Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Researchers across Oklahoma and the United States are focusing on creating new nanotechnology applications in today's market. Nanotechnologies are products that focus on control, synthesis and characterization of particles less than 100 nanometers.
Some applications of nanotechnologies in our great state include the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, use of nanoscale titanium dioxide in the cosmetics industry and use of hydrophobic (water hating) nanoparticles in prosthetics. These applications have the ability to revolutionize sectors of science and technology.
As a researcher, Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative advisory board member, EDGE policy board member and entrepreneur, I am excited to see the direction nanotechnology is taking in Oklahoma. We have the vision, scientists and support of our Legislature to launch Oklahoma as an emerging player in this industry.
National Nano Week, which begins Monday, marks a historic event in Oklahoma's science and technology industries. Oklahoma will host the National Nanotechnology Initiative NanoRegional workshop, "Regional, State and Local Initiatives in Nanotechnology" bringing nationally recognized leaders of nanotechnology to Oklahoma. These leaders will have the opportunity to tour Oklahoma nanotechnology companies and view the premier of "Molecules to the Max," an IMAX RPI movie about nano at the Science Museum Oklahoma. This is exciting because Oklahoma is the first to show this film in America on an IMAX screen.
In three years, Oklahoma has grown from six to 41 nano-companies, resulting in a 683 percent increase of nano-companies in our state. It is phenomenal to see this area of growth in Oklahoma not only to companies emerging from universities, but also within the private sector. This relates to high-paying jobs ultimately resulting in taxpayers stimulating the economy.
Oklahoma is the first state in the nation to implement an incentive program helping companies use nanotechnology to create product applications. This incentive program, the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Sharing Incentive Act of 2006, is made possible by the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Applications Project funded through the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Oklahoma is fast becoming recognized as a leader in several technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and wind, oil and gas technologies. Our state is seeing the benefit of investment in technology, demonstrated by being voted as the most recession proof state by Fortune magazine in 2008 and our current low unemployment rate.
As a native Oklahoman investing in technology in our state, I see the success of Oklahoma and state legislators supporting the vision of researchers and entrepreneurs in technology. I am enthusiastic about seeing our state emerge as an influential and key player in this industry creating opportunities in Oklahoma and our nation.
Kupiec is CEO of Analytical Research Laboratories and DNA Solutions.