the evolution of these platforms closely.   I had extensive experience in this area as a strategy advisor with Microsoft during the pre and post launch of Microsoft Azure.   Working with companies of all sizes to understand key implications and internal development required to move into these paradigms.   While I felt the challenges were still common and basic in nature,  there was a clear consensus that cloud was solidly in everyone’s strategy.
Challenges range from:
  • Keeping up with the vendor roadmaps
  • Developing internal talent and recruitment
  • Cultural shift to supporting cloud at the enterprise level
  • Moving teams from legacy methods to agile and dev ops based approaches
  • New funding models for business units to support cloud
  • Understanding how dynamic cloud pricing can jump as you scale rapidly ( especially with data storage)
  • Architectural best practices
  • Moving from piloting to large scale, mission critical application
In general,  these are all foundational challenges most organization have been facing for some time.  This raises the issue that the value proposition of bringing cloud computing into the enterprise is still primarily focused on cost reduction and in many cases it doesn’t always reduce near-term cost.  What isn’t being talked about is the use of cloud for more strategic applications of the business.  I have worked on numerous projects where cloud platforms have been the critical enabler for large scale M&A integration,  Internation Strategic Alliances, and tactical joint ventures between organizations.  As businesses move past the “how to” stage of cloud it allows the business leaders to start to leverage cloud platforms in strategic initiatives.

Online Education Platforms

9e2e0990-b941-4ff6-90d8-d3ba2542f487I participated in the CxO roundtable webinar focused on Online Education Platforms.   The conversation was a great sharing of experiences of various universities experiences evaluating and using these platforms to support their online education programs.   I have had multiple exposures to designing programs for online platforms from working at the university to the consulting I have done with universities building programs around innovation centers and regional cluster development.    There is an overwhelming need to build global education communities that can extend the reach of their offerings to students and workforces internationally.   Online programs are both in demand and liked by students/workers that want the flexibility and non-geographic limitations of access to training.
The platforms primarily being discussed on this call ranged from:
  • BlackBoard – Ultra
  • Canvas
  • Moodle
  • D2L Bright Space
Challenges range from:
  • Evaluation
  • Funding
  • Training internal staff
  • Culture shift of faculty
  • Metrics and measurement – definition of success
  • Looking ahead to where today’s trends are heading
The institution on the call are in the early adoption and learning phases being only a few years into their pilots.  Current challenges are similar and tactical in nature.  The conversation will pivot past the “how to” stage and into considering that the full potential and reach of these platforms will vastly exceed the brick and mortar aspects of the institutions that they implement in.
Some key aspects they will need to address in the coming years will be:
  • How institutional funding for new programs will be shifting to online
  • Designing hybrid programs that blend with experiential learning
  • Incorporating cutting edge industry practitioners to assure that online programs remain relevant and updated
  • Running dependable 24/7 IT at global scale ( with what partners)
  • Building retaining the online community past just the courseware
  • Building new strategic partnerships across the globe to create world class / aggregated curriculum
  • Redefining what degree means when your education is coming from many institutions
  • Building students along side workforce
  • Making lifelong learning central to the programs.   Not just the basics, but constant indusry relevancy
  • etc.
These strategic aspects are also at the center of conversations are the development of innovation centers that integrate with many universities and industry partners.   The shift is moving in the direction where the gap between university and industry training is closing and education needs to be integrated directly into the innovation ecosystem of industry and workforce development.