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Stem cell research to be focus of Jan. 23 breakfast forum

LYNN ? The North Shore Technology Council (NSTC) is gearing up for a new schedule of breakfast forums, starting with a Jan. 23 session on the business of stem cell research.The breakfast meetings are typically held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Peabody Marriott Hotel off Route 128 in Peabody, from 7:30-9 a.m.Martha C. Farmer, a stem cell research oversight board member at StemCore, will lead the presentation. Farmer, a Manchester-by-the-Sea resident, is a fellow a Harvard Medical School’s Division of Medical Ethics.The council, based at the Cummings Center in Beverly, represents and supports over 125 companies, has 250 individual members, and a mailing list topping 1,300, according to spokesman Leslie Scott-Lysan. Founded in 2002, it is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization exclusively focused on the needs of northeast Massachusetts’ technology industries.According to Scott-Lysan, the council hosted 10 monthly technology-related business breakfasts in 2006, sponsored more than 60 since its inception, and plans to continue with a new calendar of topics.The council will also put its energies into a partnership with the North Shore Workforce Investment Board (WIB), headquartered in Salem with an office on Union Street in Lynn.Mary W. Sarris, executive director of the North Shore WIB, said the council provides knowledge and business connections that are proving invaluable in helping the WIB align its programs with the special needs of technology employers.According to Sarris, the biotechnology and high-technology manufacturing industries are highlighted as critical to the region, based on the council’s recently completed Labor Market Blueprint study Armed with this information, the North Shore Career Centers and the WIB plan to collaborate with local education institutions, government agencies, and other organizations to meet the present and future training and development needs of the technology workforce, Sarris said.NSTC President Thomas Cheatham of Swampscott said the council’s work for North Shore WIB encourages the growth of technology businesses and further technology job expansion, which ultimately supports the economic health of the entire region.The NSTC also introduced the North Shore WIB Board to council member Ellen Kaplan, principal of [email protected], who arranged industry focus groups and reported their findings. Additionally, council member Charles Orosz, principal of Orosz Consulting, trained North Shore WIB and North Shore Career Center staff on the unique workforce needs of today and for the future of the technology industry study groups.The council includes members from a wide array of technology industries, including information technology, medical devices, lab equipment, microchip manufacturing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, homeland security, and defense technology. It seeks participation of technology companies and senior-level executives, managers, and professional staff members, as well as media, faculty and students at area colleges and universities, and members of other business groups are also a vital part of the council’s community. For more information about the council, go online to www.nstc.org.Cheatham explained that the 2008 strategy will focus heavily on cluster development, basically groups of technology companies with a common market. These are businesses with no local trading partners and more global in nature, he said.The four key clusters are homeland security and defense; biomedical startups, many of which are emerging companies in Beverly; nano-technology and semi-conductor companies, such as those that specialize in ion implantation; and information technology or IT, along with the software development companies.Cheatham said plans also call for creation of an economic incubator for bio-medical startup companies, although the project is merely in a conceptual stage.”We’ve looked at sites in Lynn, Danvers and Peabody, including the Clock Tower building on the Lynnwa

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